Last year I soothed myself with this affirmative self-talk as the not-good-enough trolls made their voices heard loud and clear on the stage between my ears. I had been speaking to high schoolers on a few different career day panels. I shared about my creative professional path. I shared about having a support job that supports my lifestyle while I develop the ideal work. I shared about the ups and downs involved in balancing the two.
The process leading up to these high school talks allowed me to exercise major self-compassion and pride in my experiences. See, I sometimes vacillate between “We’re kicking butt, girl! So proud of how far we’ve come and where we’re going” and “Wow, it doesn’t look like you’ll be living that vision any time soon. If it ain’t happened yet, will it ever?"
Let me talk more specifically about one of these panels. I had caught wind of a Dance Career Day event at a visual and performing arts high school here in L.A. I wanted to throw my hat into the ring to be a speaker as soon as I read the event description. But a twinge of shame soon followed my initial excitement. I doubted my qualification because although I used to work as a dance fitness instructor, appeared in dance and fitness vids and had this career that felt like it was going somewhere, I hit a bump in the road in 2011 and had to put a hold on the hardcore pursuit of the dance path as well as some other professional endeavors.
When I saw the initial Dance Career Day invitation, I assumed they wanted people currently working in dance. The trolls were speaking loudly, “How can you talk to students about dance when you are not earning a living from it now?” Vicious. But the troll talk led me to revisit the definition of success I had created for myself. To paraphrase rockstar business coach Ariana Pritchett, the success process is a squiggly line, not a straight path at all. It is full of stops, starts and unexpected turns.
So did I end up saying yes to the invitation or did I listen to the trolls and punk out? I will answer in a future post.