Ep 153 Transcript - Dr. Chelsea Pierotti

Ep 153 Transcript

[Motivational Intro Music]

Dr. Chelsea: Hi, it's Dr. Chelsea. Welcome to Passion for Dance. I know that summer is often the time of vacations and relaxing, but in the dance world, it's also time for intensives and summer camps and a whole lot of planning. If you're someone like me who loves a good planner, color codes everything, and enjoys mapping out your new year to come, I'm excited to share my planning process with you!

And if you are not a planner, I encourage you to stick around because if you're not a planner, consider this: just like we give ourselves labels in dance that are not helpful, when our dancers say things like, “I'm not a turner,” or “I can't do left,” saying to yourself, “I'm not a planner,” isn't helping you either. It may not come as naturally as it does for others, just like some dancers are more flexible and some dancers have an easier time learning to turn and find their balance, that doesn't mean you can't do it too. You can be a planner if you want to.

So if you want to see some growth in your dancers this next year, let's talk about the four-step planning process!

If you're interested in more insights and resources for dance educators, I have lots of them to download, and a great way to dip your toe in and explore more about this mental skills training is you can grab my free Practice Planner to work through these reflection questions, find your focus, and get planning. You'll find it at www.chelseapierotti.com/planner, or use the link in the show notes wherever you're listening now.


[Motivational Music]

Hi, I'm Dr. Chelsea, a former professional dancer and mental performance coach. I know what it feels like to be a passionate dance teacher who cares about your dancers, but you want to challenge them and help them be their best, and I also recognize that some traditions and teaching practices in the dance world are harmful. So I'm on a mission to change our dance industry by creating happier, more successful dancers using positive mental skills.

When you understand how to help your dancers with their confidence, how to find their own motivation, work together as a team and more, your dancers will unlock new levels of competitive success and happiness. And it's not just about them; you deserve the same. So we'll talk about how dance teachers can use positive mental skills to be more confident, resilient, and motivated as well.

Be sure to hit “subscribe” wherever you listen to podcasts. There are new episodes every Thursday, and each week you'll hear from me and my guests with advice and actionable tips for building mental toughness, covering topics about mindset, motivation, resilience, and building a community. Passion for Dance is a show designed to help dance educators like you have a positive impact on every dancer you teach.

[Motivational Music]


My Four-Step Planning Process – 2:36

Whether you are a studio teacher or a dance team coach, taking some time to sit down and map out your season may be just the thing that brings you more focused energy and growth next year. And I'm not really talking about planning out practices or lesson plans. I'm talking about the planning that comes before that. I mean starting with the big picture. So this is my four-step planning process before I even get into the nitty gritty details of my calendar.

Step One: Review – 3:04

Step one is to review. Before you even pull out that calendar, stop and reflect and take stock of the year you just had (the good and the bad). I really encourage you to journal the answers to a few questions and put your thoughts on paper. It forces you to organize those thoughts and slow down the process. I'm going to give you some questions here. If you want to, I have a free download for you to kind of take care of this for you. So, if you're listening in the car or somewhere where you can't pause and write down right now, just grab it at www.chelseapierotti.com/planner, and you'll have all the details from this episode, but here we go!

Consider these questions. Ask yourself:

  • What did I like most?
  • What did I not like that I do not want to do again?
  • What was my biggest lesson last year?
  • What am I grateful for?

We often get into a routine of the same types of classes, the same order of events, all the same traditions, without always evaluating why. Is this still serving us? Are we doing it just because we always have? Don't repeat your season on Groundhog Day without pausing to consider what should stay, what has really helped you and your dancers, and what should go.

After that initial reflection, I take a look at the few key measures of success that I defined in last year's goals. Usually, that's not a competitive outcome, but other goals like relationships and skill-based goals that I decided to focus on.

I was just talking with a coach the other day who said last year she really focused on team culture with her new team, and they really did that well, but she was telling me that she felt like she fell short in other areas because she was focused on cohesion and that she felt bad about it, and it was like the whole season was unsuccessful. And I had to pause. I was like, “But your focus was team culture. And it sounds like that was great!”

That's why goals and measures of success are important because it sounded to me like this coach had a great win of establishing team culture, but she was so focused on all the things that didn't get done or didn't seem to improve that it felt like a disappointment. So pause and reflect where you were successful last year, and if you had concrete goals from before, then how did you do?

Another important piece to this: there's no judgment if you didn't hit your goals. That's okay. As long as you were learning from the process about why you didn't quite get there, then that's a win. And here's another really important point: goals are not even actually about the outcome. You don't set goals for the outcome. You set goals because it's about the type of person you become when you learn to fight for those goals. And if you don't have concrete goals to look back on, then just keep going, and after you finish this process this year, you can do this part with even more effectiveness next year.

But the point is to take a minute to pause and truly reflect on the successes and the challenges and the good and the bad of the year that just ended.

The last part of my review process is to, then, choose my one word for the year. This is a pretty personal process for me, something I do in my business but also my personal life, and it drives my work. It actually isn't about my dancers. It's about me. And I encourage you to look at it the same way. Even though I don't coach anymore, it's still a huge part of my life, and if you're interested, you can hear all about my one-word process in Episode 43. It's a great way to bring kind of personal direction and focus before you start looking at what you want to do for your dancers.

Step Two: Pick a Focus – 6:45

Step two, then, is to pick a focus. Most dance educators that I talk to are lifelong learners. We're here because we love learning, we're always trying to grow. But that means that we often have more ideas that we want to tackle than we actually have time for.

I heard this really great sport analogy, and it's not a dance analogy but stick with me. It's actually a soccer ball analogy.

Imagine that you are on one goal line and you have ten soccer balls. Each soccer ball represents a goal or an idea or something that you want to achieve that year. So, imagine that you are trying to now get all ten of those soccer balls to the other net. So, you'll kick one for a little while; it gets a little further. Then you gotta go to the next one; it goes down. Now, that first one has stopped moving; you go back to it. You go to the third one. Well, now the first and second aren't moving. You can see that as you're jumping around between all of them, you're not actually making a lot of progress on any of them.

Instead, what's so much more effective is to pick one, two, and make sure your focus stays there. Then you'll get all the way to the next goal line.

So, in order to pick what that one soccer ball will be for you this year, start with a brain dump. What's going to be the big focus for you? Do you want to really focus in on team culture or technique or strength or creativity or leadership? Brain dump all those ideas you've had and things that you'd like to try. Just make a big list, and then look at that list and choose two (maybe three) to be the big areas of focus for you this year in dance. You can't do ten. And I know this part can be hard, but it's also extremely helpful to narrow your focus. You'll have a much bigger impact at the end of the year. Your one or two soccer-ball goals will make it, rather than getting halfway there with ten soccer balls next to you and none in the net.

Step Three: Dig Into Your Calendar – 8:41

Okay, now it's time to actually pull out that calendar. Step three is to actually dig into your calendar. I start with the big events, the things that I have dates for well in advance, that I know we will participate in: competitions, shows, community events, and maybe even school things like homecoming or graduation, spring break, anything that's relevant to your dancers. And if you are at a studio with multiple districts, you’ve got to try to put in as many of those important things as you can if you're going to try to schedule around them.

Then, before you start filling in your calendar any further, block out a few breaks for yourself. And I know that might seem weird, but we usually plan everything and then try to squeeze in a weekend getaway or a day off when we have a chance, but that's never. So instead, look at the big picture. Block some time now before you get into the details. Put in that family vacation. Block a long weekend where you're just going to stay home and have nothing to do. (Wouldn't that be amazing?) Notice a crazy time and block a Friday for a random day off if you can.

And, obviously, this will vary a lot depending on the level of control you have over your own calendar. But as much as you can, I strongly recommend that you do this part of looking at your own breaks and pauses during this big-picture phase rather than trying to squeeze it in at the end because we know there's never anything left.

Step Four: Dial In on Q1 – 10:08

And last but not least, step four: dial in on that first quarter. For some, Q1 might be the traditional kind of business first-quarter of January to March, but for many in the dance community, it's actually summer. For others, Q1 might be fall. It doesn't really matter where your year starts, but now that you have this big picture, get specific about that first quarter.

Develop SMART goals for the next few months based on those big things that you picked earlier. What are some specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-stamped goals that you want to achieve in the next few months? Laying out those tangible goals then allows me to go into the details of the calendar and make sure my big areas of focus are actually accounted for.

If I said team culture was a number-one priority, I'm going to make sure there's time in our practice schedule to work on that. If I said strength and conditioning was a big goal, I want to make sure there's a schedule set up and I use my resources for help if I need it and make sure the goal has a clear action plan before all the time gets sucked away.

You can also see why having ten of these doesn't work. You’ve got to stay narrow and focused, but it allows you the time to ensure it's happening. But only do Q1. Only do the next couple of months. It can be really overwhelming to get super detailed on the whole year, and as we know, things just change. So focus on just the next few months.

And then I revisit this step every three months and look at those big events and those big goals and then add in the details with specific daily schedules and even those weekly micro-goals. That process of stepping back to see the forest for the trees before you dig into the detail calendar will dramatically improve your chances for growth next year. So take control over your calendar before it takes control of you.

So this four-step process usually only takes about an hour or so, if you take out the one-word process (that's a whole separate thing). But really about an hour where I sit down and go through this, reviewing everything, journaling out some thoughts and ideas, picking my specific focus that I want to work on, putting all the big events into the calendar, making sure my own vacation or just downtime is accounted for, and then going into the details of that first quarter.

If you're interested in more insights you can grab my free practice planner to work through these reflection questions, find your focus and get planning. You'll find it at www.chelseapierotti.com/planner, or use the link in the show notes wherever you're listening now.

A sincere thank you for listening, and if you haven't yet, please hit that subscribe button to automatically get the newest episodes when they're released. And, as always, keep sharing your passion for dance with the world!


[Motivational Outro Music]

Thank you for listening to Passion for Dance! You can find all episode resources at www.chelseapierotti.com/podcast, and be sure to follow me on Instagram for more high-performance tips at @dr.chelsea.pierotti. This podcast is for passionate dance teachers and coaches who are ready to change the dance industry by creating happier, more successful dancers. I'm Dr. Chelsea and keep sharing your passion for dance with the world.

[Motivational Outro Music]

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