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An Exponential Lift

November 28, 2022

There is an African proverb that says “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.” This couldn’t be more true in the business world, where teamwork and collaboration give us the strength to continually stretch ourselves with new ideas, adaptations, solutions, and innovations. Coaching and mentorship, too,…

Common Denominator – Youth Sports & Dance

November 14, 2022

You always hear me say, “Dance makes great kids.” And it’s true!  But as I have learned from my sons, youth sports make great kids too. It’s not that I didn’t know this before, it’s just that these days it is more and more clear to me how essential kids’ activities are. They all have…

The Vision Sisters

October 31, 2022

A couple of years ago, as the pandemic settled into all our lives, I opened an uplifting email in my (very full!) inbox. It was from my friend Terri Mangiaratti, fellow studio owner, who was reaching out to other women leaders in dance to form a powerhouse collaboration group.  Terri’s idea was to create an…

Redefining Accountability

October 17, 2022

Until recently, I thought of “accountability” as a process defined like this: Assigning responsibility for a task, project, or problem Making sure people follow through on milestones and goals  Teaching people how to own up to a mistake or a missed goal These are pretty traditional definitions, and they’re not wrong. But as a leader,…

Cognitive Flexibility

September 26, 2022

You’ve heard me talk before about how at any given moment, two opposite things can be true. In this fall season, it is clearer to me than ever that this is not only a common feeling, it is also a skill. In fact, it is a skill that can be intentionally developed. It’s called cognitive…

Weekly Training Solutions

September 12, 2022

At this point, you’ve probably heard me shouting from the rooftops about our newly launched professional development hub, Studio Training Solutions™. After more than two years in the making, it is BEYOND exciting to see this resource come to life! I’m so proud of how our team has curated the STS™ content, from free downloads,…

Developing Your Flexibility - Misty Minute

Developing Your Flexibility

August 29, 2022

As small business owners, we often feel like flexibility is just a footnote in the story of our lives. We allow our career responsibilities to dictate the calendar, prioritizing and accommodating everyone within our studios … but not ourselves.  Well, I’m here today to remind you to pump the brakes on this mindset! It may…

Misty Lown and her dad Paul posing for a photo

Lessons from Dad

August 15, 2022

This post is a bit different from the ones before it—partly because it is more personal, and partly because today I am forever changed. Just a few weeks ago, I unexpectedly lost my dad. He was Paul Averill, a father, husband, grandpa, uncle, and son. He was also a loved friend to others, an honorable…

Studio Training Solutions is officially LIVE

It’s Studio Training Solutions™ Launch Day!

July 18, 2022

IT’S TIME! Today, Tuesday, July 19th, is the launch day for Studio Training Solutions™! This is a day that’s been YEARS in the making! Studio Training Solutions™ is the culmination of a dream come true—a dream I had to build a hub of resources and connections to link arms and strengthen the dance industry. No…

A studio owner sitting on a mountain looking ahead

The High Ground

July 5, 2022

As I’ve been back to school working towards my PhD, there are moments in my studies that cause me to stop in my tracks. These mind-blowing “whoa” moments happen when a concept really hits home. I’ll be reading a scientific study, theory, or case study and suddenly I’ll recognize myself (or my businesses or my…

A woman sitting next to a tree, reflecting

Count Your Blessings

June 20, 2022

Preparing for a new dance season always carries a bit of magic. After the recital dust (I mean, glitter!) settles, you find yourself jumping at all the possibilities that await a new school year. It doesn’t take long for things to get busy all over again: you start gearing up for fall enrollment, summer camps,…

Misty Lown hugging another women in the dance industry

Gratitude for the Industry

June 6, 2022

This past dance season has been a gift to all studio owners—one unlike any other. With its incredible highs (and even with its challenges) this year has really shown us what we’re made of. Each year since 2020, I’ve seen remarkable changes in the dance world. Changes that I think were meant to happen so…

Think You Can’t? You Can!

May 25, 2022

I’m not sure when I got the idea that I wouldn’t be good at it … “it” being Quantitative Analysis, also known as statistics. This was a class I had to take last semester for my Ph.D. program. A class that, when I thought about having to take it, gave me a pit in my…

What’s Your Super Secret Skill?

May 9, 2022

Back in high school, I took almost every art class offered. Drawing, painting, sculpture—if it fit my schedule, I had to take it. Art became a hobby of mine and, it turned out, I actually had a knack for it. The piece pictured here is one that hangs in my house today; I think I…

Listen to Lead

April 25, 2022

Being a studio owner requires many skills—vision-casting, discernment, financial know-how, relationship-building, risk management—the list goes on. But one skill stands out to me as an underestimated asset: Listening. I believe that true, deliberate, active listening is often overlooked as a business advantage. I’ll admit there were times in my early days as a studio owner…

Small business owners, women entrepreneurs concept. Excited happy and relieved asian businesswoman winning, feeling triumph, fist pump and smiling amazed, celebrating victory or achievement.

Show Your Confidence

April 4, 2022

I’ve noticed that when I’m coaching other studio owners, I’m often reminding them that confidence comes from all the pieces of their life. I’ll tell them, “Don’t forget… you always have permission to feel confident. You have permission to be proud of the things you accomplish in life, in and out of the studio.” It’s…

Change Capacity

March 22, 2022

“It is not the strongest of the species that will survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” I’m convinced that this quote from Charles Darwin could have been written about business. Survival is about innovation and pivots and leadership. And surviving leads to thriving! We know that businesses have had…

Carrying on Strong

March 7, 2022

As the U.S. approaches its two-year anniversary of the pandemic, in the face of much loss there is still much to be grateful for—especially the knowledge and tools we’ve gained for navigating this new season of life. Life isn’t the same of course, but we are beginning to see more touches of normalcy as the…

Building a Legacy

February 21, 2022

Whether you’ve been in business for one year or for decades, you are in the process of building a legacy—leaving the mark of your mission. This may be part of the reason you became an entrepreneur, because your impact would be that much greater, compounded exponentially by your studio. But legacies aren’t just made from…

Joy in All Circumstances

February 7, 2022

A friend of mine recently reached out to share some encouragement and at the end of his message he wrote, “Remember, peace of mind is a discipline.” I felt that sentence deep in my soul because yes, it can be easy to forget that peace of mind comes not solely from outward influences, but from…

Effortful Learning

January 24, 2022

As an avid reader, I often come across quotes that speak to my passion for leadership (and yes, I LOVE a good personal development book!). Recently a friend shared a passage from Brené Brown’s new book Atlas of the Heart, where she defines and discusses human emotions.  In one section she writes about “epistemic emotion—an…

The Impact of Mentorship

January 10, 2022

Did you know that January is National Mentoring Month? That’s right—although mentorship is an all-year-long activity, this month is one of awareness, encouragement, and celebration! I’ve written before about the many mentors in my life, like Deak Swanson, a local business leader, who made it possible for me to open the doors to Misty’s Dance…

The 12/31 Scorecard

December 27, 2021

At the beginning of the year, I set a goal to take four trips just for fun. No work. And…. I did it! I traveled to Florida in the spring, drove Route 66 in the summer, visited my mentor’s Colorado ranch in the summer, and visited a different part of Florida earlier this month. For…

Strengthening Student Evaluations

December 14, 2021

At my studio, we’re trying something new this year when it comes to communications with parents: personalized progress reports for every student. Yes, that means HUNDREDS of families will receive a customized evaluation through a new system we’ve adopted. It’s called VAL™. And it has the potential to change everything about how we see the…

Be Empowered with INSight™

November 29, 2021

When I was a young dancer, I LOVED getting my hands on a new magazine. You can probably imagine that I loved Dance Magazine, but in high school I also had a subscription to Car and Driver! I can distinctly remember how my heart would skip a beat when the newest issue was finally available.…

What We Have in Common

November 15, 2021

Like many of you, I heard the news about Afghanistan and immediately began wondering how I could help the refugees fleeing their home country. What must they be feeling? What were their top needs? I couldn’t help but think how overwhelming it must be to start over in a completely new place, especially for women…

Safety is the Foundation

November 1, 2021

In psychology, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is well-known and respected for its theory of how humans are motivated. Maslow puts needs such as air, water, food, shelter, and sleep at the foundation of the hierarchy. A no-brainer, really! And I bet it won’t surprise you that the next foundational step is SAFETY. Once those first…

Are You on the Right Path?

October 18, 2021

One time I was out biking with my son and we were NOT having an easy time. The trail we were following seemed, well, not well-kept or otherwise clear to follow. We were getting tangled in branches and weeds, bumping along as best we could, but it seemed inevitable that we could get lost or…

Doing Good in the Dance World

October 4, 2021

One of my FAVORITE things about partnering with industry vendors is learning about the ways they serve others—beyond the obvious. Revolution Dancewear, for example, recently became a Legacy Partner with us here at More Than Just Great Dancing!® and I’ve been thrilled to learn about how they are doing good in the dance world. One…

Mental Health is Health

September 22, 2021

Remember during the Tokyo Olympics, when there was a pretty big firestorm surrounding athletes’ mental health? Gymnast Simone Biles decided to step back from the team competition and it quickly became a buzzy talking point. That a world-renowned gymnast on the grandest stage there is would say, out loud, that she was prioritizing her mental…

Giving Back To The Community

September 7, 2021

I’ve said it before and I’ll proudly say it again: The dance industry TRULY has a special kind of ecosystem. Where else do you see so much support among suppliers or business owners sharing ideas at conferences or studios offering unique services in the community, even during the roller coaster of a global pandemic? When…

Off the Grind

August 24, 2021

Yes, you read that right: Off. The. Grind! Back in July I took some intentional time OFF from the hustle and grind of daily life. It was a bucket list trip: I drove Route 66 with my youngest son, Benji—and we had the time of our lives! You see, when I was little, my dad…

Preparing to Launch

August 10, 2021

The dance studio industry is in a unique position these days, poised to take advantage of a huge resurgence that’s expected in service businesses, in particular youth activities and the arts. But I think we will only be able to maximize that benefit if we work together—AND make thoughtful steps forward for our studios. Let…

This Work Matters

July 26, 2021

If you could name the most vital public health need facing our population, what would it be? Perhaps your answer would be preventing COVID-19, although in the U.S. the pandemic outlook is improving as the number of infections declines dramatically. The novel coronavirus remains a serious concern, yet its status as an emergency-level issue is…

A Legacy in Dance

July 13, 2021

Fellow business owners and friends, like many of you I recently received the news that a longtime pillar in our dance community closed its doors. At Misty’s Dance Unlimited, we had the privilege of doing business with Curtain Call for more than two decades—nearly half of its existence—and I was saddened to hear that it…

Investing in Your People

June 21, 2021

One of the most common challenges I hear from studio owners these days is about developing their employees. They wonder what steps they should take to raise up strong leaders, perhaps even to create a full leadership team. In their small businesses, these studio owners want to hire and nurture great talent and also get…

Paying it Forward, Part Two

June 7, 2021

It was about 24 years ago that a man named Deak Swanson handed me the keys to my first business lease. (I wrote about that journey and my gratitude for Deak here in this previous post about paying it forward!) That gesture had a tremendous impact on me and I always promised him I would…

Illustration of book cover

Pursuing a Pastime

May 17, 2021

The Oxford Dictionary defines “pastime” as “an activity that someone does regularly for enjoyment rather than work; a hobby.” I think for most of us, it’s safe to say that our pastime once was dancing! We showed up to classes each week, eager and excited, feeling the pure joy that dance brought into our lives.…

writing in a magazine

More INSight™ Coming Your Way!

April 26, 2021

You may have noticed that in the past year we have ramped up production of our publication, INSight™ Magazine including The Recovery Edition (summer 2020) and Start Strong (winter 2020-21). I thought it might be fun to answer a few frequently asked questions here about INSight™ as we gear up yet again for a new…

blog post photo

What Don’t You Know?

April 13, 2021

OK, so here’s a funny story: I have been driving the same car for five years. That’s five years’ worth of frigid—mostly downright arctic—winters. Just recently I figured out that this car has a HEATED STEERING WHEEL. What!? While my fingers can’t get those five years back, I am now officially basking in the glory…

It’s Always for the Kids

March 29, 2021

Back in February, I trained 500 studio owners, managers, and industry vendors at Studio Owner University®, an event we made virtual this year for safety. The virtual platform turned out to be even BETTER than I could have imagined. I swear you could feel the buzzing of the energy through the computer … or maybe…

The Human Spirit

March 15, 2021

In dance, the physical limitations we’re faced with these days are pretty incredible: Dancing in socially-distant groups, sometimes inside literal boxes taped on the floor; dancing with face coverings and only the eyes to connect with; dancing without partnering or other close contact. Suffice it to say, we’re on a new level of what “limitation”…

Susan Epstein’s Silver Lining

March 1, 2021

I’ve written before about my friend, dance industry leader Susan Epstein, and I’ve also written about the silver linings of today’s world. Today, I wanted to share with you a silver lining she recently shared with me… As you may remember, Susan is the Producing Director of Group Study at Gibney in New York City.…

Taking Care of Business

February 15, 2021

Self-care, understandably, has reached an outsize importance in a small business owner’s life. The past year demanded a LOT from us, and somewhere along the way we had to be called to action… for ourselves! We had to remember to stop and breathe and treat ourselves well, so that we could give and serve from…

What Are You Building Up?

January 29, 2021

You might remember that several months ago, I had a major surgery. Over the course of my recovery, with healing and the help of physical therapy, I went from a wheelchair to a recliner to a walker to walking … and FINALLY to actually teaching a dance class (I subbed for my daughter one night…

Power in Numbers

January 16, 2021

A few months ago, we conducted a survey of More Than Just Great Dancing!® affiliated studios regarding our Safer Studio™ guidelines. When they results came in, I was FLOORED … in a really good way. The statistics collected from this survey were uplifting to say the least! The numbers showed us that not only have…

Start Dreaming Again

January 2, 2021

Tell me if this story rings true: You wake up in the morning, ready to go, and charge ahead with your workday. You plow through phone calls, emails, and hard decisions and complicated leadership issues. And when you get home, you’re wiped out—possibly even a little snippy to your family. Your energy has been used…

It’s a Really Good Thing

December 12, 2020

There’s this game I invented called “It’s a Really Good Thing”. (OK, I call it a “game” but really it’s an exercise in focus and discipline and reflection and appreciation.) Here’s what I mean: I’ll say to myself, “It’s a really good thing THIS happened, because now we can do THAT.” For example,  IT WAS…

Gratitude for… Gratitude!

November 28, 2020

Last month, I walked into my office one day and saw a cream-colored mystery envelope with a gold ribbon on it. It was set apart in the middle of my otherwise jam-packed desk. Curious, I opened it, and inside was a handwritten letter of gratitude from a dancer who graduated from my studio in 2013.…

The Silver Lining of the Unknown

November 21, 2020

I think we can all agree that this year has had more unknowns and unpredictability than probably any other year we’ll experience in our lifetime! The virus that brought businesses and schools to a halt in March continues to cause ripples worldwide, leaving us wondering what’s next, with no guidebook or map—just our own resourcefulness,…

Dance Means More Than Ever

November 14, 2020

I’ve always said I believed in the transformative power of dance. It’s the concept my studio was built on over these past two-decades-plus. Dance has, for as long as I can remember, held this central place in my heart, my mind, and my work. Like many studio owners I know, my life was influenced by…

Why You Should Go For It

October 24, 2020

Earlier this year I set a goal for myself to run a 10K. For those of you who are unfamiliar with races like this, that’s around six miles or so … and a HUGE deal to me. You might remember that I took up running about two years ago. I’m not the fastest runner (nor…

Smiling, Unmasked

October 7, 2020

Last month I posted on social media to celebrate the launch of our new tech-enabled studios which can live-stream classes. It was a significant investment for our small business and so I was particularly appreciative of all the effort that went into it. We hired a company out of Chicago that specializes technology to come…

Kicking Off Season 23

September 23, 2020

Season 23 at MDU … I could have NEVER imagined what this year would look like! Now that we’ve gotten started with classes, I’ve had some time to reflect over the many changes we’ve implemented and what the future might hold. Looking around the studio and seeing our staff and students back in action, I…

Leading the Way with YPAD

September 9, 2020

I’ve shared before how proud to be at the helm of Youth Protection Advocates in Dance®, the organization founded by Leslie Scott Zanovitch. With a mission of educating dance professionals about keeping kids healthy and safe in dance, this cause is close to my heart! As the current leader of YPAD and a champion of…

More Than Just a Membership

August 27, 2020

When I began More Than Just Great Dancing!® almost 10 years ago, I knew that I wanted the community to be special—a group of like-minded studio owners who had the desire to be strong business leaders; who wanted to balance life and work and not be apologetic about making a living from their passion. Women…

Rallying Resilience

August 12, 2020

At the end of July, we held our annual Member Rally event for More Than Just Great Dancing!® … all virtual. It was like nothing I’d ever produced! Amazing doesn’t feel like a strong enough word. Pre-pandemic, we were supposed to hold the event in Nashville. But by April this year, I knew that even…

What if There’s a Third Option?

August 5, 2020

The past two weeks, I’ve been on more calls with our county and schools than I ever have before. With thousands of students who are served by our local schools, the challenges in this continuously changing situation are daunting, to say the least! But I’ve never seen a more earnest and professional effort at collaboration…

Today is my BIRTHDAY!

July 7, 2020

It’s on my favorite days of the year…not because it’s about me but because it’s a day I consistently give myself permission to really slow down, think about life, who I’m becoming, how I want to show up in this world and what I want to contribute.  Last year I spent the day giving free…

A Chance to Dance

June 24, 2020

When I was in middle school, my Grandma Marilyn helped my family by paying for my extra dance lessons. In high school, my dance teacher and some school teachers pitched in with special opportunities. And my college career was funded primarily by scholarships … and teaching dance. 🙂 I think it’s fair to say that…

Remembering to Have Fun

June 17, 2020

All right, fellow business owners, maybe you can relate to this …  Last week I had to REMEMBER to have fun. Yes, I actually had to tell myself, Hey, it’s OK to stop working for a hot mint and just hang out with the family🙂 It was my son Max’s birthday and we wanted to…

Perspectives in Dance

June 10, 2020

A couple weeks ago I posted a message on Facebook that I had to restart several times before I could come up with the words I wanted to say. I’m still not sure I got it right…or that there is a right way to process.  The post was a reflection on race … a response…

Recital Reimagined

June 3, 2020

Back in mid-March I sat with my head in my hands. We were in the middle of a “three week” school closure and I was watching dance competitions state by state “call it” as counties and cities around the countries lowered their assembly size limits. At Misty’s Dance Unlimited, we had already transitioned our classes…

To Overcome

May 27, 2020

When we had to shift plans for this year’s More Than Just Great Dancing® Member Rally to become an all-digital event, I knew that our keynote speaker would have to be someone who could be the ultimate inspiration. We needed someone who could tell a story of hope and survival, someone who could remind us…

Good for the Soul

May 19, 2020

If there is anything new I’ve learned this past week or so, it’s how much appreciation I have for PEOPLE.  Whether it’s online, seeing our students shine in their Virtual Recital Experience, or it’s in person, seeing their smiling faces waving from a distance during our MDU Car Parade, it’s the PEOPLE who make all…

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…

It Can Be Both

May 6, 2020

If there’s anything new I’ve learned this past week it is this: There is a paradox in our experiences right now; a duality of the difficult and the beautiful. I’m learning that we can be both sad and grateful at the same time. We can be both disappointed and hopeful, worried and confident. Whatever the…

The Power of Words

April 29, 2020

Last week when I walked into my office to work, I felt a little down. Here I was again. Alone.  It’s the way it needs to be but it didn’t tug at my heart any less. I know many of you know the feeling. Standing silent by the coffee pot, I noticed that even the…

Being Scrappy

April 22, 2020

One of my mentors, Dave Liniger, spoke to our More Than Just Great Dancing® members this week, and of all the wisdom he shared, this piece hit me hard. I mean like a kick in the pants and a kickstart to the heart:  He said to us, “Your resilience is being tested right now. You…

What’s in Your Control?

April 15, 2020

I have had moments during these past three weeks where I thought I could literally FEEL the worry crowding into my thoughts. One look at a press conference (or at the school closures) and it would feel like my brain was slowing down and my heart was being squeezed by stress.  I imagine you’ve probably…

The Quarter Mile

April 8, 2020

You might remember that last spring I took up running, and since then, I’ve run a handful of 5k races. These days, my favorite type of run to go on is the one that’s just two miles—for me, it’s just enough to clear my mind… and get me back in time to tackle crisis emails…

Light & Dark

March 26, 2020

There’s a forested area not far from my home, a former park, where I often take refuge when I need some quiet space to walk the dogs and calm my mind.  It’s a place I can walk through at any time, even at weird hours, and keep my social distance while still getting some exercise.…

The Definition of Faith

March 18, 2020

Friends and fellow studio owners, I wanted to share with you a revelation I had earlier this week about faith during hard times. No matter where you fall on the spirituality spectrum, I think we can all agree that right now is a time that requires FAITH. The definition of faith is this: “Being sure…

Honesty in Leadership

March 9, 2020

I recently attended a servant leadership seminar led by Jim Hunter, author of The Servant. It was an event funded by my mentor Dave Skogen, and offered free to the community—an opportunity I could not pass up, especially because Dave extended the invite! I think there were around 800 people at Viterbo University for the…

Inspired Artist: Susan Epstein

February 25, 2020

With a knack for making connections and a talent for business, my longtime friend Susan Epstein is making BIG things happen in the dance industry. For as long as I’ve known her, Susan has had a vision for the dance community that never fails to inspire me to want to do MORE! Let me explain.…

Love, Faith and Community

February 18, 2020

To say the past month has been busy would be a major understatement. From the usual beginning-of-the-year meetings and goal-setting to fine-tuning the preparations for our tenth Studio Owner University® (which just wrapped up), I’ve been shoulder-to-shoulder with my team working like crazy to make sure we’re serving our people with the highest-quality content. But…

2020 Vision Scholarships for Dance Educators

January 17, 2020

2020! Not just a new YEAR, a new DECADE! As most of you know I’ve dedicated my entire career to dance, first as a dance teacher, then as a dance studio owner, and now as a teacher to teachers and owners.  🙂 My journey in this industry hasn’t always been easy, but one thing has…

More Than a Dance Studio

December 30, 2019

For eight years, I stared out the windows of my previous studio space at an empty piece of land across the street. I saw something there. Like I could actually see it in my mind’s eye. Sometimes, I would walk around that land and pray about what I saw. I would draw it. I would…

Balancing the Work of Rest

December 4, 2019

A few weeks ago, Mitch and I took a trip to Italy to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary—it was AMAZING.  During that time, the folks on my team were absolute rockstars.  I was actually able to disconnect completely from work during that time, which is REALLY saying something! Taking that week off reminded me of…

Dance is for Every Body

November 25, 2019

This season of gratitude always makes me reflect on how thankful I am to get to live a life full of dance.  Dance is something I feel so blessed to have in my daily world, whether I’m at my own studio with our families, coaching fellow studio owners, keynote speaking at business events, or teaching…

Turning Overwhelm into Focus

November 6, 2019

Last week I was visiting my daughter Isabella in California and we decided to go out on a shopping date, as mothers and their college-age daughters will do. 🙂  We went to this indoor/outdoor mall, which is AMAZING in and of itself because we don’t have that in Wisconsin … we’d only have a few…

Feeding Hungry Kids with One Small Yes

October 23, 2019

Releasing my first book a few years ago was an intimidating process at first.  Getting everything written just the way I wanted it, then experiencing the PR behind the launch, followed by book signings and keynote presentations … the whole thing was intimidating and of course, VERY exciting! At the time, I didn’t think too…

Preparing to Launch

October 16, 2019

It’s been months in the making and we’re FINALLY preparing to launch the updated programs of Youth Protection Advocates in Dance! As many of you know, YPAD originated as the heartsong of Leslie Scott Zanovitch, its founder and long-time champion—and someone I now consider a forever friend. 🙂 Leslie created YPAD to uphold a high…

A Little Perspective on Parenting

September 25, 2019

My fellow business owners know this well: Life as an entrepreneur is full of sacrifices, learning, growth, and surprises.  It has high peaks like nothing else I’ve experienced and low valleys that I’m thankful to have climbed out of.  As a studio owner, there have been times where I know this life is THE perfect…

Getting Educated About SOU

September 11, 2019

Here at More Than Just Great Dancing®, we’re getting ready for our TENTH Studio Owner University®—WOW!  From February 3-5 in beautiful Austin, Texas, we’ll be hosting this unique university-styled training for studio owners.   If you haven’t heard of SOU before, or you’ve wondered what it’s about, here’s the scoop: SOU might just change your life…

The Extraordinary is in the Ordinary

September 5, 2019

Just a few short weeks ago, I dropped off my oldest child—my daughter Isabella—at college. College! It was much harder and more emotional than I could have expected. But it was also beautiful in ways I couldn’t have imagined. (And yes, I cried my face off. Right. Off.) The thoughts and feelings that have been…

Half Full or Half Empty?

August 26, 2019

We all know the expression about the proverbial glass being “half full” or “half empty.”  This phrase is usually indicated to show someone’s optimism or pessimism, and it seems to be widely accepted that people should, of course, always choose to see the glass as half full.   I recently had the realization that when it…

What I Want You to See

August 13, 2019

When I’m on the road coaching and speaking, I’m often asked, “How do you do it all?” It’s a question that always gives me pause, because I don’t do it all.  Not all by myself. People may see me and think I have some kind of secret system to accomplishing my goals or leading my…

The Phases of Business

July 23, 2019

Ah, summer! One of my FAVORITE things about this time of year is that it’s my peak time for coaching.  I get to see and teach my fellow studio owners throughout the next few weeks, over 9 days of live events for More Than Just Great Dancing® plus a 12-day speaking tour.  The busy travel…

Let’s Hear it for the Teachers

June 26, 2019

During a recent interview, I was asked who my dance heroes are.  It took me just a second to think about it because although there are many famous dancers I admire, I realized that my answer was actually much closer to home: Teachers.  Teachers are my dance heroes. They are the ones who make the…

Third Place, Second Home

June 12, 2019

Earlier this month, my daughter, Isabella, graduated from high school. (Did I really just type that sentence!?!?!) As you might have heard me mention before, Isabella’s high school journey has been anything but traditional.  Two years ago, at 16, she left home to live in Chicago (about four hours away) to study dance with her…

Running with the Pack

May 10, 2019

You might remember that over the past year, I decided to take up RUNNING. As in, purposeful fitness-driven running—not just running to meetings or events, or to pick up my kids! So a couple months ago, as the frozen ground began to thaw out, I signed up to do a 3K with my daughter, Isabella,…

Driving in the Red Zone

April 29, 2019

I was talking with a group of studio owners recently and the subject of “drive” came up, as in: “Is it OK to work all the time, to constantly drive your business?  Where do you draw the line at too much work?” This made me really stop and think.  First of all, because I LOVE…

Reflections & New Beginnings for YPAD

April 17, 2019

It was in 2015 when I first met Leslie Scott, the founder of Youth Protection Advocates in Dance (better known as YPAD). She had begun to take a powerful stance on the health and safety of dancers, bringing her passion for the topic out into the public beyond her own hip hop classes. I had…

Paying it Forward

April 2, 2019

As many of you probably know, it was over twenty years ago that a businessman named Deak Swanson took a chance on me and built my studio’s first building. Deak, who had a thriving construction company, had been the “Festmaster” of Oktoberfest in 1996, the year I was Miss La Crosse. As we rode together…

Snow Days

March 21, 2019

Here in Wisconsin, this winter has been BRUTAL at times.   I’m talking 40-50 degrees BELOW ZERO with the windchill. School closings. Studio closings. More school and studio closings. Snow, snow, and more snow. SO. MUCH. SNOW. If you live in an area that gets a lot of snow, you know EXACTLY what I mean…

Measuring the Miles

February 25, 2019

Last week, as I was driving my kids to their various activities, I had this overwhelming moment of gratefulness.   It happened when I drove past the studio and could see the cars parked in the lot and lights through the windows, with the shadows of people moving about. It was an ordinary moment, one…

The Email Edge

February 12, 2019

You might be surprised to learn that I don’t have email on my phone.  At all. I used to though, and I became a slave to it.   I would literally wake up in the morning and reach for my phone.  So within five minutes of the new day, I would be in reaction-mode to…

Throw Pillows vs. New Roof

February 4, 2019

One of my very favorite things about More Than Just Great Dancing® is that I get to spend time coaching fellow studio owners.   Working together one-on-one to strategize and problem-solve is one of the most rewarding things I get to do in my career! During a recent coaching session, a studio owner and I…

Handing Over the Reins

January 11, 2019

As you might have seen, I recently made a BIG announcement regarding NEW ownership of the 360 Dance Festival™ Mr. Richard Smith, a good friend of mine in the dance industry, is now officially leading this venture into its next chapter!   Richard’s background as a master teacher, event director, and artistic director makes him…