Way East of Flat Rock Road
19th June 2012
I think it only fair to warn you at the start of this letter, that I’m feeling very deep and emotional as I write.
I’m usually very measured, very neutral and very calm as I write. But right now I feel I have to write, there are some things I have to ‘get off my chest’. I’m not sure how this will work out and I’m not even certain of where I’m going with this, or even if once I’ve finished writing this on my trusty iA4pad whether I’ll even post it.
So I’ll write and we’ll see where it ends up.
It all started last year with my 40th birthday. I know it’s a cliche, but when I hit 40 something really did shift inside me. Time became more precious, I had a desire to leave some kind of legacy behind me and an overpowering compulsion to stop messing around and get serious at providing a better standing of living for Clarabella and Ollie gripped me
Last Friday it was my 41st birthday and whilst out on Louis early morning walk I realised a whole year has passed and I haven’t done a very good job of achieving these aims .
Then at 08:10, back at home, I got a call from my sister. I knew something was very wrong when she didn’t start the conversation by wishing me a happy birthday. Instead she told me that dad had been rushed to hospital with a suspected stroke and to get my arse there as quickly as possible.
I don’t really remember the 45 minute drive through rush hour traffic to the hospital. My stinking thinking kept wanting to imagine the worse. But luckily, years of Qigong practice allowed me to take a calmer “We’ll see…” approach.
I do remember feeling quite shocked at seeing my dad in the Accident and Emergency section of the hospital. Lying there on a bed, bare chested, still in his pyjama’s, with his slippers on his feet. All wired up to the quietly ‘pinging’ vital stats machine on his left. Over head the cold neon strip lights bleached the remaining colour from his skin.
As I stood their, Superman, my dad, the guy who can do anything. That image, decades old, was cruelly crushed and replaced with the image of a small, scared old man in hospital.
You get the picture I’m sure. And what I’m writing will be all too familiar for many of you I’m certain. When super hero parents are revealed to be ordinary mortals – well, I found that truth hard to handle.
In fact all I managed to say was:
“Hell of a birthday present pa!”
Long story short, my dad is home now. He’s got a mountain of meds to take each day and has been banned from driving for 3 months. Which should prove interesting.
All in all, he’s had a very lucky escape or ‘warning shots across the bow’ as we like to refer to it. But it’s left me with an itch that I haven’t been able to scratch.
I received a surprise phone call last night that helped to bring some unexpected clarity.
A treasured client of mine called to discuss difficulties he was experiencing with his Qigong practice and some health challenges he is currently facing.
Now let me tell you this. It is really difficult to get hold of me on the phone. It’s not a deliberate thing I’ve set up. It’s more to do with the two years I spent working in a call centre for UPS in Nottingham, taking abuse from angry customers whose packages we had lost, for seven hours a day has kinda psychologically scarred me when it comes to the phone.
I really enjoyed our conversation, it was such a pleasure to be talking with a client who valued the information, the guidance I was offering to him.
I enjoyed being of service to this treasured client, knowing that he was going to use the solutions I had provided and that as a result his life will improve. It felt incredibly rewarding.
I think that’s important actually.
I got off the phone call feeling like I’d done something really worthy. It was time well spent. Compare this with how I feel after spending three hours replying to emails…
Well, I’m struggling to find the words to adequately express the gaping chasm of difference between the two activities.
In an attempt to pull the strands of this letter together, I can sum up by saying that I enjoy investing my precious time and energy in clients who have invested their precious time and energy in the Qigong and Non-Qigong skills I teach.
Here’s a funny thing…
About a month ago I wrote a Qigong blog post for the Q15 blog titled:
In 12 Years Of Practising Qigong”
In it I revealed exactly what it said in the title. You see, I had been reflecting back on 12 years of Shaolin Qigong practice and was trying to root out what the most valuable instruction I had ever received was.
And I found it.
I realised that if this one simple instruction was applied, any Qigong practitioner could transform the effectiveness of their Qigong practice almost instantly.
Perhaps more importantly though, if a practitioner was honestly not able to apply this simple instruction to their practice then they could save themselves years, perhaps even decades of potentially wasted time, effort and energy.
Then by investing this saved time, effort and energy into an activity they could apply this vital instruction to, they could get results beyond anything they may have thought possible.
This instruction really is that powerful, but I’m not going to share it.
I never pressed the blue ‘Publish’ button after I wrote it.
Because I’m tired of sharing my pearls with people who don’t value them.
I’ve invested, on average, £2000 a year in my Qigong education. I’ve travelled 100′s of 1000′s of miles to learn Qigong directly. I’ve sacrificed time and money I could have spent on other activities and bright shiny objects, so I could learn more about Qigong.
I don’t tell you this to impress you, but to impress upon you how much I value Qigong.
I now believe that giving my precious, hard won, experience and skills away for free does nothing to benefit anyone.
I have come to believe, from my own direct experience, that something is only worth what you are prepared to invest in it: Financially, emotionally and time paid. We only treasure those things we’ve had to work for. I believe this to be true.
I made reference earlier to how much time I spend replying to emails. Over the years the number of emails I receive each day has grown significantly as I have succeeded in raising the profile of Qigong online.
Let’s say after filtering out the obvious spam and junk emails, I’m left with 20 (an average days volume) that need my attention.
15 of these will be from people who have invested no time or energy in my work. They will be asking a question I’ve answered many times on this Qigong blog. A short amount of time invested in rummaging around this blog would very likely turn up a comprehensive answer to their question, along with a host of other gems. But very few people do this and it’s clear to me that they want me to do all the heavy lifting for them.
Now once upon a time, I was happy to oblige. I love answering questions, even if they are the same ones I’ve answered dozens of times before. But I can no longer afford to do this. I simply cannot invest precious, finite time on this type of activity because it takes time away from more important (to me) projects.
Like what? I hear you say.
Thanks for asking, like teaching face to face for a start. It takes a lot of time and effort to set up, run and maintain a regular class. Just ask any Qigong teacher. And it’s something I’ve neglected for far too long.
2 of the 20 emails I receive will usually be general inquiries or people offering me their services to improve my website etc.
And 1 will be from a precious, treasured client seeking information, advice, clarity and so on for their Shaolin Qigog practice.
These are the emails I love, these are the people I enjoy investing my valuable, finite time with each day. These are the people I want to share my precious pearls of Qigong wisdom with. These are the people I want to help to achieve their Qigong aims and objectives.
But, unfortunately my treasured clients haven’t always received the VIP treatment they deserve because their email gets lost amongst all the other noise and clutter in my ‘bloated, bursting at the seams’ inbox.
This is going to change.
In fact there are going to be quite a number of significant changes around here in the near future (if I ever get my computer back!).
A major change will involve shifting my time away from:
- Tyre kickers
- Freebie seekers
- Sit on the fence scholars
- Time wasters
To giving my full attention to my treasured clients.
Having written the above I am fully prepared for the wave of criticism from the ‘Qigong should be free’ crowd.
Listen, if you believe that you should be able to learn Qigong for free and you can find a good teacher willing to do it, then that’s up to you. But I will no longer be giving away my hard won Qigong pearls of knowledge, wisdom and experience.
Something I’ve noticed since being online is that those who have some: “Skin in the game” make more effort and gain much better results than those who don’t. And it’s those people that I want to work with.
Jay Abraham, one of my new business mentors summed it up nicely when he said:
“You should live for making peoples lives better. You should leave them richer for the time that you spent in their lives.”
This is what I want to commit the rest of my life to achieving. Though I’m currently unclear as to the best vehicle to pursue this aim. But if you are serious about Shaolin Qigong, if you’ve already got some skin in the game, or you’re prepared to invest some then you are most welcome here.
Watch this space…
I’ve some very interesting projects to share with you and I believe the best is yet to come.
Enjoy the rest of your day.
Marcus James Santer