I sometimes forget that it takes courage to live this way.

Courage is defined as “the ability to do something that frightens one” or “strength in the face of pain or grief.”

I was listening to a business podcast earlier today with 3 entrepreneurs on it, and one of the hosts stated that running a business takes courage.

It was good for me to be reminded of this fact because I rarely think of myself as a courageous person. In fact, I sometimes wonder to myself why I’ve been burdened with such an overwhelming desire to pursue happiness to the fullest, live to the point of tears, love with every ounce of my being, and refuse to settle for a “regular” 9 to 5 job where I feel like a cog in a wheel and inevitably (it usually takes me anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks) begin to feel a cloud of darkness looming over me each day when I’m going into any job and that I’m suffocating inside of a bell jar throughout the day. (Mellow dramatic? Not at this point in my life. That’s just truth. Having a regular job is really hard for me.)

So it is nice to consider that perhaps, instead of thinking of my choice to pursue being a full-time entrepreneur causing burden to my family, my partner, and myself, that I am, instead, doing something courageous with my life.

It’s quite lovely to think of myself of someone who is taking calculated risks and boldly pursing the life that I feel so strongly called to live.

When I’m dancing on my front lawn and making TikToks and recording myself speaking, I am sure that most people assume all of that comes easily and naturally to me. And, sure, some of it does. I’m an only child, so I’ve literally been dancing and playing alone for my entire life. But, not all of those actions come easily for me. It’s weird having people watch me dancing in my front yard or in my living room. It’s not comfortable or normal, and it isn’t something that I would typically do if I wasn’t trying to work as hard as I possibly can and give all that I can to grow my businesses.

So, today, I am grateful for the reminder that I am a brave person, courageously pursuing happiness with every fiber of my being. I’ll try to enjoy that thought for the remainder of this day, and perhaps I’ll be able to keep away the thoughts of doubt and/or guilt at least until tomorrow.

Until next time,

Saumirah

Foggy Today? Focus on the Future

What keeps you going when you’re just not feeling it as a creative entrepreneur?

As I’ve said before: Even if we completely love what we do, we won’t love every single minute of every single day of what we do.

For example: I absolutely love being an entrepreneur and directing dance programs. But I strongly dislike returning phone calls (I prefer emails 100%), organizing information into spreadsheets, ordering costumes, booking performance locations, and more. But I made myself do those things when I was directing in-person dance programs because the return on the investment was so great. The kids loved it, and families wanted it. (This is a story for another blog, but I actually really struggled with even beginning to develop a performance program because I wanted to be so process focused. I love teaching technique. Performing was a great experience for me personally, but I never felt compelled to find and facilitate performance opportunities for my dance students until families expressed that they desired this from my program.)

When I worked as a classroom teacher, I loved being with my students, creating community, and finding different ways to open those little minds to understand new concepts. However, I completely hated (strong word, but likely extremely accurate . . . ) parent-teacher conferences (they always gave me extreme anxiety, even when the kids were A+ students), decorating my classroom, updating bulletin boards, and most staff meetings. But I made myself do it because decorating my room with student work made the faces of my kiddos just glow with enthusiasm or because it helped parents know what was going on in our classroom. Again, the return on the investment was worth it.

So, when I’m hitting a slump (as I am right now), and when I don’t want to do anything business related, I try to focus on the return. I try to remind myself that all of the work I’m doing will result in either an end goal toward which I’m working or that the work of the daily grind will continue to fulfill me, provide helpful information to my audience and clients, or put good into the world in the way that I feel compelled to do.

In short, when the now is foggy (or what it’s just outright terrible, horrible, no good!), try to focus on that potentially fantastic future feeling. You might find that the future isn’t so far away and that you’ll receive your ROI sooner than you think. Fingers crossed! ;)

Forever filled with the audacity of hope,

Saumirah

Reasons Why You Should Start Today

I take my time with everything. Everything. I don’t believe in doing anything before I’m ready. Except, that is, when it comes to entrepreneurship.

When it comes to business and creativity and getting ideas out there I believe the following:

  1. There’s more where that came from. (You can’t “run out” of ideas or creativity. There will always be more.)
  2. You owe it to the world to get your ideas out there. (Why wait? It’s probably already been done before anyway, and it’s probably already being done currently in a similar way. But the world needs it from you. Which leads me to . . .)
  3. Your voice is unique. (Guaranteed: I can find it somewhere else, probably free or cheaper. But it won’t be from you. You’re the magic of what you’re making.)
  4. The fears are usually methods of procrastination. (Yes, someone might steal it. That’s happened to some of the best. It still won’t be yours. No, it won’t be perfect, but get it out so that you can get proof of concept and improve over time based on real-life feedback from your audience/consumers/the people who are invested in your work and are paying you for it and paying attention to it.)
  5. What you put out today won’t be your best. (But if you’re a true artist and a true professional, you’ll get better over time. I used to teach all my dance classes with a binder of notes on the floor and use the same exact playlist for at least 4 weeks straight. I got better over time. But my students who took classes from me when I would spend precious moments of class reading my typed detailed notes because I was so afraid of making a mistake and when I’d play the same music several weeks in a row because I thought it was just so perfect for my class and couldn’t bear the idea of using different songs, they needed me then. The world needed what I was offering then and I needed those early first experiences so I’d have somewhere from which to go further. I needed a baseline. I needed to begin the work.)

So, while you won’t see me impulsively rushing into friendships, marriage, buying property, eating twice as much as I’d planned, or adopting a new dog, you’ll see me getting my ideas out there fairly quickly.

I owe it to the world to get my ideas out there. They’re good ones. And they’re getting better every day.

Saumirah

Rest is important, but . . .

Rest is important, but so is doing the work.

Even though I’m privileged enough to live a creative life (“privileged” meaning: only working a full-time job if I feel like it, continuing to pay a car note on an Audi when I could get around just as easily in a paid-for something else, pouring money into multiple business ventures, getting a doctorate in education for fun…), I absolutely don’t feel like working every single day.

While I’m dying to work on my personal projects most days of the week, that’s often because I know I simply won’t have the time or the energy to work on what I’m passionate about later in the day, tomorrow, or next week. (I am often fighting my body to avoid falling asleep before 10:00 pm each night, and I usually feel pretty done with working by late afternoon….)

Do I actually FEEL like writing every day, dancing every day, or creating digital content for my businesses every day? Definitely not. Do I thrive from a sense of accomplishment, purpose, and productivity? Definitely do. So, that helps. But even that’s often not enough to cause me to want to do the work.

What really, really does it for me is reminding myself that I owe it to me. I owe it to my present self and to my future self to give it my all, to not waste my talents, and to work as hard as I possibly can each day to be the person that I want to be. I owe it to myself to go after my dreams like there’s no tomorrow. And, most importantly, I owe it to myself to commit to my practice of doing the work every day.

Cheers to doing the work that’s good for us, even when we don’t feel like it!

Saumirah

I WANT to be paid to think.

I’m a hardcore entrepreneur. I live to create. I thrive on bringing ideas to fruition through the art of starting and developing business ventures.

But I’ve mentioned it before on The Happy Dance Podcast and I’ve mentioned it in my Lunchtime Entrepreneur Chats on Clubhouse: I like to keep some freelance work or a super easy part-time gig in my back pocket so that I can always make sure the bills are paid.

So the other day, when I was working at one of my part-time gigs, I overheard someone say, “I don’t get paid to think here!” He went to explain how, when he’s at work, he’s thinking about what he’s eating next or how he will be getting to the next level of a videogame, but not about the work he’s doing for the company.

I thought to myself: THAT’S what’s wrong with this situation. I WANT to be paid to think.

When I worked for a large charter school management organization a few years ago, I remember one of the principals was always emphasizing that we, as the teachers, were the experts in the room. She said this as a way–not to make us feel that we were all-knowing or that we should be teaching our students in a top-down way, but instead–to encourage us to feel comfortable and confident in our background knowledge, life experiences, and professional training to do our job properly. When I worked there, even on the really challenging days, I felt like I was getting paid to think.

When I’m running my dance programs, maybe a few parents think they’re paying me to entertain their child for an hour each week, but I think most parents knew they were paying me to:

  • Develop and facilitate engaging, challenging, and developmentally appropriate programs
  • Be the best or hire the best talent I could find to help their child discover and explore the art of dance in a safe and nurturing environment
  • Put money back into the business by the way of performance opportunities (including space rentals and costume purchases), buying and maintaining props (such as scarves, ribbons, balance beams, hula hoops, etc. for my Creative Movement classes and Dance Daze Birthday Parties)
  • Create appropriate music playlists that would guide the atmosphere of the class and support my instruction
  • Develop and maintain the best systems for relaying information, collecting payments, ensuring their child’s safety, and more.

When I’m working as an educator, I’m paid to think.

When I’m working in education, all of me matters.

My thoughts, experiences, and professional background are important because I’m taking on the extremely important work of supporting, informing, and influencing the minds and shaping the experiences of the next generation.

And I like it that way. I love being paid to think.

Any job that doesn’t pay me for this beautifully developed, empathetic, thoughtful, passionate, sensitive, curious mind of mine is 1) missing out and 2) will be short-lived.

PLEASE: Pay me to think. I like it that way.

Saumirah