In Brief: Yotenhaku (seizing the essence)
A couple of evenings ago, I received a call from a telemarketer selling... something (he didn't make it through his pitch, so what he was hawking will remain a mystery.) The call went something like this:
Telemarketer: (Loads of background noise in the call center) Hello, is the the owner of *utter butchery of the dojo name*?
Me: Er... yes, how may I help you?
T: Yes, I'm just calling to ask some questions, don't worry, this is not a sales call... how long have you been in business and do you have a website?
M: Since 1997, and yes we have a website...
T: So then you've been in business for a while- congratulations on that! And your main product or service is martial arts?
M: (Tentatively)... yes...
T: Are you linked via social media?
M: A bit. What is it exactly that you would like to know?
T: Are you ready to increase the number of customers?
T: (Pause) ...er...I'm asking- are you prepared to handle a major increase in your number of customers?
T: (Uncomfortable pause) ...I'm sorry, what I mean is, don't you want to reach more clients?
M: No, look, you have re-framed the question twice and you've gotten the same answer each time- this is not that kind of set-up. I don't sell anything and there's nothing to buy... I don't wish to be rude, but no, I don't want customers... at all.
T: (Confused, but somewhat relieved that the nightmare call was ending) Alright then, G-d bless you in all things (followed by one of the quickest hang-ups in recorded history.)
It was that phone call, along with a conversation with my instructor and classmate a day earlier,
that helped to crystallize something that I'd felt but had never clearly
articulated until that moment: I don't want customers. I don't want
clients. Heck, I don't even want students. I want people striving to be practitioners my
equal (& better) who understand that they train as part of a continuum, polishing themselves while holding the teachings in trust for future generations as our teachers have for us. As those words leave my keyboard and appear on screen, it seems unlikely that there is a huge batch of market research on that demographic...
Telemarketer-dude, if you're out there and you read this: I'm sorry if I was overly strident during that exchange but seriously, thank you!