The Venn Diagram Life

I often joke that I live within a Venn Diagram.  As studio owners, we can perhaps break our lives into three, round circles – Work, Housekeeping, Family & Leisure.  Of the three areas illustrated in the diagram, I can successfully manage two.  The third one?  Well…that circle goes flat.

I can be in great shape at the studio – day-to-day activities set, goals identified, plans made, money in the bank, employees happy, dancers smiling.  Awesome!  I can also manage to have a clean house, groceries in the fridge, meals planned, and laundry folded.  That feels good.  But then…where are my kids?  What’s my husband doing?  When was the last time I sat out on my deck with wine?

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Other times, I can enjoy that wine, look up at the stars, and feel the fall breeze.  Being outside brings me so much calm.  I can spend time with my daughter, take a trip with my husband, or spend an afternoon throwing the frisbee with my son.  My family is everything to me!  But then…what’s happening at the studio?  How are there so many emails in my inbox?  Did I miss a deadline?

Finding The Balance

I wrestle with finding that balance.  I struggle with dividing my attention and my time between three important areas of my life.  Each area deserves and requires the best of me.  I want my family life, my work life, and my household to function optimally.  I long for dinner around a beautifully set table.  I want my studio to be not only wildly successful but a place of joy and an asset to the community.  I want to come home to a clean house stocked with good food.

Is that all even possible?  Why do I struggle?  Can I just keep the circles round?  Must they converge? How can I find that balance?

I want to share with you what I’m learning.  It’s all a work in progress for sure.  Last season, I had so many experiences personally and professionally, I took quite a bit of time this summer to reflect on how I can come closer to balancing all the things and not losing myself in the midst of it all.  If you find yourself lost in the diagram as well, spread thin between the circles, join me and we will work this plan together.  Let’s strive less for balance and make more of an effort just to keep the circles round.

The Plan

Forget the ideal.  Our best is good enough, Y’all.  It really is. We can not feel as though we fell short because the bed is not made, the crockpot is not bubbling, and we pulled leggings from a laundry basket.  We have not failed because we had someone else pick up our kids while we were at a studio event.  Our career is not over after having missed a meeting to catch a soccer game.  The Venn diagram graphic is colorful and symmetrical and perfect, but our lives are not.  They don’t have to be.  That ideal place in the center where the circles converge is small and elusive.

Extend some grace.  Let’s give ourselves permission to back-burner one area while we give the most of ourselves to the other, and most importantly, let’s give ourselves grace and keep in mind that we can’t be all things to all people in all areas all the time.  We can be kind to ourselves, keep our internal monologue optimistic and hopeful, and allow our lives to unfold naturally.

Stop showing upWe don’t have to orchestrate everything that happens, control everything that happens, or salvage everything that goes wrong.  “No” is powerful and liberating, and we need to say it more.  We do not have to show up to every argument we’re invited to, and we are not responsible for anybody’s happiness.  I don’t know about you, but I am done micromanaging people,  holding their hands, and being the source for all solutions.

Don’t compareComparison really is the thief of joy.  Yep, that fellow IDEA studio is growing and has over 300 students.  Indeed, my best friend keeps a pristinely clean house.  Of course, your sister and brother-in-law are off to the coast for the weekend with no kids.  We’re still just fine.  Our studios are successful, our house is comfortable, and we can listen to reggae and sip drinks on the deck anytime we want.

Round Circles

With all this in mind, I have a new lease on life going into this dance season and a new perspective on Venn diagrams.  This season, I will take is slower, cut myself some slack, and expect less from others.  Two out of three circles ain’t bad, and I’ll keep reminding myself that chasing an ideal in any Venn diagram area is futile as is chasing that center sweet spot.

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I will make the “family” circle my priority and give adequate attention to my household obligations.  I will rely on my fellow IDEA and Gold Alliance studio owners for support with work.  And I will give myself permission to be who I am, trust my abilities, and take time away from any circle as needed.

As I wrap this up, I am reminded that I have never been 47 years old.  I have never had a 20-year-old son, a 14-year-old daughter, or a 23-year-long marriage.  Never have I had a dance studio for 11 seasons.

Have any of us ever been exactly where we are right now?  Have we ever managed exactly what’s in front of us at this moment?  Have we ever juggled the responsibilities we are facing?  None of us have.  We are all navigating life as best we can, with the information we have, through our own lenses of experience, based on our own value systems.

Rather than spending our time working tirelessly to make three circles balance and live within the small space where they converge, let’s take these steps to just keep the circles round.  Round is not only good, it is good enough, and so are we.

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Amanda Herring LOVES her job!  Owner of Center Stage Dance in Hernando, MS, she is passionate about sharing the love of dance while inspiring and encouraging everyone who walks through her door.  She loves BIG and has a heart for new dancers joining a class for the first time.  She takes pride in offering stellar service to dance families and specializes in efficiency, organization, fair policies, and strong communication.  Her shows are HUGE with plenty of lights, effects, and stagecraft.  Amanda wants her students to feel like they are a part of something big, and it is always her goal to bring more to class and to the stage than her audience is expecting.

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