How is Fear Directing Your Life?

"The woman who needs to create works of art is born with a kind of psychic tension in her which drives her unmercifully to find a way to balance, to make herself whole. Every human being has this need..." -May Sarton

We always knew we loved dance and we loved creating by using dance as our choice of expression. But we were plagued by very specific thoughts (that would get stuck in heavy rotation at times).  "I wish I could dance like her. I should have worked harder. If I had taken more ballet, I would be even better." These thoughts could, often times, be paralyzing.

We needed to figure out how to push through those thoughts in order to arrive at a place where we could celebrate who we are in the world of dance and what we bring to the world of dance.

We've heard there are 4 types of fear.

Fear of Loss

Fear of Failure

Fear of Rejection

Fear of the Unknown

In order to truly recognize who you are and what you have to offer when it comes to your talent / business / expertise... you have to intimately understand these 4 types of fear and how the types apply to the relationship between you and fear {and we all have a relationship with fear; which is not necessarily a bad thing.}

The Fear of Loss

We were often times afraid we'd lose dance from our lives. For example, growing up with divorced parents which makes for a hectic schedule and unpredictable month-to-month finances, it's natural to always fear dance would be cut. You dread having to hear, "We just can't afford to send you to this" or "We have to cut back on your classes." You fear this tremendously, because dance becomes such a strong part of your identity. You don't know what you'd do - or who you'd be - should you lose that. All you could predict was that... the world would stop turning, and everything would come to a stand still.

You have to deal with this fear. First, by acknowledging that dance is always yours and always part of who you are even if your parents can't afford to send you to an out-of-state competition, or register for "just one more" class. Just because you couldn't go to something doesn't mean dance up and left your life. Dance is in your mind, heart, spirit, blood and bones! As long as you have yourself... you have dance.

Fear of Failure

You know that feeling... you're standing there and suddenly you forget the dance. The entire dance. All choreography. All counts. This happens more often when you allow this question to enter your brain: "What if I blow it?" Many times in dance, we only get one shot. That is a lot of pressure for one person to process in one moment in time. So we start doubting ourselves and our abilities and we fear failure to the point where... it makes us fail.

You have to re-wire your thinking, and instead of asking, "What if I blow it?" ask yourself, "What if I'm amazing and spectacular?" With that simple thought, you will feel your body fill with pep and confidence and you dance! You don't even think about forgetting choreography or doubting your talent. You just dance.

Fear of Rejection

In dance, we are constantly being looked at and judged. Change this, you're tilting your head too far to the right, your left hip needs to be pulled down, move your shoulders, faster/lighter on your feet, heels down, point, flex, stronger, lighter. It becomes overwhelming, and it creates within dancers a deep, deep desire to be approved of, to be pretty to watch, to be perfect, to be accepted. And so we fear letting someone down; our teachers, our directors, our choreographers. We fear that we won't be able to perform their choreography the way they envision it. We fear for our jobs, our careers, our finances.

You have to come to terms with rejection. Sometimes, you'll keep running into rejection, so it's time to admit: You can no longer ignore rejection's presence in your dance life. One of our teachers once said something that sticks with us every day: "There is only one yes for 500 nos." After we let that marinate, we could see life as a long timeline, clear as day. We had to travel through the 500 no thank yous, in order to get closer to a yes. And we needed not take any of the nos personally, because we were getting closer and closer to the yes. It was only a matter of time. Rejection doesn't need to have power!

Fear of the Unknown

In dance, a lot is unknown. You don't know if your contract will be renewed, you don't know when or where or how much pay your next job could/would/will bring. You don't have a solid ground to stand on in dance. You have your passion, your body, your training and your "feeling called" to do this job. It is very scary.

We had to do exactly what we were afraid to do - Walk into the unknown. Trust our gut. Let the unknown introduce itself to us. Stay open to new people, new places, new movement. Turns out, it's worth it.

It is time. Try to figure out how fear is directing your path, and then take your life back into your own hands!


 

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