All the entries are in, and after reviewing and scoring based on the 5 categories listed in the instructions, we have our 3 big winners!
I want to congratulate EVERYONE who entered the contest, as this represented a real risk in terms of putting yourself out there, doing the inner work to start to think of yourself as a professional and how you present yourself to your potential clients, and embracing your desire to succeed in an area where you have a heartfelt passion!
Thanks you for taking the plunge and for helping to spread the word about YTGS.
So, you may wonder how I scored the contest entries.
I allocated 10 points for each of the 5 categories and then added up how much each entry scored. The categories (to remind you) were:
1) The feeling conveyed by the photo.
2) The effectiveness of the mini-bio.
3) The way in which your stated demographic and fear you are overcoming come through in what you have submitted.
4) The “appropriate vulnerability” factor in terms of creating an emotional connection.
5) Your enthusiasm in terms of tagging friends and spreading the YTGS message.
This was tough for me, because there were several entries that scored really high with a magnificent photo, or had a beautifully authentic bio that created an emotional connection right away, but then didn’t score very highly in two or three of the other areas.
The contest has actually provided me with a wealth of topics to write about —so expect several new articles and videos coming soon. The first will give you helpful tips for writing the kind of bio that really works to convert casual readers into real-life paying private students! The second will be on the importance of really figuring out who your demographic is and how to speak to them directly and compellingly!
In any event, this contest is part of an ongoing process of learning and growth for us all —part of the YTGS course work. 🙂
Without further ado, it gives me great pleasure to announce the GRAND PRIZE Winner: Blake Shields.
With this unorthodox and deceptively simple photograph, Blake creates an unmistakable vibe. It carries an instinctive and authentic sense of branding that immediately stood out to me. At first I found it intense, maybe even slightly dark, honestly —I wasn’t sure how to feel about it. Then I realized it had an iconic, original feeling about it. This is a real guy, wearing his real clothes, and showing his humility and dedication with no attempt to hide behind a recognizable pop spiritual persona, in fact I feel Blake’s shadow in the image along with his light. That’s a difficult thing to pull off! It’s honest and memorable and a little raw.
But listen, there were other photos I scored higher. Puja and Mira had the most inviting, warm, authentic smiles that I think will make anyone (correctly) get the instant feeling of trustworthiness and compassion. Doreen’s image said, “Welcome to my sanctuary, I am here to support and love you.”
Jodeen evoked the image of a warrior woman, a survivor, unapologetic in her passionate aliveness. Jennifer, Daniel and Sarah jumped right through the screen with their open, kind body language and smiles. Abigail’s image scored highest of all, and it may be one of the most magnificent yoga photos I have ever seen…. The twilight moon, the coastline, the outfit, the pose, the smile —are you kidding me?!
In fact, I am moved to tears as I write this (and completely missing my own deadline) just thinking about all of these images.
But back to our GRAND PRIZE Winner.
In his bio, Blake shares just enough about himself to give us a sense of his journey and how it fits with what he is offering as a private teacher. The mesh between the impression he is making and the demographic he is reaching out to works well. He also scored very high in terms of the self-reflection and honesty in how he looked at the fear he was overcoming. Highly effective teachers have a high level of self-reflection and emotional honesty, this makes them good at holding space for others and also at being relatable, accessible and authentic. Please read it:
Blake Abramovitz creates a safe, friendly and compassionate space in which to learn gentle, consciousness-expanding yoga and meditation. Drawing from diverse traditions, he is passionate about being a resource for those seeking a more meaningful, radiant life. Blake is happy to travel to your home or office, and in a humble, unpretentious way, guide you in building your practice.
Himself an artist in Hollywood for many years, Blake also comes bearing hard-won insights about how to apply spiritual practice to enlivening creative output, and to addressing our insistent human needs in the midst of often difficult industries.
Artists and entrepreneurs who feel the pressure, strain or sorrow of competing in the big city, and are interested in spirituality as a way of nourishing a healing return to the body, the heart.
FEAR I’VE OVERCOME
My fear has been that I am not worthy to count myself as a part of the community of spiritual teachers to whom I turned as a young seeker, and whom I’ve admired so deeply. But slowly I am coming to see, in glimmers and in glimpses, that the work I have done and continue to do is real, and that by virtue of that work I am now qualified to share what I have learned. I am coming to see that my life-long patterns of unrelenting self-criticism and doubt are founded on delusion, and that I deserve to take my place as a humble member of the very circle that has nourished me.”
Lastly, Blake scored very highly on spreading the YTGS word —he tagged 20 people on his entry.
So, BIG congratulations to Blake! Please let me know which two of the three prizes you would like to claim and we’ll get you up and running on the next step toward private yoga teaching success.