June 15, 2010

It pays to delegate...or lessons in letting go.

I am a woman of too many ideas, too many inspirations and too much innovation for my own good.  If I had a job that required nothing more of me than to listen to some problem/issue/obstacle and then brainstorm for ideas to solve it/resolve it/or move on...I am your gal.  The downside of all of this can be a lack of momentum, a lack of focus and too many projects to juggle.  I recently met a woman who described herself as "compulsively creative" and that term resonated with me as well.  So here I am Internet; confessing to this compulsion.  "Hi, I'm Najla and I'm a compulsive creative."  

There is a section in The Artist's Way that discusses how you can literally die from boredom because creativity is oxygen for our souls.  Julia Cameron, the author, notes that cutting off our creativity makes us savage and we react like we are being choked.  I have felt that rage, in my work, in my dance relationships and in my personal life as well.  But, recognizing the need to create is just one part of the solution.  The next part is paring down, focusing and really nurturing the creative projects that keep you inspired.

So, this last year has been an exercise in paring down, and cutting back on events (and relationships) that either hold me back, drain me of energy or resources or interfere with my need to create.  On the one hand, setting those boundaries has been tremendously liberating and on the other hand...quite humbling.  Humbling because it has forced me to acknowledge the areas of my life that I cannot possibly manage given other obligations.  For some dancers, their 'day-time' job is a placeholder, a way to help pay rent or get insurance or just maintain a steady flow of income.  For me, my day job is a major career with responsibilities that require a commitment of my time and energy.  And, as much as I love teaching and dancing, this will never be the majority of my livelihood. 

Not that I am less serious about the dancing and teaching, I just simply want to acknowledge the hierarchy of my responsibilities.   I consider myself a professional dancer and teacher, I keep business records, pay taxes and set lesson plans and business goals.  But I cannot do this all myself.  What I can do is take inspiration from Kramer on Seinfield and recruit interns.  And in an ideal world (probably not Kramer's), both the employer and the intern benefit from the relationship.  One person gets their needed assistance and support and the other one has a chance to expand their knowledge base, make new contacts and build their skill set.

I may not be Kramerica Industries, but this year I've expanded my support network. It began by partnering with a local dancer (and friend), Casey, to produce Mother-Daughter belly dance workshops.  She is talented, reliable, down to earth and easy to spend time with.  And, she just began monthly dance shows in North Austin.  So, the workshop serve us both...my need to teach...and her desire to promote and support her shows. 

And then this last week, I officially designated a Marketing Director for my classes, my dancing and my troupe.  Hmmm...and once again with a talented, reliable, down-to-earth, lovely lady, Krysta who happens to be one of my students as well!  Again, I think this is a mutually beneficial relationship.  She loves to work on marketing ideas, is so eager to learn more about the dance, and has such an engaging personality.  And for me, she can keep me on track!

So, maybe some lessons in life take longer to learn, but I am learning...and growing...and still creating.  But, my goal this year is to do it in a meaningful, focused, fashion!

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