How My Dance Background Helps Me As A Business Owner

I had my first dance lesson at the age of 3. I don’t remember much of it, but I do remember two things about it.

First, I remember there were weird stuffed animals in the window area that creeped me out. Second, I remember that I didn’t like it, and I kept going to my mom to ask for more snacks.

So from there, my mom enrolled me in acting, modeling, piano lessons, and gymnastics. And, while gymnastics was a very close second, by the age of 5, and after trying out my first tap dance class, I knew dance would be my thing. (I’ll forever be grateful to Ms. Vanessa, my first tap dance teacher who told my mother that I was a natural and that I should join her competition class after the first time she saw me dance.)

So, how does my background in competitive tap dance and my pre-professional classical ballet training help me as an entrepreneur? I think there are a few ways.

  1. I’m not afraid to fail when it comes to entrepreneurship. (Now, if we’re talking about with my every-day psychoses, fear of failure is a big thing in my life as a Type-A, over-achiever, and possible perfectionist. But if we’re just talking about entrepreneurship, then I’m good. ;) I know that I will always, always have more ideas. I know that I will always be able to make some kind of money from those ideas ( . . . It’s truly amazing what it does for the brain when you think of something, create something, put it on the Internet with a nice bow, and make a few hundred dollars from it. The first time that happens, you know you can make much, much more. Making money straight from your ideas is a game changer, folks.). I also know that I can always get another job if needed. Yes, I have a couple of university degrees under my belt, and I’m working on another, but, in addition to that, I have some crazy good life experience, drive, and I’m not afraid to get things done when I need to pay the bills. With dance, even when you do actually “fail” — have a bad class, mess up a performance, get an injury — there’s usually an opportunity to do better in the next class, try harder at the next performance, and to increase your strength so that you’re less likely to get injured in the same way in the future. Failure may exist, but only as long as we dwell on that feeling instead of focusing on ways to improve.
  2. I know that pain is temporary. Nobody likes pain. In fact, I’ve carried aloe vera, Band-Aids, and Advil in my purse since I was about 14 years old because I hate pain and I refuse to not be prepared for it. But, since I’m a dancer, I know that most physical pain will heal over a short time. In business, when things are uncomfortable, or when I’m learning systems that I don’t want to learn, I know that it’s part of a temporary pain that will soon go away and that my life will likely be better after I push through to get to the next level. (Disclaimer: I know dancing through injuries is a big problem in the dance world, especially in the world of classical ballet. I’m not endorsing that mindset, but I am saying that that mindset can be helpful in terms of being an entrepreneur. Sometimes we feel like it’s the end of the world. Later, we realize that it wasn’t. We just had to keep going. And that’s my truth.)
  3. I’m aware of a certain *magic* that exists for us artists that I’m not sure others are as keenly aware of. Maybe it’s from spending my childhood performing. Maybe it’s because my mother let me me dance around the living room for hours, re-enacting entire movie scenes (and often, as much of the movie as I could remember, which was typically a good amount). Maybe it’s because I’ve worked at summer camps for children, where “creating magical moments” was literally in my job description. But like, I know that magic is real. I know that it’s possible for us to create the life of our dreams. I know that the only real limits that exist are those that we place upon ourselves. (And this is not to discount systemic problems in the world, by any means. This is to say that, whether to my benefit or detriment, I’m a believer in fairy-tales and dreams that become reality.) They say that those who often succeed are those who don’t know that failure is inevitable. I think that’s true of dancers. We know that the possibility of living in a world of wonder is real. So we keep dreaming. And we keep doing.

What about you? What childhood activities or hobbies help you in your current business or career path? Let me know in a comment!

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

Dance Classroom Management: Least Invasive Intervention

Hello! Today’s Behavior Management Monday technique is called Least Invasive Intervention. It is part of a series of techniques used to create high behavioral expectations in the classroom. Of course, as a dance educator, as the founder and CEO of two dance education organizations, and as a dance educator coach, my primary current interest in behavior management techniques comes from a place of wanting to better support early career dance educators with having better student engagement, participation, and learning in their dance classroom.

If you’re interested in reading more about classroom behavior management for yourself, you can find all the tips that I post about write about in the book Teach Like A Champion 2.0 (#ad).

The goal of using the Least Invasive Intervention technique is to correct the undesired behavior of one student without disrupting the entire class. Often, when only one student is off task, we will give so much attention to that single student and that moment that we lose the attention and focus of every single other student in class. Then, we have a much larger task at hand–we will find that we need to reign in several students instead of giving a quick, barely noticeable correction to one student.

There are 6 specific ways that we can give minimally invasive interventions, but the goal, always, is to be as unnoticeable as possible to the rest of your class.

  1. Nonverbal Intervention: You can make corrections with hand gestures, facial expressions, or intentional modeling of the action you expect students to take while never stopping your teaching.
  2. Positive Group Correction: This is a quick, verbal reminder given to the entire group to take a specific action. Example, using call and response: Teacher says: “One, two, three, all eyes on me!” Students reply: “One, two, eyes on you!”
  3. Anonymous Individual Correction: This technique is similar to a positive group correction because it describes the solution, but it makes explicit that there are people (who remain anonymous) who have not yet met the expectation.
  4. Private Individual Correction (PIC): This correction allows you to take more time with one student, while the rest of the class works on something or allows you to correct the student’s behavior quickly, but privately and away from the rest of the class. A teacher might take a few seconds to whisper a correction to a student then return to teaching.
  5. Private Individual Precise Praise (PIPP): When you use PIPP, you are whispering positive feedback to a student instead of a critique. This is a way of balancing your corrections with praise. Also, if you are balancing the corrections you give your students with the praise you are giving your students, they will be more open and receptive when you are approaching them.
  6. Lightning Quick Public Correction: There will be times when you will need to make public corrections of individual students. Though this should be used as a last resort, when you must give a public correction, you should focus on limiting the amount of time the off-task student is “on stage,” focus on telling the student what to do that is right instead of what they are doing that is wrong, and normalizing the positive behavior of the majority of the class by directing everyone’s attention to productive behavior that is occurring.

For more behavior management tips, be sure to check out the Dance Classroom Management section of DanceEdStartup.com!

 

What Is Your Primary Responsibility As A Dance Business Owner?

If you are a dance studio owner, if you run a dance education program that serves children in your local community, if you run any kind of business that provides the service of dance to clients, what is your primary responsibility?

Some might say their main responsibility is to introduce students to the art of dance and to help foster a love for dance for all students.

Some might say that it is their responsibility to properly prepare all students for professional careers in dance, including careers in dance performance, dance education, arts marketing, arts fundraising, dance research, and more.

Some might say they are focused on using dance as a tool to empower their students, giving them a lens through which to see the world and a voice for self-expression.

Perhaps your primary focus is social and restorative justice. Maybe your programs are focused on repairing and uplifting the people in communities that have been forgotten and neglected.

Maybe you feel that you’ve moved on from all of the above. Now you’re focused on making money. It is a dance business after all, right? If you don’t meet your bottom line, the business ceases to exist.

Maybe you love the marketing, the digital content, the UX design, the social media. Maybe that’s your primary focus and responsibility. Because, no matter what you’re doing, if you aren’t bringing in clients, you can’t really do what you want to do anyway, right?

Is your primary focus simply being organized? Handling registrations, hanging those flyers, getting those dance team jackets out, directing rehearsals, overseeing end-of-semester surveys and technique progress reports, making sure every student has the correct front-stitched leotard or slip-on jazz shoes, ensuring that all students and their parents know how to correctly sew elastic onto their ballet slippers?

Maybe you have mastered the art of delegation, and you are now primarily responsible for making sure your team does all of the above. Your team has to know and live out the values of your organization, manage the day-to-day tasks, communicate effectively with students and families, be a positive representation of your dance program in the community, ensure that regular outreach is happening, manage the social media accounts, teach the classes, keep students engaged and challenged, and more.

So what do I think? What is the primary responsibility of someone who owns or directs a dance business?

All of it.

Yes, when you’re running a dance business, your primary mission is to make sure that all.the.things are getting done, every minute of every day, by any means necessary.

I talked about how challenging finding balance can be in Episode #7 of The Happy Dance Podcast. I also talked about how we may sometimes be doing really well with doing the things that naturally bring us the most joy, while simultaneously failing (yes, failure is a thing… it’s just not a forever thing) at doing all the things that are the most tedious, the most time-consuming, or the most stressful.

So how do we do it? How do we stay motivated? How can we keep worrying about things like performance costumes or even on innovating within our established programs when we are in the middle of a slow season and we want to dedicate all our time and all our funds to marketing and outreach?

We can leave for a while, but we have to come back. This is a paraphrasing of some advice I got from my world religions teacher in high school, by way of my mother. I remember my mom told me that, during a parent-teacher conference, my former teacher mentioned to her that I spaced out during his class sometimes. He was fine with me letting my mind wander, as long as I always brought myself back.

This is what I believe we need to do as dance business owners.

We literally are some of the people in the world who DO IT ALL. (See also: women, moms, stepmoms.)

It can be daunting. It can be exhausting. It can be overwhelming in a terrible way. It can be impossible.

But impossible is nothing.

If you’re a dance educator reading this, you likely already know that huge responsibility that we have in the world as well as the great opportunity that we have to make an impact.

Follow your dreams. Model your educational philosophy. Develop great dancers and great citizens. Live your business mission and see the vision through.

Do it all. And if you ever just can’t do it all, then leave it for a minute… then get up and get back to work.

The Happy Dance Podcast: Episode #2

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!

Hi there! Thank you so much for joining me for The Happy Dance Podcast Episode #2! Again, my name is Saumirah McWoodson, and I am your host, and I’m excited to talk with you today about something I’ve been thinking about for a long time. I’ve been thinking about creating community and surrounding yourself with great people.

So we’ll jump into that in a second, but first I wanted to say that I’m so excited, and the reason I’m doing a “happy dance” today is because The Happy Dance Podcast is now available on Stitcher, Spotify, Google Play Music, and iTunes. So that is the reason I’m doing a happy dance.

And just so you know, I might not do this in every podcast because I might forget if we’re being honest; however, I decided before I started this podcast that if I ever interviewed guests on this show, I would ask each guest to tell me why they’re doing a happy dance currently when we started out the show, the interview, and then before we leave, I would ask the guest to let me know what their advice is for continuing to do a happy dance or continuing to cultivate that life of happiness. So I’m going to try to remember to do that in my episodes as well. If I don’t do it, though, just know that I have forgotten because I’m trying to remember a lot of things, and at least for this episode, my outline and notes for what I will be saying are all in my head. I decided to not write anything down but that is why I’m currently doing a happy dance. I got my first podcast out, and hopefully you listened to it–the entire 5 minutes and 26 seconds, of The Happy Dance Podcast Episode 1, and I again this podcast is currently available on Stitcher, Spotify, Google Play Music, and iTunes, and I’m really happy about that.

I also wanted to let you know that this episode is being sponsored by Dance Ed Startup, my digital course created specifically for passionate educators and trained dancers who are ready to launch their own dance education business. However, I think it will be a great course also for current studio owners who really want to better support their current staff members, their early career dance educators and new dance teachers, and for people who own dance businesses, whether they are mobile businesses or studios, who are just looking for innovative ways to expand what they’re doing or to streamline the processes that they already had in place.

So again, this podcast, this episode is being hosted by Dance Ed Startup. That course will be launching again in September of this year. So our expected launch date is September 9th, of 2019. So, hopefully, if you are interested in any of what I was just telling you about, you will consider signing up for that course. I’m very excited for it and I’m excited to work with you. And in addition to the digital course where, where we will have modules released week lease that you can somewhat go at your own pace, there will also be one-on-one coaching built into the course. So I’m super excited about that. Okay, so I think those are all of the introductory things that I wanted to say at the beginning of this episode.

I wanted to give you a little bit of history, background about me, and tell you why I even decided to try to start a podcast. This has definitely not been a lifelong dream of mine in any way. I actually had never listened to podcasts, I guess, not intentionally. I’d listened to podcast, for school. I’m currently a doctoral student at the University of the Pacific studying Educational and Organizational leadership with a concentration in Social and Educational Entrepreneurship and Innovation. A little caveat there, tangent, I guess, as well.

But anyway, I’d listened to podcasts for my academic programs and maybe I’d overheard a podcast in my time surfing the web, the Interwebz, but I never kind of searched for podcasts. And I came across a podcast actually from the wife of a country music singer, who I fell on Instagram. She said she’d been interviewed on a podcast, and I was like, “Oh that sounds fun. Let me go find that.” So I went and I found this podcast, and I absolutely loved it and that was probably in I’d say, November… October or November of 2018, and from there, my interest in podcasts just kind of took off. I started listening to tons of podcasts that just related to me and my life. So I found several stepmom podcasts, and then I started listening to business and marketing podcasts and I found my favorites.

I’m actually disappointed because I’m no longer currently commuting 30 minutes each way, for work, which is… Well, of course for me, it’s absolutely wonderful. If you know me, I actually completely hate commuting, I just, I hate it.

However, I no longer have this designated time, about an hour a day, to listen to these podcasts that I was just getting so much from… And so, I’m currently just working for myself this summer, so currently just working for Dance Daze, Inc. and Dance Daze in Schools and DanceEdStartup.com.

But everything that I’m doing is pretty local meaning within . . .  the farthest thing that I do right now is a 20-minute drive away, which is still far, but I’m only doing that once a week, and I’m gonna have a break–And that’s my classes out in Davis, if you’re wondering. I don’t mean to be cryptic.–Everything else that I’m doing with my life, currently, is within, I’d say five minutes driving of where I live. So yeah, it’s just hard finding that designated podcast time and obviously I could listen to a podcast, while I’m doing the dishes, or doing laundry, which is what I’m currently doing besides recording this podcast. However, there are always other things to do. So I am currently searching for ways to insert podcast-listening time back into my life.

I also am a person who . . . I struggles with saying that I love reading, I love the thought of reading and I love buying books. With that said, I have about, I think it’s four to six books, and I’m saying, four to six because I’m looking at my stack right now, but it’s kind of spread out, so I’d say that I have four books that I want to currently be reading for pleasure and then I have two books that I want to read for pleasure that would also for sure help me with my doctoral dissertation that I’m working on and that I will be working on after I finish this podcast and edit it.

But then I also of course need to be reading lots of articles all the time for my dissertation, research in dance education articles, so I… It’s great of course that I am researching something that’s important to me, something that I love and that I’m passionate about, which is dance educator training and preparation in the United States and pathways for long-term career opportunities for dance educators in the United States. I’m very passionate about that.

However, again, if it’s hard to find time listen to a podcast, you can you better believe that it’s hard to find time to… to read peer-reviewed journal articles and then just entire books that I probably should have read and when I was a graduate student in a master’s program. But alas, better late than never, so.

Okay, so back to what I said at the very beginning of this podcast, when we first started chatting with each other, today: I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of community. So what I mean when I say that is . . . Some background: So I’m an only child, and I’m really ambitious. So when I say I’m an only child, I say that because a lot of my life I’ve spent alone and I’m not saying that, you know, I’m not having a pity party, it’s just true. I’ve been comfortable, or as a kid I was comfortable playing alone and at most times in my life I’ve only had one or upwards of three best friends at a time and it’s just, it’s funny to me because a lot of people when they meet me in person, they say that I have so much energy and I’m so social and they can’t imagine me being shy.

Well, just so you know, I’m painfully shy in many situations as I’ve realized a lot of people who have podcasts, and who have wildly successful YouTube channels, a lot of us are shy in real life, so I don’t feel alone in that. And I’m also someone who scores… I think it’s like 49 and 51, depending on how I answer a couple of questions of course on with… What is it? The personality . . . Is is the Myers Briggs test?

I have a Bachelor’s degree in psychology, so I should probably know which test I’m talking about, but you know the really common test that gives you a bunch of letters and tells you where you fall on that . . . with that sort of stuff?

Well, yeah, I think I’m 49% introverted and 51% extroverted or vice versa. I can’t remember, actually, but the point of that is to say that I’m alone most of the time, unless I make an active effort to go and be social and spend time with other people. And then what was the other thing that I said? I said I’m an only child, and… Okay, I don’t remember the other thing that I said but I’m not gonna stop this podcast! Tangent! So this is where it would be really helpful if I had a co-host or a guest because they could be like “Oh, Saumirah, you just said THIS.” And everything would flow so wonderfully. But anyway, so because I’m an only child because I spend a lot of time alone. Oh, I remember, I said I’m also ambitious, and so being an ambitious person, I spend a lot, a lot of time in my head with ideas. I wanna go off on a tangent about that and give an example but I’ll save that for another time. But essentially, I’m basically running like three businesses, right now, and I got another business idea today because I ran into a former student’s . . not “ran into” — A former student’s grandmother brought her granddaughter to my dance class, and now I’m thinking of another kind of business opportunity that I want to start this fall, so I’m just constantly creating in my head and online and writing ideas down or typing ideas, making lists all the time. I’m always building and working to create a life that I want and to cultivate a life of happiness, which is something that I’m very proud of, but it often keeps me away from others because they’re not in my head, they don’t have the same vision as me, they don’t have the same aspirations, and sure I guess they don’t have the same energy that I have, at least not about the things that give me energy. So with knowing that about myself and kind of realizing that somewhere between my quarter life crisis, which I had a little bit early, I had a quarter-life crisis at 23. And it’s a real thing for any of you who are young millennials: A quarter-life crisis is a real thing and you can find a literature about it, and books about it, and you’re not alone. #ITGETSBETTER. But anyway, between then and now I’ve learned those things about myself, and so at the beginning of this year, and kind of at the end of last year when I started listening to these really awesome and inspirational podcasts where people were just sort of going after what they want in life and living a life of their dreams and and actually yes, starting podcasts, just because they felt like it! I think all of the podcasts that I started listening to at the end of last year, they all were new, meaning they had five or fewer episodes and they were all women and they were all entrepreneurs and so I was super excited about that as well.  I wasn’t listening to, at the time, I wasn’t listening to any established podcasts, then. They were all literally like, “Hey! I have podcast. Let’s see how this goes!” And I loved that, and that is so inspirational to me, people just living their best lives and being their best selves inspires me, so hopefully I will be able to do that for someone else, with my podcast, and with all of the other stuff that put out into the world.

Okay, so at the end of last year and the beginning of this year, I started kind of feeling all of those things, so feeling like, “Wow, I spend a lot of time working and crafting and I’m a doctoral student and I’m a business owner and I am alone unless I actively go out and try to spend time with other people. And so I’m not really someone who sets like New Year resolutions, but what I’ve been doing for the past, I guess, two years now, maybe more, but I’ve kind of focused on a word . . . . You can say an affirmation, but it’s not really an affirmation. I don’t go around saying like, “Live your best life,” or I do on the Internet maybe but . . . . But my word and I decided to focus on for this year was community and so I’ve been really intentionally working to create community in my life and I’m happy because I feel like I’ve been really successful with that. I know when a couple of years ago, so when I first come out to the Sacramento area, I got involved with Meetup.com. And if you are someone who’s looking for a community as well, I highly recommend Meetup. There are different groups in different areas and I will say I think I got completely lucky with the groups that I found here in the Sacramento area. When I moved out here, there were just a lot of people in a similar stage of life as me. We had just, I don’t know, we were just similarly looking for a good time, and just in my opinion, kind people, and funny people, and people that just wanted to make friends and go hiking and go to festivals and listen to live music and go snowboarding and skiing together and that sort of thing. And I was able to find that with Meetup.com. I was able to find those friendship groups, and at the time, also though my life just wasn’t really that busy. So back then, I was working my very first full-time job, so . . . . Yeah, I’ve been doing the entrepreneur thing for a long time, and I’ve also been in school, so don’t judge me that my first full-time job was not until my mid-20s.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, because I was always pursuing education or starting businesses, quite frankly, but that was my truth then, I just wasn’t, I just had one job and I wasn’t actively working on Dance Daze at that time either, so I had a pretty fun social life. I had lots of people around me, again, when I actively went out to these Meetup events and since then my life has just changed. I’ve gotten so much busier, and a part of that is because I’m continuing to pursue a life of happiness and to work towards living the life of my dreams and accomplishing all of my goals and growing my businesses. And I picked up a couple of dogs and all of that sort of stuff, but I don’t have a lot of time now.

And so, I wanted to focus on community because I like having friends. That 49 or 51 percent of me that’s extroverted gets energy from being around other people and honestly I just need people to talk to sometimes, besides my mom and my significant other, and my two adorable dogs.

So, this year I’ve been focusing a lot on community and I just… Yeah, I wouldn’t even say meditating because I think I’m too impatient to meditate, which is a problem but I’ll work on that. Maybe in 2020. But I’ve just been focusing on that word and intentionally pursuing opportunities to create community and to discover my own tribe, and to actively speak into existence, my personal gratitude from the tribes and communities around me in particular. And I feel so grateful that I’ve been given the community that I want from the universe. I feel like I’ve really worked hard to find friends and work on being a good friend because it’s hard when you’re busy and you’re ambitious, and you’re an entrepreneur, and when you’re fine not leaving your apartment for days and not talking to people except your mom and your significant other. So I’m proud of myself for pushing myself out of my comfort zone, sometimes and out of my mental state of “I deserve to relax!” and “I work so hard!” and “I don’t sleep enough!” so I’ve been pushing myself out of that, those kind of, I guess, excuse modes and saying “What do I want more–Do I want more time to sleep, or do I want more friends?”

And for me, I’ve said “No, you’re focusing on community; you want more friends. And so I just feel very grateful that I think I have good people around me.

But when I was thinking about this podcast . . . . I had this experience this past Friday evening that led me to think about the idea of not just having people around me but around having great people around me, which I also believe that I have, and with having like-minded people around me in the sense of people who are just… I don’t know if I wanna say bootstrapping it, or tooth and nailing it, or just fighting as hard as they possibly can to live the life that they absolutely dream of having. And I feel like I have those people in my life. And part of that is because of the doctoral program that I’m in. So being a teacher, especially I think, I don’t know, I think all of my full-time jobs have been that I’ve had for more than six months, have been as a classroom teacher, and so I feel like teachers usually are so focused on that job of teaching that we found a lot of intrapreneurs, a lot of people who are so dedicated to that craft. But I personally did not run into a lot of people who are classroom teachers who were also building businesses outside of the classroom. I think it’s hard to do and I do think I was partially crazy for the past couple of years, and I have been averaging about five hours of sleep per night for the past, I’d say at least two years. However, with being a teacher with working full-time, most of my time was not spent around people who I won’t say people who had high aspirations but with people who dreamed of, “Oh doing anything grandly different than what they were currently doing and they’re doing in their day-to-day life. Like I said, they were intrapreneurs, so maybe they dreamed of turning around the school in some way, or creating programs for the students, and doing really impactful, positive, fantastic work for the school, or for the district, or for the charter organization for example. But a lot of that . . .  When it came to the actual planning that they were talking about with me, it wasn’t really about anything outside of that community. And so, I think the reason that the doctoral program and the people that I’ve met, especially in my cognate, so kind of like the track that I’m on, which is a social and educational entrepreneurship, I think people in our program, I mean, my goodness, we are, if I’ve ever met world-changers in my life, I have met them in this program, in this social and educational entrepreneurship cognate of the doctoral program at the University of the Pacific, our Sacramento campus.

And so, on Friday night, I was just chatting with some ladies in my program, and they were telling me about all the things that they are working on and I was just completely…

I won’t say blown away. That’s not the right phrase.

I just felt so in my element and so surrounded by my people. And we have different struggles or dilemmas for example, some of those people are worried about like marketing and digital marketing, digital media, and that’s something that I’m passionate about and something that I’ve actually spent a lot of time and getting online certifications in and it’s something that I really enjoy . . . . We, we’re taking a marketing class right now, and so that’s where that kind of talk comes from, but maybe they’re extremely amazing at finding those business partners or the people that are gonna support their endeavors financially and that sort of thing. Like, face-to-face networking which I am not very good at. I’d rather in an email or a text message any day, than go up and shake someone’s hand and introduce myself. That’s again something maybe I’ll work on in 2020. However, they were just telling me about their dreams and their passions and what they’re working on, and it just completely made me feel like yes, I’m in the right place in the right place with the right people at the right time and I was just thinking of how important that is when we’re creating our community.

You know I’m definitely at the stage in my life personally where it’s not enough to have friends to hang out with or to have people that I can text when I’m feeling lonely . . . . that’s just not enough that’s empty and that’s . . . so 2009. So I want friends and I want people that wanna go out and go to music festivals and sing songs with me with our flip flops or in our bare feet, that sort of thing, all that. (I love a good music festival if you can’t tell, because I keep mentioning that.) But I also want people who are equally as ambitious as me. You know?

It’s so good to not feel out of your element. It’s so good to feel like you’re in the right place, surrounded by the right people. There’s nothing better than that feeling I think. There are a lot of good things in the world, but I think that’s definitely one of them and that’s why I’m so grateful to be in that program, and my doctoral program is definitely one of my tribes. It’s one of the places where I found community and it’s wonderful.

So I don’t know if I’ve said this yet. My program is actually a hybrid program, my doctoral program, so we have classes online twice a week, about two hours per class and then once or twice a month we have residency weekends, and so we are required to be on campus at University of the Pacific for Friday evening and all day Saturday and sometimes all day Sunday as well. And so I’ve gotten to know these people who I’m spending those weekends with pretty well over the past two years and so after the summer, we will have one year left in our program, if all goes well, if we stay on the same track.

Okay, so I was doing a little bit of research around this idea, and when I say a little, I mean, a little because in a busy girl! I did not do enough research . . . . Just being flat out honest with you guys. I did not do enough research to add a bunch of links in my show notes and that sort of stuff. Maybe I’ll get there, but today is not that day.

I did a quick Google search of something like “surrounding yourself with great people.” And so maybe if you search for that or I search again I’ll find the exact article that I read, but I read one article and I was like… “Yeah, yeah! It happens in these other spheres of life, as well.” And so I was thinking of it in terms of, of course, just finding… like friends who are experiencing similar things as you. So sometimes we have to or we experience loss of our life that other people have not experienced and so it’s good to find people who share in that and who are actively working to maintain or to re-find joy in their life after they’ve experienced some kind of loss. Or if we are someone who we feel like our mind works differently. When I’m working a 9 to 5 and talking about having a business and I feel people think that I’m crazy and out of my mind and  don’t know what I’m talking about or something, that doesn’t feel good. It feels good, when I’m just surrounded by people who are doing the exact same thing but maybe in a slightly different arena, in a different field but literally… their thoughts are the same. Their mind is constantly racing and they’re always hustling. That’s amazing. So, I was thinking about community in that sense of just finding people with I guess, shared beliefs or with shared actions that they’re taking on in their life. But this article mentioned that it’s similar in the military, they’re like… Before you go into battle, you go to Basic Training, and you spend all this time together, and you’re away from kind from normal society. You are creating a bond and forming your tribe. You’re just, you’re like in it with these people, you get to know them, you create the bond and then you can go out and conquer the world. And then I was thinking, “Wow, that is what’s happening in my doctoral program. Like, we’re all these little weirdos basically with all these crazy world-changing ideas . . . . we get together, we bond, and then in a year or two will be out in the world, hopefully unleashing these fabulous dragons just doing all the stuff that we want to do and just making the world so much more awesome than it is, or continuing to make things incredible. And then, I was also thinking about… And it might have mentioned it in this article (again: super quick research!).

It might have mentioned it in this article also or I might have found this somewhere else. I don’t really remember. I had trouble sleeping last night I was up at 3:45 in the morning, so my memory is really foggy! Anyway, the idea for a lot of these online entrepreneurs, that I’ve been following anyway or I guess digital course creators, however they identify, they join masterminds. And so, from my understanding, a mastermind is like a group, it’s kind of just like a more intense digital course, but it’s people who are essentially wanting to change the world digitally so with their digital course or with their online programs and products, and that sort of thing. But they are working together in this small, or maybe it’s big sometimes, but I’m talking about like communities where you know everyone’s name and you interact with them regularly, so that’s why I’m saying small, but they’re in this group and it’s kind of like the juices are flowing, or cooking or marinating and then they go out and they again put all of these wonderful things into the world. And so that’s just kind of something that I wanna focus on as I continue to go into, or I guess through . . . . (Which proposition, former elementary teacher of six years?!) As I continue to travel through the year of 2019 . . .

I just want to focus on not only creating community, because like I said, I feel like I’ve been wonderfully gifted with having a great community or several communities and tribes in life right now, I want to continue to push myself to surround myself as frequently as possible, with great people, with game-changers with world-changers, with other innovators, people who are just out there just challenging the status-quo. And what is it? Round pegs, square holes? That are just making things awesome, and I would like to challenge you to do the same. So if I’m supposed to have a call of action at the end of these podcasts, there it is! Challenge yourself, if you are in the mood for a challenge if you’re not, don’t even worry about it, but if you are: Challenge yourself to surround yourself with awesome people, with great people, with people who are doing excellent things, or at least with people that you can just really be yourself with and people who you won’t feel bad about yourself when you’re around them.

And that’s what I… Again, what I want to continue doing for myself, in as we kind of round the corner and finish out the second half of this year I want to continue creating community and I want to keep surrounding myself with the great ones who are out there in this world.

Okay, and that is all I have for you all today, so thank you for listening to The Happy Dance Podcast Episode 2!  And as I said before, if all goes well, these podcasts will be released at 7:00 am Pacific Standard Time on Wednesdays every week. So thank you so much for listening and I look forward to chatting with you again next week! Go out and do a little happy dance for yourself and a good time while you do it. Bye!