Increasing Value

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I have to admit this summer has an exciting feeling for me. It might be hard to understand but I will do my best to explain. At one of my first schools that I owned; “Dragon’s Lair” Self Defense Studio- It had a unique setting that has not been repeated for Attitude First. It was located at a corner shopping mall surrounded by neighborhoods. This allowed students to walk and/or ride their bikes to classes.

My summers went something like this: The operating hours were 9:00 a.m. -9:00 p.m. every day and then 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. on Saturdays. However my first session usually didn’t start until about 10:00 in the morning. So my mornings were spent doing paperwork, cleaning, organizing, etc. and ultimately getting ready for class.

Summers always changed that. I had to add a youth class at 9:00 a.m. so this meant I had to get in at 8:00. Students would start showing up at about 8:30 so I had to get in at 7:30. People started recognizing that so they started showing up at 8:00 forcing me to get in by 7:00. So this pattern continued until, one morning I showed up at 6:00 a.m. thinking I would have time to get some work done and there were students waiting for me outside the front door. I had to tell them no one was allowed to come to the school before 8:00 a.m. but I ended up settling for about 7:30.

In hindsight, it should have been more encouraging for me as an instructor instead of frustrating because I couldn’t attend to my normal morning rituals. The cool thing was these kids would come in and get dressed and start training. They would work on stuff until class at 9:00 a.m. and then work unbelievably hard for the hour of training. So they were getting in a good couple of hours of personal training prior to the group class. I would float from one student/group to the other and give out pointers/suggestion on how to improve what they were working on. I would teach them new exercises if they were doing well or if it would help them understand the exercise they were working on.

Probably the most important aspect, they worked with each other (kind of the inspiration to the 4 C’s of Teamwork). What came out of it was an unusual bond between them. They were there for each other and they each felt accomplishment by each other’s successes. They would make plans on what they would work on the next morning and who would get what kind of attention from the others to help them. You can imagine how rewarding this was to see them all working for each other as well as themselves.

So how does this reflect on this summer? Well interestingly enough, more and more of the younger students whose class starts at 5:00 p.m. are showing up a 4:30 and earlier. They are starting to influence each other on training before class. The teens (especially) are coming in to help with the kid’s class and then taking the time between the kid’s class and the adult class to work on their art.

I am recognizing a similar pattern of the development of the students and their willingness to put in that extra time (on their own) to improve. At the same time, they are working to develop each other. Now, it is my opportunity to free myself from any frustrations of what I’m not accomplishing and to enjoy the attitude and commitments of the members to improve and work together.

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