Hey there, dancers and welcome back to From The Top! Today we are touching on a subject that I truly enjoy discussing which is following your own path. Following your own path can be the scariest, yet the most advantageous thing you can ever do in your life. This goes especially when it comes to your personal life goals/choices and your career.The thing about life, you see, is that each person’s story is unique. What may be best for someone else in life may not be ideal for you and vice versa. And you know what? That’s okay. It is, however, very important to never settle and never pressure yourself to fit the picture perfect mold. Dance to the beat of your own drum and follow your own life’s path. Though it may be a little intimidating at times, it is honestly the most rewarding thing you can do. Trust me, I’m talking from experience here.
My plan as a child was to be a pediatrician. All the while I was going to dance classes twice a week and tendu-ing my little heart out in a pink leotard. And though I loved dancing with my entire soul, I thought being a doctor would be the most logical and safe career choice. I mean, I had all the academic requirements to take it into college one day. I was a science wiz (still don’t know how), I struggled with math a bit, but after a while I became a natural at that too. I was a hard worker, quick thinker with an assertive and caring personality. It all just screamed “Dr. Lexi Jenkins”. But simultaneously, while I was making the academic honor roll, I was coming to terms with something. Dancing was not a hobby for me. It wasn’t just something that I did every week as an extracurricular activity. It was my passion and had truly been so since I was three years old. I just couldn’t deny the fact that this is what I wanted to do for as long as I possibly could. Sure, being a doctor was a safe choice, but after a while, I didn’t care about what was considered “safe”. I decided that I would rather spend the rest of my life doing what I loved every day, rather than playing it safe and being unhappy. It was in that moment that I squared my shoulders and made a conscious decision to do what I knew was best for me, what was going to make me happy. From that moment, I made the decision to follow my own path.
Fast forward a couple of decades later, I attended and graduated college for dance education and studio management, I’m now a dance teacher to a lovely group of people that I have the joy of teaching every week, I’ve trained under people who I have admired so dearly, and I even started this little blog called “From The Top” where I get to share my career experiences with thousands of dancers, dance teachers and dance lovers all around the globe. I’m the happiest I have ever been in my entire life and none of that would have been possible if I didn’t dance to the beat of my own drum and follow my own path. Has it been easy? Not in the least. There have been both times of celebrations and times that I have laid across my bed and cried. But one thing is for sure, every last bit of this journey has been worth it. Even in the times where it may still be a little challenging, it’s still worth it. It always will be.
I say all of that to say this, to follow your own gut, go your own way and do what’s best for you is rather chilling. It’s filled with ups and downs. Exhilarating light and scary darknesses. Ecstatic yes’ and quite a few no’s. But even in the midst of the good times and the bad, you will be so happy that you chose the life that you know you were predestined to live. In parting, I want to leave you with these five quick tips that have helped me along the way and still do.
1) Figure out what you want and stick to it. Be flexible enough to handle any kind of bumps in the road, but always bounce back and stick to your goals.
2) Comparison is the root of all evil. Never compare your life, talent and ability to anyone else. Like…ever.
3) Be the loudest voice in your own head. Other’s negative opinions mean nothing, but your own positive opinion is everything.
4) Be willing to learn. None of us have everything figured out. Use every situation, both positive and negative, as a new opportunity to gain knowledge that will better equip you as you go along your journey.
5) No regrets. Everything happens for a reason.
I wish all nothing but the best, not only in you career, but in life. Thank you so much for hanging out with me today, and until we meet here again next week, take care and remember