January 2017 | On My Mind

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Words from the publisher

A new year is upon us, the time when we traditionally make resolutions about things we want to change about ourselves—lose a few pounds, read more, budget better, and so on. It’s a great opportunity for studio owners and dance teachers to resolve to change their professional lives for the better too. Here are my suggestions for you to adopt and share.

  • Photo by Mim Adkins

    Photo by Mim Adkins

    Increase your knowledge with new experiences. Once a week, do something new that will help you become a better teacher, school owner, or person. Go out for coffee with another teacher to discuss your experiences and your methods. Take a class that will offer you fresh ideas for your classroom. Attend that chamber of commerce meeting that you are invited to each year. Host a brainstorming get-together with your team to set goals for your school and students. Read a business or self-help book. The possibilities are endless.

  • Appreciate those around you and reach out to those who support you. Each day we can find friends, customers, students, colleagues, employees, and others who deserve thanks for their efforts on our behalf. When we take a moment to show them appreciation, we reinforce their positive contributions to our lives and our businesses, encourage their loyalty and support, and remind ourselves that we are not alone on this journey.
  • Surround yourself with people who will nurture success, and invest time in these relationships. Most of us don’t realize to what extent we are influenced—positively and negatively—by the people or circumstances around us. If being with certain people makes us feel discouraged or drained, we should limit our time with them. We cultivate emotional well-being by selecting friends and colleagues who genuinely want us to succeed and who encourage us, and by encouraging them to succeed in return.
  • Accept that the unexpected is not the end of the world. When something doesn’t go as planned, it’s easy to see only the negatives. But when we see only the negatives, we experience only the negatives. The reality, though, is that we can’t always tell whether something unexpected is good or bad; sometimes we may never know. For example, a friend of mine lost a student to another school. She was embarrassed and tried to cover up the loss because she thought other students might follow. After a couple of weeks, though, the parents of her other students noted that the atmosphere at the school had changed for the better, and these parents became much more supportive of my friend’s goals for their children. Who can say, if that one student had not left the school, whether or not my friend might have lost the whole class?

If all of us do something new every week this year, imagine life a year from now: we will be a lot smarter and our goals will be clearer. If we surround ourselves with people who encourage and support us, and if we express our gratitude, our goals will be easier to achieve and our schools will be more likely to be filled with happy, dedicated employees, students, and families. If we accept that change isn’t inherently good or bad, and that what seems bad might be a blessing in disguise—and that we can’t always know—then we will be more likely to look toward future success rather than reliving events we cannot change. If we follow these resolutions, we’ll have made 2017 our best dance year yet, and we’ll be ready to make 2018 even better.

Happy New Year!