I’m Jessica Donnelly Reed. I’m a professional dancer, podcaster, and coach.
As a dancer, I struggled with practice
I knew it was necessary, but I just couldn’t keep it up.
I spent years stuck in a “feast or famine” cycle.
I’d practice when I had a deadline (like an important show or video shoot), and then let it slide for days or weeks (or sometimes months!) at a time.
I felt terrible about not practicing, and feeling terrible made me want to avoid practicing.
It was a vicious cycle.
But now I consistently practice every morning.
(And I am NOT a morning person.)
I didn’t discover some magic source of willpower
In fact, willpower had almost nothing to do with it.
I didn’t gain extra hours in the day
Back then, I had a full-time day job as well as my dance business.
Instead, I got smart about how I practiced
You know that phrase “work smarter, not harder”?
That’s not how it works.
Practice takes effort. There’s no getting around that.
But there are dozens of things that make that work less likely to happen.
So I put on my engineer hat.
(I have a master’s degree in Ocean Engineering)
I started observing…
I noticed what took time away from practice.
I noticed what made me feel like not practicing.
Then I started optimizing…
I tweaked little things, like what time I ate breakfast.
I tweaked big things, like how I see the role of dance in my life.
I learned to work smarter so that I could work harder.
And it paid off in surprising ways
Besides making me a better dancer, practicing regularly created a ripple effect:
I felt more like a dancer
Like most artists, I struggle with impostor syndrome. But showing up to practice every day helped me worry less about being good enough, and focus on just doing the work.
I started practicing other things
After turning around my dance practice, I applied the same principles to create practices in other areas of my life.
I now have practice habits to help me with language learning, writing, running my business, fitness, and even keeping up with my laundry!
Now I help others make practice into a habit.
If I can do this, you can too.
Your life is different from mine, so your obstacles and tweaks will be different.
But the same process can get you there: observing, optimizing, and experimenting.
And you don’t have to do it alone.
I’ve helped over 200 people make their practice a consistent part of their lives.