Sunday, January 27, 2013

W04.07 Guest Post From Jennifer Mackerras in Reply to My Case Study...



On Sundays, as I continue my free online course for Alexander Technique teachers on my 12 Point plan to build a financially successful practise, I am offering each teacher who submitted their situation for a case study a chance to reply to my comments. Last week I wrote a case study of Jennifer Mackerras’ situation. This is her reply…

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He had me hooked right at the beginning:

"Jennifer is doing a great job - she doesn’t need my feedback. All the pieces are there, and she’s got them working together nicely, so why is she asking me for advice?"

I asked Jeremy for advice because I don't feel like a success. Pure and simple.

Yes, I work more than some teachers. But I don't teach as much as I would like, and as much as some other teachers I know. I want to be more successful. And yes, if I'm honest, I want to take myself to a level beyond that, to a national/international level.

Everyone has to have ambitions. :-)

And also, if I'm honest, I needed some reassurance. Much of what Jeremy said, especially with regard to auto-responders and the somewhat lukewarm copy on my website pages (especially the home and 'about me' pages) I had already suspected. But seeing it written down by someone else allowed me to think about it more clearly. It gave me permission.

I have discovered that I, just like my students, sometimes just need permission to think the unthinkable, so that change can occur. Does this ring a bell for any of you?

I had decided on a niche, but hadn't yet had the courage to stand by the implications of that decision. When you focus on a particular group, it feels like you are cutting yourself off from other possibilities, other students. And, of course, you are. But the possible students you are cutting off are almost certainly people who wouldn't have been quite suited by you, and that you wouldn't have enjoyed teaching as much as those who fit within your niche. So why try to talk to them?

I was trained to be able to teach anyone, both like-minded and non-like-minded people. But it is a logical fallacy to think that, just because I am able to teach anyone, that I therefore must teach everyone. If you try to speak to everyone, the message will be so diluted that you end up speaking to no one.

I'm going to say that again. If you try to speak to everyone, you will end up speaking to no one.

So the biggest outcome for me from Jeremy's advice is having the courage to follow through with my decision about my niche (that is, the people who I most enjoy teaching and who most enjoy how I teach).

My next steps?
I am already in the middle of a website redesign. Part of that will involve improving the copy so that it is stronger. No more holding back!

I have also already improved my auto-responder series, so that it tells more of my story and draws out good and useful teaching points with practical suggestions for the recipient. I'm going to supplement this with some bonus material - probably short Ebooks. We'll see.

I have also changed my adult education centre course for next term into two short courses more closely aimed at my niche. It's a great place to experiment with new ideas, so I can trial new material there. If it doesn't work, no matter. If it does, I can expand upon it and roll it out more fully in other venues.

And the future? As long term goals, I am intrigued by some of the more ambitious ideas Jeremy mentioned, like approaching actors and singers for their experiences with AT. It sounds like a lot of fun.

In the shorter term, I'll follow through on a lot of the ideas that I already have and that Jeremy mentioned in his posts. As I said in my original email to him, fear of failure has always been a real limiting factor for me. But ultimately what is worse: trying new stuff and having some of it go horribly wrong, or staying in the "same kind of badly?" Is this any different to what we all tell our students?

Going through this process with Jeremy has given me permission to think the unthinkable. But will you be braver than me? Will you give that permission to yourself?

TOMORROW: Alexander's Breakthrough Needed A Mirror - What Will You Use To Get the Same Result?
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