Making Time for Big Dreams

If you’re anything like me, you might start a day full of energy, especially a day that’s been left mostly to your own devices. If you work a standard job, this might be a weekend day, or a day that you simply have free of meetings, and the ability to structure work accordingly. Or, you may be a freelancer, structuring everything about that day. You may, for instance, say to yourself as you’re lying in bed at the start of said day, “Gee, there are all of these things I am just going to KNOCK out today- I’m going to feel so accomplished, it’s going to be great!”.

Unfortunately, I find this often happens: you sit down at the computer, and slowly but surely, the little things start taking hold of your time. You spend a bit of time sending an email, which leads to another email, which leads to “this little to do item that will only take five minutes” which actually takes fifteen…throw in a “there’s nothing wrong with stopping what I’m doing to cook a healthy lunch”, a “unexpected phone call (work or personal)”, and suddenly, that entire chunk of morning is gone.

If you’ve never read the “Rocks, Pebbles, and Sand” story, I invite you all to do so here:

I’m referencing this idea, because I think it’s super applicable to all of the subcategories of life, and not just the big picture that is one’s life in general. Sure, the core of the story holds true- you should always make time for the things in life that really matter without sweating the small stuff. But even within the small, or medium stuff, there are tons and tons of subcategories. Take “career”.

Yes, sending the e-mail you need to send, updating some contact information, making a healthy lunch, and taking a business call are all great. They’re net positive tasks, and I’m not going to say otherwise. However, it’s so so so important to prioritize the ROCKS. If you really need to do some research to restructure an aspect of your business, or apply for a fellowship, or prepare several sides for an important audition, or actually work on choreography for a show in a 2-3 hour chunk, the e-mail simply has to wait. Make sure to leave room for those big action items- you’ll always be able to find time for the little ones somewhere!

Talk is Cheap- Take Action!

 The subtitle of this Blog post is “Look, I made a Hat!”.  I don’t throw around musical theater jokes too much in my writing, but sometimes, you have to honor yourself!

For those of you who know me personally, or who know me professionally, you know that I recently developed a new piece of non-profit programming for musical theater choreographers called The Choreography Lab. The Choreography Lab is a bi-monthly Salon that allows theatrical choreographers to present musical theater/ narrative choreography at any stage of development. The Salon hopes to help choreographers both develop their craft, and make connections with other directors, composers, and theater writers. The third Salon of the 2013-2014 season is taking place on March 18th, and I believe this is the one that will really be the first full expression of my concept.

I’m thrilled with the progress of the Salon on so many levels. For several years, I have believed that the New York musical theater community was missing a program like this, and I am very proud to be contributing something to the theater dance community that I believe will help other artists. However, on a personal level, I’m very proud that I took what I thought was a BIG IDEA, and made small steps month by month to shepherd this idea from a dream into reality. Instead of telling people “Gee, don’t you think it would be great if…”, or “I wish something like this existed…”, I now can say, “I created this program, because I saw a need and wanted to fill it”.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that talk is cheap. We all know people who say “when I write my novel”, or “when I choreograph an evening of choreography”, or “when I’m on Broadway”. Now, I know some of these things are out of our control (the Broadway thing, yeah, I know, there are a lot of factors that go into that one), but the novel? The evening of dance? The gallery showing? Those things need blood, sweat, and tears, but they don’t require luck-they require action. And, I will go out on a limb and say that even “The Broadway Thing” becomes A LOT more attainable with sustained action, as opposed to never ending talk.

This may sound silly, but I make a conscious effort not to talk about the things I “might” do. Sure, I talk about them with very close friends, or my family, and I write them down and ruminate on them, but I don’t talk about them with my colleagues or acquaintances. Because your reputation is only as good as your word. People will listen to the things you say, and they will notice if you follow through with your plans, or if you don’t.  And I think it’s pretty safe to say that we all want to be known as a person who takes consistent quiet action, and not as a person who blows a lot of hot air.