The Deep End

I’m falling
In all the good times I find myself
Longing for change
And in the bad times I fear myself
I’m off the deep end, watch as I dive in
I’ll never meet the ground
Crash through the surface, where they can’t hurt us
We’re far from the shallow now

-Lady Gaga

 

A star is born.

And so is a fan, and not just any fan, but a super fan.
The kind we all desire as Creatives.
The fan who loves what you do, who GETS you, who purchases your work, and most importantly of all, tells EVERYONE about you.

They become your ambassador, and you didn’t even have to ask them.
They are doing it simply because they LOVE what you are doing.

This is the kind of fan, that when multiplied allows you to achieve the acclaim you desire, thrive in your art, and feel unlimited. They support your career.

You feel confident.
You feel Unstoppable.

So, I can hear you as you’re reading this saying,
Well, that Lady Gaga.  She’s a HUGE celebrity!  Of course she has super fans!  How does this apply to me, Nikol?
How can I find these super fans?

I’m glad you asked.

 

I’ve always admired Lady Gaga.  I’ve been at many parties and danced around the room to her hit songs, marveled at her costumes, but it wasn’t until recently that I really started to notice. Until recently, I never bought any of her music.

The change came when she decided to do a duets album with Tony Bennett.  I started to  SEE her, and hear her.  It wasn’t just electronic production in a studio.  I quickly heard this woman can really sing.

I was touched by her camaraderie with Tony Bennett and her innovation.  This wasn’t just about her little monsters…there was more underneath.

And then I saw her performance at the Superbowl two years ago and literally jumped out of my chair watching her sky dive from the top of the stadium, effortlessly landing on the stage and giving one of the most seamless performances I have ever seen.

She was fearless AND she was singing live.

Having sky dived myself and having 20 years of professional performing on stages across the world, I knew this was NO joke.

But it was last weekend that took me over into super fan.
And it was the song above that did it.

Lady Gaga is completely stripped down in this movie, doing full scenes with no makeup.  She plays Ally, a waitress in her 30’s who is completely frustrated with the music business.  She’s a brilliant singer songwriter, a knock out singer, and when she meets a rock star, he falls in love with her and ends up launching her career.

There is so much more to this movie, and I’ll leave you to experience it, but today, let’s stick with the mystery behind a super fan.

Not only does Lady Gaga give an incredible performance in this movie, but it’s raw,  real, and she wrote a ton of original songs for the film which she performs LIVE in the movie.

It’s not dubbed, it’s not sung by another singer because the lead actress can’t sing. There’s no bait and switch or cover up.

It’s her, singing HER words, and connecting to something we all feel very deeply.
Something I feel very deeply.

I’m off the deep end, watch as I dive in
I’ll never meet the ground
Crash through the surface, where they can’t hurt us
We’re far from the shallow now

We don’t have to look far these days to see how deep things are.  The news has been littered with devastating actions, especially towards women.

If I learned anything from my divorce and this journey to creating a new life, it’s that I spent a lifetime desperately trying to STAY in the shallow end.

I relied on my outward appearance to boost my career.
I tried to be perfect in everything I did so I wouldn’t be rejected.
I pushed my strong emotions aside, and told myself they didn’t matter.
I kept thinking it was the NEXT song, the NEXT show that would make me happy as an Artist.

And then it all fell apart.
And I dived in.

I dived into the deep end.

The deep end that was actually my LIFE, everything that had been calling for me to look at.  What I found there was shocking, surprising, painful, and also miraculous.

I started writing again.
I found work I loved.
I found you, my brilliant.
And I met the love of my life.

This didn’t happen in the shallow.
It happened in the deep end.
It happened in ME stripping myself down, being vulnerable, taking off the years and years of stage makeup and just stepping forward, and saying,
This is me.

I had thought for years I would be rejected if I did this.

And I was wrong.

I became a super fan of Lady Gaga because I saw myself in her.  I was deeply inspired.  There was no smoke and mirrors.

And this is true for you too.

Your audience is STARVING for connection.
Your audience is starving for truth, honesty, and authenticity.

There is only one of you, so trust that.  It can be so easy, and I did this for YEARS as a performer, to try and do what everyone else is doing.  But, your real power as an Artist comes from your authentic expression, not being a carbon copy.

As a society we are far from the shallow.  Every day is a new disappointment in the news, and as Artists, we have the power to enrich our audience’s lives.

You have the power to enrich your OWN life by being honest with yourself.

So, what does that look like?

If you knew you had this Unstoppable force within you, what would you do differently?
What could be possible?

 

A Star is Born is a smash hit.  It’s giving me hope, and I know I’m not the only super fan that has emerged from this film.  This stripped down, and very REAL performance is coming at a time when we need it.

 

On the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Lady Gaga said,

“I’m a survivor of sexual assault.  If someone is assaulted, or experiences trauma, there is science, the brain changes and literally what is does is take the trauma and it puts in in a box, and files it away and shuts it so that we can survive the pain.

But when she saw that Judge Kavanaugh was going to be put in the highest place of power in the judicial system of this country, she was triggered and the box opened.  And when the box opened, she was brave enough to share it with the world to protect this country.

 

We’re far from the shallow now.

So dive in.
The ground was an illusion anyway.
This is where we really create our most powerful work.

The Gift of Comparison

Have you ever looked at another creative and thought,

They sound better than me
They look better than me
They have got it all together, and I’m a mess!

How does that feel in your body?

Pretty awful, right?

I can remember showing up to dance auditions and dreading if I was put in the same group to dance as certain dancers.  There they would be, with their long legs, perfect bodies, and glowing confidence, and I would panic, thinking the choreographer would never look at me.

Even though I didn’t want to be feeding the voice in my head telling me how I DIDN’T measure up, I would spiral, and as a result have crappy auditions and performances.

Comparison.

UGH!

Comparison is a real issue because it keeps your nervous system in a state of fight or flight.  With every thought of,
this person is better than me
this person has something better than me

your whole nervous system is in fear, because you are constantly monitoring for what is unfavorable.

This is no way to live, my dear one.
And certainly no way to create our best or perform our best.

And this was proven to me time and again.

But there was something magical that happened when I did perform my best.
There was something completely different happening when the choreographer would gleefully hire me.

There’s a way to turn this around, because we ALL feel it. You are not alone, and I want to give you some powerful tools so comparison doesn’t take you out any longer.

 

So, let’s start with the moment of comparison.

You’re looking at someone else and thinking,
they have it and I don’t

If we stopped here, the result would be toxic.  But, let’s allow the comparison to actually point us towards what you DO want.

What is it EXACTLY this other Creative possesses?

Is it confidence?
Is it ease in front of their audience?
Is it a powerful presence in their performance?
Is it words that jump off the page?

Take the comparison as an opportunity to understand what you CRAVE.  And here’s the juicy part…now CLAIM it for yourself.

Give yourself PERMISSION to claim this.

Allow yourself to tap into all that is powerful in you.

For myself as a dancer, I used to marvel at the EASE of these other dancers.  They would remember the combination effortlessly and be able to really PERFORM, bringing themselves to the dance.  They stood out because they were relaxed.

So this was what I worked on. This is what I claimed, and the results were completely different.

Your desires are actually pointing you towards your aliveness, towards your unique light.  Let them REMIND you what you CAN have and embody.

Instead of bringing you down, comparison is actually pointing you towards what needs permission to thrive.
You truly have all you need….it’s all there inside you.

 

Comparison can also be our way of being terrified.  As Creatives and Performers, we can be terrified of being seen, of being magnetic to our audience.

So, comparison can be used as an unconscious way to stay small.

Small in our Art
Small in our words
Small in our actions

Standing in that audition room, looking at another redheaded dancer who has Broadway credits, I would think,
If she really is that good of a dancer, if she really is that talented, then who am I to chase my dreams? Who am I to stand in my worthiness and claim this moment?

Have you ever felt this?

I certainly did…….

Because it can be terrifying to fully FEEL your power as a Creative; to fully feel you are limitless.

SLOW down and ask,
Where am I hiding?
Where am I terrified?
Where am I giving myself an excuse?

And all from a place of empathy.  There is actually no problem here.  There is so much shame that gets put around comparison and jealousy and self deprecation. Finger pointing never works, but inquiry and curiosity does.

I’m here today to lovingly tell you, there’s nothing wrong with you.  You are not broken.  You’ve just been scared.

AND, you have the power to flip it.

When comparison arises, you can say,
I’m comparing!

Then USE it, slow down, and turn the light around.  Shine it within to gain clarity around what you truly WANT and where you are hiding.

 

So, take a moment right now, and write down what you are going to CLAIM starting today.
Use this to bring you back to empowerment.

 

Step out of the shadows.  Your light is brilliant.

 

 

Photography: Caitlin Cannon Photography