Being Your Own Boss

I read the War of Art last year and it kind of changed my mind about a lot of things. I'm not an avid reader of self help books and I admit that I have been mildly perplexed by people who are, in the past. I don't know if that's what this book is, but if it is, perhaps I have been reading some of the wrong things up until now.

One of the things recommended in the book is instead of trying to just force yourself to do your work, to treat your working self (in my case, my dancing self) as an employee of You Inc. (in my case, Heather Sara Inc.). I'm not Heather Sara, I just work for that company. I've noticed that treating thinks like drills, time for promotion and choreography like it's a job does not suck all the joy out of dance, as I feared it would, but rather gives me a schedule for work, and reduces my stress greatly. In the case of drills, it also ensures legitimate progress gets made on my technical abilities. It's a really cool concept, and one of those times where just tweaking your mindset creates a huge difference in output.

It helps me outline that for other people too-- I used to be one of those people who would say "ok Wednesday night is drill night" and then a friend would be all like "hey wanna check out Epic Wednesday at Distortion tonight, cheap drinks!" and I'd be all like "HELL YEAH" (can you guess where I'm going tonight?) These days, because I'm the boss, I can make sure that I stick to the schedule a little better, or at least have someone to answer to. It's a bit mind bending, but damn if it doesn't work for me. Now I can say, "sorry, I'm working, I have drills/choreography/marketing to do" and it sounds right to me instead of kind of weird. Dancing is worth keeping on a schedule and I've noticed that when I present that to other people they accept it completely. It was only me that thought that wasn't reasonable. Silly.

Being the boss of Heather Sara Inc. allows me to make critical judgments about good and bad decisions for my dancing, my choreography and career without letting my personal feelings about people or situations come into play so much. Recently my friends and I passed around a questionnaire privately, and one of the questions asked us to describe ourselves in three words. One of mine, and it was perhaps the most true, was permeable. I imagine myself most times like an emotional sponge, or some other really porous material. Any emotion that gets thrown at me tends to sink in, good or bad, until it's inside every part of me and I can't shake it until someone or something wrings it out. Sometimes that's dancing, or venting or eating chocolate, but in any case, feelings that people put on me go deep.

So that relates to being my boss instead of being me in the sense that it's easier to take charge of what's best for me and my dancing when I can say "as an employee of Heather Sara Inc. that is not in the company's best interest" OR "as the CEO of Heather Sara Inc. I will not let Heather Sara do that". It gives me an out. Not saying I'm not a bit lame for needing that sometimes, but I find it hard to say no from time to time. Or yes. Or anything. I get shy and this is helping me cast that off.

So question time. Do you have tricks you like to use to help keep your dancing and work on task in terms of time and commitment? Have you read the War of Art? What did you think? Any other books you think I might like or find useful?


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