Ask Rhee Gold | Focus on the positive

Advice for dance teachers

Q: Dear Rhee,

I am in my seventh season of studio ownership, but the past couple of years have not been easy. The business has grown so much that the studio has moved into larger spaces twice. My faculty is up to 21, with 6 office employees. All that is good, but between expenses, staffing, keeping parents at bay, and raising my own children, I’m at capacity and my anxiety is making the atmosphere at the studio stressful for all.

I go in each day believing I can keep it all under control, but inevitably something happens and my demeanor is no longer pleasant. My dream has turned into a nightmare. Am I going to sabotage my own success? Do I go on, or quit and remove this pressure? —Kelly

A: Dear Kelly,

I get it—I have been there myself. First, pat yourself on the back because you have built a strong business through your teaching ability and passion. I know that, even if you can’t see it through the clouds.

With that said, remember: you have a choice. In our work and our personal lives, all of us can choose to notice only the negatives, and perpetuate an inner dialogue of defeat and self-pity. Or we can notice the positives. That is easier said than done, but if you choose to notice the good stuff happening around you—no matter how small—having a positive focus will become easier over time.

It’s also important to decide what you want. Sometimes bigger isn’t better. Could you be happy with a smaller school with fewer faculty members? Would hiring a business manager reduce some of your pressure? You must take care of yourself to become that upbeat leader you are struggling to be. Have you considered speaking with a counselor—someone with no stake in your decisions—to help you see the answers in your soul?

You can do this. You are already a success, whether you can see it or not. —Rhee