As I connect with more dance studio owners, I find myself thinking about the metaphorical "cup" we carry with us – our Cup of Joy, let's call it. It seems that many studio owners overlook the importance of filling this cup. The busy life of managing our studios and dealing with the associated tasks can lead us to a point where, at the end of our studio journey, we may have lost sight of the joy beyond the studio walls.
Certainly, we all discover joy within the studio – whether it's the happiness reflected in a student's smiling face, a mother expressing the significance of the studio in her child's life, the triumph of a successful recital, and countless other moments. We build relationships with our students and frequently with their families as well.
The all-encompassing nature of studio life became truly apparent to me in 2020. I had always been immersed in the daily grind – working tirelessly, handling calls and emails, managing marketing and recitals, much like everyone else. When survival mode kicked in during 2020, the non-stop work became even more intense. Personally, and perhaps for many of you too, it nearly took me to the edge. However, it provided me with valuable perspective.
What I had perceived as a fairly, well-balanced life – divided among the studio, social time, home, and travel – turned out to be less balanced than I thought. Having numerous friends at the studio didn't necessarily translate to a social life with people who didn't speak “dance”. Most of my travels were studio-related, and the books I read focused on time management, leadership, or management skills, rather than simply reading for the joy of it. Even my home time was predominantly work time since I handle all my admin work from home. And yes, responding to texts or emails while sitting on the couch watching TV still qualifies as work. Does this sound familiar to you?
I made a conscious decision to ensure that the studio would never again consume 100% of my life. Recognizing that we have only one shot at life, I want to fill it with more than just studio-related commitments. While the studio will undoubtedly remain a significant part of my life, I want to explore and experience more. To add more to my "Cup of Joy."
For me, the "Cup of Joy" comes in two forms: a daily cup and a weekly cup. There are days when both may not be completely filled, but at least one always receives attention. Then there's the big cup – a super grande venti trenta extravaganza! This cup is reserved for big joys, like a significant trip or a major life milestone. It represents the larger, more profound moments that contribute to a fulfilling life beyond the confines of the studio.
I write this with the intention that you take a moment to envision your life beyond the studio, even if your plan is to continue owning it for many years to come. Take a few minutes, yes right now, to answer the questions below.
- How long do you “plan” to own your studio? This could absolutely change but write an answer anyway.
- Do you have a plan to get there?
- What family and friends do you see in your life?
- What adventures or trips would you like to go on?
- What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
- What fills your “cup of joy”?
Consider these responses as your affirmations and your vision. Take the time to print out the questions and answers, placing them where you can see them daily. Alternatively, create a vision board on Canva to visualize your aspirations. I personally followed this approach, and I can attest that about 90% of my goals came to fruition. It's not a magical process; it serves as a constant reminder to put in the work to achieve objectives beyond the studio. In fact, it’s time for me to do another vision board.
Life is vast, beautiful, and brimming with awesomeness, but it can slip away if we don't actively absorb it. So, take a moment now. Fill your cup today with something that brings you joy—something individual and personal to you. Embrace the richness of life beyond the studio and savor its diverse wonders.