Dancers, we need to talk about putting things off *runs away and saves post for later*… and now is the time. Why? Because those of you who think long term, consider your options early and educate yourself in a holistic way are the ones who have the best chance of making a future that aligns with their dreams.
When we’re in the studio, we’re focusing on our training in the moment, and often, there’s a big box marked ‘future’ that we just don’t dare open until later. Planning for what happens after your training can be bring up such daunting, emotionally testing and high-stakes feelings that no wonder we just put it all off. This is what I did, and I now know there’s a better way, and this is I want for you.
Instead of thinking about ‘the future’ as one overwhelming box to open later, we can open the box and just take out one thing at a time. If you’re engaging in career planning early on, doing a little bit each month or even each week, then you know that you’re already doing all that you can to take care of it, and giving yourself the best possible chance.
Even better, we can make looking in the box, and thinking about the future in a bit-by-bit way, a *habit*. A healthy habit, like avocado on sourdough, or yoga before bed. The magic thing about making something a habit is that you get used to it, and you get used to dealing with the feelings of exposure, vulnerability and uncertainty that come with it.
There’s some great science behind habits, and I love to draw on this in my work with dancers. In his book Atomic Habits, James Clear has shown doing a little bit of something each day can actually rewire our brains. So yep, you can get used to things that normally give you The Fear: even planning your auditions, or thinking about how to pursue your dreams in a practical, strategic, actionable way.
Of course, this all requires a bit of guidance and structure, rather than just saying BRING IT ON WORLD three times each morning. There are strategies for setting these habits that I’d love to share with you. To get started, have a think about one thing you’d get out of your box marked future, that you think you could start thinking about now. What would that one little thing be? Then you can work from there! Post in the comments: I’d love to know what your first step will be!