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The biggest roadblocks

· Member Engagement

The biggest roadblock is the interruption in the middle of a one way street.

This is a metaphor for member engagement. I'll use the martial arts industry as my example. When you (the instructor) have a student with a problem in their martial arts training; maybe it's boredom, maybe it's an injury, maybe it's a financial struggle, or maybe it's just time to re-evaluate what they are doing and assess the progress they are making, we often think that the student comes to a fork in the road.

We picture it as a crossroad scenario. They can verge right and continue on the path to earning their black belt, or they can verge left and go off the martial arts quest for good. Very rarely do we see the situation as a one way street... and I'm here to say, it is.

See, from my experience, so often we think we supply the road and the path to the student and the student navigates the road. They may hit a pot hole, or they may encounter a speed bump that slows down the journey, but we have this idea that they are the ones driving the car, and we their teachers, pave the road.

What if we took a step back and realized the student is the one supplying the road. And each of their road lengths and conditions are different. Some will move faster, some will move slower, depending on the posted speed limits for their road. We are only the vehicle. We supply the transportation during that part of their journey. For some, we take them from driving an old jalopy to a luxury vehicle, for others, we are the junk yard clunker they picked up for $500 and jimmy-rigged to run on a prayer and a couple paper clips and chewing gum.

I raise this flag for martial arts school owners to reconsider their role for a moment. You can only provide the vehicle while a student is at your school. Their road and path will determine if they keep it, downsize, upgrade or trade their method of transportation. Their road, and the conditions of that road, is entirely irrelevant to your vehicle. You may have one or two varieties of vehicles for them to choose, but they have to furnish the street's course in which they subject their vehicle.

This is true about member engagement and relationships.

Everyone comes with their own road, we just supply the vehicle.

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