My younger daughter is a ballerina. If you are picturing a small girl wearing pink with her hair in a bun, you’re only half way there.  Add to that picture 10 banged up toes, 5 days/week of practice, regular stretching at home, shoes that last 4 weeks or less, and a constant focus on tiny details and you’re getting close.

Watching her over the years has taught me three things about ballet that have direct application to the business world.

Attention to detail

To the untrained eye, there may be no difference between one ballerina and another. They spin, they leap, they smile. Spend a little time in the world of ballet, however, and you will begin to see the subtleties that make all the difference. Hand position, angles, and lines make one ballerina stand out from the rest. There can only be one prima ballerina in a company and she must stand out above all the rest.

In business, you need to stand out from all of your competitors. This is where attention to detail matters. Details make one business look professional while another languishes. Details can make the difference between execution and excuses. Determine the details that matter in your field and nail them if you want to stand out.

Effortless execution

Ballet is incredibly difficult. Quads burning, heart pounding, sweaty exhaustion is what ballerinas live in. But you never see that on stage. On stage, the ballerina must make it look effortless. She must perform through the pain with a smile on her face. That’s part of the magic of ballet.

In business, you must hustle constantly to get ahead, but nobody wants to hear you whine about how hard it is. Complaining about your work will make you less credible. People are less impressed with your stories of hard work and more impressed with what you have done. Work hard and make it look effortless.

Constant improvement

Ballerinas are constantly working to improve. They must stretch and strengthen regularly, while constantly training with the best teachers they can find in order to have a chance at the next opportunity that comes along.

To truly succeed in business, you must constantly improve. Some professions have requirements for continuing education. While this is a good first step, you can’t mistake education for improvement. All improvement is education, but not all education leads to improvement (more on this in a future blog post). And it is no longer enough to merely work on your craft. You need to improve your marketing as well. The world of digital marketing is vast and constantly changing. Are you stuck in old ways of marketing your business? Maybe that’s a good place to start.

So the next time you happen to see a ballerina, remember that attention to detail, effortless execution and constant improvement are her goals. Perhaps they should be yours as well.