March-April 2013 | On My Mind

Words from the publisher

When was the last time you took a vacation? How about a day off just to rest and refuel? If you’re like many of the dance teachers and school owners I talk to, you’ll say you don’t have the time or the money. If that sounds like you, then maybe it’s time to rethink your priorities.

Most school owners will spend money on a dressmaker to alter recital costumes; that’s certainly an expense that can be justified. You can easily rationalize laying out cash for basic equipment, the newest technological advances, and more faculty. Covering costs for a few kids who still owe payments for their ballet shoes is OK, too. And that visiting choreographer you brought in for the seniors? Sure, her time was expensive, but you felt obligated to make the seniors feel special during their last year at the studio.

Another thing we spend like it’s small change is our time. Texting, emailing, and checking our Facebook pages hourly are important. The many all-day rehearsals to get the kids ready for performances are time well spent. And you had to spend a couple of days at the studio during the holiday break to get caught up after the first four months of the season, right? And that half a day spent on the phone with an irate mom, trying to convince her to keep her daughter in the school—surely that was worthwhile.

But if I suggested that you spend a few days away doing something for yourselves, I’ll bet your immediate reaction would be to feel guilty for even thinking about it. And what would others, especially your clients, think when they found out you spent money and time on yourself? Oh no. They would make nice gifts for someone else, but time for relaxation and replenishment aren’t things you give to yourself.

Dig a little deeper and you’ll probably discover that almost everything you do is part of keeping the business of life under control—and attempting to please those around you. Maybe it’s time to cut back on the number of days of rehearsal, or stop giving out your personal phone number to your students’ parents. Maybe it’s time to stop long enough to fuel your own soul. A few days to tend to yourself might actually allow you to enjoy all the rest of your days a little more.

Yes, you deserve it. You probably have trouble accepting that because saying we deserve something makes most of us feel self-serving. I am not sure if I feel bad about writing those words—you deserve it, I deserve it, we all deserve it—but I think I’ll figure it out on my vacation!