The sharp decline in registrations for mindfulness teaching and MBP-instructor training.
And while people all around the world are struggling with mental health, many of them are still unaware of how mindfulness might be able to help them…
…so they are not registering for mindfulness classes, programs, and trainings.
This lack of registrations and sign-ups leaves many mindfulness teachers unable to make enough money to support themselves. As a result, many mindfulness teachers feel forced to leave the field or exhaust themselves trying to make it work…and then burn out (even while perhaps teaching ways to prevent burnout).
But mindfulness has such an immense power to change the wellbeing of humanity and our planet.
That’s why we must address this crisis by seeing the opportunity it holds. The opportunity to embody the attitudes of mindfulness so that we can use our inner resources (and our human connection to others) to help more people!
The challenges that mindfulness teachers are facing
Those of us who have experienced the benefits of mindfulness in our lives would love to see nothing more than other people benefiting from it too. Yet if you’re a mindfulness teacher, coach, or anyone offering mindfulness-based services for a living, you may have experienced the frustrations of:
- Not getting enough sign-ups, registrations, and bookings for your programs
- Not being able to make a good income teaching mindfulness
- Feeling exhausted or burned out by trying to promote your offerings
After years of working with mindfulness teachers on their business and marketing to help them reach more people and get more sign-ups, I see both those who are able to thrive and impact many lives with their work AND those who are struggling to make ends meet.
I’ve worked with mindfulness teachers who have stuck with it and are now teaching mindfulness to thousands or hundreds of thousands of people online or during retreats. Yet I’ve also recently talked to several mindfulness teachers who have had to set their mindfulness teaching aside to take on another full-time job.
I’ve even had a mindfulness teacher mention to me that she felt very disappointed that the university where she got her mindfulness certification did not teach her how to actually make a living teaching mindfulness…because she invested thousands of dollars into her mindfulness certifications and is struggling to make any money from it years later. (And thus having to do other work even though her heart just wants to teach mindfulness…can you relate?)
Yet luckily, dealing with these challenges can be traced down to something mindfulness can help us with: cultivating the wisdom to notice what’s present and then choosing how to respond…with intention, presence, and love.
So why is this crisis happening?
There are several reasons why it’s hard for mindfulness teachers to fill programs and classes. The first two relate to the current market while the last one relates to the profession…and it’s also the one that I believe the mindfulness field might consider addressing now to reverse this crisis.
- Shorter attention spans and hundreds of options
As mindfulness becomes more widespread, there are many different solutions to help people learn it. With attention spans shorter than ever, it’s hard to get people to go to a 1 hour workshop…even if it’s free. Let alone a free drop-in 20-minute meditation session.
Many people look for a quick fix for their stress because they are simply not aware of the importance of maintaining a consistent practice to gain lasting true benefits that can change their life.
2. Lack of understanding of the true benefits
One of the reasons that less people are signing up for mindfulness programs is because they aren’t making the connection between mindfulness and how it’s going to help them solve what they perceive to be a “real-life problem” that they’re facing now.
They haven’t been given enough resources to understand what mindfulness is and what it means for them. That’s why it’s up to us to keep communicating the benefits of mindfulness and how it applies across so many facets of our modern daily lives, especially when we can back these up with science.
But here’s the BIGGEST one…
3. Lack of business and marketing literacy amongst mindfulness teachers
While there are many wonderful mindfulness teacher training programs out there, here’s the big challenge with most of them: they don’t offer support for newly graduated mindfulness teachers to use their mindfulness skills to earn a great living doing what they love.
- They don’t offer business planning or consulting for mindfulness teachers.
- They don’t offer marketing training or coaching for mindfulness teachers..
- They don’t offer a mindful approach to addressing the challenges of entrepreneurship.
Mindfulness teachers then end up spending months, years, and thousands of dollars trying to learn marketing tactics from people who don’t even understand what mindfulness is!
They spend their precious time trying to reach people with their work without ever having a solid foundation to build their business on. They get exhausted, discouraged, and often leave the mindfulness teaching world altogether.
So what’s the solution for the mindfulness teaching field?
Invest into business and marketing training for mindfulness teachers
I know, I get it…
Business…Sales…Marketing…Money…AI….some of these might feel “icky.”
I was there too until I got to work with so many wonderful heart-centered business owners who were making a truly meaningful impact on people’s lives – and the planet- by sharing their offerings with the world through their business.
We’ve got to work on the stigma around business, marketing, sales, money, AI or any other tools that CAN be used for good when they’re being used by loving and conscious individuals like you and I. (Because you probably wouldn’t be reading this if you weren’t!)
It’s up to us to redefine how business, marketing, sales, money, and AI are used. It’s up to us to bring humanity and presence into using these tools for good.
It’s up to us to BE the leaders who create a world where each of these tools is used consciously and with love to change the world for the better.
Why mindfulness teaching programs need to offer business & marketing support
A lot of the current crisis that mindfulness teachers face could be prevented if mindfulness teaching programs were willing to invest into mindful business and marketing training for mindfulness teachers.
Or if these teaching programs at least offered their students several options to choose from after graduation and encouraged them to learn business and marketing skills (if they don’t already have them).
Because these skills are necessary for mindfulness teachers to be able to market their work effectively, to communicate their message fearlessly and mindfully, and to get clients and students so they can earn a living without burning out.
Ultimately, this is what’s needed for the entire mindfulness profession to thrive instead of fading into the background.
Just like psychiatrists, psychologists, and other mental health professionals have a business practice, it’s time for mindfulness teachers to do the same. To work on their business practice alongside their mindfulness practice…and realize that the two don’t have to be mutually exclusive! Because every task can be done with presence. With intention. With love.
Yes, it might take training to get used to marketing and business. So does training our minds to pay attention and be present. But trust me…it’s possible to actually enjoy the process and make it fun and creative while serving people in the highest way possible!
Merging the worlds of mindfulness and conscious business
It’s time to take the stigma out of business and marketing and to see them as the beautiful opportunities they are to practice and embody the foundational attitudes of mindfulness. To work with any of the inner “stuff” that comes up when we own our role as conscious leaders co-creating a better world.
If you want to teach mindfulness full-time for a living, you will have to get your own clients, students, and customers. (Unless you’re teaching for another organization…but even then you might need to do your own marketing to attract students!)
You are a business owner or an entrepreneur. You might not call yourself that – but you’re offering a service in exchange for money and that’s a beautiful way to serve in this modern world. You just need the right training to get your service out there in a way that’s wholesome, loving, and fun (not exhausting, draining, or inauthentic!).
There are already a few great resources that allow you to learn business and marketing in a mindful, compassionate, and humane way but there is ALWAYS room for more. I will list some resources in the comments section below.
[If you’re a mindfulness teaching program decision-maker reading this and want to bring custom marketing training or workshops to graduates of your program, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me about mindful marketing workshops and trainings for your mindfulness teachers.]
Other ways to address this crisis
- Have more mindfulness teachers collaborate to serve similar/complementary markets
- Encouraging mindfulness teachers to be creative in coming up with new ways to apply mindfulness to more specific problems and challenges that people are facing in these times & creating offers based on solving those challenges through mindful approaches
- Continue pursuing the acceptance of mindfulness as a solution to mental health problems that would be covered by insurance
- Partnering with more mental health organizations and professionals to help bring mindfulness into the work they’re doing so we can prevent the rise of further mental health challenges
- [Insert your ideas into the comments field and I’ll add them here…]
Use this opportunity to lean on your practice and change lives (including yours)
As a community of conscious, loving beings who want to help the world, how will we choose to respond in this moment of crisis? Will we turn it into an opportunity?
This work is not easy. Learning new skills that might not come naturally is hard. Overcoming inner tension and resistance is hard.
But we didn’t come here to only do what’s easy, did we?
We are here to be present with what is. To keep building our resilience, courage, and trust as we tackle the challenges of being a business owner, an entrepreneur, a change-maker.
So let’s rise up together, dear mindfulness community. The world needs us. More than ever.
Let’s do this together.
If you’re a mindfulness teacher or a mindfulness professional and want to join the dialogue with Jon Kabat-Zinn on April 4th, here’s the link to register.
I’d love to hear your insights, thoughts, takeaways, and other ideas for solving these challenges in the mindfulness field. Please share them below and share this article with your other mindfulness teachers so their voice can be heard too!