Why are we different? This question was brought to us very recently and it sparked a week long conversation between all of us in the office. In Cape Town there are numerous programs , schools, teachers and academies offering extra mural Drama. We are definitely not short of Drama teachers in this beautiful city of ours, yet we have grown exponentially more than most. Why?
We all feel very proud of our school, our program and what we are able to achieve each year as a small business. The truth is however that this question has never really come up as a point of discussion before, which may seem naïve and surprising to people. I believe in focusing on what we’re doing, not what the other guy is doing. You can’t control what someone else is doing, but can you control what you are doing and our job is to make sure that our service is the best it can possibly be. Asking ourselves why we think we are different, implies that there is an us and a them, which is not a feeling I like. It goes against who I am as a person. I have always felt that there is enough room for everyone. Option is good, competition is necessary. It makes you work harder, it makes you better and we welcome it.
There are many reasons why I think we are strong as a business, one of them being, that we don’t see ourselves as a business at all, but a living organism which never stops learning or striving to do better.
We are a school, a community of people who have come together and brought with them their teaching skills, passion and talent to educate and empower children. We take the fact that we work with children very seriously. We weigh up every decision we make, whether it be procedural, our content or administrative and if at any point a decision benefits the school, but not the student, we simply don’t do it. We walk the walk, sometimes even to the financial detriment of our ‘business’. Why, would we do this other business owners might say? Madness! Well, because we truly believe that giving is more important than receiving. That integrity, honesty and the student must come first. If it doesn’t feel good, its not right and we walk away. I can’t do something I don’t believe in.
This school is a labour of love for me. I started it because I wanted to give affordable Drama, while delivering a high standard of education. I wanted to give students the opportunity to do Drama who might not be able to otherwise, because other Drama schools are too expensive. To say I benefited from doing Drama is an understatement, it changed the course of my life and this is what we want to do for others regardless of their socio-economic background. Our agenda is pure.
I think we are different, because people can see we care in our actions and in the work we do. Never underestimate passion, belief and sheer determination to be the best at what you do, there really is no other substitute. Our parents see it in the small things, the details. Its in extra work we do everyday, every year to make what we have even better. You don’t have to be perfect, but you always have to try.
Why are we different – part 1? We put our hearts where are mouths are.