Christy & Susanne connecting this week over events in their lives this past week. Come join us with no judgment. We are holding space to learn, laugh, and downright pointe at ourselves.
Watch the episode here:
Coffee chat with Christy & Susanne | Showing up authentically versus belonging.
Showing up authentically Versus belonging
Cathy Heller used to be a songwriter. She wrote songs for Grey’s Anatomy. After she lost her job because the label changed direction, she started podcasting and she has built her podcasts in 4 years to 24 million downloads. She’s teaching, not about marketing per se, but about showing up as us, because we are so special in every single way. What if we’re not doing that, we’re starving the world from something.
Looking at the arts in general, there is no showing up authentically right now and it has been like that for a very long time. Performing Arts belong to so many things; traditions, artists’ opinions, demands, wants, and needs, and having the guts and determination to really go inwards and find themselves. We understand that for a big organization that is a hard thing to do, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. And it doesn’t mean it can’t be done.
How did we get here? She said that it’s about intimacy. Intimacy is knowing each other, having a relationship, caring about each other. Do companies nowadays hate companies? Do they care about their audience? Are they interested? Are they giving love away for free? Or is the culture that we must earn this before they can give us this. If we look at how an organization is set up; ‘Give us money so that we can perform. We have this to offer to you, we have this we have all this content, we could give it to you for free, and we would love if you gave us some love back.’
She talked about Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg. In the very beginning, one of her friends was part of the 40 people team or the two-three people team. And Mark one day came into the room and said, “You know, you’re all going to be billionaires, this is going to be the biggest thing the planet has ever seen.” It was at the point where they only had 40 people using the platform. Virality number is one. Meaning one person involved with this platform is telling one more person. In biology Coronavirus, virality number- COVID spiral was one and that is when all the doctors and scientists put their hands up basically because it spreads like wildfire. If one person has it, the next person is going to catch it.
Looking at the arts, what is their impact and their virality number? Is anybody telling the person next to them, “Hey, you need to come with me to see the show of Alvin Ailey or the New York City Ballet, because it is just so good, and it filled my heart and soul”. No! It’s a cost, it’s a charity, we have moved away so much from the essence of the creation that there is no virality.
For performers, there’s so much in authenticity because there is much ego and we must earn our way. We must chase the next opportunity. It is our way to get somewhere, to prove something to someone and to earn validity in friendships, in popularity, in respect, because the more talent you have in this industry, you gain all those things. And if we are looked at as less than in talents, skill, it embodies us as people entirely in this industry. Our talent is reflected in who we are as people. That is the setting, and it happens from the top. It’s industry-wide. It doesn’t matter what area you are in this industry. But it also happens from the bottom because we have become so intertwined.
Get rid of your gunk
We’re creating all this beauty, but the creation truly happens in a box. We know very tight circumstances and so many people are telling us what to create and how to create it. Nobody has the guts anymore to just put out something that could be mediocre because there is no creating beauty. If we are not authentically going through the process, it’s like going to our cottage in the woods that has been empty for six months, and when we first turn on the faucet, what’s coming out is all yellow. It’s like leaves and it needs to run for about a minute before the clear water comes out. It’s the same thing with creating. We need to get rid of our gunk. Our personal development is essential because the gunk that’s in there will hold us back from the clear water flowing out.
Instinctively, we all try to fit into molds. When a company tries to act like they’re authentic, essentially, they are falling into the pattern of the molds. Egos are the biggest overhead. Their vision and there, who we are and what we are; are all about offering world class service and nurturing the human spirit, or emotions. Show us that you can stand on your own feet. Show us that you are investing in your people. And the people that are in the back row, show us that you’re innovating and that you’re looking at the newest recovery possibilities that are out there. Show us that you’re hiring the best nutritionists that are supporting your people. Show us that you are bringing in psychologists and physiotherapists that are there every single day, that there is no restriction on how many times an artist can go and see them. Show us! Stop talking about it show us. We believe that what is going to be created at this stage will reach a different level.
When people feel safe in our beam and are more authentic, they can create something that was created. Looking at New York City Ballet, we’re perpetually creating Balanchine over and over again. How much longer is that going to sustain itself? So, what’s your vision? Where are we going here? Are we dusting off these old ballets and following his leadership and his parameters? Or are we going to find the courage to reinvent ourselves? What else are we making? What else are we creating? We have got to know what we’re doing. Tap into what Olympians are doing. Tap into the world’s best that know and have tried it. And stop treating your company like it’s a part time thing.
Why it is hard for Dancers to be authentic
Dancers are last on the list everywhere in theatre. In companies too we’re expected to be at an elite level and there’s so much asked of us. But there’s always little appreciation for that. It’s just expected without much in return. We’re just supposed to be happy with the padding. At the Tony Awards, every singer that’s featured gets publicly recognized, they get their name announced, we know who they are. They’re, acknowledged beyond the person that’s on the stage. And the feature dancers don’t! We don’t ever hear their names. They don’t get announced. We don’t know who they are. It’s so sad because most dancers are so far from lazy. Every waking hour revolves around something to do with their career or their body and it’s just not held to the same recognition. That’s why it’s hard for dancers to be authentic in an atmosphere like that. It doesn’t feel like a safe environment, a safe space to just show up authentically.
Where the Arts belong
Let us start by asking ourselves those hard questions and understanding that whatever we’re learning is ours. Nobody can ever take that away from us without our permission, without us letting them do it. New York City Ballet was on the front page of the New York Times during the week and there were 100 messages deep. Everybody being so elated. this is where the arts belong. This is where we always should be. Performing Arts belong on the front page of every single newspaper, of every single news outlet, every single day. However, if we are not believing in ourselves that we’re worth being there, we’re not creating art nor a product that is worth being there. Something that everybody can relate to. Something that creates intimacy, and intimacy is created by authentically showing up. By creating a safe space. And if we’re not doing that, we do not have a space on that front page because nobody really wants to see us every day. What we want to see on the front page is truth. We want to see love. We want to see heart and soul, not something that’s staged. Something that’s not courageous and being authentic, being we, as an organization or as an individual is highly courageous.
Where the magic lies
There is such an attachment to having a lot in your life, meaning a lot of followers, a lot of fans, a lot of friends and it’s not the truth. It is quality over quantity a million times repeatedly. She took the analysis of Taylor Swift. Many people know her. Everybody that goes to her concert says, “I’ve been to a concert”. The people that are following artists don’t just go to one concert, they go to all concerts. They don’t only own one record; they own all of them. They don’t only talk about it once and how the music makes them feel, but they talk about it every day. And their virality number is one. Meaning that yes, they had less fans, but they made so much more money because of the people being completely invested. Because they truly cared about their fans. They have established that intimacy between them and their audience and that is where the magic lies.
Ego is our biggest Overhead cost
We get to create and do what we love to do, but who are we serving, and why are we serving them? Those are the two questions that need to be asked repeatedly. If that’s the culture in a company, people wouldn’t perform eight times during seven days, have one day off, and get paid 34,000 a year for that kind of work. Because it just doesn’t align. It doesn’t fit. We would start asking more questions like; how can we do this differently? Why is it this way?
Overheads are the costs that you’re paying to run your business. It’s like rent or advertisement, healthcare. These are all your overhead costs. And when we say ego is our overhead or biggest overhead, we’re referring to all our fears and limiting beliefs. That’s our overhead and it literally costs us more than Health care or taking care of 1000 people.
What makes us uncomfortable
We must get into a space where we recognize the inauthenticity, and being that way makes us uncomfortable. We must get to a place where we’re uncomfortable to see that there’s something more. There are stages to this. We must find the discomfort in being closeted in who we are and feeling like we can’t be who we are. We must decide what’s best for us and what’s more uncomfortable. If it’s more uncomfortable to not be us, stand tall and be okay to start showing up more as us regardless of what other people are going to say. Find a way to embody that in those environments, too. We might have a trickle effect, there might be a little like spark that might spread to other people. If people are judging and shunning us for being who we are, they only do that because they wish they could be there too. They’re uncomfortable with something in themselves and we’re like a mirror to that for them. That’s why there’s so much yelling and screaming sometimes in the studios. Because of all the baggage, the people in front of us have acquired and they have not yet put down. They’re deciding generationally to put the baggage on us because it’s not their baggage that they have. They’re going to pass it to anyone.
Okay, we’re sending you so much love. Thank you for being here. Thank you for always listening and till next time.
So much ❤ Susanne
About Christy Little
Former professional dancer turned entrepreneur who is passionate about living in purpose and assisting people to see the greatness inside of them to live their ideal life.