My daughter, Nicolette, has been dancing since she was 2. Well, at that age, it was more like swaying and bopping up and down, but she would always try hard. A couple of years later, we ended up in a studio that’s very competitive and that’s when her commitment and skills really started to grow.
She’s actually been dancing competitively since she was 6 and her practice regimen has become even more intense since then.
I have of course been watching her over the years and her dance journey has taught me a lot…and there’s definitely overlap to running a business or achieving any major life goal that is hard to do.
Here are the 7 life lessons I’ve learned from observing her dance journey that I hope you can apply to your life:
1. Hard Work Does Pay Off
Working hard really does pay off when you put in the time and energy it takes to be good at something. Of course, she has some natural talent, but she’s put in the long hours it takes to refine those skills. Naturally, she’s smart and has a good memory…which helps her remember the 15+ routines she has to do in any one competition. I’m really amazed at how much she can remember.
But, really, her success has been more about the hard work and repetition of doing the moves day in and day out. She’ll practice 6-7 days a week for several hours a day. Her studio has high expectations of the students which leads to the entire group wanting to work hard and perfect their craft.
What are your goals? Are you putting in the hard, focused work necessary to achieve them? If not, journal – pen to paper – on what it will take to jump start your ambition.
Focus On The Right Things
Now, this doesn’t mean that hard work is all that it takes. A lot of people put in excessive hard work on developing a skill and it just doesn’t suit them. In the time that Nicolette has been at the studio, she’s seen friends leave because it wasn’t the right thing for them in the end.
At this point in her dance education, all of the people in the school are great dancers. So, she works on doing things that sets her apart from others. Even though they are a team, they do compete against themselves in their solos.
Are you investing in skills that are right for you? Take time to evaluate your progress and determine if you’re going in the right direction.
There are three things she does to help set herself apart as a dancer:
1. Visualization – she spends time most nights visualizing herself doing the dances. This has helped her grow in confidence and remember the moves.
2. Exhaustion – she gives her all when she dances. At the end of her sessions, she’s completely exhausted.
3. Practices Daily – I really believe if I were to die, they’d work the dance schedule around my funeral…she’s at that level of commitment.
She’s worked very hard at developing her craft and it’s really starting to pay off.
What are you doing to set yourself apart in your industry? What are things you can do to give yourself an edge?
2. Mental Toughness Matters
This is the first year that she placed first place in a competition. She’s watched a lot of other talented dancers in the school get first place and it made her want to try her hardest to place. But…she doubts herself sometimes and she’s had to develop a strong mindset to get over it.
She just kept sticking with her practicing, visualizations, and working hard to win. There is a lot of pressure from the studio to excel and place. It’s a great environment for dancers that want to become really good at their craft.
Dancing in the competitions has also required her to be mentally tough because she’s got to get up on stage in front of 500 people. This is hard to do for someone at any age. You have to really love what you do and be willing to put in an insane amount of effort so you are able to win.
When she got first place, she was really humble about it. This really speaks to the kind of mindset she’s developed through her journey.
What things can you do to develop the mental toughness you need to push through hard things? Are you getting outside of your comfort zone? Developing a resilient mindset is key to being successful.
3. Your Body is Capable of Fitness Feats
One thing that has really amazed me is what the human body is capable of when you spend long hours training it. Her body is so flexible and the moves she is able to do is simply amazing. For example, she has mastered the scorpion dance move where she’s able to kick her back leg straight up behind her head. It’s incredible. I would literally have to break every bone in my body to perform the move.
Also, she’s learned how to do flips and aerials that are crazy to watch. It takes a long time to train your body to move in those ways, but the fact is…your body is capable of it.
Are you pushing the limits of your body and training it to do more (safely of course)? What about signing up for something you think you can’t do such as an obstacle race?
4. A Common Mission is Important
The studio has one mission and that is to train its students to be incredible dancers. Nicolette has been in the same group with some of the dancers since they were 2. They all have the same mission and goals that they are working towards which has really helped them to build deep friendships.
Find a group of people that share a common mission with you. Masterminds are a perfect way to join up with other people that are like-minded. And if you own a company, make sure your team knows the mission you’re on and you’re all moving towards the same goal.
5. Community is Crucial
Building a strong community is such a key part of reaching your goals. The friends she has made at the studio have become her community. They hang out on the weekends, celebrate each other’s birthdays, and do life together.
When you are on stage together and have to dance in sync, you have to be really connected to the others around you. The friendships they’ve built have helped them to achieve this. If you’re not really connected to your team, it’s hard to reach common goals.
One thing that the studio does to foster community is nip any drama in the bud right away. They don’t allow the students to be mean to each other or do things that will cause issues among the group.
Have you spent time building your community – friends, family, mastermind, etc? Creating a support system is crucial to reaching your goals, but also leads to a more fulfilling life. It’s important to put in the effort to make friendships and invest in relationships.
6. Laser Focus on Your Goals
As a studio, their common goal is to be the best dance studio out there and help their students win. Every single day, they practice on their solos and choreographed dances. The studio’s singular focus is very key. It’s not like they have a lot of goals…just the core goals of training exceptional dancers. When the classes show up to practice, they come to focus on just that.
Get laser-focused on what you need to be doing right now to advance your personal development, life, and business. Pairing down your goals so you can really excel at your top priorities is key. The book “The One Thing” is a must-read on this topic.
7. Do What Fulfills You
Dancing and scoring high have brought her a lot of personal fulfillment. She works hard and has seen the fruits of her labor. It’s hard work and I think she probably gets worn out during competition season when she’s practicing 7 days a week and working on private solo lessons with a teacher. But, it’s very fulfilling for her so she comes back to it every day.
It’s like running…a lot of people run, not because it is fun but because it is fulfilling. This is how it has been for me. I told myself my whole life that I wasn’t a runner because I have a stocky build. But, my WHOOP strap showed me I wasn’t getting my strain up enough so I started running. It’s getting easier and it’s been really fulfilling to me to push myself and see the gains I’ve made.
What would be a fulfilling life for you? Journal on this topic and then set up habits and routines to get you as close as possible to what you want. Popular segments for an exercise like this are what would be fulfilling across: personal, professional, health, relationships, and spirituality.
- Hard work will pay off when you work on the right things.
- Being mentally tough is essential to reaching your goals.
- Building community and friendships with a common mission will help you be better at your craft.