We had the good fortune of connecting with Pam Ray and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Pam, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
Achieving a work/life balance can be extremely tricky when you own your own business – and a customer service business in particular. It’s so easy to feel that the entire weight of the business rests on your shoulders – and, in a way, it does, as everything trickles down from the top. I truly had to learn the hard way the importance of the work/life balance, and it’s still something that requires awareness every day. A few things that have helped me:
Be consistently organized! Not only will your business run more smoothly, but you’ll be able to “let go” of your work life much easier when you know that you’ve left all the i’d dotted and t’s crossed until you return.
Delegate! When you’re starting out, this isn’t as easy to do, but, as time goes on, and you surround yourself with those you feel you can trust and who share your vision, allow them to take some of that load resting on your shoulders.
Listen to your body/mind/soul – really listen! It’s important to rest, restore, and refresh before you are exhausted, burnt out, and losing your passion, strength, and focus.
Believe that you deserve to ask for help! It is the sign of a confident, strong person to ask for assistance, ask to carry the load. Noone lives on an island, so believe that you deserve to create and live in a village!

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My dance journey began at the age of 6 and never stopped, but I can’t say that there weren’t times of doubt about the practicality and validity of my calling as a dance instructor. I never doubted my love for dance, choreography, or teaching, but there was a short time in my life, I questioned its importance. The longer I taught dance and witnessed the truly miraculous changes it can make in dancers’ lives, I lost all doubt and remain to this day absolutely convinced of the myriad of benefits of dance in all aspects of life – mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Countless dancers and their parents/guardians have shared with me throughout the years how dance has transformed their lives and left a lasting, positive impression on them. What I am most proud of is being able to share my gifts, talent, knowledge, and passion in bringing about this affirmative change in so many dancers’ lives.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
In truth, my favorite pastimes when I’m not teaching dance and running my business are a little less exciting – spending time with my sons, my fur babies, reading, watching mysteries, swimming, and relaxing, so my entertainment itinerary tends to follow the same mood! I have a family full of athletes, so Mavericks games (when they’re playing the Warriors!), Rangers games, and Cowboys games are a must when visiting the area! I also love Southlake Town Center in Southlake, Stonebriar Centre in Frisco, and NorthPark Center in Dallas, and downtown McKinney for shopping. Grapevine is the place to shop and stroll during the Christmas holidays.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My mom is definitely the unsung hero in my dance journey! I was 6 years old when my sister and I started dance. From that day on, our mom supported our dance journey every step of the way. She never complained – not once – as she taxied us to every class, rehearsal, and performance; sewed costumes; purchased dancewear, shoes, costumes; and never – not once – missed a performance. She has continued to provide us with calm, patient, loving, unconditional support, as we have dance throughout our lives. A career in the arts is generally considered risky at best and far from savvy, but our mom’s support never wavered as she taught us the importance of following our calling. She taught us that we could do whatever we put our minds to, and for that I am forever deeply grateful!

Website: www.dallaswestdance.com

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