I was interviewed recently for the EntrepreWired podcast. I’m usually asked pretty much the same questions every time I do an interview like this, but Paul King asked me something I don’t often get asked.
“What did you take from being a dancer that you’ve applied to your business life?”
This is something I’ve thought about in the past, triggered by a relative telling me that my pursuit of a dance career was a waste of time. I’ve never seen that part of my life, or any part of my life as a waste of time. Every experience, good or bad, has added up to me being the person I am. I’m reasonably at peace with that person as I look towards turning 40 next year.
As I answered in the podcast however, dance training gave me something very specific, an ability that has had a huge impact in my life. When you train to dance, you train very hard at something you know you will not be all that good at for many years. Right through childhood I was focused on this future version of me. I learned that not everything is easy, not everything is a quick win.
I’ve never counted myself as being especially talented at anything. The one thing I have always had in my control however, is that I can work hard. I am willing to put in hard and consistent effort without expecting immediate results.
When bootstrapping a company quick wins are unlikely. We’ve had great success with Perch but it has been a slow process; it has involved a lot of work from both of us. I’m happy with that, because I know that lasting results usually come from sustained periods of effort.
I wouldn’t change my past for a second, because who I was then has had a direct impact in what I can do now. If you have a similar story of your past career influencing your present one, I’d love to know about it.