The only way to be
If I have learned anything, I have learned that the more selfless I can be, the better results I can generate. Seriously, selfless over selfish every time. It is counter intuitive to think a shift in focus from our needs to the needs of others can bring us what we need in a greater abundance. But, it is true. I am saying you have to be a martyr, I am saying that our niche is always found in what others need.
I have been running a combat sports academy for over 20 years now. I can honestly say I did it wrong for at least 18 of those years. I didn’t understand that all the suffering I did for my own benefit was simply that, for my own benefit. I thought my achievement entitled me to things from others. Once I realized nobody owes any of us anything and started giving without expectations, everything changed for the better.
When I say “No expectations” that does not mean I work for free. It means I have a financial relationship with my members. I do my job to the best of my ability in exchange for a fee. If I do a job that brings value to my members, they stay. If not, they go. I do not demand or expect loyalty just because I am sharing my knowledge. If there is a loyalty, it is a personal choice.
The pitfall I fell into so many times was abusing loyalty because I wanted to be lazy or cheap. I asked for discounts, free services, and demanded things I shouldn’t have because that was how I was trained to think this weird Martial Arts world worked. I was raised to believe a black belt and championships entitled me to something. My teachers were wrong and I was wrong.
Just because we can does not mean we should. I may be able to beat you up, but that means nothing in our relationship. If I use that as a fear tactic to get more out of you, I am an abusive asshole. Because I can do or have done things you can’t, does not entitle me to any liberties. My job is to impart my experience in a way that benefits you for an agreed upon price. I do my job and you pay for my service. Beyond that, there is not much else.
This may sound hollow but it is a simplification of the process. Teachers and students do develop bonds. BUT, no matter the bond, we can’t lose sight of the base relationship. We have to maintain our roles while our personal relationships develop. Neither business nor personal should negatively impact either side. It is a balance of respect and obligation.
Every business has its complexities but we all have very simple bases in which we build everything. Time does not allow for us to ignore anything and familiarity does not afford us any liberties. If we focus on our value for our customers/members, we have the best chance for success, loyalty, and everything else we are looking to achieve.