Be Inspired

Choosing to Thrive, Not Just Survive

May 13, 2020

It was twenty-three years ago that I put an ad in the classified section of the La Crosse Tribune announcing I was opening my studio, Misty Averill’s Dance Unlimited (yes, that’s actually what it’s called :).

There were no websites, cell phones, Google, email, or text marketing campaigns. It was just a two-inch classified ad inviting families to learn more about my new studio in Onalaska, along with a photo of me, taken by Bob Zettler of Design Photography in Onalaska, WI.

That’s it.

Since there was no Facebook to refresh for updated reactions, every day I sat on the steps of the duplex on the Northside where I lived with my dad, looking for the mailman to arrive. Waiting, waiting, waiting for that mail to come.

DAYS went by and no mail came. I went through the motions of the days stuck in the unknown, wondering.

Then one day, as I was rushing down the stairs to get to class at the University of Wisconsin La Crosse, I saw it! An envelope with my name on it that a DANCE PARENT had tucked into our back door. Inside was our first registration! 

I wept. I couldn’t help myself. I had big, fat tears of gratitude.

Last week I cried again when I saw that we got our first registration for our 23rd season of “More Than Just Great Dancing®” at MDU!

Tears of hope. Tears of thankfulness and joy.

I honestly hadn’t even recognized in myself how much I was holding my breath again, waiting for that sign of hope … just like I had been twenty-three years ago on those porch steps.

I realized at that moment, there are really two options for small businesses who are committed to getting through this crisis in our business lives: 

You can choose to survive, meaning you can eke by with the same mindset, same systems, same expectations as before.

Or you can choose to thrive, opening up MORE opportunities for innovation, community, service, and growth.

Either option entails the unknown. But choosing to thrive means everything is on the table; it means you can fix the broken things in your business, nurture the things that are flourishing, and develop resilience for the NEXT situation that will test your operations.

With that registration last week, I knew I could choose for MDU to thrive. It gave me the hope I needed to know that my instincts were right; that we CAN get through this, with adaptations to our business model, with the support of our community, and because of those who have confidence in our programs.

So THANK YOU to the teachers and parents who made it possible for us to open back in those early days, and THANK YOU to those who are making it possible for us to open our facility again now, whenever it is we can safely do so. Our building may be closed but the business is OPEN!

Choosing to thrive may not be the easy decision right now, for any kind of business, but the easy decisions are not always right, and the right decisions are not always easy. <3

My encouragement to you is this: If you ARE a small business owner, choose to thrive. Choose to view this time as an opportunity. If you KNOW a small business owner and you want them to be here when this is over, take a minute and pay forward some hope. Make a call, send a card, buy a gift card, hit their drive-through, or book a service for whenever they might open again.  Small business is half of our economy and 100% heart. 

We can all do more than survive. With each other, we can thrive!

Love, Misty

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