The question of how to balance different aspects of life, such as building a business while working a full-time day job or training and competing as a dancer on the side of a non-dance career, has come up in multiple circles this past week. So I thought I’d throw in my two cents.
Multiple articles, written by myself and guests, have been published on this blog about finding a balance between these things. Now that I’m older and wiser, I think we were all wrong.
Ok, maybe not ALL wrong, but I think we missed the mark in focusing on “balance.” I’m borrowing this idea from one of my coaches, but the problem with balance is it implies an equal distribution of weight or effort between different objects. Whether we’re talking time, energy or money, there is no way for me to equally distribute between my day job, my business, my dancing, my home life, my relationships, etc., etc. Each one needs a different level of effort or attention. And it’s not really about balancing all of these separate things anyway.
These things are just different pieces of my life, but it’s still all my one life. What I need to do is make sure my overall life is aligned with my purpose. I know that sounds a little like highfalutin, new age-y personal development talk, but hear me out. All of those things I listed like the day job and dancing aren’t separate realms that I jump in and out of. They’re all interconnected. Instead of trying to “balance” everything equally, I put my efforts where they’re needed and when they’re needed so I stay on track to achieve what I want to achieve in my life. That’s what I mean when I say I make sure my overall life is aligned with my purpose.
Of course, I’m human, so my life doesn’t stay in alignment all the time. And it’s Life, right, so things rarely go as planned. The key is to adjust as needed. Just like in dance! I keep asking Teacher for help in understanding how I’m supposed to keep my core engaged, my shoulders down, my chest up and 53 other things through the entire dance, while also remaining fluid in my movements. It’s the idea of being firm yet flexible. I don’t just engage my core and hold those muscles in tension. I would be too stiff. There is a continuous release and reengage process that keeps the muscles actively working without freezing them. I have to keep checking in with the different parts of my body to ensure they’re all working together and in the correct positions, i.e. are in alignment for whatever dance step I want to execute.
Same goes for the dance of Life (sorry, that was a little on-the-nose). I keep checking in with myself. Am I moving toward my goals, and staying true to myself and my purpose? Am I positioning myself to execute those next steps? Am I taking care of myself so I don’t burn out? That’s important too. Rest days are important in dance training and in Life.
I didn’t plan on this post turning into a “Life is like dance” post, but I guess that’s where it decided to go. See, nothing goes as planned! But that’s ok. Everything still feels aligned.
My ultimate point is if you have multiple things going on like I do, don’t worry so much about maintaining balance between them. Focus on making sure they’re all doing their part to serve you and the life you want. That may mean sacrificing one thing in favor of another, like me keeping a very strict budget in order to pay for dance lessons and competitions or using my weekends to grow this brand and practice my dancing instead of chilling on the couch and watching Netflix (although sometimes I do both).
That’s my two cents on dance/life/work balance. I don’t think it exists. BUT you can have dance/work/life alignment.
Have a lovely weekend, dancers!
P.S. – Entry forms have been submitted for Embassy Ball! Keep an eye out for a “Countdown to Embassy 2018” post coming at ya next week.