One of the most common things I hear from my students is ‘if only I had started dancing sooner.’ It got me wondering, why didn’t they? Why do we relegate our dreams – like dancing – to the back burner? It might sound audacious, but if dancing is truly what you want to do, there’s no excuse why you shouldn’t start today. Here’s why.
Confusing ‘What You’d Like’ with ‘What You Want’
First, if you are going to make sacrifices for something many consider to be a ‘luxury’, you have to be sure it’s worth it for you to do so. As motivational speaker Eric Thomas once said, “most of you want to be successful, but you don’t want it bad. You just ‘kinda’ want it”.
Take some time to think seriously about your interest in dancing. Ask ‘what do I enjoy most about dancing? Why is dancing worth it to me? What do I want to accomplish through dancing?’ Try not to just think about it, but feel what it would be like to succeed.
You might also take a class or two, just to see if dance holds as much appeal in practice as it did in your mind. If you’re still fired up about it. Congratulations! You’ve discovered what could become a lifelong passion. Now comes the hard part.
Avoiding the ‘Yes, but…’
While you’re deciding what you want to do with your dream of dance, think and feel what it would be like to make the necessary sacrifices to support it. Maybe you need to take an extra shift at work, or get up earlier to practice.
If this sounds intimidating, remember what pursuing your dance dream means to you: This is a chance to live your passion, to do something you can really be proud of! So often we spend so much time working and caring for others that we forget to include ourselves in the list of those we love.
You might be thinking ‘how can I spend time and money taking dance lessons when I have bills to pay? I’m just being selfish.’ First, and as I’ve written about previously, there’s a lot more options to support your dancing journey than may be visible to you right now.
Second, pursuing your passion means having an activity that re-energizes you and infuses your life with new meaning. It means letting off steam so you can enjoy your work and/or your home life that much more. And that has a positive effect on everyone around you.
The fact is, life won’t stop coming, and there will always be reasons for validating our inaction. The paradox is while each one might seem important, even urgent, they won’t give you the same drive and excitement that your dance dream – or any dream – can.
Creative Solutions: The 20 Idea Method
I’m guessing there’s at least a few of you getting downright mad at me by now. This might sound like I’m asking you to give up your job and family, move to Russia, and starting taking dance lessons like crazy.
And most likely, that would be a terrible idea, so don’t do it! Of course I’m not asking you to drop everything, and it would be useless to expect you to do otherwise.
What I’m suggesting it a) the dreams you’ve been ignoring may be a lot more important to your happiness than you realized, and b) there may be some creative ways you can pursue them without giving up other, equally important priorities in your life.
If you really feel helpless in your present situation, try the 20 idea method. Here’s how it works:
- Take a sheet of paper and write a question about the situation. Be specific: ‘How do I start dancing?’ Won’t be as helpful as ‘How do I make time in my life for dance lessons?’
- As fast as you can, come up with 20 possible answers, and write them below your question. Don’t censor yourself. No matter how dumb, unlikely, or ‘cheat-y’ the answers might seem, put them down and move on. For example, you might write: get up and hour early, go to bed an hour late, read a book on time management, etc.
- Try and add another 20 answers the next day, and the one after that. It will get harder, but just keep pumping them out.
- Go over all the answers you’ve made, and circle the few which look actually possible. Careful not to do this when you are feeling unhappy, or none of the options may look good.
- Pick your favourite answer, write it down somewhere you can see it every day, and start implementing it.
The process of writing without censorship will unlock your creativity, so you may find yourself surprised by some of the possibilities you might never have imagined previously.
On your journey, you will find yourself tempted at times to give it up and go back to the normal comfortable life you were living before. When this happens, remind yourself why your dance dream is important to you, and keep pushing. It’s worth it.