We watch dancers twirl, leap, and step gracefully onto the floor. They carry themselves with poise–and we can learn a lot from them about creating balance in our own lives. Many moms take a break from the office, but for CEO and business consultant Valeh Nazemoff, getting back into the workplace is just like stepping onto the dance floor.
Work-life balance isn’t easy. Just when you think you have it (somewhat) figured out, motherhood waltzes in and knocks you on your tush. But, you still want to kill it at work, want quality time with your baby, and want to get back in shape. How can you do it all? Valeh’s answer? Learn from the dance world!
Professional dancers know that they need to get their minds, as well as their bodies, to dance. Valeh says that dance releases happy hormones that generate the confidence and “can do” spirit needed to get through the sleepless nights and stresses of motherhood. Plus, it provides a boost of added energy and it’s fun.
Check out Valeh’s five tips to get your mind and body dancing, so you can achieve more at work, at home, and in your social life.
- Identify with a role model. Visualize a celebrity you admire who appears to be winning at life. Personally, I love Jennifer Lopez (aka J. Lo), who balances her work as an international performer, actress, fashion designer, producer and now showrunner of NBC’s World of Dance. Plus, she’s raising twins, dating (hi, A. Rod), and helps the community. Picture your idol successfully maneuvering through her day and try to channel her confidence and competence. In the world of dance, positive imagery and faking it until you make is key! In my latest book, The Dance of the Business Mind, I share positive thinking and visualization exercises which can help you recapture your mojo.
- Identify your resources. You might argue that J. Lo has unlimited funds and a huge support team or that the mom at the desk next to you has a supportive husband. This may all be true, but you have more resources than you realize. Stop rationalizing, and start taking stock. Balance IS possible, you just need to make some adjustments. First, acknowledge where you are, then accept it (this is the hardest part for many). Next, identify exactly where your time goes each day, hour by hour. What silly details are hogging your precious time and how can you dance around them? Little time wins add up to more time for YOU. If you argue that you don’t have time to put on a dance work-out on YouTube, think again. Celebrity trainer, exercise physiologist, and nutritionist, Shawn Rene Zimmerman explains that “by yielding to the creative side we actually restore balance in the brain,” she says. “This allows access to the mind-body connection to achieve your desired goal. This part of the brain automatically steers you to your goal.”
- Drop and adjust. Now that you know where your time goes, write down your primary goal. It could be a career goal which requires more confidence, or a health goal which requires you to get in shape. Now, look at your weekly commitments. Let’s say you spend 2 hours grocery shopping each week. Find a way to “drop and adjust.” Work smarter, not harder. For example, try online grocery shopping / delivery, and use that “found” time for YOU. Figure out how to better use technology to stay in sync with your crew, be more productive and collaborative at work, and connect with resources that can help you reclaim more of your life to do what YOU want to do.
- Take action. Don’t tiptoe towards your goals, jump in, and adjust as necessary. For example, I have a very busy schedule but I know I need to take time to move my body since I sit behind a desk all day. So, I commit to go social dancing with my friends every two weeks – we socialize, move, laugh and have fun, which feeds the soul and carries over into the rest of my week, no matter how mundane! You can’t frown and dance at the same time. I connect with the good feeling it gives me and which keeps me motivated to carve out time to feel that way again. As professional ballroom dance coach and expectant mom, Yana Mazhnikova, shares, “Dancing creates a happy environment and surrounds you with happy and supportive people who push you to do better and help you to reach your goals.”
- Celebrate mini-milestones. As you near your goal, make a practice of noting your achievements and positive experiences throughout the day or week, thereby releasing serotonin in your brain. Serotonin is an “I feel good” hormone that contributes to well-being and happiness. That feel-good feeling is addictive and will motivate you to spend your time more strategically so you can incorporate more feel-good activities into your days. A shortcut to increased serotonin levels? Dancing!
I know, it may be hard to picture yourself dancing through life right now. But, I promise, by implementing these tips (and adding time into your day to bust a move), you’ll create more balance in your life and be a better mama for it. When we become balanced, not only do we keep our drive to achieve, but we can be happy about what we have as well.
Valeh Nazemoff is author of The Dance of the Business Mind, Executive Vice President and Co-Owner of Acolyst—a high-level data management and business performance consulting services firm—and a leadership coach.