Money & Art | Do you know your worth?


June 10, 2021


Christy & Susanne connecting this week over $$ mindset and the effects it has on artists. Come join us with no judgment. We are holding space to learn, laugh, and downright pointe at ourselves.

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Money & Art |Do you know your worth?

Do you know your worth?

We’re talking about worthiness today and what that has to do with our ability to earn money, particularly worthiness in the arts.

The Unicorn Costume

We wear the unicorn costume thinking we are a special, exclusive breed that has all of these privileges. This is only a disguise of what is going on underneath the surface. Ballet, theater, whatever you are into, every entity believes they’re the very best. They believe they’re so exclusive that nobody else can beat them and nobody else can ever reach their potential. That truly is just a show that is being put on in order to cover up, powder up, put the layers of makeup and hide the true faces. The arts in themselves don’t think of themselves as a worthy contributor to society because it is depending on funding from outside. It’s not building its own wealth. It doesn’t have the power to sustain itself as an entity without somebody else giving them money. It’s always the fight for survival, and that’s where the true unworthiness comes to light.

From all sides of the industry, a show is being put on. In that sense, from the other levels on the other sides of this industry, putting on a show for funding and supporters. We’re all putting on our show. We’re putting on a show to be cast and hired, and we’re putting on a show to survive, to put on the next season, to fund the tour. We’re all putting on a show. The way the industry is, everybody’s doing tricks and dances for each other to just operate.

Habits of Unworthiness

The pretending and loss of identity are habits and behaviors of unworthiness. They come in disguise. They’re everywhere. Quite honestly, most of what we’re doing or not doing or what we’re keeping ourselves away from actually comes back to the core of not feeling worthy of ourselves, dealing with relationships, all of this.

When we look at companies, the behavior that we see from last-minute schedule changes to not giving proper wages, not giving proper rest times in between, talking unkindly and disrespectful in rehearsals, having you work 12 hours and repeating the same show, dance rehearsal over and over and over again. It comes all down to the survival instinct. It comes all down to not feeling worthy of existing or being there because nothing will ever fill that hole of that feeling of unworthiness. That’s where we as human beings go and try to gather it from the outside because we can’t find it here.

Lack—the root

Ultimately it’s lack. The unworthiness and the lack pretty much go hand in hand. Having a lack mentality around money and being stingy with the funding. Regardless of how much is coming in, you trickle out as thin as you can go because you have a lack mentality that you won’t get more funding, that you don’t have donors that love your company or theater enough to pay your entertainment what they are worth, so you pay them less. There’s that mentality.

From the dancer’s perspective, there’s a lack mentality of there’s only so many spots, there are only so many understudies, there’s only so many whatever. And so everybody’s just living under this lack bubble, too, which is that survival mode. Then that fires in us that anxiety chemical. Then that brings us into that future worry because we’re worried about money, we’re worried about the role, we’re worried about not having another contract. Everybody’s not living for right now, and we’re all anxious, and we’re all dancing around trying to impress somebody else to get what we want from the external because we need that role.

This lack mentality and the thought of unworthiness, particularly in the arts as an industry trickles down from the top because we take on the energy of what we’re stepping into in the environment. This is why we’re perpetuating this cycle of stress and abuse and lack and unworthiness over and over again because we haven’t changed the switch up here. We haven’t adjusted the thermostat yet. We haven’t really asked different questions. When we’re living in this lack mentality, we’re also taking away our ability to think differently. We’re taking away our ability to ask different questions, questions that could come up with solutions, and we’re stopped. We would actually be stopping to dwell on the problems and seek all the drama because that isn’t where the worthiness is at.

The buck

So doesn’t it all come back to the money and where the money is coming from and how it is produced. Every time we’re going through the cycle, think about if a ballet company would be able to bring in 70 percent of their income or 80 percent or 90 percent and have very little funding efforts and activities left, imagine the energy that we as a company, as an industry would gain back in order to create for other people, not for survival.

The energy

Everything is energy. And we’ve talked about this in other episodes where you can walk into a room and not really know why your mood changes, but it does. So if we’re talking in terms of money, and we have a scarcity mindset that’s nervous about whether there’s enough money, it’s a trickle-down, so it’s going to trickle down into whoever’s running the room and they’re gonna feel it. Whether it’s directly involving them, it’s still now put on them. So that energy is put on them, which is now in them as they go run a rehearsal, which affects the energy of the room.

It is a trickle-down. Everybody might not know why there’s tension in the room, but they’re just is and you feel it. And whether you have an awareness of energy or not, everybody really does, whether they can acknowledge it or not, you can tell when a room feels heavy and when it feels so exciting and this is the most exciting thing to have this rehearsal today. Even from that end, it affects it. And the energy is affected by external things many times. Money is the biggest thing right now and the way this world works right now, money is king, and it’s on everybody’s mind. And if that’s the case, what are we doing to actually make it? Are we sitting in our chairs and depending on other people to bring it in or are we going to start asking different questions? What can I do? How can we create because it is energy and with that, you can create it? Like just opening up your mind and thinking about what other ways could be opened up to creating more funding.

It’s very questionable that people have the best intention at heart when they walk into the studio in the morning. It is about creating. You can create anything that you want to and that goes for money too. Look at what entrepreneurs are doing. Like why aren’t the arts not looking at how entrepreneurs are actually thinking, working, their productivity, their mindset? You can learn so much from that world.

Move with the times

Just because you’ve always had a certain donor, or a certain list of donors or certain company that sponsors your company, whatever it is, as much as you can look at the world in lack, there’s so much money in this world and there are so many people with money. So if you just stick to what you’ve done for the last 20 years and you don’t move into all these opportunities that have opened up, even in the last like five years with social media and digital aspects that you could advertise in different ways to have a different audience and maybe modernize your audience who does have money and who would contribute would really change everything. Even if it wasn’t donors, but if it changed your patron numbers because you were exposed to more eyes by getting a little innovative.

Like an entrepreneur, whether you think that your company is too esteemed for a TikTok or an Instagram page or whatever, they’re not because that’s what people want to see. If you did backstage things or someone took over the Instagram page, one of your principal dancers or something like that and you started to expose an audience that doesn’t know the arts or aren’t exposed to the arts and they see it, maybe they would fall in love with it. It’s to all of our detriment, no matter what we’re doing, to fall back on laurels or what’s worked. Look at the companies that didn’t move with the times over the last couple of decades. They’re not here. If they didn’t change their model in any way, they’re not here anymore. Certain stores don’t exist anymore because they didn’t move with where the world was going. With the digital age, you’re able to expose your company, your brand, your business, whatever you’re doing on a global scale. But if you don’t do that, and if you stay small, what you’ve always done, it’s not going to grow on its own. The arts would have more support and more of a draw if we didn’t treat it like it’s an exclusive club, too good for everyone that doesn’t fit the mold of what we think they should be.

Not made only for donors

It wasn’t made for the donors. When we’re peeling the onion back, how many donors actually dictate what the company is producing, hiring, running, what the show is going to look like? A small percentage. You can have your input, but the repertoire is also tailored to the people that they think are coming and financing the company. And with that, you really, truly only tailoring your offering to that small percentage to the city that you’re in. Most of the donors that are giving money and helping you survive, not thrive, to survive, are the people that are in the city and with that, the pool is very small.

Today millennials and the Gen Z have not been growing up to give to the arts. They give to causes that change the world. For them the arts, don’t see it as changing the world. They don’t even have a relationship with the arts anymore because it has become so elite, a special club that you can only go to if you have money. You can only work it into your budget if you have like 100,000+ a year in income.

About last week

Going back to last week’s episode, did you know that on Clubhouse you also can monetize now and people can give you money? And TikTok, if you’re going live you can make money. There are so many options. These platforms are starting to open up the possibility for people when they put their content for other people to give you money if they like it. I just saw Clubhouse that’s very new. I just saw it yesterday when I was on there. That’s the whole principle of Rise media. Do what you can do and get advertisement dollars plus other people’s 10 cents, Twitch, same thing. It’s all possible. You just have to open up your mind and understand that by you being yourself, by really showcasing what it’s like, you’re not giving anything away. Showing the truth is what people want to see. Showing the truth is where we’re at. We’re not here any longer to pretend something or to be somebody. It’s not about that. People can’t relate to that anymore.

Applause—just the cherry

The applause is the bonus draw, like the cherry on top. It is not what’s going to give you your worthiness. It is not what’s going to validate that you are enough. And it’s also not going to feed you or pay your rent. So it is not your payment. It is not going to measure up to what money can really give you. It will not give you choices or variety, nor will it give you time. None of that. So for that you really need hard cash and that hard cash comes from the contract. And you better know your worthiness that you are worthy of earning that money. Because if you’re not, you will keep dancing for free. You will keep feeling unfulfilled. Because, quite honestly, the applause will last you maybe an hour or two hours. And the morning after you will wake up just as empty as you did before you heard the applause. There we have it.

Tune in for Part 2!

Tune in the week after for Part 2 where we give you all the tools on how to build up your own worthiness, help others lift up their worthiness, and create the energy of worthiness so we can turn this around now and get some money in the bank and step outside of our comfort zones and let our egos go and do its thing.

So much ❤ Susanne

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  • About Christy Little

    PTR 31 | Personal DevelopmentFormer 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.


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Past Episodes 

There is a better way to pursue ballet at the professional level. Instead of dancers pushing beyond their body’s limits, there is a healthier way to train your body, your mind and your spirit to soar. To become the best at your craft, you must be healthy. The mentality of surviving to make a performance perfect is an old paradigm that needs to change. As athletes, dancers must thrive in order to shine and connect with their audience. This new approach, leads to fulfillment, strength and longevity. It allows you to give more of your heart and soul on stage, creating an unforgettable experience that moves your audience. And that’s the whole pointe.