In the words of my favorite author J.K. Rowling, “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.”
Have truer words ever been spoken?
Beyond creating the masterful, awe-inspiring world of Harry Potter of which I have been so incredibly enamored for over a decade, good ole Joanne Rowling inspires millions with her words every single day. You want to talk about dreaming big? THAT’S my ultimate goal in life. If I could positively impact another person’s life (even one across the globe) every.single.day. for the rest of my time here, whew I can’t imagine anything sweeter! So, I guess that means I should start running my mouth more on this blog if I’m going to attempt to keep up with the great Ms. Rowling. Here goes nothin’!
(Insert “like she needed more excuses” from those closest to me.)
Back to the FAILING part… As I’m getting ready for a holiday weekend (Monday is Labor Day here in the States), I find myself struggling to wrap my brain around truly relaxing. As we covered several weeks ago, I’m an ardent list-maker. So, one can imagine that I have approximately 75 lists currently: the 20 notes on my phone, our company’s Asana productivity app, my online calendar, my written calendar, my to-do style email inbox, my dry-erase board and of course my handwritten to-do notebook. I have work lists. I have home lists. I have shopping lists. I have to-do lists. I have spiritual lists. I have financial lists. I have to-read lists. I even have future to-do lists. You get the picture.
What’s the worst side effect in all this?
Sometimes, it’s impossible to convince myself to simply sit and be bored.
My husband and I talk about it allll the time, especially leading up to long weekends with no trip on the agenda. They say opposites attract and boy did we blow that one out of the water. (Amiright, babe?)
Why do I feel like I’m FAILING when I sit still? Why has our culture brain-washed me into thinking productivity is king? How has our technology-driven world so aptly persuaded me to feel “less than” when I slow down? It’s so frustrating!
Here’s what I know that I don’t know: the answer to those questions. I’m not a psychologist, sociologist, or any other cool “ist.” I am, however, a realist. That means I analyze situations, accept them for what they are, make my decision, implement it as quickly and effectively as possible, and move on.
What does the realist in me say in regards to my feelings of failure when it’s an appropriate time to rest?
GRAB A GLASS OF WINE, SIT YOUR BUTT DOWN, AND GET OVER IT.
I’m sure my husband will hear me complain at least 33 times this weekend that I’m bored, that we need to get out of the house, and that I feel gross. You know what? THAT’S FINE. Go ahead, self. I give you permission to “fail” this weekend. I give you permission to rest. I give you permission to be bored. I give you permission to tackle 3% of those gosh-darn lists and then abandon them! I give you permission to wake up on Tuesday feeling like you didn’t accomplish anything for 3 glorious days, other than sustaining life, re-filling your glass, feeding your dogs, turning the page in your book, cheering on your college football team (GO DAWGS!), and laughing with your friends the whole time.
I guess that’s how I need to start looking at my weekends huh, Jo? The weekend of “failure.” I am not going to let caution and productivity steal these sweet moments of joy from me. After-all, failing is proof of a life well-lived.
Happy Labor Day, y’all!
It’s list-making, boo.
This is the part where my closest friends, family members, husband and co-workers all roll their eyes. What an anti-climatic blog post this turned out to be for you! #snoozefest #letdown
I’ll be the first to admit that I absolutely do NOT have it 100% together all the time. I am a Type-A list-maker though. Yes, I enjoy the satisfaction of striking a bold mark (with of course one of my favorite PaperMate Flair pens orrrr Zig Writers if I’m feeling froggy) through my to-do items. However, I’ll let you in on the cold, hard truth.
If I don’t write it down, there’s a 90% chance it’s going to be forgotten.
I love knowing all about the different work styles out there, understanding various methods of remembering tasks, and how brains file away information uniquely. Part of this is my odd fascination with my own shortcomings and successful moments when it comes to my work-life and productivity in general.
All of this to say, when my schedule gets a little crazy, I step in to hyper-list-making-mode. It’s a scientific term. That I made up myself. So it’s not scientific at all actually. Ok, fine. I made it up.
When I’m drowning in one of these paralyzing ruts personally and/or professionally, I find that it is extremely difficult for me to move forward into a productive mode without initially creating a list. I then analyze, prioritize, and strategize. I view it as an ATTACK. That process makes it possible for me to function AT ALL when I’m stressed out. Otherwise, my eyes are darting in 75 directions, my life feels out-of-control, and my mind teeters on the verge of “Forced Shut Down.” (We all fear the wheel of death…)
My best advice to you during this hectic time at the beginning of a new school year is to WRITE IT DOWN. My family loves recounting this mantra that Mrs. Welch, my high school AP US History Teacher and Cheer Coach, repeated over and over. My twin sisters who were almost a decade ahead of me in school (sorry for aging you Court and Whit!) first heard this advice from Mrs. Welch when they had her back in the day, and her message hadn’t changed a bit when I came through as well. *Insert my deepest desire for you to be able to hear the theatrical way she relayed this and quite frankly ALL of her famous phrases. Trust me, you’re missing out.*
Why did she repeat this saying over and over and over in class? Well… First of all, history repeats itself. If we didn’t have records of what happened in the past, we’d keep making the same mistakes again. But, she also applied it to a written code of laws. Those are important for several reasons. Number one being that they create a shared reference. Number two is that if you can read the law (or if someone reads it to you), you can ultimately follow the law. Thanks, Mrs. Welch. I hope I’m still making you proud at 30 years old! 😉
Thoughts are fabulous. Ideas are even better. If we didn’t have creative brains that fantasize and eventually produce, we would have a bunch of problems with no solutions. However, if those abstract schemes do not make it to paper, it is extremely difficult to reign them in, analyze all possible outcomes, work through the potential obstacles, and finally execute them beautifully. Bottom line, it is important to have “brain-dumps” from time to time. Get it out. Look at it. Decide what is most important. Find your answers and then drag them home.
This may not be great advice for brains that operate differently than mine, and if that happens to be the case for you congrats for making it this far into the post. You’re now dismissed.
For those of you who KNOW this works for you or you’ve never committed to trying it wholeheartedly, I encourage you to give yourself 10 minutes at the beginning of every day this week to spill out all those to-do items. Plop down a list of the emails that need to be sent, dance moms who need to be dealt with (bless your dear soul sweet friend), facility repairs that need to be made, lesson plans waiting for your attention, music to be cut, paperwork to be completed, etc. Buy yourself one of those fancy sets of pens that I drool over (links included above) and most importantly, select ONE notebook for this activity. Here’s one with a cute, durable hardboard cover that I like!
You’ll thank me later when you see your co-worker struggling to locate that one list in the pit of her bottomless purse. My dad calls that “no man’s land.” 🤣 Was it on the back of that empty envelope, or in the corner of that crumpled up receipt?
We’ll neeeeever know!!!!
When I’m on the go, teaching class, or in a meeting away from my handy-dandy old-school 1995 notebook, I like to send myself emails. I sort my emails by “unread” on both my phone and my desktop. Those are the only ones at the tip top. That way, anything that still requires my attention later, whether someone else sent it to me or I sent it to myself, it will get done. I don’t allow an email to be marked as read until I know that I’ve handled every action that it required of me.
My unread emails are incredibly low compared to others that I’ve seen. (You know, those inboxes that come daringly close to sending me into cardiac arrest.) I always click the box to the left of my unopened emails and delete them in batches every time junk mail comes through. You. Gotta. Go. That’s the only way I know what’s truly needed of me!
I hope these ramblings help you sort through the mountain of thoughts fighting for your time and attention this week!
Well, team. It’s been real. And your suspicions of my insanity are probably pretty close to being confirmed. Until next time, when I can push that opinion on over the edge into “100% confirmed crazy…” See ya here next week!
(P.S. I’m leaving this little trip down memory lane here for you as A– proof that I did in fact cheer and B– as documentation that I’ve always been the tall chick in the back. I wish I had a picture on my computer with Mrs. Welch to share with you. She’s one of a kind! I assure you, she was most likely the one taking this photo. Raney, Laine and Kristen, I miss these times, ladies. We made it count!) 😉
Y’all, it’s that time of year!
Remember being a kid and feeling all of the excitement that came with a new school and dance season? As a teacher, I still feel some of that today. The new possibilities, ability to start fresh, and anticipation of what’s to come is thrilling!
I’ve whipped together a few of my favorite back-to-school teaching tips for you. It’s important to remember that this is the first time in a dance class for some children, while for others it’s their first experience in an organized activity of any kind. Take this into consideration as you structure your class. A great mindset for this time of year is one of patience and grace for the little ones.
1. Start class in a circle
Circles make everyone feel safe and included, so they are a great way to begin the class ensuring that everyone is comfortable and happy.
2. Spend a little extra time calling roll
During the year, you want to spend as much time dancing as possible, with a very quick introduction and welcome period of class. However, in the beginning you really want to make sure you know each dancer’s name and make them feel welcome in class. Spend a little extra time (not too much) doing just that. You can ask them one of the following fun questions: What’s your favorite color? What was your favorite thing you did this summer? What are you most excited about regarding dance class? Who’s your favorite princess? They’ll love sharing information about themselves, plus you’ll get to know their name and personality a little easier. For example, if 80% of the class says Ariel is their favorite princess, you know a Little Mermaid song will be a huge hit to better maintain your students’ attention!
3. Establish class rules now
Don’t wait until you have issues. Make sure your students know your expectations. Young children work best when they know what their boundaries are.
Here are several great preschool dance rules:
⭐️ No talking while the music is on and your teacher is speaking
⭐️ No touching our friends
⭐️ Stay on your spot
⭐️ Listening ears need to be turned on at all times
⭐️ Watching eyes should be on our teacher during class
Covering these on day one will minimize discipline issues, give you immediate criteria on which to base end-of-class rewards, and ultimately save you time and energy down the road!
4. Be prepared to spice it up a bit the first few classes
Again, this is their first experience with dance. You want to make sure they can’t wait for the next class. You’ll have plenty of time to drill in that perfect technique (in an age-appropriate way, of course), but you won’t get many chances to win their hearts. Make sure your imagination is over-the-top and that class is fun. Keep these little ones coming back!
5. Set out as you intend to finish
If your studio doesn’t allow moms in class, don’t allow mom to come in and comfort her child on the first day. It will become a crutch. If you don’t intend to use reward stickers in your classes, don’t do it that first day, or they will expect it each week. Consistency is key in everything we do with little ones.
6. Have a nice bottle of wine waiting for you at home
The beginning of the dance season is fun and exciting, but it’s also exhausting. Be sure to treat yourself to a nice glass of wine and give yourself a pat on the back for your accomplishments and hard work. If wine isn’t your thing, treat yourself to a hot bath, a new book, or whatever floats your boat. Self care is important when you’re getting back in the swing of a new season and schedule, even if it’s as simple as setting aside time for a walk outside. Don’t forget to take care of YOURSELF!
Have fun out there! We hope everyone has a great dance season!