Why Many Instructors Fail in the Outdoors
It should be no surprise to anyone in the outdoor education business, that most outdoor schools fail miserably. Many instructors dream of running outdoor education schools and being successful in the industry, only to end up working menial jobs in an unrelated industry.
The question becomes, why do some really great instructors end up changing industries, while others are wildly successful?
A large part of the answer lies in both human nature, internet chest-beating, as well as general knowledge of the industry.
When an outdoor instructor decides they have enough knowledge to run a school, they generally go out into the world, buy a business licence or corporation and start school. Generally this includes a fancy website, twitter account, Facebook page, and ads on craigslist, kijiji and other websites.
For most businesses what happens next is that customers slowly learn about the products and services and start to make purchases. In the case of an outdoor instructor these purchases are seat-spots in a particular course such as fire making, bushcraft, or survival.
The outdoor education world is a different matter. Unfortunately the outdoor education and bushcraft field is filled with 99% amateurs. To be specific these are not inept people, but rather those who do not make a paid living in the field. These amateurs often have no formal educational background and have learned many of their skills from books, and trial-and-error systems. Many hold no formal certifications in many of the skills they practice. Let alone possess a formal background in teaching and education.
Many of these individuals spend their day combing the internet in an attempt to learn more armchair bushcraft and outdoor knowledge. Perhaps many will also have secret hopes and dreams of running a successful school.
At some point, these amateur bushcrafters will come across a new instructors outdoor school or camp. Sadly this is where the problem begins.
These amateur, unsuccessful bushcraft enthusiasts will be hyper-critical of anyone who is more successful than they are. This including spending their time doing everything possible to discredit those around them. This includes very high end television personalities such as Les Stroud, Bear Grylls, and more. Various online forums are dedicated to discrediting, and making fun of highly successful outdoor personalities and their educational institutions.
Sadly, people take great pride in attacking those around them who are significantly more successful than they are. This kind of behaviour is rooted in one simple, ugly word: Jealousy
Akin to a mental disorder, jealous people will spend many hours doing “research”, digging, and thinking very passionately about the person they wish to see fail. The jealousy quickly advances and becomes a twisted form of hatred. A lot of this is due to the fact that someone they feel unworthy is doing better in life than they are. Jealousy and public hatred is a sign of low moral character.
Enjoying others failure is one of the most prevalent things unsuccessful people do.
One of the traits of successful people in the outdoor recreation industry is that they will reach out to, and assist others who are following in their footsteps. Successful people in the outdoor industry will often offer to mentor new instructors.
Helping others to be successful with almost no personal gain is both the mark of a true Entrepreneur, Business Person, and morally upstanding citizen.
Rather than taking sick pleasure in the failure of others, successful instructors and outdoor personalities will feel genuine angst at someone who is struggling in the industry. They will reach out to them, offer some advice. Everyone who starts in the outdoor education world follows the same path. Many people struggle to fill seats for workshops and seminars, and struggle with jealous, self-righteousness badgering.
Reaching out to other instructors, and schools and either offering help, or requesting help is the sign of a true community. Banding together to make the industry successful as a whole is a definitive mark of success.
The most successful people in the outdoor industry have followed a simple formula for success: Instead of hating and attempting to discredit successful people in the industry, reach out to them and talk with them. Get to know them, and learn the industry.
You will not see successful outdoor educators, personalities, and schools publicly discredit instructors or schools. This is completely inappropriate, childish and unprofessional behaviour. Successful outdoor people will not post photos of other instructors or schools with the word “FRAUD” stamped on their face. This behaviour shows a high level of jealousy.
No truly successful person will associate with someone who takes pleasure in the failure of others.
As you climb the ranks from college graduate to successful outdoor recreation professional, it is important to learn from others who have followed your path, make connections in the industry, and never stop learning. Reach out to those who you feel are more successful than you and learn from them. Never, ever attempt to discredit another instructor or school. There is nothing to be gained from this except exemplifying personal jealousy. This behaviour will also keep successful people from reaching out to you and help you on your journey.