As I write this blog, I am sitting at a friend’s home overlooking the Atlantic Ocean from his sprawling property in Nova Scotia on the east coast of Canada. What a view. I am reminded that it was not that long ago I would have been at the studio running camps and getting ready for the new fall season.
My 16-year-old son plays competitive basketball, and he is as passionate about that as I was about dance at his age. Ivowed to be at as many games and tournaments to cheer him on every step of the way. To be the taxi driver and the inspiring coach when he needs it. I only have a couple more years before he is off to post-secondary education. Making sure the studio was running in capable hands was crucial. This requires goal setting and scheduling. A vision board was integral to achieving my goals this year. I must admit I was one of those people who thought vision boards were arts and crafts for dreamers but this year I gave it a try. It wasn’t about throwing a bunch of pretty pictures on a poster board; it was more methodical. Earlier this year I created categories for the areas I wanted to address. Travel, friends and family, health, business, creativity and me time. If you are a Canva user there are templates already done for you. Drop in pictures to represent the areas to address and you are good to go.
I love to travel and explore new places, food and culture. I am in a place in life where I don’t have younger children or aging parents to take care of so travel is easier for me. I realize that I have a window of opportunity to travel when I factor in my own finances, health, physical fitness and age. I am by no means in the best shape of my life, but I am healthy and mobile. Who knows if that will be the same in twenty years so I better travel while I can. This past year my husband and I were in Mexico, just the two of us! I have been to Nashville,Springfield MA, Noblesville IN, Nova Scotia and soon Las Vegas for DLTC! Next year at this time my husband and I will be on an 11-day Mediterranean Cruise for our 30th Anniversary.
Planning time for friends and family is crucial. It doesn’t just happen, at least for me it doesn’t. Seeing longtime friends is so important. The ones that you can laugh with until your sides ache. It is therapy. It took nearly 45 minutes for my friends and I to find a couple of days this summer that we can all get together. Crazy. So, if we do not take the time to be together another year will slip away. These are friends I have known for 40 years, and they are important in my life as I am in theirs. Stay connected to your friends.
Now that my children are older it becomes more challenging to find our “family time”. When they were younger it was easy to book a weekend at a cottage and play all weekend or even a simple movie night at home. My children are 16 and 24 and it is almost impossible to get just our four together. Sometimes I just declare game night! It is not exactly how my 16-year-old wants to spend a Saturday night, but I know it fills our family cup. I am thinking a go karting day will be our family outing soon. Always feels good to smash into your kids in a go kart.Part of my vision board was health. As much as I sometimes hate going to the gym, I know I feel better and function better when I regularly go to the gym and do something. On the days I hate going I might be on the treadmill walking for 20 minutes and call it a day. Other days I am there for 90 minutes doing cardio, weights and stretching. The point is I know it is what I need to function better. The other half of my health vision was what I put in my body. Eating better, preparing food at home etc. We generally eat well and most times I enjoy cooking, but I found we slipped into prepared meals and snack foods yet once again. This is an area that is hard to maintain for us but so far so good.
A big goal for business was to create, maintain and guide our operations team. Communication was an overall theme for us this year at the studio and I knew in order for that to happen, communication had to come from the top down. If our front-line staff didn’t know what was going on at the studio and what future plans we have, they could not maintain communication to our families effectively. It worked great this year although we found certain times tricky to meet when the studio was super busy or during competition season, but everyone was flexible in order for weekly meetings to continue.
For me Creativity is something that has to be released. Now that I am not choreographing and teaching as much, I have a need for those instinctive creative juices to go somewhere. I have rediscovered my enjoyment for watercolor painting. It is like choreography to me in so much as I have to shut everything else out and focus on creating. I can sit at my table for hours just like I did when I used to choreograph for hours. It fills a void for me.
Over the past few years, I have discovered a passion for gardening that I didn't know existed, not to mention a massive learning curve. There is so much to learn. Growing our own food gives such a sense of accomplishment not to mention healthier and more cost effective. It takes planning and scheduling and time. Every morning with my coffee I wander the garden and see how things are growing. I count this as “me time”. Harvest season is starting and with that comes meal planning and preserving all the fruits of my labor.
After I set up my vision board, I put it on my desk so I would see it every day. I did not dwell on it but it entered my thoughts. I found things were falling into place this year like never before. Was it the vision board or just the fact that I became conscious of the goals I had? I honestly don’t know the answer, but it worked. It is increasingly important to me to have a full life with many areas of interest, not just the studio. You have to be as important as the business or else what is the point? Some day you will end your time as a business owner and then what?