This has been a tough week for me. I’ve been fighting the cold from heck that just won’t give up. But, that doesn’t mean I can’t still give you your Weekly Challenge!
Last week we worked on dreaming big – writing down whatever we wanted for our belly dance, no matter how silly or big or small. If you haven’t done that challenge yet, go back and take a day to do it before doing this week’s challenge.
Of course we know that we dreamed big last week. Some of those dreams might be, realistically, out of our reach for some years yet. And that’s okay! Don’t discount them because they won’t happen THIS year. Big dreams take big plans, and that takes time.
This week, we’re going to work on making our dreams into plans, and making them a bit more realistic and obtainable.
First, pick out those dreams from last week that are the easiest to attain. Things like finally getting mayas nailed down or designing business cards are good options. On a piece of paper, write them down under a “within the next month or two” heading. Of course, we still have to be realistic in this. If you don’t have much time to practice, getting mayas down in a month might be a challenge (maybe “making more time to practice” should be your goal for the coming month!)
Make more headings along the lines of “3-4 months,” “6 months,” “one year,” “two years,” “five years,” etc. If you are really feeling it, even go for 10 years or more! Then space out those dreams into what you realistically think you can manage. Don’t spend too much time on it the first day. We’ll go back and make changes later.
Over the course of the week, think about your dreams/goals and the time frame you have given yourself to achieve them. Each day, go back over your list and make adjustments. Big dreams like going pro, or doing a competition, or auditioning for the Bellydance Superstars might take longer than you think. If you are stuck, try looking at websites and Facebook groups for guidance. Many others have been where you are, and they may be willing to guide you. Your teacher/mentor should definitely be consulted, or any dance friend you respect. But don’t fall into the trap of comparing yourself to them! What may take one dancer three months to do may take another a year, and that’s okay! It’s not a race!
And here’s another trap: don’t ever cross any of your dreams out. They are your dreams, and deserve a chance to be expressed, no matter if your rational mind “knows” how “impossible” that dream is. But be honest and realistic about it too. If you’ve been dancing for only a few months, going pro in the next year is probably not the best idea. There’s a lot more to being a pro than just knowing how to dance (or just knowing a few moves well), and a lot of that knowledge takes time and experience. Let that be a goal for the next 5 years or so, instead. There’s nothing wrong with planning extra time! Hey, if you manage it before your goal date, wonderful! But missing that date can be discouraging, so be good to yourself and plan for some extra time.
Of course, there’s an extra challenge with this too: actually implementing this goal timeline. It’s one thing to sit down and plan (which is an achievement in and of itself, because not many people make plans like this), but it’s another to actually put in the work to do it! If your goal is to audition for a pro troupe in the next year, what do you need to do to make that happen? You can’t just make it a goal and let it sit there on the paper. Do you need to freshen up your solo work, or learn to absorb choreographies quickly? Maybe the pro troupe does a lot of folkloric and you know nothing about it. Time to read up! If you want the extra challenge, go ahead and write out your implementation plan along with your goal schedule. I highly recommend this step! Again, don’t stress yourself out the first day. Use the whole week to go back and make changes, think about it some more, and then make more changes.
Consult your teacher or use other resources to help make this more manageable. Planning out your entire career right now may seem like a huge task, but the best thing to do is actually do this every year, and make adjustments accordingly. None of this is set in stone, nor should you think of it as failure if you miss a goal. Plans change. Life happens. Don’t let that discourage you! Pad your timeline a little, but make it challenging enough that you’ll still have to reach and stretch a little for it!
We’re closing in on the end of the year! This year has brought quite a few changes for me, including moving to Chicago, a new job, and new dance friends!
This time of year, I like to reflect back on what I have done over the past year and then think about what I want to do next year.
And that’s a great inspiration for a Weekly Challenge!
Every day this week, write in your dance journal the things you have accomplished this year regarding your dance. Did you finally master the maya? Did you find a weekly gig? Even small things count, so write down everything you managed to do. How many shows did you dance in or attend? Did you make any new dance friends? You may think of new things each day, which is why you can spread it out over the whole week. Don’t worry about writing every single thing down the first day.
The challenge this week, though, is actually planning for next year. Every day, after you write what you DID accomplish, write what you WANT to accomplish next year.
Make it silly or unrealistic. Of course, toss in some realistic goals, too, but don’t let anything limit you. It doesn’t matter that most of us have no chance of joining the Belly Dance Superstars next year. If that’s your dream, write it down.
Why is this a challenge? Well, first of all, because many of us, including me, are scared of dreaming big. We feel silly actually saying what we want, because we know that it can’t realistically happen. But if we can’t find the courage to just say it, how can we find the courage to do it? So go ahead and, no matter how hard it is or how silly you feel, write down your biggest dreams. It’s also a challenge because we have to actually sit down and plan what it is we want to accomplish. It’s not necessarily the most fun part of dance, but it’s an important one. If we have no plan or thought on how we want to grow, how can we ensure that we head in the direction we want?
Next week, we will work on actually pruning that list down and turning those dreams into goals we can set for the year or the next few years.
Taking the challenge? Let everyone else know! Tweet it!
Photo courtesy of Lucidio Studio.