I see myself as a martial arts teacher that hasn’t gone completely into the commercialized version of the industry. Teaching first, making money second. When life changed a year ago, I had to create something new. Part of that change has been to move away from security work and pursue a different management oriented route.This position resulted in me working security positions, originally, and now as a retail operations manager. I’ll admit to the job being interesting but the “if you can’t use it off the mats, you’re training wrong” martial arts perspective has made the learning curve very small.
Since I see martial art as developing problem solving, it only fits that the concepts work in retail also. What needs to get done? What is the simplest way to get it done? Both of these come into play nearly everyday. Add to that something that my Father always said: “Only touch something once”. Meaning, do everything that needs doing, then put it away. When you’ve done everything that you can do in that project, you should put it away. Don’t leave things lying around thinking, “I’ll get back to it”. This was an example from Seidokan Aikido as well. The aiki-taiso (aiki solo movements) have an exercise called “Happo undo,” the eight way exercise, that demonstrates the wide variation in life. When do you really have only one thing happening in your world at a time?
Operations work often has multiple things happening. The best way, I think, to make success happen is to take ownership of the responsibilities. That is everything from the overall plan through to the small details. Building a team that understands this and works toward the same goals is of great importance to the success of a business. If members don’t see the business as part of their legacy, they won’t help the business much. Truthfully, developing ownership starts much before becoming employed.
Ownership is often disguised as chores when you’re young. Making your bed and cleaning your room give you the chance to demonstrate your value. Ownership gives you the opportunity to gain more responsibility and opportunities. Learning this at a young age starts the path to the great success we desire. There are many additional byproducts from taking ownership. Things like discipline, confidence, problem solving skills, and goal setting are increased when you believe that it is your responsibility (you own this) to get things done well and correctly. To continue this analogy, making sure the business looks good to customers is really just a variation of making your bed so your room looks good to customers (parents & family).
In conclusion, I think that young people should look beyond their parent’s requests to see there’s more to why things are asked of them. Well, parents, you may have to help the younglings understand this point as they only hear what you say. In addition, I believe that more businesses should hire young martial artists as they already understand the real reason to work for excellence in what they do.