Don’t Forget Your Handkerchief, Bilbo!

I put out the intention that 2018 was going to be a big year, full of big moves. Apparently, the Universe heard me loud and clear and responded with “why wait?”

First, I hadn’t planned on breaking out the special offer I mentioned last week for at least a month or two. I thought I needed more time to finish everything and then redo it a few times because I have a slight (ok, huge) tendency to overthink and overanalyze. Then I attended the 6-hour brand strategy session for the mastermind I’m in this year and my coach wondered why I was waiting. I didn’t have a good answer, and with that small amount of encouragement to just go for it now, I realized I didn’t need more time. I could bring this offer to my fellow solo practice peeps now. (It hasn’t been sent out yet, by the way, if you want in.)

Next, I met with Teacher to discuss my dancing goals for the year. We planned on 30 minutes before my lesson, but ended up talking through my lesson time too! I was bummed we wouldn’t be dancing, but it was a very productive meeting and gave new meaning to “ambitious.” At the beginning of the month, I wrote to you about my competition goals. I was wondering if I’d be able to make 2018 as “successful” as 2017 with its three competitions. I fantasized that I might do more than three in 2018!

Teacher took my fantasy and raised me a hallucination. Oh, we’re aiming for three competitions. Before the end of May! And by the way, since my closed position is so strong, let’s add Standard to my repertoire.

After May, we made a not-short list of additional possibilities, but the further into the future we went, the more variables came into play and my eyes started crossing from trying to account for them all. So I said let’s start with the first set and see what happens.

Why the sudden push to triple the competitions I attend in one year? Aside from living out my ballroom fantasies, it’s a marketing strategy for both Teacher’s and my brands. Brands need to be visible if they are to get their messages out to the world. I’ve done a decent job making the Girl with the Tree Tattoo visible online, but if I only appear at three competitions (or less) over an entire year, very few people offline are going to recognize or remember who she is or what she stands for.

During our meeting, I initially told Teacher I was thinking about four comps this year – two locals, Nationals and then one toward the end of year. He kindly but bluntly pointed out that doing only two competitions before going to Nationals would make it very difficult for me and it could end up being a repeat of Embassy, because no one would really know who I was. If the judges don’t know who I am, they don’t know what I can do. I’ll have more to prove than the dancers who have been seen at competition after competition.

Visibility and exposure are important for more than just placements. They’re important for the growth of The Girl with the Tree Tattoo brand. I don’t want my brand to be an island. I want to connect with more dancers and other ballroom brands looking to make the world a more positive place to dance in. Competitions are a great place to form those connections.

Of course, entering more competitions will also aid my growth as a dancer. You know how emotional expression is the most challenging aspect of dance for me. It’s going to be a main focus of my dance training this year. Well, more exposure to that high-energy, potentially high-stress competition environment will make it easier to perform full out because it will become more familiar.

Shall we address the 400-pound gorilla in the room? How the heck am I going to pay for all of this??

Entry fees, Teacher’s fee and expenses, travel, hotel, food, dog boarding, makeup, new dresses?…the list of costs just keeps growing. Not to mention the extra lessons I want in order to learn a new style and practice expression with my partner.

Well, if the Universe is pushing me to stop waiting and just act, I’m going to trust it to provide what I need when I need it, as long as I do my part to work my ass off. For now, I’m focused on figuring out how to pay for the first three competitions we discussed. All of them are local, so I won’t need to worry about travel or hotel costs. I think I mentioned last week that it looks like I’ll be getting a good-sized tax refund this year. It will cover most of the expenses, as long as I can submit my return soon.

This all sounds insane, right? I keep thinking about Bilbo running out his door after the party of dwarves without his handkerchief. Am I running after an adventure without being properly prepared? Am I going to be caught without my handkerchief three months from now?

It was hardly ever comfortable, but Bilbo survived his adventure without his “precious” handkerchief (see what I did there?). So I can too. I’m sure I’m a little caught up in the fantasy. How amazing would it be to be able to compete so many times? To do that much dancing? My eyes fill with sparkles just thinking about it. I’m anticipating a crash back down to reality sometime this week, but hey, there’s nothing wrong with dreaming big dreams. Shoot for the moon, and if you miss, you’ll at least still land among the stars.

Maybe I won’t make it all the way across Middle Earth, but that doesn’t mean I can’t set my path in that direction. Who knows what mini adventures I’ll encounter on the way!

In case you still think I’m just delusional, let me say that honestly, I know there’s a 95% chance I won’t meet even half of the goals Teacher and I discussed in our meeting. But there’s a 100% chance if I don’t try.

If nothing else, this year will provide some excellent content for the blog.

LOTR quote


4 thoughts on “Don’t Forget Your Handkerchief, Bilbo!

  1. BL says:

    Good luck with Standard! I swapped to standard from smooth, and for me, it was a great decision! (Sounds like you’re going to do both, but I thought I’d chime in none the less)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The Thespian says:

    Standard is all I study nowadays. I’ve given up everything else to focus on mastering just one style.

    Hopefully it’s not premature, but let me say: welcome to the International world! I’ve found I personally enjoy Standard waaaaaaay more than Smooth, even though Smooth was where I started. Maybe you’ll feel the same way once your feet hit the ground, so to speak.

    If nothing else, you’ll never have to worry about arm styling for the Standard routines. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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