In the Facebook group related to the Momentum ’17 challenge I’m doing, someone asked how many people were holding down a job while also trying to build their business, and besides the obvious time challenge, what their biggest challenges were related to that situation. If I haven’t already explained, this challenge is for people working on building their own brand/business, a.k.a. entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship is starting to feel like a cliché to me as so many people reject the normal way of making money (i.e., get a job with an already-established company) and strike out on their own. It’s funny to think that being “self-employed” or an “entrepreneur” used to be a euphemism for “can’t get a job.” Now it’s all the rage! I’m not one to jump on trends (I frequently avoid them on principle), but I do want to be able to eventually support myself with my writing and dancing, and there’s no time like the present to start thinking of the business side of things. And when it’s a free challenge, why not!
It’s definitely not an easy path, trying to build something part-time that I want to support me full-time. I commented in the Facebook group post that sometimes the slow progress feels like no progress, which makes it harder to convince myself to work on stuff instead of just chillin’ in front of the TV when I get home from the day job. My biggest challenges were energy and motivation.
Energy and motivation can be challenges for me in dance too. Of course, when I’m actually dancing, neither is an issue. Like Eliza Doolittle (My Fair Lady), I could dance all night! When I have a lesson, next to nothing could keep me from getting to the studio. But those are the “easy” moments. The reward for maintaining my energy or motivation is immediate – I get to dance! It’s when I don’t have any lessons booked or when, once again, I realize I won’t be able to afford a competition; that’s when energy and motivation become problems.
If I want to succeed in supporting myself as an author/dancer, I can never stop working toward that goal. The problem is my enthusiasm for the work and my laser focus on the ultimate goal wane when I see only minimal results or no results at all from my efforts. Why am I doing this if I’m not getting anywhere? Will I ever get anywhere?
Gee, I’ve only asked myself those same questions about ten thousand times when it comes to my dancing. I’m not performing and I’m not competing, so why am I working so hard? What am I working toward?
One thing I’ve read/heard over and over is that entrepreneurship is definitely not for everyone. It is hard and scary, and it takes a shitload of work. An “overnight success” can take 10 years. Same goes for dancing, ballroom or other. The pros we admire didn’t just wake up one day, walk into a studio, and dance at an expert level. They started as beginners, just like the rest of us. It took them YEARS to get to where they are. Maybe they started earlier, and so they reached that professional level at an earlier age. But they still had to put in the time and effort to get there.
I’m writing this down for me as much as for you. I’ve been a ballroom student for about 4 years now, a blogger for almost 4.5 years, and a published author (meaning one with something actually for sale) for a whopping 8 months. I’ll be honest; I get impatient. I get discouraged at poor sales reports or blog statistics. I get jealous of other dancers who compete or perform every couple months or more. Heck, sometimes I get jealous of dancers who get to take lessons more than once or twice a week! Those negative emotions just end up sapping my energy and motivation to work toward my goals though.
I feel like I’m coming back around to the “I’m on my own journey” mantra. Are you sick of it yet? I think I’m coming around to my “don’t give up” mantra too. Whether I’m working toward author goals, dance goals or entrepreneur goals, I’m happiest when I’m feeling productive and focused on my own path. This Momentum ’17 challenge has been difficult (hence, the “challenge”!), but when I stop focusing on what others are doing that I’m not or how I don’t quite fit in (no other authors/dancers in the group have made themselves known), and just focus on how I can apply what I’m learning to my own goals, light bulbs start turning on in my head and I feel a surge in energy and motivation. I want to remember this, so when my energy and motivation get low again, I can remind myself how to get back to that happy/productive state. Focus on where I’m going.
With only a couple weeks left in 2016, I’m sure I’m not the only one thinking more about goals and the path(s) to get there. The whole point behind Momentum ’17 is to build momentum leading up to 2017 so you can start the year off strong and hit the ground running, so to speak. The inspiring thing is as I work on these daily and weekly challenges that focus on specific aspects related to the business side of my goals, I can also feel a boost in my energy and motivation to work on my writing and dance goals. The wheels in my head are turning! So much so that I’m up way past my bedtime to finish this blog post! I think I better stop here, but I do hope it wasn’t too rambling and made some sense.
Happy dancing everyone!
P.S. – If you haven’t seen it already, I shared a video of Teacher and me dancing my silver waltz routine, choreographed by Teacher himself. Check it out on Instagram or Facebook (links in side bar)!