Ending the Setback Cycle

Have you struggled to come back from a setback in your career?
Has it taken WAY longer than you thought?

We deal with a LOT of rejection in the creative fields, and sometimes it can be really hard to pick ourselves back up.

In the face of the setback, it can feel like we will never return, and that is deeply discouraging.  You may feel injured.

And this setback may have been an illness, family emergency, a job or gig falling through….sometimes it can feel like we are climbing a mountain to be in that place we deeply want…which is everything FLOWING! 

I imagine you love what you do, so you want to actually enjoy the process!
Because, nothing beats that feeling, does it?

The pure JOY of creation, of being full time doing the work you know you are meant to do, expressing your heart and being cherished and adored by your audience!

I’m smiling just typing it.

So, what do you do when you are in the middle of the setback?
How do you get back into the flow and not let the setback take you out?

Last night was a really big night for me.

I went back to dance class for the first time in three months.  Right after the New Year, I strained a tendon in my right calf and hobbled out of Steps on Broadway barely able to put weight on my right leg.

It was very scary.

It was very scary because I’ve never injured my calf before.  I’ve been dancing my whole life and I think I’ve injured just about everything in my body…except the calf, so when it happened, I really tensed up.

My husband is an Occupational Therapist, and dove into incredible care.  He first said,
7 to 10 days

I thought,
Well..that’s not so bad!

And then those 7 to 10 days turned into weeks, and then those weeks turned into months.  I had to keep changing my expectations, and release my timelines, which was a huge challenge as I LOVE to dance.  In fact, dance is a an incredible stress relief and my main source of expression next to writing.

To not have it for three months felt like a part of me was cut off.

Have you ever felt this?

But during those three months, I kept asking for help.  My husband gave me a huge education on calf injuries, and I followed his guidance.  I first returned to movement with an incumbent bike, then yoga…lots of yoga.

And I kept checking in with my body.

I wanted to return to dance SO badly.  For three weeks, I would quietly sit and check in with my body, asking
Can I return to dance?

For weeks, the answer was a solid NO.
And then last week, the answer was mixed…almost like a 50/50.

And I noticed something was creeping in….fear OF returning.

I was feeling amazing on the yoga mat, had taken a month of classes with no tension and my body was saying I was ready to return.

Where was the joy?
Why was I feeling trepidation upon this return I had wanted so badly?

Even my husband, after massaging my calf, on Monday night said,
You’re ready

So, why was I feeling so scared?
I’ve come back from injuries time and time again…what was different here?

Have you ever felt this; the fear of returning after the setback?

Waiting to go into class last night, I was greeted by a friend I haven’t seen since the injury.  She smiled with joy to see me and said,
Take it easy

I stood in the back of the class, feeling vulnerable and foreign as I always stand in the front.  My dance teacher came up to me and gave me the deepest hug saying how happy she was to see me and also said,
Take it easy

And class began.

It was a whirlwind…..I found my mind was working overtime, managing my weight and checking in with my calf.  Warm up was ok, I opted out of leaps and pique turns, and started to actually feel some flow when we got to the combination.

My calf was tight, and my balance was off….and I walked out of class feeling a little shell shocked.

I was ok…but still feeling uneasy.
There wasn’t the relief I was hoping for, or the great release.

And it wasn’t until this morning I began to have some clarity.  I woke up feeling really good actually.  I had prepared myself that I would be VERY sore.  My husband iced my calf last night, and we both agreed I should take a day off of any exercise.

And then I put my leg down on the floor this morning upon waking, and it was a little tender…no searing pain….no incredible soreness.

Maybe I was better than I thought.

And my fear of returning began to open.

I’ve never injured my calf before and the recovery was a HUGE learning experience for me.  I felt like what I knew before with other injuries didn’t apply here.  So, even though I have returned to dance class from injuries MANY times, and known it’s always a process….this felt new.

More to the point, it felt unknown.
And that was scary.

I’ve injured my back a few times, so when I came back to class, I had experience to draw upon.
I’ve injured my ankles more times than I can count, so when I came back to class, I had experience to draw upon.

Where I was disconnected, was thinking the calf was different.

In fact, what applied WITH my ankles and back all applied WITH my calf.

The steps were the same.

* Get help from a professional who KNOWS the injury or setback
* Educate yourself on what will be most helpful to return
* Check in with your body, listen to those messages, not your limiting thoughts

And most importantly,
Take it easy upon your return.

In every career, there will be setbacks.

In fact, the most important work you can do FOR your career, is learn how to face them.

And it’s so vital that the setbacks are not swept under the rug.

Every year I take my clients through a powerful Wheel of Reflection and ask them to list their failures.  After that they then list their wisdom.

Wisdom doesn’t come when everything is going great.
We never question anything when things are going well.

It’s only when we are challenged, we question.
And when we question, we have an incredible opportunity to LEARN.

You have an opportunity to learn you are actually FAR better than you think.

You actually have all you need within you, and this setback is here to show you your strength and give you the opportunity to learn what you need to take your career TO the next level.

What if the setback is here FOR you to point your towards your inner strength?
What if it’s your purpose to stand strong?
What if your setback has a hidden gift you’ve been waiting for?

You are not alone, and there is a gift waiting for you.

Ask for help, educate yourself, and learn to connect with your whole body, not just your whirling mind.

Maybe you never left at all…..
Maybe this is just the next step on your glorious path.

Photography: Caitlin Cannon Photography

It’s Only Us

“So what if it’s us?
What if it’s us
And only us
And what came before won’t count anymore or matter?
Can we try that?

What if it’s you
And what if it’s me
And what if that’s all that we need it to be
And the rest of the world falls away?
What do you say?”

Two weeks ago I celebrated my 6 month wedding anniversary and the anniversary of our engagement.  We celebrated with a weekend in the city seeing two Broadway shows, and then last weekend went away to a very special Bed and Breakfast just over an hour away from us.

It was magical, and I found myself overcome with gratitude for my marriage, and for my husband…this miracle that entered into my life.

Miracle tends to be the word I use, because this union didn’t occur overnight.  It emerged out of a very painful divorce, and an earnest journey of four and a half years where many times I felt like I was banging my head against the wall and getting nowhere.

Have you ever felt like that?

After a 15 year marriage, I was completely disoriented.  I had to first understand,
how the HECK the divorce occurred in the first place
my role in everything falling apart
how to process the enormous anger that was pervading my days
WHY I had stayed in the marriage for so long trying to make it work

And then I had to understand and learn the most important piece,
What a healthy relationship actually looks and FEELS like.

Apparently, there were some huge gaps.

For years, I felt haunted by my patterns.

For me, it all came back to wanting to control the man, so I dated man after man that was unavailable.  It was devastating, because my biggest fear was I would end up marrying someone just like my first husband.  I would honestly think I was making progress, working with coaches, going online, being in therapy….and then after a few dates, I would have the HUGE realization….

Oh my GOD….he’s unavailable too.

It wasn’t until I learned how to be AVAILABLE myself that things turned around.  If I wasn’t in a control state, I was actually relaxed, so when I was in front of my dates, I just checked in to see if I was relaxed.  And if I wasn’t, and could feel myself reaching out and wanting him to be WAY different than he was, then I knew I was in my pattern and it was time to go.

And then I had my first date with my husband.
I had never been this relaxed on a first date.

It was actually mind blowing.

Was this possible?
Could I BE different?
Could I actually be relaxed and open?

Apparently those gaps were closing.  The chasm now had a bridge.

On our third date, we went exclusive, and within a year we were engaged and I had moved down to NJ.

And what I kept coming back to was a moment of amazement at how I FELT in my body with him.  I was changing.

I was recently driving to the train station to head into Manhattan, and was listening to the Spotify playlist I created for our wedding, and on came this song from Dear Evan Hansen, “Only Us”.

I love to sing along to this song, and yet, was overcome with emotion when the words,
and what came before won’t count anymore or matter…can we try that?

I thought of the journey to this moment. I thought of the fear that welled in me for years I would just go and marry another who would break my heart and leave me.  I thought of the fear that I would stay stuck, feeling unfulfilled in my relationships and feeling underappreciated and undervalued.

And there was a powerful question here in the lyric,
can we try that?

For years, I held on to my past for fears of repeating it, and yet, here I am, celebrating six months and more in love than ever.

What if it’s JUST this moment?
Just this marriage?
Just this relationship?

What if I was here NOW?

Because the truth is, I have mined and faced ALL of my divorce.  I have taken down that wall brick by brick to understand. I’ve come to clarity about WHY it occurred and my part in it.

The evidence?
The marriage I have now.

It couldn’t be more radically different.  And the way I know that is how I feel. Waaaaaaay more relaxed.

So, what about you?

Have you felt haunted by patterns in your Art?
Have you felt stuck in relationships that let you down again and again?

What is the relationship you deeply want to cultivate this year?

Is it with,
your perfect producer
your perfect publisher
an amazing band
Your perfect booking agent
the most amazing agent
a team that supports you and promotes you
a raving audience

Take a moment today and LOOK at those patterns.  Do you understand WHY you have taken the same actions again and again?

Do you understand why these relationships have either not happened or have fallen apart?

What if turning TOWARDS them is the answer to you changing them?

Because it’s when we have full understanding, we can make a new choice.  I needed to understand I was unavailable to fully call in a very different relationship.

And I’m sharing this with you, because your career and your success in your work ALL comes down to relationships.

You don’t get there alone.

And the beauty of all of this is,
change is constant.

Once you have clarity around the WHY of your patterns, you can release them.

In fact, that is when you will attract those relationships that have eluded you, because YOU have clarity.  It was never about them.  It was always going to happen inside you.

What happened in my love life actually had an effect on EVERY relationship in my life and allowed me to build a team that nurtures me, and go full time with my work.

You are a whole person.  Everything is connected.

So,
what came before won’t count anymore or matter….

Can YOU try that?

“We can try that
You and me
That’s all that we need it to be
And the rest of the world falls away
And the rest of the world falls away”

What if the “world” you created where you always stay the same is just that?

Learn how to build healthy relationships and watch the old world fall away.
When you are available, your dreams rush in.

Photography: Dag Photo