Pick only one. Focus on fewer things.
One of my dance teachers gave me advice at a social dance: “Pick only 1 thing to work on that night (or 1 per hour). At some point, stop working on it and just have fun.”
She wrote that thing down on a notecard so she would see it frequently that night.
This idea resonates with me — so what do I do?
… Pick 7 things to work on.
(Some Westie friends have to call me out on this. )
“THEY’RE ALL SO IMPORTANT!” my brain says about everything in life and in dance.
- projects to work on,
- bookmarks, saves, and notes,
- video & written post ideas,
- dance goals or techniques to work on, etc.
I now know that having “so many” things I’m working on equates to OVERWHELM and an INABILITY TO PRIORITIZE.
Very little progress is made on most of them.
There’s an unconscious fear of making a [wrong] choice.
Underneath is the lack of faith in myself, a distrust in my intuition, and a limited belief that I don’t have tenacity to withstand the outcome of the choice.
I’m being a people-pleaser to the monkey mind: I couldn’t -possibly- say no to all those things, could I?
Versus being assertive with oneself: “Yes, those are important, but I actually can’t do those right now because THIS ONE is really important to my heart and life – and gets my attention right now.”
Choosing only 1 thing forces me to consciously address each and assess their value and importance in my life — into a hierarchy of sorts.
Until I do that, I’m essentially ignoring that I may be spending more time and energy on things that are NOT that valuable or worthwhile.
Prioritizing doesn’t mean that other things aren’t important — it means they aren’t AS important RIGHT NOW.
The moment I prioritize that 1 (ish) thing, it is pulled OUT of the fog of indecision, vagueness, and overwhelm — and into the tangible realm that can be manipulated with curiosity, experimentation, and first-hand experience.
From there I can genuinely make progress on something, because I’m no longer overwhelmed with inaction — no longer facing 17 things today.
Just one. — Then I can move onto the next thing.
So I am striving to find the “one” or “the few” in dance and in life.
The “one” that…
- overshadows everything else.
- is heaviest and resisted the most – but I know is important.
- gets bumped to the next day on my to-do list, every friggen’ day.
- I know deep down will move my life forward in a big way.
- is most expansive to my body, mind, and soul — it brings me to life.
The one that if completed, would REDEEM the lack of progress on the other 17 things on my list.
For me, in life: sleep regularity.
This means DE-prioritizing eating well, working out, creating, journaling, reaching out to people, meditating.
Arguably all important things — but not AS important RIGHT NOW by comparison.
It’s the foundational, keystone priority that overshadows the others with the biggest payoff (at this moment in time).
In dance: be present to my partner and the music (i.e., don’t dance on autopilot).
This means DE-prioritizing footwork timing, flashy patterns, asking people to dance, learning new concepts.
The more I practice prioritizing, the better my decision making skills, intuition, and confidence gets.
And the larger the impact I can make in my life, my goals, and the connections I want to make.
One at a time.
Lessons and takeaways inspired by experiences at Indy Dance Explosion 2022.
Harmony Dance Studio (Portland, IN)