Making Time + Being Present

I’ve been around long enough to know that “enough time” will never exist. It won’t exist in the course of a day, a week, and–if we’re doing it right–a lifetime.

For those of us “ambitious” souls (the word is in quotes because for my fellow dreamers and do-ers, you know there’s absolutely no other way we could be . . . . we’re not aspiring to be this way or this good, we simply are . . . . *smile*), there will always be another scent to smell, food to taste, sight to see, other world to experience, or other adventure to be had. We will always be hungry for all of life and all of its offerings.

But how can we go on this way if it always feels like we’re playing catch up and working with the bare minimum of the hours that have been allotted to us?

I believe that our ability to continue on and a sense of fulfillment in the actions we have taken may come from being present in each moment, so that each moment is given its full attention and can satisfy the needs of our soul in that time.

For example, a few minutes ago, I was creating new content for Dance Daze, Inc. Then, I got distracted (and was fully immersed) in making a few super quick updates to dancedaze.org and making notes in my iPhone for items I need to return to at a later date. Now, I’m sitting here, allowing my brain some space to think before heading out into the rain to walk my dogs and run off to the next thing.

The point, though, isn’t how much I feel compelled to do or about how much I’m accomplishing before 8:00 am. (But it must be said: Kudos to me. I’m am ROCKING the productivity so far this morning.) This point is that in each of these activities, I’ve allowed myself to be completely and entirely engaged.

Often, I become overwhelmed because I will sit down to write, and then I’ll think, “Oh, but this was my night to catch up on that Hulu show.” So then I’ll turn on Hulu and begin watching the show, only to pause it 10 minutes later because I’ve decided to return to the writing that should really take priority. Then, I’ll remember that I have a pile of dishes in the sink to wash, and I’ll hop up to get to those dishes. When I’m acting in this way, I’m not being fully present in anything.

I will say, for someone like me, being present in every single moment can be extremely difficult. Because I do live with a constant knowing of what else needs to be done. Sometimes, it’s almost painful to force myself to “relax” and “do nothing.”

But I’m working on it. Because I do believe that we can do it all, but not at the same time. I also believe that balance is impossible to reach, but that allowing (or forcing?) ourselves to be fully present in each task on which we are working (even if that is binge-watching a Netflix or Hulu original on a Saturday evening) will allow us a feeling of satisfaction in knowing that even if we aren’t always making the “right” choice, we are always choosing. And in choosing we are taking ownership of our life and happiness. And in that, I believe we will find a sense of satisfaction and peace.

Longer letter later, friends!

Saumirah

The Happy Dance Podcast: Episode #6

 

Read the podcast transcript below or click HERE to download the PDF!

Hi there! My name is Saumirah McWoodson, and I’m the founder and CEO of Dance Daze, Inc. and Dance Daze in Schools, and I’m also a dance education researcher and business consultant at DanceEdStartup.com. And I’m the host of The Happy Dance Podcast where we talk about all things related to dance, education, and cultivating a life of happiness. So, let’s dance!

Hey everyone! Saumirah here. Welcome to Episode #6 of The Happy Dance Podcast. Now, today’s episode is the third part of a three-part mini-series on social media marketing tools for your developing dance business.

In the first part of this mini-series I talked about my favorite social media platforms and I told you why I’m using them and how I’m using them. And then last week, in part two, I talked about my favorite photo-editing apps and there were a lot of them and I actually created a freebie.

So if you go to DanceEdStartup.com/podcast5download, you can grab that freebie.

And then, in today’s episode, I’m going to tell you about my favorite video editing apps.

And I was just going through my phone because that’s where I use all of these apps is on my iPhone X, and I realized I actually don’t have that many apps that I use to edit videos. So these are my legit favorite apps because I only have three.

Okay, so I’m gonna dive into that in a few moments here, but first I wanted to say that today’s episode is sponsored by the Dance Daze, Inc. Amazon Store. So if you go to Amazon.com/Shop/DanceDazeInc, you’ll find the Dance Daze Amazon Store, and in it we have tools for dance teachers and we just added some recent things of interest for dancers as well. And so I was actually adding some stuff last week right after I finished the podcast. And so, I have a couple of things in a category for audio and visual equipment, and then I have healthy food for dancers that you can get from Amazon, and that goes along with the blog that I put out earlier this week. And so there’s some fun stuff in there. And then, of course, I have props for creative movement classes or for teaching dance classes in schools. So be sure to go over to the Dance Daze Amazon Shop, and check all that stuff out. And of course, if you just need to grab something from Amazon, and if you go and see if I have it in my shop first, that also helps me out, I’d appreciate it.

So again the link is just Amazon.com/Shop/DanceDazeInc.

Okay, so now I’m going to tell you why I am doing a happy dance this week. So I have a couple of things that I wanted to talk about, but I don’t want to drag this podcast out too long, so I don’t think I’m going to dive into all of them. But first, the first reason I’m doing a happy dance today is because my mom actually started her own podcast, and I listened to that for the first time. I listened to her first episode earlier today and so kudos to my mom for living her best life and getting her voice out there.

I think I’m going to wait a little while to give you more information about my mom’s podcast because I don’t quite know what direction she’s going to go in and she already knows this, I’m not sure she’s going to be super open because if she is I might not want to be affiliated or associated with that. But I’ll probably tell you more about her podcast as time goes on, but kudos to my mom for getting that started.

And then the second reason I’m doing a happy dance is–and I should preface this: I’m feeling kind of “deep”, but I wanna tone it down because my podcast isn’t going in that direction. But the second reason I’m doing a happy dance is because . . . I was thinking about how I want to say this, and here are the thoughts that came to my mind. When you go back and you think about the one or maybe there are two of the absolute hardest moments that you’ve had in your life and you realize that you overcame them, the feeling that that gives you can be so powerful and moving and it just serves as a reminder that when you’re going through hard times again that you can also get through those hard times.

And so maybe you don’t, I don’t know, I think everyone maybe has a moment that they feel like, “Oh this is the most challenging thing I’ve ever gone through my entire life.” And now it’s months or years later and things are better, or they’re bearable, or maybe you don’t think about this sadness every single day anymore.

And so that’s kind of the reason I’m doing a happy dance is because… Let’s see… Because I’m grateful that we are able to overcome hard times and because I’m resting in the audacity of hope for a better tomorrow. So those are the two reasons I’m doing a happy dance. Kudos to my mom for starting that podcast. And then again, just yeah, having the hope that the sun will come out tomorrow.

Okay, and that’s all I’m gonna say about those deep thoughts of mine.

So now let me tell you about my favorite video editing apps. And so, obviously, since there are only three that I have on my phone, these are the only things that I use, so I really use them a lot. So the first one that I absolutely love is Magisto. I actually prefer to pronounce it Mageeesto. But to be honest, I don’t really say it that often, ’cause I don’t go around talking about apps to people, no matter how much of a nerd I am. But I guess also it goes to show you how much of a nerd I am, because I don’t have that much social interaction.

Yay, here’s my podcast! Thanks for listening to me, friend!

Okay, so I love Magisto basically for these reasons. You can basically put in all of your photos, video clips, and if you have… I’ve been paying for it for a while now. I think the free version I think they still have a free version and it does this or the lowest cost version I believe is like $4.99 US dollars $4.99 per month. They order the videos and the video clips and photos for you, you can pick your sound track, you can pick your theme and it just comes out beautiful and everyone’s always like… “Oh, I like that so much.”

And so that’s why I love it. They have royalty-free music. You are able to, directly from the app, upload the videos that are created directly to YouTube. And I think a couple of other social media sites, but I usually just send them straight to YouTube and then I download them to my phone to upload them myself, so I like to upload the videos natively to the social media platforms that I want them on.

But with YouTube, I just do it directly from the app because I think that’s easiest, and because YouTube what… It’s like my third or fourth favorite platform so… But anyway, that’s why I really love it. And I think that the variety of… I think that your videos can only be three minutes or five minutes long, something like that, but I think you can have videos up to 10 or 20 minutes, maybe even, with the Professional version, that sort of thing. You get access to more layouts and things like that or templates. And so, yeah, that’s probably my absolute favorite video editing app. I’ve tried others but… And I actually didn’t write down the one that… there was another I meant to mention, and I forgot. Oh, I think it’s called InShot.

And I will confirm this. Caveat here. I realized as I was doing the editing my transcript for the last podcast, I was calling an app by the incorrect name so I want to not do that this week.

So I think in the transcripts, the app is still listed as what I called it, but I think I linked it to the correct website. So if anyone noticed that it’s not an error, it’s intentional because I wanted to give credit to the actual app that I was talking about. But anyway, okay, so I’ve tried other video editing apps to kind of, I think, just play around with different filters and that sort of thing. But, again, I don’t think you can be beat Magisto or “Mageeesto.” I think Magisto… if PicMonkey is my favorite photo editing app, then I would say Magisto is my absolute favorite video editing app that I would refer to everyone.

Okay, so I did not… I’ve only used InShot once and I liked it. It served its purpose, but I didn’t like it enough, to really talk about. So I’m gonna move on and tell you the second one that I actually wrote down to talk about and that app is Clipomatic. So I discovered that one recently because I was actually watching some Instastories and I noticed people had text at the bottom of their stories. I was like, “Oh that’s really cool.” And I was listening to some other podcast recently, a few months ago, and they were saying how awesome it is that people are now adding text to their videos for the reasons of just being aware of people who have different audio abilities, that sort of thing. But then also because if you are in a place where you’re not supposed to be making noise or it’s really early in the morning and you’re just waking up, and you’re being super unhealthy and watching Instastories first thing when you wake up in the morning, you can just read what the person is saying if someone’s doing a live video or something like that, or if they’re just talking to the camera.

And so that’s why I love Clipomatic. It’s also really easy to edit the text. It doesn’t necessarily space perfectly, but it’s good enough for just a quick live video. Or I guess, technically, they’re pre-recorded but if I record my face and then put it up within five minutes of me talking, that’s practically as good as going live in my opinion.

So, anyway, that’s the second video editing app that I use is Clipomatic. And then the final video-editing app that I use, and I think I started using this one before I discovered Magisto, is called Add Music. And I really like Add Music because, again, it’s simple to use. I love things that are just really easy and don’t take… I mean, okay. Don’t judge me. I know how to work hard for things in life too. But when it comes to apps and getting things ready to publish for digital and social media marketing, I, of course, like I think anyone would, like things that are really simple and don’t take a long time to figure out how to use them.

So with Add Music you just upload a video clip, and you can pick from their royalty-free music options. I believe they have a paid version of that app as well. And I don’t think I have the paid version or if I paid for it, it was like a one-time fee. But anyway, I was gonna say I don’t think they have that huge of a range or variety of their royalty-free music and that’s why I was saying I’m not sure if they have a better variety if you pay for a different or an upgraded version of the app or something like that, but… But anyway, that’s not… That’s never really been a problem for me. I actually like the selections that they offer, and so I will use the Add Music app if I have a clip of my dance classes and maybe I don’t necessarily feel like the music that was playing is the best representation of my program, my business. Maybe it’s spring time and I want to make a little video that kind of makes you feel springy and happy and connects you to the season of growth and blossoming and that sort of stuff. And yes, these are the things that I think about when I’m editing videos for my dance business.

But anyway, even though, again, the selection of music is not that big from what I remember–I haven’t used it in a couple of months–but I think that it works fine for my business because they’re just quick clips and I don’t use this app,every single day. I’d say at most, I use it like once a month for videos, maybe more than that, but just fairly infrequently. And so what I’m saying is if I am using the same songs ’cause I think I do use the same songs on that app, the same four or five songs, they’re getting rotated enough so that I think my audience for my dance business is not getting bored with the sound of the audio clips and using… Okay, so I’m gonna run through them one more time. There are only three this time, so super short. But again, Magisto, Clipomatic and Add Music. Those are my top three favorite video editing apps for my dance education business.

Okay guys, so I think that’s it for today. Thank you so much for listening to Episode 6 of The Happy Dance Podcast. If you enjoyed this podcast, please go over to Apple Podcasts and give me a five-star reading and a review. I would love it so much and be so very grateful and appreciative.

I, of course, want to leave you with a few words on how you can continue to cultivate that life of happiness and keep doing a happy dance in your own life. And this is something that I am going to be applying for myself as well, as always. But I’m just gonna say the next time that you’re feeling down in the dumps, or overwhelmed with things that are going on in life, remember that you can always practice gratitude, even if it’s for the smallest things. For example, yesterday I lost my keys for over an hour. So today, I’m grateful that I have known where my keys are every moment of this day, but there have been days where maybe I didn’t feel like getting out of the house or something and then someone smiles and asks me how I’m doing, and so that’s something that you could practice gratitude for, or that would be something that I’ve practiced gratitude for in the past. So that is my little tip on how you can keep doing a happy dance in your own life.

Alright, I will catch you all next time.

Bye!

Don’t Forget to Run Your Business!

In last Monday’s blog, I told you how prepared I was to teach my first dance classes at a new location, working to expand my business. I explained how, even though all my planning was essentially all in my head, I would be using the Dance Daze® First Class Checklist to cross my Ts and dot my Is. I wanted to be over-prepared for my new students and my new classes. I was completely focused on the educational experience my students would have while exploring the world through music and movement. It’s great that that’s where my head was! The problem is: I completely forgot to mention that I would be entering the dance studio as both a dance educator and as a business owner.

In addition to having a lesson, playlist, and props for my students, I need sign-in sheets, a registration system, and a first aid kit when I teach! When I go to teach, I am not just an artist; I am also an entrepreneur.

So if you are starting your own dance business or expanding to a new location, don’t forget to run the business-side of your dance education organization! We are artists and educators as much as we are directors and CEOs. Keep that frame of mind the next time you walk into your studio!

Oh, and here’s this week’s freebie! Grab the Dance Daze® First Class Business Stuff Checklist FREEBIE to make sure you have all you need for the business side of your first dance class and all future dance classes!

Cultivating Happiness

When I was thinking of starting to blog again and playing with names for this blog, I knew I wanted to somehow incorporate the idea of the pursuit of happiness. However, over the past few months I’ve really been focusing on the idea of intentionally creating or cultivating happiness, as seriously as a lifestyle choice. With that idea in mind, I also knew I wanted to talk about what I know in a professional sense and in practice, which is dance and education. So that’s how I arrived at the blog title of The Happy Dance for this little section of mine on the interwebz.

Every now and then, I’d like to step away from my voice as an “expert” (We are all always learning and forever students of this thing called LIFE, aren’t we?) in dance education, or startup entrepreneurship, or online marketing and talk about regular life things. Being the hardcore Gen-Yer that I am, I’m completely aware that everything I share on the internet (And, oh boy, am I all over the internet… Good thing I love Google!) is completely public and potentially accessible by anyone, including the very words I’m typing in this blog…. So I want to talk about things with which I’m comfortable sharing and that are hopefully still helpful to whomever is reading these words of mine. So, I want to talk about what I’m doing to create happiness! I want to share the tiny moments of my life that are causing me to do a Happy Dance. Presently, that’s travel.

I remember this quote that I came across several years ago:

“How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.”
– Henry David Thoreau

That’s kind of how I’ve been feeling about my life lately. I’ve been feeling like I want to stand up to LIVE each day in the ways that bring me the most joy. I want to take all the risks. (But don’t worry, I’m a really safe [read: paranoid/anxious] person, so all my risks are super calculated.) I want to experience all the things.

So sometime last year, I set the intention of traveling. And, I’m thankful that I’ve been able to commit to and live out that intention. Today is the first day of May of 2019, and, since November of 2018, I’ve traveled to 8 different cities, 2 different states, and 3 different countries. (The featured photo from this post was taken in Heidelberg, Germany!) In fact, in the past 6 months, I’ve been fortunate to take a little vacation 5 times.

For me, traveling is causing me to do a little Happy Dance because it both humbles and inspires me. It makes me feel simultaneously small in a super grand world and enormously large in being gifted with the opportunity to create the reality of my dreams. (Truer entrepreneur words were never spoken, right? Hashtag live yo’ dreams.)

What are you currently cultivating in your life that’s causing you to do a Happy Dance?