Paid your dues? You might rethink your answer after this

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In a recent conversation, the topic of hard work came up. As the discussion continued I was reminded of how I was when I first opened my first martial arts school. Obsessed doesn’t even come close to describing my focus at the time. For the first 18 months I was all martial arts all the time. If I wasn’t teaching, I was reading something about how to coach better. And If I wasn’t learning a new way to teach, I was working on my own skills. If I wasn’t developing my skills, I worked on doing a local demonstration with a school. If I wasn’t working with the school districts, I was training my staff. I would listen to books on tape in my car everywhere I went to sharpen my sword on topics such as communication, dream building, time management, and marketing. My dinner conversation were easy to predict since I chose those times to postulate ideas from what I heard other, more established, schools were achieving and how I could duplicate it. Linda, my wife at the time, even told me I was talking about my business in my sleep. I was perfectly happy with not knowing who was playing in any sporting event… or movie… or even watch TV for months on end. My favorite thing to do was be around people who wanted this excellence in their business as I did. The energy from the people I surrounded myself with was palpable. The result. I had 400 clients in a town on 30,000 within 2 years. My school was voted the 2nd best martial arts location in the country and I was 22 years old.

If anyone has read Malcolm Gladwell’s book OUTLIERS you may have heard about the famed 10,000 hours to be an expert. I think I put in my 10k in the first 2 years. It’s possible (probably not healthy – let’s be honest), I did the math.

I’ve linked two seemingly different videos at the bottom.

One is Gladwell discussing the Beatles. Awesome. The second is the trailer from the movie FAME. Fame was based on Juilliard in NYC. I remember watching this movie when I was young and what stood out to me is people practicing their craft everywhere. Between classes they’re rehearsing lines to a play or writing. Spontaneous improvised dance could break out at any moment. People would jam with anyone who could catch their beat because they wanted to be the best. And if you don’t know much about the school EVERYONE DOES EVERYTHING.

To me, your box should look like the hallways of Juilliard. Between classes, your staff and instructors-in-training should be jamming together. The reason I say this is because Juilliard produces the best and so do you.

So…. have you paid your dues?

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