Applying "less, but better" in pursuit of more time for what really matters. And that means quitting Facebook to make better art.
I've been wanting to leave Facebook for years. Years. Facebook takes up too much time, it's addicting, and it's one more point of contact that I need to keep up with.
But for a dancer, it's a way to stay connected with dancers you met at workshops years ago. It's a place where you can find out about upcoming events, join in on conversations about hot topics, and build relationships with other dancers around the world.
And when you're a dance teacher, event producer, or studio owner, the usefulness of the platform multiplies. Facebook groups and events are a great way to get the word out without paying for ads.
But when I started using Facebook in the 2000's, I was only on Facebook. And when I started my business in 2011, I was using Facebook as our only social media platform.
But then I got on Instagram. And Twitter. And Pinterest. And TikTok. And of course, my business had an account on those, too.
And my business that started as me teaching a few dance classes soon added: More students. Additional teachers. Regular performances. Expected annual events. A trademarked dance format. The traveling-teaching schedule. An online dance studio with recorded classes. A four-phase dance teacher certification program.
All things I am very grateful for. But I just kept adding. I was learning to delegate, but not fast enough, and I barely had the time to manage those helping me.
I was fried, but I was determined to find a way to make things work. This business is my full-time job. But sustaining that is a tall order.
The obligation snowball took over my capacity for quality free time, and my physical and mental health found their way to the backburner.
And then, 2020 happened. The world shut down and I had to take what little energy I had left to make things work in new circumstances. This was another tall order, yet it was also an opportunity for change.
In May of 2020, I shut down my dance studio. I had a choice: Give up and be miserable about the fact that I had to shut down the part of my business that started it all, or use this as a chance to rebuild how I was working in my business and recover from inevitable burnout.
I picked up my copy of Essentialism by Greg McKeown. I bought it when it first came out in 2014 and didn't really like it. But six years later it just hit different.
Firstly, this illustration from the book was a simple yet great visualization for me: On the left, energy going in all directions but not very far vs. on the right, energy going in one direction and making the distance.
The energy bubble on the left was me for nearly a decade. Energy going into everything I'd started plus anything I would add along the way. It left me feeling like none of my artistic projects were getting anywhere near the love and attention that would make them satisfying.
But if I wanted to be the bubble on the right, that would mean I'd have figure out a priority and let go of the other projects. At least to a much greater extent than I had been.
The second thing that really stuck with me was “Weniger aber besser” from industrial designer Dieter Rams, which translates into "less but better". If I wanted the quality in my art that made it worth putting out into the world, I had to do less, but better.
And I was really at the point where I had to shift to this "Essentialist" way of thinking. I knew my mental and physical health were dependent on making a change in this direction. That being said, it's still not an easy shift since I'm up against a lifetime of saying "yes".
When it comes down to it: I'm not going to live forever and I want to spend my precious time doing the things that mean the most to me.
This might be a dramatic statement to make in the name of Facebook, but I have spent so many precious hours of the last 10+ years on this website. That's not to say there weren't benefits; there were many.
I was feeling like I didn't have a choice when it came to Facebook. I was on there because it was expected of me and my business.
But with only so much time and energy in a day, I want to deliberately choose where I spend it. That's time and energy that I can channel into the thing I've wanted as a primary focus since its inception: Fly Fusion. Time and energy I can spend resting, recharging, and taking better care of myself.
Because after all, isn't being a happier human being the reason we try and make businesses out of our art in the first place?
This isn't about quitting social media altogether, it's about being intentional about the things in my life. It's easy to keep downloading and engaging in apps when they're free. But they come at a different kind of cost: Time and attention.
After sorting through the pros and cons of different platforms, I ultimately decided that Fly and I would continue on Instagram with the occasional posts to YouTube and TikTok. And since the new Fly Fusion membership has live classes and a community feature that basically works like Facebook groups, I have more than enough ways to stay in touch with everyone.
I'm looking forward to spending more time on building my dance format, writing occasional long-form content on the blog, and sharing it via our newsletter.
Facebook has been both the most time-consuming and stress-inducing platform for me, which is why it didn't make the cut.
There are a few things I might miss about Facebook, but I didn't start my dance business to spend hours every week on social media. And when I take a moment to stop and think about it, I know what is most important.
We left Facebook on November 1st, 2021. The easiest way to stay in touch is by our newsletter :)