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Students stretch during a workshop at PoleCon.

How to maintain perspective when your pole world gets _________________ (insert somewhat negative adjective here)

The shortest version of my career history can be summed up as this: I left a very lucrative career with a fancy office and an impressive title to run my fitness pole dancing business full time. Woohoo! “Good for me,” you say. My life must be great. I probably have no troubles as I get to go in and work out all day long and do my dream job. Really, what problems could I possibly have?! Discouragement? What is that?! I take long (sometimes of the adult liquid variety) lunches with my pals and take long leisurely naps.

I almost can’t type this—I am giggling so hard. That is far from what life is like. In fact, when I get the flu, I work 40 hours a week. The rest of the time it’s more like 60+ hours per week. The work is never ending and there are great tasks that are pretty thankless…(one word: accounting).

Now let’s take a lot of hours, intense training, worrying about the financial end of things, and add in working with and training mostly women. (Let’s be honest, we can be a fickle and somewhat difficult sex). Let’s also add in the pole industry – which again can be somewhat –eh, let’s use the word “feisty” – and you have a recipe for burnout. Serious burnout. So how do you as an instructor, pole-business owner, performer, trainer- extraordinaire, deal? How do you recharge, regroup or even avoid all together that proverbial stonewall? How do you maintain perspective through the unavoidable rough days, pointless drama (see, ‘we as women can be fickle’ – mentioned above), and discouraging moments? Depending on the situation, find your quick guide below to putting things in perspective and getting yourself back on track of being your usual fierce and fabulous self.


Ok, this may seem like a no brainer. But seriously, take a deep breath. Sometimes we let the weight of the world rest on our shoulders – but nothing is that serious. Take a few short breaths in and out and allow the negative tension to leave your body. Whatever the problem is, you will work it out. This is not your first rodeo, so find a quiet place for 3 minutes, take a few deep breaths and return to the situation with a renewed energy directed at solving the problem.

This works for such simple problems as cattiness within the studio, (don’t even try and tell me this doesn’t happen at your studio, because I won’t believe you), to the more difficult problems of rent being due and you’re a little short.

Direct approach

So sometimes things can’t be solved with a deep breath. Sometimes we have to deal with something directly. That’s ok. It is necessary evil of running a business or class. Whether it is an issue within class or a business issue, the best way to approach this is head on. Take a few minutes, gather your thoughts – sometimes it is helpful to write them down as well as what you wish to accomplish – and then approach the situation/persons involved. Remember to speak calmly and clearly. Express your desired outcome, remove any negativity, and approach the situation with a positive outlook. Be willing to compromise where you can, and most of all LISTEN to the other side. It will make all of the difference in helping you keep perspective as well as reaching a desirable outcome.

Sounding Board

We all have that one friend. Whether they are from childhood or maybe college, this is usually someone who has known us through good times and bad. This is someone who probably knew us before we entered into our industry. This person is indispensible when you are facing any type of problem. Not only are they a great sounding board as you explain the issue, but they dispense invaluable advice. Additionally, they are great at giving us a little perspective about ourselves. Whether we are too hard on ourselves, or too easy, this friend is able to adjust that outlook without us getting offended.

Liquid Lunch aka Rest

Here is where that Sounding Board friend can come into play as well. Sometimes we need to just get out of the studio/office. Yes, I know you have bills to pay, choreography to work on, your own workout, the studio needs to be swept, etc., etc., etc.! However, when your body is craving a break, take it, even if it is just for a few hours! Go to lunch with friends, catch a movie in the middle of the afternoon, go to a concert – do something that does not involve pole. (Oh lord, the blasphemy!) But seriously, if you give yourself a break to clear your head and relax, you will come back to work ready to go and able to tackle whatever task you have with ease. Oh, and one more rule with this piece of advice – You are not allowed to think about pole while you are on this little field trip. No multi-tasking! Your only job is to rest and allow your mind to recharge. I promise, it will be worth it.

Change of scenery: Vacation

So maybe you need more than just a few hours of relaxation. (That is ok, by the way). This happens when we have been pushing so hard for so long without any type of break. Each of us has our limit, and usually our body knows when we have hit that limit. Vacation, in your mind, is not often feasible during the first year(s) of business. However, studies show that entrepreneurs and executives that take vacation or breaks throughout the year are actually more productive than those who go years without doing so. But the magic question is, from a practical standpoint, how do you do this? In the first years of my business, I would schedule one day off before a major holiday and one day after. That’s three days that students are usually away anyway, and you can take those three days and just relax. You don’t necessarily have to go anywhere, but if you do a staycation – no work! Your job during those few days is to relax and recharge. Another suggestion: find the slowest time of year and take a few days. For me, it has always been the end of August. Students are taking their last minute vacations, getting kids ready for school, etc. So take advantage of that time, and schedule yourself a break.

It is ok when you get tired, anxious, and a little burnt out. You are doing an amazing thing for so many women (and men) as you teach the art of pole and help them build strength both in body and confidence. That can be a lot on any person; so don’t be too hard on yourself! Take a breath and remember you are amazing and fabulous, but deserve a break too!

Sarah Jacoby
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