Tonight after work I had a meeting with an academic advisor then had some errands to run and a bit of down time before I had to be at my fencing class.
I spend a lot of time thinking about my Sword class, what I want it to be, how to make it better, what my long term goals are, but something hit me as I was thinking and writing in the down time tonight. I have to decide what my priorities are and go from there.
It was something that was clear. I have to decide what my priorities are before I can have any clarity about anything else. This is not just a sword class thing, this is a life thing. I have to wake up, decide what is important at any given moment, and either give it the priority it deserves or in not doing so, choose something else as the bigger priority.
In life, I have struggled with my weight for years, but the reason I do not take it off and keep it there is that in the moment, I allow eating the wrong things to take the priority over what I say id my big one. The satisfaction of that burger, or candy bar, or soda, takes the priority over how great it feels to eat well and how alive I feel when I exercise. I let the satisfaction and sometimes apathy of watching TV all night "because I deserve the down time" take priority over things that make me feel good long term. So the question becomes what is my priority now, and will I allow the now overwhelm what I feel is the bigger Yes burning inside of me. This is not just a fitness or non-fitness thing, life is full of these decisions.
When it comes to my sword class I realized tonight that to me, my priority is to help my students reach their goals and produce the best quality fencers I can. I would rather 10 students who are dedicated and willing to study and do what is needed to reach them, than 100 students who show up because they have nothing better to do with their afternoon. The challenge is quality has to be defined both by me, and by my students. If my true priority is quality, I have to be willing to let everything go that does not support that to reach those goals, while also looking at their priorities of my students and realizing that we may not see the same things as quality.
Motives play a big role in this. I remember a few years ago one of my fencing students goal for the year was to beat so-in-so in their competitions. Who am I to say that it is not a good goal? I disagree with it, but that does not mean that it is any less real for them. I have to be willing to look at those goals and ask myself, what can I do to help them reach those goals? I must be willing to provide the tools I can, but I cannot make them train everyday out of class, I am responsible for giving them tools, but they have to make use of them if they want to reach the goals they set.
I am a big fan of being clear and that being what brings things into your life that you desire. In my HEMA class, that means being clear about what we are doing, being open to the needs of the students and also knowing that if I want quality students, I must be a quality teacher who is always looking to get better at what I know and how I teach. The moment I quit and say it is good enough is the moment that I accept that as the high mark for my students. You attract what you put out there. If I dropped the gear requirements and allowed boffers in class, we would grow. If I stopped focusing on building the best Swordsmen I can, and just had fin classes all the time we could be huge, but that is not what my priority is. My priority is to have the best students who want to come and learn the best I can give them to be better. If that means I have 10 students, or 100 students, so be it. At the end of the day if I am willing to do anything less, I am not being genuine to myself, and letting myself get away with less then my best.
You have to be willing to look for your best, and let everything else go. To make priorities, and stick with them. In life, though I love sword, it has to come down to this. I have to take care of me then my family, then my work, then my hobbies, and even those get sorted from time to time based on keeping my word and timeliness.
In life it is about priorities. wonder where yours are? look at your life it will give you all the feedback you need. As Voltaire put it, "The enemy of the best is the good." Some days you pick the good enough, but if you want to get where you want to be you need to let that go and pick what will get you there.