What they won't tell you about opening a studio


A few weeks ago I had the great pleasure of meeting up with someone who I hadn’t seen for a long time. She and I met when I was teaching a few years ago - we had connected then, but hadn’t seen each other since. I remember she was one of my favorite people to see in my early morning classes - as a new teacher, having a regular student felt incredibly special (it still does to be honest). We met up because she was doing a photo-journalism project around women going through a life transition. I, being in the position I’m currently in, felt I was the perfect candidate - my life, from my daily schedule, to my career, to my social life, to my whole internal world and more, is in complete flux. This studio, this unexpected joy of a project, has completely transformed my life. I feel like I’m in the middle of this personal tectonic shift - where everything I once was is being re-examined, and if it’s no longer worth while (old feelings, old ways of thinking, old habits and thought patterns and reactions) then it’s immediately tossed out. I’m not harboring any remorse or nostalgia, because I’m really too busy to dwell on what I’m letting go of. I have moments of shock, where I feel like I’ve survived a massively sharp turn at over 100 miles per hour, I take a deep breath, and then I keep going - because I have to. Because there’s a deadline. And it’s not just for me. 

I’ve never done this before. I’ve never created a business that’s a physical space for people to experience and have experiences in. I’ve never created something this big, with this many moving parts, many of those parts being people. I’ve never allowed my projects to get to this point of mobility, where they evolve on their own by their own will and the will of those who partake in it. And through the process of creating this thing, it’s hitting me over and over and over again on the head telling me that this isn’t mine - this studio is not for me. This studio, although born of my and my partners’ energy and vision and money and passion, is not ours. 

It’s yours. It’s for the students. It’s for the teachers. It’s for everybody that steps into the space - curious to find and try something new, curious about exploring something new in themselves, curious about their own possibility. This thing that I’m so immensely ecstatic to be a part of (I literally wake up vibrating with energy) is not mine at all - it’s just something I’m lucky enough to help bring into existence. And I’m lucky enough to be transforming and evolving and shape shifting through the process of it - not everyone gets to grow by means of things they deeply love. 

When I met with this old friend, I was feeling pretty overwhelmed. The to-do lists felt so long, so insanely long, and it felt so good to sit down and talk with someone who I appreciated so much - someone who was juggling the same kinds of feelings, confusions, doubts and fears as I was. Someone going through a similar tectonic shift. And it felt even better when that talk evolved into realizing there is so much potential - that we each have so much capacity to grow and envision and see and enact and create and fulfill in our lifetimes. That these shifts are really where it's at. We came to the point where we realized it’s all about allowing, because beyond the doubts and fears and dissolution and attempt to control, the answer is waiting. It will be there whether we’re ready for it or not.

Because the answer is usually not about you.

Our talk affirmed in me just how ready I am for this new phase, because really, it was going to happen anyway. Because through this process I’ve let go of control. Because the truth is this isn’t just about me - it’s actually barely about me, so why bother holding onto the wheel? This is just something I get to be a part of, something that’s completely and fully all for you.

They won't tell you this when you're starting your own studio, but it's true. Take a deep breath and just remember - it's not about you. 

written by Hollis

Hollis Maloney