The holiday season tends to be a time when we look back over the past year and reflect on everything that has happened in the last 12 months. To evaluate choices in our personal and professional lives and make more choices about how we want to live the next 12. It brings up many mixed emotions and thoughts. Satisfaction with progress made; regret at things left undone or goals unachieved; excitement at the possibility of a new start.
It is this idea of beginnings that I’m intrigued with. This idea that we have to wait for January 1st to start making better decisions or that it somehow will be easier to make a change. According to Forbes, just 8% of people actually achieve their New Year’s Resolutions. So why do we still make them? Because we’re hopeful. We want to believe that by setting a goal, we can live a better life. There is truth in that. But goals alone are not enough. Antoine de Saint-Exupery said, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” So we make our resolutions and we try in earnest to keep them. But how many of us actually create a plan to execute in order to make it happen? Probably the 8% of you that actually achieve your resolutions.
What does this have to do with teaching dance? Everything. We want to grow our business. We keep saying we want to double the number of students we have. Great! How are you going about reaching a new audience and introducing them to your business? We say that we want our students to be more competitive and develop better technique. AWESOME! Did you require an additional ballet class a week and hire a qualified ballet teacher? WHY THE HECK NOT?! If what we’re doing isn’t working, we have to try something else. If what we’re not getting desired results, then we must find a way to create them! New marketing strategies, new faculty, additional classes, workshops, master classes…etc.
Personal responsibility has always been a revolving topic of conversation in my family. My grandfather always used to say, “We are the product of our decision making.” Quite often being on the other end of that statement meant that we had made a choice that brought us to an undesired consequence. But like he said, we had no one to blame but ourselves.
Being responsible for our undesired situation isn’t easy. It means that we have to acknowledge responsibility for our misery. It’s so much easier to point at something “out there” and say that studio on the other side of town is the problem. Or that the students don’t work hard enough or they just don’t care. Well, when did that start? What is that studio doing that you are not? Why can they get their company kids in the studio 6 days a week and you’re having trouble getting them in 3 days? Commitment starts at the top. We must demonstrate it in every interaction in order to get that same commitment out of them.
So instead of setting a goal for the year, make a plan. Decide what you want and develop a strategy to get it. If you want more students, advertise your strengths and seek visibility in your region. Create opportunities for your students that they can’t get anywhere else. If you want your students to develop better technique, adopt a syllabus that will strengthen weaknesses and find the right instructor to teach it. If you want your students to be more passionate, show them how passionate you are about them and their development. We are all effected when someone invests in us. But when we live in a state of waiting for people to give us what we want, we will remain in that state…waiting.
Stop waiting, start acting and create what it is you want for your business and your students. Don’t set a goal for the year, set a goal for the class, for the week, for the month and then take immediate action to create that reality.
Remember, “A goal without a plan is just wish.”- Antoine de Saint-Exupery