One of a group of well known motivational writers is a man named Napoleon Hill. I have found his books extremely helpful not only for myself but also in my teaching. In our business, as in really any business we are the leaders. We lead our staff, our faculty, our students and their parents. Every leader has to start somewhere and sometimes it is evident from an early age at other times it is something that develops over a period of time. I know for myself that I became a leader at a very young age much to the dismay of some of my friends!! There is nothing wrong with gradually becoming one and it may be that you have to follow some strong individuals in order to be able to absorb the leadership qualities from them. Whichever road you take to become a leader, the minute you open the doors of your studio for business, there you are the LEADER! At times being a leader can be very trying and in my experience there are times when it can also be extremely rewarding. Whichever way it goes for you the most important thing to remember is that you need to nourish your soul in order to be there for everyone and to have the strength to find solutions for every problem that arises on any given day. It can be draining and daunting at times and that is why it is so important to keep motivated and to keep positive people around you working as a team and above all it is important to have a good plan. Some of Napoleon Hill’s requirements for leadership are interesting, I particularly like the following:

One of a group of well known motivational writers is a man named Napoleon Hill. I have found his books extremely helpful not only for myself but also in my teaching. In our business, as in really any business we are the leaders. We lead our staff, our faculty, our students and their parents. Every leader has to start somewhere and sometimes it is evident from an early age at other times it is something that develops over a period of time. I know for myself that I became a leader at a very young age much to the dismay of some of my friends!! There is nothing wrong with gradually becoming one and it may be that you have to follow some strong individuals in order to be able to absorb the leadership qualities from them. Whichever road you take to become a leader, the minute you open the doors of your studio for business, there you are the LEADER! At times being a leader can be very trying and in my experience there are times when it can also be extremely rewarding. Whichever way it goes for you the most important thing to remember is that you need to nourish your soul in order to be there for everyone and to have the strength to find solutions for every problem that arises on any given day. It can be draining and daunting at times and that is why it is so important to keep motivated and to keep positive people around you working as a team and above all it is important to have a good plan. Some of Napoleon Hill’s requirements for leadership are interesting, I particularly like the following:

1)    'Unwavering courage based upon knowledge of self and one’s occupation'

2)    'Self Control'

3)    'A keen sense of justice'

4)    'Definiteness of decision'

5)    'Definiteness of plans'

6)    'The habit of doing more than paid for'

7)    'A pleasing personality'

8)    'Sympathy and understanding'

9)    'Mastery of detail'

10) 'Willingness to assume full responsibility'

11) 'Cooperation'

These eleven factors well describe how many components are needed to be a successful leader and in our business you truly do need all these qualities because in my experience no two days are alike. I would also add that you need to be a good juggler to survive!!                                                             

Sometimes I have thought that I have a terrific plan only to realize that something is just not working. That’s when I know that I have to be willing to revisit the plan and then be flexible enough to change it if necessary. All of my plans require tremendous cooperation from the people around me and it is through trial and error over the past twenty five years that Steve and I have surrounded ourselves with a vibrant and energized team of people who are willing to help us reach not only our dreams but their own dreams too. I have never thought for a moment that I have all the answers, I am positive that I don’t but I have also learned that it is ok not to know everything, how could you? Each individual has their own talent and experience and the important thing is to tap in to and utilize as much input as possible. People who are afraid of making mistakes and accepting defeat or failure are not good to have on your team because you need people who are going to be able to bounce right back with you when something doesn’t go well. What you need to have is persistence and the understanding that if the first or second or third plan doesn’t work the way you wanted it to, you need to have the desire and determination to keep trying until you hit it right. Try to make a plan for every facet of your business, from your front desk to what happens in your studios and with your faculty. It is helpful to have a plan for what happens if there is an emergency such as a flood, a toilet backup or if someone is injured in class and so on. Whatever happens each day in the studio needs to have a plan that the appropriate people know about. This is also extremely important if you do have people working for you as staff and faculty because it is the only way that you will ever feel confident and free enough to go away from your business and perhaps take a few days for yourself. Make an emergency binder with lists of which plumber or electrician to call if something breaks or stops functioning and add all emergency numbers that the front desk might need. I know this sounds pretty basic but it is so helpful for your staff if they just have to open a binder up and look no further. We always leave our designated faculty member to take care of faculty issues if we are not there. She arranges subs if one of the teachers is sick and makes sure that their hours are on the payroll sheet. If you have never been able to leave your studio then it is a good idea to look carefully at your staff or faculty, obviously it needs to be someone you totally trust and start to train them to be a leader under your leadership. Give them a plan to follow so that even if it is something as simple as making sure that you don’t run out of toilet paper, they have a plan to follow.

Taking the time to put plans together will alleviate such a lot of stress in the long run. The old saying, 'If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again' is really the foundation of being successful in business. Surrounding yourself with positive and upbeat people who want to follow your leadership and believe in your goals is most important and being willing to be flexible in your plans is a necessity.