Be Inspired

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 days a year of shopping if we did!  At this mall, there was literally ANYTHING and EVERYTHING your heart could desire: high-end, low-end, and mid-end products and services, retail shops galore, restaurants dotting every corner, and on and on and on.

But Isabella and I had two things in mind for this outing: there was a shirt I needed to pick up at a specific store and we wanted to get our nails done. 


We had to turn our faces from all of the other awesomeness so we wouldn’t get distracted or tempted away from what we were there to do.  I’m sure we would enjoy some of the other offerings (and I’m also sure we’ll go back another time!) but at that moment, we JUST needed to focus on getting the shirt and then getting to the salon.

The initial overwhelm of arriving at the mall gave way to an intense focus, where Isabella and I looked at each other and agreed that we needed to stay on track!  It made me think about how I can apply this concept to my life.  I realized the application could really be twofold, for myself and for my studio.  

For example, right now at the studio we’re focused on our holiday shows.  Our attention is pretty much all there. When we get through these holiday shows, we’ll move right into the next thing.  I’m not thinking about rewriting the curriculum or re-evaluating our tuition structure or retraining staff because we are nose-to-the-grindstone on this main focus.  But if we tried to focus on it all at the same time, the overwhelm would persist and nothing would get done right.  

I think that, to that point, each of us has to dial into what’s most important for ourselves and our businesses at a specific time.  Using the mall analogy – we can’t afford to wander into the jewelry store when what we needed was a shirt!  

The other stuff is not going away of course, but you can choose to go for focus instead of succumbing to overwhelm.  The other things that need to get done can go on the shelf or in the vault so when you’re ready to pick them back up later, you know where to find them.  

And think about it this way: at our studios, we are a lot like this mall. 

We have ALL of these amazing offerings, but most parents don’t need everything and definitely not all at the same time.  They can very easily get overwhelmed!  There are choices for ballet, tap, jazz, teams, camps, private lessons, and on and on and on.  I think you can see where I’m going with this …

You and your team have to let your clientele know that it’s OK to pick and choose; that it’s OK to prioritize.  When they’re ready for the next thing, you’ll be there to walk them through those next steps. 

It’s SO easy to get distracted these days and wonder where our priorities went.  Our worlds as entrepreneurs are busier than ever with many moving parts.  But we have more control than we think!  If we work to contain the overwhelm and pursue focus, our rewards will be in the clarity and success of our work.  For me, that day with Isabella, the reward was my time with her.  That our shopping date was comfortable and relaxed, exactly the way I hoped it would be.

My questions to you now are this: what is the balance of overwhelm and focus that you’re faced with right now?  Where are you dialed in?  Or where do you NEED to dial in, and what can go on the shelf?

Asking yourself these questions can be the first step to gaining back some control.  I hope you’ll give yourself permission to prioritize … and celebrate the positive impact it brings!

Love, Misty

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