Best Advice I Ever Received
I am a person who gobbles up and collects quips, one-liners, quotes, and verses. I love gems of acuity, profound notions, and clever revelations. Most days, I manage to carefully and thoughtfully capture single tidbits of wisdom on sticky notes, Pinterest boards, screenshots, and notebook margins. The words of my mentors are scrawled across the pages of countless legal pads. I have highlighted, underlined, and bookmarked line after line of insight. It’s how I roll.I go back, too. I pour over those notes, review those stickies, and peruse those Pinterest boards. When I need a pick-me-up, a kick in the pants, or some motivation, I wander through the collection. Amidst the neon highlighting and the scribbles, I find my way. I screw my head back on straight. I rearrange my thoughts and tidy my heart. I appreciate good advice.
So I was thinking…what would I find to be the BEST advice I ever received, specifically related to my business? This proved to be a more difficult question than I initially thought. Could I ever be asked to choose my favorite song? (Impossible.) My favorite child? (Ridiculous.) How could I possibly deem one piece of advice, particularly that I have received and followed relative to being a dance studio owner and teacher, the “best” ever?
I couldn’t. Here are the top TEN that I somehow managed to rank. I hope they make as big an impression on you as they did on me and that they might become valuable gems in your own collection.
10) Your competitor can never be you. You are unique. You look through your own lens of experience, creativity, and knowledge. What YOU bring to the table can only be duplicated. YOU are an archetype. Own it. Rest in it.
9) Your competitor can only be a step behind. If you are being copied, imitated, or plagiarized, note that you are first. You are leading. You are focused on what’s ahead and producing. If your competitor is watching you and trying to replicate YOU, they can only remain behind you.
8) Wait 24 hours to respond. When you receive an emotionally-charged email or phone call, wait. Breathe, consider possible responses, distract yourself with other activities. Give yourself 24 hours to consider solutions and prepare to address the situation calmly.
7) If you strongly feel like you should let an employee go, let them go. Once you establish that someone you hired is not a fit for your business, stop fighting this fact. A square peg will never fit in a round hole. Longevity with the company, age, personal connection…none of that matters if the health of your business is at stake.
6) If a student wants to leave your studio, let them. For everything, there is a season. Every customer has an expiration date, no matter how much you love them or have invested. Gracefully watch the good ones go, and stop trying so hard to please the bad ones. Gracefully let them go, too.
5) Do not make exceptions to your policies. All policies should apply to all students and families. Period. When you make an exception, life gets messy. “Messy” is not peaceful or respectable. Uphold your policies, and protect your peace. And ask yourself, do you want to be liked or respected?
4) You should never feel nervous or anxious walking into your own business. If there is something lurking within the walls of your studio that makes you dread going there, get rid of it. You worked hard to build that business, you sacrifice to maintain it, and you should feel good when you walk into it.
3) Some of the stress you’re carrying is self-imposed. You came up with that project. You set that deadline. You decided to spend that money. Take care not to overload your plate with lofty ideas and outlandish goals. Carefully and deliberately set measurable, attainable goals, plan your work, get help, and stick to reasonable deadlines.2) Things are not happening TO you, they are happening AROUND you. Everything is not personal. You are not a victim. You don’t have bad luck. The world is not against you. Obstacles, roadblocks, and challenges show up in your life every day. Most of them are not even your problem, pose no real threat to you, and require little if anything from you. Ride the wave.
1) Your family is everything. You are everything. Be present for both FIRST and LAST. Amidst the hurry, the busy, the pressure, your kids are growing and changing. Relationships blossom and fizzle. Through the late nights, across the calendar days, over the course of the year, your body needs maintenance. Your spirit requires preservation. If you strip it all away – the studio, the people, the performances, the competitions – YOU and YOUR FAMILY remain. Let you and your family be the first thing and the last thing you touch every day.