Since I'm in a slightly altered state with jetlag and in the mood for sharing, and because I suspect many of my peers are dealing with similar issues, here's a story. Adapted from a deeper conversation that is happening privately on a Jivani Yoga group initiated by someone working through (with humility and ownership and ultimately gratitude) a feeling of annoyance at our asking for help to promote the trainings by sharing on facebook.
This is a giant issue for me. And one I am asking for help with. I need a business coach or a mentor or some combination of the two because the element of promoting and marketing the trainings is wiping me out emotionally. I have found myself lately dancing with depression and losing myself in the work I am required to do in order to get a new TT off the ground. Instead of training teachers and facilitating transformation - which is my JOY, my talent and undoubtedly my dharma, I have been relentlessly promoting. Of course, you may have noticed this ;)
Now entirely free from Anusara (people used to seek me out because of my training and affiliation with them and I rarely promoted anything, certainly not in even a fraction of the way I do now) and hiring private resorts to teach the trainings, there is no corporation, yoga brand or amazing yoga center to draw people to our trainings and so we have had to just slog it out ourselves in the online world. I am not a natural marketer, not even close. One of my previous incarnations as a travel agent made me a helluva sales woman, but I had to give up sales in 2007 because my conscience would no longer allow me to use the tricks I had been using for years.
The plus side of this freedom is that I am my own boss and completely independent. I am free to work with whomever I choose, I have the final say on all major decisions and I do not have to compromise what I teach to suit anyone else's ideals. The negative side is that there is no marketing department or copywriter or SEO person I can call on to get the word out. We do not have support outside of ourselves our friends and our previous grads in promoting the training. Every single person who has shared the details of the training with anyone - I am so grateful to you for this. I mean it. You help us reach people we would not otherwise reach. And for every person who has felt annoyed at being asked to share the poster or videos or website details, I am truly sorry. This is very live issue for us. I have done almost nothing else for months but promote the training in every conceivable online nook and cranny and sometimes I am so utterly sick of it, I feel like dropping the TT's altogether.
Those thoughts scare me because I know in my heart the work we do on the TT's is important. People's lives are changed and enriched by what we do. We have something very special to offer. We are all acutely aware of the potential annoyance in asking anyone to post on facebook, and at the same time, we really need the help. Part of me cringes every time I ask someone to post a link, and at the same time, it's very often how we reach the people who come to the training. The testimonials from graduates tell me to keep on doing these trainings and I know in my heart it's the right thing to do, but there are 100's of trainings in the world now, some of which are big companies with huge budgets for advertising etc. I offer the trainings at 6 weeks for the price of most 4 week trainings, and I give scholarships to people who need financial help. That doesn't leave me with $1000 a month to pay an SEO specialist or buy 1000's of facebook likes (an entirely false economy btw). So WHAT TO DO?? It's a quandry and one that we are actively seeking a solution for. I welcome advice and insight from my peers and the other teachers who have gone along this path before me. I need help with this.
How do we get people, and how do we the right people? I am very protective of the energy of the group and have turned away 3 people this year because I felt their energy would not gel with the training.
I keep going with the promoting because when this training resonates and the right people come, it is a powerful force for good in the world and I know beyond any doubt that I'm doing the right thing.
When I find myself contracted about what someone else is doing, which I do far more often than I like to admit, I track the contraction to see what the trigger is. Inevitably what I come to is the fact that they are teaching and I'm just online promoting and squirreling off down the rabbit hole of links and articles. It feels like I'm living in a computer screen rather than in the world and I hate it. Or they are writing and I haven't been able to make time to do that yet. (A huge recent revelation, gifted to me by noticing my contraction at someone else's offerings - I need to write more!!!) It's worth noting here for myself as much as anyone else, that I know full well each person I contract at is potentially contracting right back at me, or at someone else.
I often wonder to myself how many people are contracting about what I'm doing. Me and my perfect traveller lifestyle flouncing around teaching TT programs without a care in the world. Ha! Sometimes I see on fb groups (and have been trolled several times for precisely this) people criticising those who teach TT's for 'going for the easy money'. That is the single most ignorant comment a person can make about what we do. It might surprise some people that there is nothing easy about creating and project managing and marketing a 6 week international residential teaching seminar with people coming from all over the world each with their own desires, needs and expectations. Each one of them having invested heavily in time and money to come. Nobody can take getting involved in such a thing lightly. And nobody can do it for the money either as you won't even come close to catching a western standard minimum wage the first and maybe second time you do it. After that, yes it brings well earned abundance. But there needs to be a much greater driving force than money behind you to get going with these things.
How I deal with all this is I catch myself. I confess. I track the contractions. I consciously offer up gratitude for being in the extremely fortunate position I'm in and I acknowledge my most first worldly first world problems. I come back into the center of my own circle and I send out the best supportive celebratory energy I can to all those I've internally snarked at. It works incredibly well, actually. Gratitude and offering support to those who are overcoming their own fears to get their unique gift out into the world is balm for my own suffering.
Oof. Ok, that's alot off my chest. I'm happy to have facebook to connect with people. I'm in Bangkok now in my hotel room, avoiding the midday sun, switching realities again. Switching roles from pajama wearing computer addicted dog snuggling mum hugging toast eating tea drinking anxiety coping promoter to super empowered Yoga Teacher Trainer. I will make this transition and I will deliver. I'm about to be joined by 20 other people on a voyage of self discovery, transformation and downright awesomeness. All this promoting is about to become extremely worthwhile. I will not regret a single second of my saucer eyed, jaw clenching, retina melting online promotional summer. I will be reminded again, as I always am that I am a lucky muthaf***er to get to live this life.
Inhale Love, Exhale Gratitude. Rinse. Repeat.