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As some of you may have heard, I opened up the online bellydance studio called “Savvy Bellydancers School” this year. What you may not know if you haven’t clicked over and visited is just how specialized the topics are and how near and dear this project is to my heart.
There are tons and tons of online dance schools and bellydance is a popular subject. So what makes this online school different? Simple…...
A year ago, I was about to compete for the first time. I also had a 6 mo's old baby, two careers, three dogs and a husband. Overworked doesn't begin to cover it! I was always tired, and I don't mean just tried, I mean weary and aching to your bones, your eyes feel like sandpaper, you're almost always about to vomit tired. The tired you can probably only feel if you have an infant or a chronic illness. But I kept pushing and pushing. I was terrified that having my baby would mean I would lose my belly dance career. Sure, Sadie does it, but she's Sadie! I'm just your average beginner professional in a small town with more dancers then work, juggling full time motherhood with part-time dance work. I put a ton of pressure on myself to get right back into dancing, to teaching, and to compete so I could have video (ideally a title) to help secure jobs. And not just for fun, I was trying to feed my family.
Well, a year later, I look back on that competition with sadness and frustration, and I almost quit dancing entirely. My own lessons went on hold, I stopped looking for or accepting gigs, and I cut back teaching from 6 classes a week to 2. Why? It wasn't the competition, or how I did in it, but the constant stress I put myself under to succeed. I got to the point where dancing made me feel miserable. It was all about getting better, fighting to be relevant and hire-able, and the more I tried, the worse I felt like I got. I've always struggled with stage fright, which throws off the timing and flow of my dance (the adrenaline time warp phenomenon plus muscle tension), and the extra pressure and insecurity of post-baby tummy (even under a mesh cover my stretch marks were still visible for the first year) made it almost intolerable. The negativity in the local scene, the loss of my main weekly gig because a new owner had found other dancers to replace me while I was on maternity leave and didn't feel like messing with the schedule to give me my job back... so many factors went into it, but the end result? Total burn out. Burnout is defined by Psychology Today as a state of chronic stress that leads to physical and emotional exhaustion, cynicism and detachment, and feelings of ineffectiveness and and lack of accomplishment. I was a textbook case....
I was watching the hands and arms of some of my favorite dancers on youtube last night and while so inspired and happy to watch them again, I had a moment of sincere hand lust and sadness. I have been experiencing more consistent and prolonged flare-ups of arthritis. It lasts for quite some time and is quite annoying to deal with.
A very special result of taking time off and stepping away from the business when I vacation is the ability to obtain clarity. Like most of you, I work constantly while at home, and as a small business owner, there is no “clock out” time. I work morning,noon, and night. Weekdays and weekends, for 9 years now, and it is easy to become clouded.
Coming back from this last trip, I have come to commit some of the worst cardinal mistakes one can make as a small business owner:...