Sunday, October 14, 2012

Alexander Technique Principles in Selling: 5. Direction


There is a plethora of possible meanings to “direction.”

Alexander talks about “cultivated” direction “instinctive” direction, “conscious and subconscious” direction - take your choice. So before figuring out how the concept of direction has meaning in the selling of Alexander's discoveries, I’d better be clear about the nature of the “direction” we are talking about.

Initially, it is any act that involves making a decision against the habit of life, again an idea burrowed from FM. Physiologically, it involves guiding your movement in a way that triggers alarm bells in your sensory system - bells that chime “This is weird. You are too far forward. You bum is sticking out. People will think I am arrogant if I walk like this.”

Your feelings are based on the past - they are incapable of guiding you into a future of which you have no experience. Alexander’s work is a method of guiding you from the known to the unknown - that is the “direction” I am writing about. It is in fact the “direction” that any pupil will experience in an Alexander Technique lesson: the new feelings of both weirdness and success. Success in the sense that the pain is gone, or your playing improved, or you have more air. A successful lesson always has these two elements: a feeling of weirdness, and a definite objective success.

Selling is exactly like that for the neophyte Alexander Technique teacher starting out on a new career - selling is one of those activities that “feel wrong” the first time you consciously, constructively and creatively follow a plan, but this disorientating direction is actually necessary to gain success in doing something your never did before. Here’s what you do: don’t act from your feeling, act from your plan.

And what plan is that?

Unfortunately, “selling” has never been of much interest to most people who study Alexander's discoveries. It even is looked upon with disdain, a dirty little activity best left to the greedy. I can’t tell you how much criticism I have encountered to introduce a culture of selling in BodyChance’s Alexander community: “Jeremy is only interested in money.” There is a huge resistance to it. Yet money is what supports the growth of the work. Duhhhh.

Our work will thrive in a culture that respects monetary success. It is a truth of life. The oldest profession in the world is not the one you are thinking it is. The oldest profession is the sales person. When we were kids, many of us practised the art of selling on our parents. We strategized, thought about how to pitch our offer, and went after it with such determination, countering any objections thrown at us, that we eventually got what we wanted, or made a strong enough impression to get it the next time around. THAT’S the plan.

Do that in your teaching room, and you won’t need to read my blog any more!

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