Terry Fator. You probably never heard of him. I have never met him.
He is not a famous Systema Instructor. In fact, odds are he has never or will ever know what the word Systema is. Nevertheless, one of the best lessons I have learned that has helped me with Systema, came from him.
Terry Fator is a ventriloquist and comedian from Texas. Today, he is a millionaire who won the show “America’s Got Talent” and now headlines at the Mirage, though he certainly did not start off this way.
His story is inspirational and impacted me.
When he was climbing up the ladder, so to speak, Terry took any and every gig he was offered. No show was too small (or too big, but he did not have to worry about this “side” of the coin). One particular day, he was scheduled to do this 90 minute show in a particular theatre. That day, a grand total of one. . . yes. . . ONE . . . . person showed up. He was a boy, age 12.
The boy, seeing that he was the only audience member, politely told Terry that it was fine if he did not wish to perform and was set to leave. A moment of choice.
Terry decided to not only stay, but put on his show as if there were 1001 people. An all out effort. In fact, he (and the boy) later on described it as one of his best performances ever.
As any school owner will tell you, dealing with a school is not the easiest thing in the world. There are so many ups and downs, ebbs and flows. Last year at this time, I was teaching 16 people. Last week, I taught 3.
This past Monday was my “Terry Fator” moment. That morning, 5 emails translated into 5 cancelations. One person showed up. One. . . yes. . a grand total of ONE. She, being a kind-hearted individual, gave me the option of leaving. A moment of choice.
We trained hard and worked as if it was the largest and most important Systema seminar ever. In fact, it was one of the best and most enjoyable classes I have ever experienced.
Over the course of the next 24 hours, 4 people contacted me and want to start taking lessons. One is Russian, so I get a “bonus” here in that I can practice my Russian language. I also received 2 great opportunities to teach seminars in October.
Coincidence? Maybe, but I think not. When you give it your all, good energy is created and like attracts like.
After class on Monday, the lone student thanked me and told me how much she appreciated my time and effort. Little did she know, I was the one who would be the recipient of incredible gifts.
Numbers do not matter. People do.
In fact, everyone matters.