Tuesday, January 08, 2013

W02.03 Deciding Upon an Alexander Technique Niche


How do you figure out your Alexander Technique niche?

I have been struggling with this step for years - I am on my own learning edge. Others are way ahead of me, and I admire and learn from them. More on that when I get to Step 5 about your necessity for mentors. My path was initially the uphill climb: trying to sell people on Alexander Technique. Hard. I managed to survive by the sheer intensity of my effort, but that is the point. Do you really wanting to be working that hard your whole teaching life? At some point you slam the teaching door on your 4th trial lesson that failed to sell that week, and start screaming as Peter Finch did in his wonderful movie Network: “I am as mad as hell and I am not going to take this anymore!!!”

Are you there yet?

Some of you may need to reach that point before you will act. I hope not, but the task that faces you is not for the faint-hearted. Don’t fool your Self - this is not about tweaking a few things and all will be fine. You need to work at it, and fully expect to take months, possible years, before you emerge into crystal clarity.

The upside is wonderful. You start to choose who you teach, when you teach, how you teach and how much you make from it all. No longer a victim to circumstances or economics, you become an opinion leader, a person who creates a difference. You are sought out by many professional people, invited to join conferences and approached by publishers and magazines. People truly recognize you as the bearer of a break through discovery - Alexander's work is gold, and you finally get to demonstrate that for mainstream society. Isn’t that worth the effort now? So here’s what you do…

First: match a niche with your personality. Second: run it through your “Can I make money?” filter. Third: make the big decision I wrote about in yesterday’s blog. A lot of you need to take time with this step. That’s good - don’t fret. As I wrote in yesterday’s blog, your decision about this will be one of the most important in your career. Take your time - make sure you are 100%, totally, irrevocably clear and committed to action. Without that resolve, you won’t make it.

The essence of my niche is transformation. I love helping people change. I have worked with survivors of Auschwitz, heart-broken lovers, a man screaming in pain at my very touch, people in despair, entrepreneurs hungry with ambition. This is my Alexander Technique. What is yours? Start to know your Self, know what awakens you to truth.

However, I kept switching my focus. First it was people in crisis. Then it was people who wanted to build something. But these two didn’t seem to mix well. Finally I realized: I needed to find a cohesive community. You also need to find a community where people are in communication with each other - eventually about you!

Step One - Match Your Niche To Your Personality
Many musicians come to Alexander Technique, train as teachers, then finally start teaching in that niche. For them, this step is obvious. I was not one of those people and I guess many of you are the same. Ask the questions - where was I born to be? Where can I make the greatest difference? What do I love doing?

Make a list of everything you enjoy doing. Don’t leave out anything, even if you think “Alexander Technique doesn’t apply to that.” Guess what? It probably does. So be free in creating your list, include anything - even going to movies and reading thrillers. Another exercise to try is to make this list: “Who do I love to be with? Who do I want to help? What does my perfect pupil look like?”

Out of this exercises, you are looking for a group of people who conform to the three conditions I specified yesterday. They are joined together by a purpose or hobby/profession, have issues they are obsessed by, and together form a community. I had one student in tears because “I don’t have any skills, I can’t find a niche” until she realized she had been working in an office for 30 years, and had a passion to help people literally crushed by their company environments. Your niche could be staring you in the face, just as I found mine was.

Step Two - Can You Make Money Out of This Niche?
Money, as I wrote extensively last week, has to be your second most important consideration: that’s how you are putting you first. To answer this question, use my blog: Step 2 - Find Your Niche: 12 Items To Checklist Before You Start…

Step Three - Decide
Your decision will be based on how well you are able to know your niche. You must know, in deep psychological detail, what your student wants. You must know their hopes and dreams, what frustrates them, what keeps them awake at night, what problems they encounter every day, what TV shows and films they enjoy, the magazines they read, where they congregate, what their hobbies and interests are. There is no limit to the information that you can collect about this. Are you ready for this kind of research?

TOMORROW: Another way of thinking about niches…Never give up! 
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