Rising to the Top

Do you feel like the “good guy” finishing last in your Art?
Do you watch others rise to the top, achieving stardom, who are essentially egomaniacs?

Why do THEY succeed, and you feel like you are barely being noticed?

You come to your Art from the deepest part of you, desiring to evoke change and emotion.  You want to make a difference in this crazy world, amongst so much current turmoil and pain.

Meanwhile the latest Transformers movie is raking in millions of dollars.
A song about killing and violence is top of the charts
Shady Artists are getting the record contract, movie deal, and gallery opening….

And it can be really easy to start going down the rabbit hole of,
Is this the ONLY way to make it today?
Is this what it takes to stand out from the crowd?

How do you stay in integrity with your Heart, and actually receive the acclaim you desire?

Are these two mutually exclusive?

It certainly can feel like that……

 

This week I watched a dear friend and colleague suffer.  She entered a contest where she created results that were astronomical.  She came to this contest with a pure heart, and pure intentions.

But her competition used bribery.
Her competition used dirty tactics.

And her competition won.

I found myself re-living so many moments of absolute frustration from my performance career.  I watched fellow performers rise to Broadway stardom, and behind the scene they were ungrateful, complaining, and in some extreme cases, were abusive.

I remembered a dancer who joined the Evita National Tour who showed up drunk and high for work.
I remembered a middle aged character man who sexually harassed several chorus women in my show, at a very highly respected regional theatre, and WASN’T fired.

How did we get there at the same time?

Did it matter WHO I was being, and HOW I showed up?

I found this week really coming into contact with a very strong need,
INTEGRITY

And I began to remember several other stories of success,

The Broadway star who welcomed me to his dressing room and posed for a silly picture.
The Acclaimed Director who shared stories of her children and gave me freedom to play in rehearsal.
The TV/Film star who shared his story with my whole tribe, offering free teaching and mentoring.

And I remembered sitting in a healing circle five years ago, my hands shaking as I wept, sharing my own story of shame and vulnerability and being shocked to the core when in this state, something truly special happened….

I wasn’t rejected. The group moved closer. And I experienced what I had been WANTING to experience all along,

CONNECTION.

I let the walls come down, and realized there had been a part of me I had kept hidden.  I kept it hidden behind blame, complaining, and comparison.

And I had a complete resurgence of my performance career.

The biggest difference?
HOW I FELT.

Tapping into this allowed me to build a whole new life from scratch, and build a business.  It allowed me to become the decision maker after years of feeling like my career and Art were completely out of my control. I wasn’t asking permission from the casting directors, or agents……I realized I actually had the power all along.  It took letting down the walls to see this.

I came into contact with HOW I wanted to succeed.

HOW I wanted to show up.

I was clear I wanted to affirm not only my life, but the lives of every Artist out there, as many as I could reach and touch.

It became clear I wanted to affirm you.

 

Indeed, there are going to be Artists out there who rise to the top without integrity.

But my question will always be, for how long?
Is that sustainable?

Our industry is filled with suicides, addiction, and misplaced obsessions.  There are so many Artists who have no idea who they are, they are so busy chasing an image or an idea….which is why they suffer so deeply and after a quick flame, burn out fast.

So, the power lies with YOU.

WHO do you want to be?
HOW do you want to show up?

Turns out, you don’t have to rise to the top one way.

You can rise in a way that affirms life FOR you and FOR your audience.

Take a moment, and ask yourself deeply,
What does SUCCESS mean for me?

 

Now create and connect to that every day.

Surround yourself with evidence and give yourself the support you need. We were never meant to do this alone.

You can create Art that rises to the top, and do this in a way that feels good; free, joyous, and full of connection.

Clarify how you want to show up, and watch your audience roll in.

I see your light, and it’s brilliant.

 

Photography: Caitlin Cannon Photography

Tightening the Screws

Do you have something that’s been NAGGING you for a long time in your Art?

Do you feel like you are fixing the same things over and over again?

It can be so frustrating, especially when you feel like your attempts are all for nothing.

Whatever hasn’t been working can start to feel:
BROKEN.

And that can be so disheartening when your work is so heart-based, and comes from the deepest part of you.

And honestly, there are only so many hours in a day!

You want to put your focus where you are going to see the greatest return, and yet the same things seem to be plaguing you,

A broken link on your website
Low sales for your Art or events
Miscommunications with your collaborators
Equipment going on the fritz
Low social media engagement

Sometimes, it can feel like you have duck tape holding your Art career and business together.

Because, really you want to be spending your time CREATING.

That’s the joy, right?

So, why do these annoying small things keep distracting you, and taking you off creating your most powerful work and creating raving fans?

Couldn’t they just be permanently FIXED?

 

I’m a big fan of my drying rack.

I have a lot of dance and yoga clothes that are very happy hanging to dry instead of being burned to death in the NYC economy size dryers at my local laundromat.

When I moved into my sanctuary in Astoria after my divorce, I was actually really excited to buy a new drying rack.  This one was more sturdy, it had solid bars, and was a far cry from the rickety wooden one I had had, when I was married.

But, as this drying rack was used every week, it started to weaken.

And soon, I was finding the rack wobble, and the bars coming loose.  I felt like I was spending half my time just trying to put it together every week, and picking up random pieces that were falling off.

It was so frustrating!  The rack would fall over, and stand at this odd angle……I honestly spent more time just trying to find something to lean it against.

As I knew I was moving, I just assumed,
Well…..I just need it to last a few more months and I will get a new one when I move to NJ in Feb.

And then, two weeks ago, right as I was picking up a screw for the hundredth time from the floor, a NEW thought popped in,
Maybe I just need to tighten the screws on the rack.

I grabbed a phillips head and tightened one screw….and then another, and then another.  In fact EVERY screw needed to be tightened.

Five minutes later, I opened the rack and realized it was sturdy
It was solid.

In fact, it was as solid as the first day I bought it.

And all I had to do was take 5 minutes and tighten the screws.

It was that simple.

 

So, what is that thing that is nagging you in your Art?

What have you been putting duck tape on, doing the “quick fix” for MONTHS or YEARS thinking it will actually get better?

Is it your:
Organization
Pricing
Social Media
Website
Marketing
Scheduling
Cash Flow

Limiting Mindset?

Whatever it is, you know it, because it keeps coming up.

I was so intent on picking up the screws and believing my rack was broken, I wasn’t seeing the answer right in front of my eyes.

My focus was on the wrong place.

And this can plague us in our Art.
It can plague us as we are trying to build a raving fan base.

We can waste AGES on the quick fix, instead of taking the action that will actually give us solid footing, and allow us to use our energy where we want,
ON OUR CRAFT.

And when we waste our time, we really do believe things are broken, when this just isn’t the case. We can feel wobbly and unsure.

We’ve become blind to the solution.

But, if you took a moment and got really quiet, ask yourself,
What needs tightening?

What have you been resisting doing?

The answer is simpler than you think, and will save you hours and days in the long run.

Place your focus on what is going to actually FIX your solution, instead of running after the endless dropping screws.

 

Stop using the duck tape, and reach out for the help that will give you lasting change and growth in your Art.

Narrow in on that area that needs the most help, and make 2018 the year you truly become Unstoppable.

This is your life, and your work matters.

 

 

Photography by: Caitlin Cannon Photography