What is Your Why?

When prospective teachers come to their very first pilates teacher training weekend, I always like to ask them “why do you want to teach?”. It may seem like an innocent question, but the answer can be quite revealing, and can also help future teachers clarify their career direction. 

Some people are just curious about the Pilates method, and want to understand it better. They are most likely avid students already, with either a solid mat practice and/or apparatus practice. They want to figure out the inner workings of this movement method that is such a big part of their life. They may or may not intend to ever teach. And that’s okay. 

Some are motivated by a dynamic teacher, someone they want to emulate. They see this person as a role model and they want to do for others what this teacher does for them. They want to encourage, inspire and empower students and share their love of the Pilates method. And that’s okay, too. 

Others are at a crossroads in their life. Either between jobs, looking for a different career, or even looking ahead for something they can do in retirement. Some may be leaving relationships, or moving to another city. They see teaching pilates as a way to initiate change in their lives. And that’s also okay.

What they all have in common is a reason why. As an already-established teacher, can you identify your “why”? And recognize that from that very first teacher training weekend that it may have changed? 

It’s important to be able to answer this question, and it might take a little soul-searching. Has your teaching become “just a job”? Is it now simply a paycheck? Do you feel like you need a different direction? Do you feel stagnant in your teaching? It might be time to evaluate your “why”.

A team-building workshop I attended recently had us explain to a complete stranger why we were doing what we were doing. We were told to use three steps: (1) before xxx, I was _____. (2) I found xxx through ____. (3) now that I do xxx, I can _____. Be succinct, be direct, be positive. It helped me clarify why I chose the work that I chose. And it helped remind me of the importance of knowing my “why”. 

Whatever your reason, know what it is! Every successful person will tell you to make goals and write them down. I would add this “why” to your list of goals. It will help keep you focused, give you a clear career path, and help keep your teaching joyful, motivational, and rewarding. 

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