Growing Pains

By DSOA Studio Growth Coach, Jane Grech.

As a child, you may have experienced a growth spurt, and found it to be a slightly unsettling time for you (or your parents, as they battle to keep you in shoes that fit!) I know from observing my students that when their bodies experience rapid growth, it’s often their bones that grow first, leaving their muscles stretched, tight and tense.

The once flexible child may now be having trouble maintaining their flexibility. It starts to negatively impact their performance, and often it causes physical pain too. It can be a difficult and challenging time for the dancer as they navigate the accompanying changes in their technique and negotiate how to move forward with their new circumstances.

Considering this, reflect on the growth of your dance studio. As the leader you are the back bone. You are investing in personal and professional growth. You are constantly learning and developing. With your new skills and knowledge you seek to push your studio to new heights. With this, your expectations of yourself, and that of others, increases.

What once satisfied you, is no longer enough.

You guide your studio through its infancy, its first steps, learning to walk, to skip, and soon hopefully, you want to watch it fly. As the bones, you forge ahead, seeing potential and are excited about the future you want to create. You sometimes fail to remember your muscles (that is generally your team) may be tight and tense as they struggle to keep up. The tension from the muscles can then translate as increased pressure on the bones, or the growth plate. That is, you.

Growth equals change, and change can be unsettling. Often causing feelings of stress, it is important to understand when leading, to allow people ample opportunity to be consulted, included and to see how and why any change or growth impacts them.

For the most part, you will find that the muscles (your team, your customers or your students) will catch up with the growth of the bones. They will share your excitement, your vision, and they will support and innovate to make it a reality. Together, you grow.

That said, know this. Not everyone will be willing or able to join you on the journey. Not everyone is going to share your visions or see the potential you see in them. Of course there are people that flatly dislike change, desperately wanting things to stay the same. You may experience a ‘digging in of heels’, a constant questioning or stubborn resistance to the change you seek. This causes your momentum to falter and you begin to question your decisions. These are growing pains.

We know that leadership is a relationship and not a position, and because of this, the realisation that some of your team may not have the desire to join you for the journey ahead can be sad. Their resistance or fear to innovate and adapt may be holding the business back, in the same way the tight muscles pull on a strong bone. At these times you must have the courage to release them from the business. Acknowledging and acting on these growing pains does not make them a bad person nor does it make you a bad leader. It feels personal, because human relationships ARE personal, and because of this it can be a time of pain, and even grief.

Growth is not comfortable, but in business it is necessary. Growing pains eventually pass, and with this, you are one step closer to watching your visions unfold and your studio soar.

Jane Grech is the author of Dance Studio Success as well as the owner of the Jane Grech Dance Centre in Adelaide. She is also a loving wife, mother of 3 gorgeous children and our DSOA resident expert when it comes to studio culture and leadership.

Join Jane and our vibrant community of Dance Studio Owners inside the Dance Studio Owners Association for exclusive training, coaching and resources to help you grow your studio and get your life back.





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