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Another pothole in the Learning Curve avoided.

Whoaaaaaaaa, it’s been a while since I’ve updated this blog. I’ll blame the Universe™ for that one. The Universe™ has been fairly busy in my life, teaching me all about being a yoga teacher.

Some lessons gleaned thus far from the School of Hard Knocks:

1. Time and money are largely interchangeable. No time costs you money; no money means it’s going to cost you time.

2. Always factor in your opportunity costs.

3. Keep your notes – they’ll prove useful in the inquiry.

Ha, ha, just kidding about the last one. That’s Policing 101.

To say things are moving at a breakneck speed would be an understatement. Last week, I got a job offer, tentatively accepted it, tried to renegotiate the contract prior to signing it and had the job offer withdrawn – all in less than 24 hours. My head’s still doing the whirly-gig.

And that’s where things always get messy in my life. Things go bad when I start making decisions without giving myself the chance to reflect on them. What happened is that I got an email from the regional rep of a national gym wanting me (ME!!!) to teach yoga in their club. The ego basked in the glory of it all. They wanted ME!!!

And they wanted ME now. Thursday night they were looking for someone for Monday following… Okay, now in policing I’ve got something figured out – “Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine” – but of course, ME didn’t take that into account.

When the contract arrived the following morning, it was an exercise in sobriety. I thought I was contracting to teach an hour long, beginner level yoga class. Wrong, Bucko! The contract was very one sided. It quickly disabused me of the notion that I was being contracted to do anything. I was being recruited as a “plug & replace” employee – we can change your hours at our whim. We can change your class. ..we reserve the right…we … we…we… You get the drift.

The kicker was they owned the practices I taught for their use forever and a day. They would be free to replicate them, trademark them, and sell them into perpetuity because this contract was about me signing away all my rights. . Uhhhhhhhh, no. And sure as hell no for $30. Thank you very much.

I was about 60% to the side of saying “No” to the whole gig when I had a sit-down with my teacher who added on about another 30 points of why this thing is probably not in my best interests at this stage of my career. I sent the National Gym Corp back a counter offer of a proper beginner yoga class for their clientele and it was soundly rejected within 2 hours.

One less thing to worry about and overall, I’m really glad the decision worked out the way it did because … it was a cosmically bad idea in the first place.

// Warning to my gentle readers: Irrational rant lies ahead.

Proceed with all due caution//

Why? And no, I’m not being an anti-gym snob. Yoga should be able to be taught in a gym as well as a treetop but it has to be yoga. Good grief, Gym Owners Everywhere, don’t come to me and say “I don’t know much about yoga but I’d like you to teach yoga at my facility” and proceed to lay out the conditions, etc etc etc on how I will teach it. If you were hiring me to teach sailing, would you argue with me about which knots we use to fix the sails? No. Would you buck when I said we needed to sail on water and no, the gym parking lot is not a good substitute? No.

Also, when I remind you about the part of “I don’t know much about yoga”– gym owners words, not mine — you might want to have the smarts to listen to the advice proffered instead of arguing with me because I’m telling you what you don’t want to hear. I didn’t offer the advice because I wanted to spend an hour of my life writing you an email. I sent it because what you were proposing was asking for someone – one of your clients – to get hurt.

//Okay, rant over.//

I feel better. Not that any gym owner anywhere is ever going to read that but I was having another Don Quixote moment.

There are lessons here to be gleaned and this would be about the Universe™ providing me with a case study on how not to do anything.

Rule 1: Kate, you need to read your own damned business plan. I spent a month writing that sucker. Nowhere in it did I ever mention working for a gym. It would have been so much simpler for everyone if I had just paid attention to what I had written three months ago. A lot of thought went into that plan – as in a lot more thought than trying to make a snap decision inside 24 hours.

It’s not that I won’t ever be presented with an opportunity that just works for me but if I take the time to look at the opportunity against the business plan, it’s more likely I’ll see where and if it fits into the overall scheme of things.

Rule 2: Factor in the opportunity costs. There’s a hundred and one ways why teaching at this gym would have been bad for me from a business perspective. I would have spent a lot of time and energy building up the gym’s brand while neglecting my own. I’m trying to establish myself as a yoga teacher and this project would have taken away from it. We all know a hour class is going to take several hours to prep, prepare and work with students.

Like everyone else, I have a time budget. I have only 24 hours a day to do all the things I need to do – including yoga. The hours I would have spent putting the gym practices together would be better spent working on my own business, even if those hours are “just” spent filing, getting my books caught up, doing the photocopying for my next class, answering emails.

So that’s where we are…one week away from the start of classes. It’s just a little reminder to myself that I need to get my butt out of park and into first gear.

Thanks for reading and Namaste,



About Kate MacKay

I'm a certified Viniyoga teacher, in Fredericton, NB. I was a 9-1-1 operator and emergency services dispatcher for 22 years. Surprisingly, the two worked well together, or as I liked to put it, from the sublime to the ridiculous -- all in a day's work. I'm currently off work as a result of a stress-induced cardiac condition that's thrown a few crimps in my lifestyle. I'm not actively teaching yoga in the classroom right now and probably won't for several more months. That said, this blog is one of the forms of practice I can do and I thank you for joining me in this exploration of all things yoga.

One response »

  1. Oh, Kate! you are so good at clearly processing experience quickly – and so right that our experiences are oddly paralleling one another, as if we are sisters seperated from birth! Except I didn’t avoid my knock, but witnessed myself as it was happening, with a degree of clarity that surprised me. In any event, good show for being so engaged, so prepared and thank you for sharing this experience, rant and all! Christine


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