Ten years ago, when I kept an office chair warm in corporate America, it wasn't all dreariness and spreadsheets. One day, while I was sleeping through a project management seminar, I was woken up by one of the most valuable pieces of advice I ever received.
Nothing Important Happens In The Office.
And it's so true. Nothing important happens in front of a computer screen. Or hunched over a smartphone, typing out Instagram posts. The only way you can move your ideas forward is if get outside. You have to put yourself in the places where you have an outside chance or even a home run chance of meeting the right people. Or meeting people who know the right people. You get my drift. Nothing important happens in the office.
Which is why, every so often, I get out of Dodge and land myself in a place where I can get fed creatively, meet the people who are getting the shit done, observe trends and generally get lifted.
Last weekend, I had the opportunity to visit Oberlin Dance Commons in San Francisco. If you've never been, it's a temple, a Garden of Eden, a Willy Wonka Factory of Dance. It features two buildings, 200 classes a week, a professional company, a theater, hardwood floored studios (more about that later), a robust adult and kids program with over 20 dance styles, it's unlike anything I've ever experienced. I was particularly interested in visiting and taking class there for a few days because ODC features a number of percussive, vernacular and world dance styles - tap, flamenco, Afro-Cuban, African, Samba, Jazz Blues....as well as one of the most virtuosic tap dance teachers in the world, Sam Weber.
And because they feature so many percussive dance styles and a good number of classes a week, the complex has several maple hardwood floors. HEAVEN!
After a few days of coming and going in the many studio spaces, I came away inspired, motivated and humbled.
It's not just having a maple hardwood floor, it's creating the right space, the right vibe, the right culture and mission that will attract the people who want to learn, thrive and build right along with you. It's about cultivating an environment where things can grow, where ideas spread.
I have a lot of work to do to keep building the studio space(s) of my dreams, to live up to my goal of "the best floor in town." But after seeing ODC, it's all achievable.
And if there was a way I could teleport Sam Weber back to Philly with me every so often, I sure would!