Thursday, January 31, 2013

W05.04 Continuing My Story: Alexander Business And Life Mentors

“Rich or poor does not matter – it is what you are believing and thinking that matters.”

“Money does not bring happiness, it may even increase suffering.”

You have heard all those sayings – and it’s true that money does not equal happiness – but my first business mentor, Brendan Nicholls, taught me: sure that’s true, but if you want money you have to deal with all those beliefs you are thinking, because those are the thoughts that keep you poor.

Brendan’s sales pitch was “Money in your pocket.” He was not impressed by the symbols of “success” and he himself lived a simple life style, in an unassuming home, where his neighbours had no idea that he easily nets over one million dollars a year – and that’s after giving away 20% of it before tax. Brendan had no time for the flaky, new age reasoning behind the maintenance of poverty: “In my life, I have only meet a few people who genuinely do not care about how much money they have. The rest are just kidding themselves.”

He kept those people out of his domain by charging $8,000 essentially for one three day residential – there were also two one day workshops and a monthly call in day over a year long education program. It cost me 10% of my annual income at the time, and I paid for it personally: it was one of the best investments I ever made in me. When you got into Brendan’s inner circle, it was clear that gaining wealth was all about personal transformation: it was all about undoing the ideas that kept you poor.

Brendan had an essentially Alexandrian message about creating wealth: getting money is easy, the hard part is undoing all the beliefs that stop it’s flow. At one point in his seminar I stood up and shared “Something is not right in my life. I have five wardrobes in 5 different cities and I seem not to know where I am going…” Brendan looked at me and asked: “Do you know who you are?”

It led to separating from my wife, virtually sacking my old, long-term business advisor, being assaulted in anger by one of my staff (I provoked it), having a Director of ProCourse resign (because of my behaviour), an entire re-design of BodyChance’s staffing structure, a new product niche, an apartment in Tokyo – the list goes on. Mentors, when they are effective, will revolutionize your life. The change will not be what you are imagining it is.

Brendan also opened the door to a simplistic way to manage my time and business efforts: “The only way to make money is when you, or one of your agents, is in direct contact with a potential customer.” Analyze your time yesterday: how much time was spent putting your Self in front of potential students? If you have few students, I can already guess your answer. It is easy to avoid doing the thing you need to do because of old habits. Haven’t you heard that one before? In the gaining of wealth, students and a financially successful career as an Alexander Technique teacher, the same Alexandrian process applies.

After Brendan, I began to have fascination for all the marketing gurus, which the United States of America is prolific in producing. People like Perry Marshall – the world’s greatest email writer and a Google adds ninja; Dan Kennedy – the Marj Barstow of the marketing world whose seminal work lies at the heart of modern, direct marketing technology; and the huge variety of niched marketers like John Carlton (copywriting) Seth Godin (marketing advice) Jeff Walker (launching products), Brendon Burchard (being an expert), Ryan Diess (sneaky black art marketing), Greg Habstritt (wealth creation), Steve Harrison (getting published) Philip McKernan (authentic personal growth), GKIS (monthly membership club for direct marketers), Dereck Halpin (building a blog following), Don Crowther (monetizing social media) and if that doesn’t put you into overwhelm, there’s the historical gurus that founded this success movement, starting with Napoleon Hill’s classic Think and Grow Rich available here for free. Or the Prince of Print Gary Halbert. - you can spend hours reading through his amazing sales letters at that site. Start your education now.

Napoleon Hill first coined the term MasterMind Group: his research of wealthy people showed that most of them held their behaviour to account by being part of a peers/mentor “mastermind” group that overviewed their business strategies.

Have you got one of those organized? If not – put one together with local teachers. Invite non-Alexander practitioners in: you learn a lot by hearing how people in other professions solve the problems you are grappling with.

My years of reading and studying led me to the conclusion that I needed a personal business coach, someone who had gone way deeper than me into the myriad of marketing methodologies and knew which piece fitted where in my Alexander Technique business. My aim today is to transform my 1 million dollar business to a 10 million dollar business, and I have no real idea how I do that…

This led me to Paul Lemberg, whose free “7 Ways To Faster Business Growth” is a mini crash course in what every small business owner needs to know. Paul and I connected immediately, and I had him fly over to Japan to work with my team, and we continue to work together via Skype every week. He doesn’t come cheap – costing BodyChance $30,000 annually – but that is my next message to Alexander Technique teachers hungry for success…

You don’t get good advice cheap – the people who know what they are doing are only interested in working with the people who know what they want. The simple way to keep out the laggards is to charge a lot. That ensures you get a focused, committed group of people who will actually implement your advice. People who complain about the cost just don’t get it – you have to speculate to accumulate. You need to be a risk taker.

I promise you, every major spending decision I made, starting with the $3,000 I paid Tom back in the days of my imploding ATA business, was a stomach wrenching decision that I ultimately never regretted. If you want to move up a level – accept 1. You need a mentor; and 2. This will cost you. My experience tells me this is the surest, fastest way to success and the best investment you can make. Somehow, this gets forgotten in MBA courses.

Finally I come to my deep practice mentor, a woman I will be meeting in USA this March for the first time when I attend her 9 day $5,000 seminar in Ojai, California. Oh yes – I will be hanging out in LA if anyone wants to catch up? I would love to meet some of you following my blog there. Just drop me a line at - I will be in LA for March 7/8 and again on March 19, maybe 20.

For those who don’t know the work of Byron Katie – she has devised the psychological mirror that you need in your back pocket for those who read my previous blog about that. In that blog I asked: how can you get irrefutable, objective feedback about your behaviour, as Alexander obtained with his real mirror? Katie’s ‘mirror’ is enquiry - “Four questions and a turnaround” - that cuts through the sensory delusions that keep you inside the box of your own experiences.

Touch was Alexander’s breakthrough answer to this ‘mirroring’ question for working with his students, but Katie has gone on to devise a teaching methodology that substitutes Alexander’s physical mirror, and his touch methodology, for a psychological teaching methodology. It takes 5 minutes to learn and a lifetime to perfect. Which also reminds me of Alexander's discoveries.

When you think about it – Alexander’s “primary control” is not the cause of dysfunctional co-ordination, it is the agent. The cause is what I am thinking and believing: about the world, about you and about me. It is these thoughts that bring about inappropriate co-ordination, which in turn results in pain and suffering of a physical and mental nature.

The first thing that strikes you about Katie’s work is how similar her language is to our community. Her website incorrectly claims: “Unlike every other school on earth, this one isn't for learning—it's for unlearning.” She could be describing an Alexander Technique school. Also, like Alexander, she chooses to call what she does ‘the work’. It was how Alexander also referred to what he taught. Finally – her work is entirely secular like Alexander’s, but mysteriously moves people into deep, life changing experiences, as does Alexander’s work.

Her work is so simple, it is astonishing – but I often also use those very words to describe Alexander's discoveries. Watch this example of how Katie’s mirror of “4 questions and a turnaround” helps Emily undo years of confused feelings about her husband in one session. I cry ever time I watch it.

So this is my unfinished story, but I wanted to share with you the “secret” behind my success – it is dampening the ego that would have you believe you know everything you need to know already; instead admitting that in some things you are powerless; and finally being willing to surrender to the wisdom of others who have previously walked where you want to go.

TOMORROW: Christine Johnson put through the hoops of my 12 Step Plan For Financial Success As A Teacher Of Alexander Technique. This one is good.
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