Monday, March 24, 2014

Being proactive

One comment I used to get all the time in my earlier taiko days was that I wasn’t being peripheral or proactive enough.  I would let things happen around me rather than see what needed to be done and then do it.  Examples of this were cleaning up after an event or helping put stuff away.

In the dojo, there’s a dry mop and we expect someone to wipe the floor before practice when there’s time.  Doesn’t matter who does it, it just needs to happen.  Unfortunately, there’s only about 4-5 people who think to do it, out of a class of…40-45 or so.  Even if you take out the beginners who don’t always care so much, that’s still a good pool of 10-15 intermediate students.  So maybe one-third think to sweep.

What about you?  What tasks are done by others in your group, whatever group(s) you’re in, that you let happen?  Are you aware of the things that you could help out with?  Do you feel like other people will take care of them and it’s not your responsibility?  What if everyone else in the group felt the same way?

This is one of the reasons I eschew being too social in taiko, because I can see how it can be a distraction. People that wind up chatting a lot often have others doing things nearby (or even around) them.  It can lead to resentment if it happens too much.

For the dojo, while we’d like more people to be proactive in the sweeping (at least), we do have one incentive system in place.  If one of the black belts starts sweeping and isn’t replaced (or asked to be replaced) by a lower rank before the end, the whole class gets to do pushups.  By the time you hit black belt, you’ve swept the floors hundreds of times, so you shouldn’t have to - that’s our mindset. And it does make people much more aware that the floors should be swept!  But that’s probably not going to fly in most taiko groups, ha!

So ask yourself before, during, and after practices – what gets done all the time that you can help out with?  Cleaning, setting up, putting away, maybe something else?  If it’s always done but you’re never one to do it…why not?

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