Money & Art | Real connections are the foundation of any powerful business.


June 24, 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 | Real connections are the foundation of any powerful business.

Showing up Authentic

Jessica Zweig’s book Be is a branding book on how to build your personal brand. Her philosophy is how you can build whatever you want to and make a difference. When we look at the arts, I don’t think we ever look at how we can make a difference. How can we attract people that need us as dancers, as actors, as singers? What matters is how you authentically show up and not hide who you are. The arts do a great job of hiding who they truly are.

The arts do a great job of hiding who they truly are Click To Tweet

The chase

It is always chasing. It’s chasing attention, audience, money, people, titles, recognition. It is chasing and it has been chasing for a very, very long time. People are taking that on because they think that is what they have to do. This is what they have to become in order to be a part of it and a successful part. Let’s just take a principal dancer, for example. Where else do they go? What’s the next step? What else are they going to become? Is that the end of the road, but everybody is chasing that title without even thinking that you do that for a couple of years and you’ll be exhausted because you don’t know what your next growth step is. And it is in us so ingrained that if we are not evolving, we’re dying.

Show up authentic

The evolution of the arts, the evolution of artists is not in gaining more knowledge or finding other things to do or building that YouTube channel. No. Start with unpacking your story. Start with unpacking who you truly are and who you actually want to be. That is how you will gain access to people that are your people, that is really connecting with you, and that you make a difference. It’s not about chasing the money. It’s not about getting all of these accolades and getting it all in the bank. It’s not about that. That is a side effect of you being authentic. If you don’t learn that from the beginning, it is so easy to adapt other things that you think the industry is asking you to do. The harder part is showing up authentically. We should really truly unpack that word because it has been thrown around over and over again and we say, “Oh, I need to show up authentically, which means that I should just do my dirty laundry.”

There’s a misconception with this word because most people aren’t. So they don’t really know what that means. Vulnerability gets misinterpreted with authenticity. We don’t live in a world, quite frankly, just even outside of the arts that really encourages us to be authentic. They encourage us to find our box and get in it. That if you want to change your mind and be something else, you got to find another box. And everybody wants to be defined. That’s where it gets sticky in terms of people finding out who they truly are because everybody’s looking for who they truly are by looking at their options of boxes and where they feel they resonate.

That is the broad, biggest stickiness when thinking about like, Am I being authentic. That’s first and foremost. If you can get beyond that and say, “I don’t want to be defined. I don’t want you to put me in a box, and I don’t want you to label me. And if you do, that’s your label, but I’m not going to accept it. So I don’t want to label myself.” You can have that perception. Then that makes it a lot easier to just be you because you don’t feel as bad about maybe not fitting into what you see around us or otherwise to just be okay to discover what brings you joy, what you love, what doesn’t resonate with you. And be okay if what comes up isn’t like what people around you are. I think that’s first. It’s going within for sure.

Make your pedestal, make your throne, but don’t make it a box. It’s unlearning the idea that in order to feel worthy, we have to become something that other people want us to become. Here’s what it really translates into that. When we become somebody and something that somebody else wants us to be, we now have given our life away, and that other person or industry or whatever gets two and we get none. And that’s not the purpose of you being on this earth here. You want to live your own life. That requires you to show up as yourself.

Let’s look at artists and their behaviors and what has snuck into the chasing and the expectations. We look around on Instagram nowadays, and we see all of these beautiful souls, saying, ‘Look at me. This is what I can do. I can do 10 pirouettes. I am getting 500,000 likes for it.’ What’s more important is what you do on Wednesday afternoon between 1:00 and 3:00 p.m., who you are, what is coming in, and how you deal with it. Yes, it is the art, but behind that, there is so much more to it. We don’t know what it actually really means to be an artist. What are the struggles that we’re dealing with on a daily basis? Let’s not blame the directors or the industry. What can you do? What can we do right now to shift that energy? What can we ask? How can we show up differently so we can give somebody else permission? If we all were to do that, the industry could not sustain itself anymore with its rules and boundaries, and expectations.

The illusion of perfection

There’s this just overwhelming energy that feels like we all have to be so perfect and we all have to be putting on a show all the time. In the last decade or so, now that dance has become a little more mainstream and there are dance shows that mainstream audiences are watching and dance has expanded a little bit for people who are watching them, this trick part of dance has come in. Even to what I’ve observed to the ballet world a bit too where it’s how far from a normal human being can we get? And how crazy can we get? How many pirouettes can we add? How much beyond a regular 180 extension can we get? How crazy can we get with lifts and partnering?

The kids watch the videos and then feel really bad about themselves if they are nowhere near that capability or extension or mobility. There’s a lot of elements that make us feel inferior in a lot of ways and then that translates into who we are as a person. And with inferiority comes not only unworthiness, but it also becomes the self-doubt that we then do anything and everything possible to just get the job. Meaning we work for free or we pay for an internship.

That is where the boundaries need to be set, the technique is great and it is some part of being an artist, but what is more so relevant is the soul that goes into it, the ability to connect with the audience. Because if you don’t connect with your audience, you don’t have a business. If your audience does not know who you are, they can’t really have a relationship with you. And businesses have built on relationships. People buy from people, not from somebody that can do 500 pirouettes.

Your superpower

Make your struggles and your stories your superpower because it is every single one. Companies have this plethora of people that they can draw from, and they’re not using that at all. It is, “Just be here at 10 o’clock, show up in class, do what you need to do. You’re not working hard enough.” Show your people how and what superpower they have and how they can together make the company that they’re working at relevant in today’s world, and not just in your city, but across the globe, for 7.8 billion people. Then you will not struggle to get people in your seats.

Know your worth

The one thing wealthy people or wealthy organizations have in common is they know exactly what they’re worth. Artists don’t think of themselves as worthy. Arts organizations don’t think of themselves as worthy. Therefore, everybody just keeps chasing and living in this energy of lack. We’re just justifying the existence of it. And we’re masking it with all of these things of “Look at me, look at me, not many people understand us and it takes so much work to be an artist. Artists are always starving. We just give everything to the art like no matter what. We give ourselves up so we can produce great art.” That’s complete BS because we have yet to allow ourselves to sit with what we’re producing where we’re at in order to ignite the change.

It doesn’t need to be hard. It doesn’t need to hurt. You don’t have to leave your career with $0 on your bank account, not a place to live or a roommate when you’re 34, and not have a second stream of income just because your company had you work 20 hours a day. All of this is so 1980 and it is so time to ask different questions like how can we change that? Like what does it really take? It’s not going to take that much. We look at it as Oh my God. Like we’re here and success is over here and are we going to get there? It’s by changing our habits. It’s by changing our thoughts. It’s by asking questions. It’s by taking on a learner’s mindset and not taking anything that was here today as granted and promised for tomorrow. And that goes for leaders in the industry and the board members and the people that are supporting the arts just as much as for everybody that’s in there or wants to become. There’s been enough talk already about what’s wrong. It’s time for solutions. It is so time to reframe every single thought that’s out there. That’s all it takes. Everything that is not right is only a decision away from change. The journey is the hard stuff. That’s why you have the Money & Art podcast. Every Thursday, you can listen to the podcast.

You don’t have to hide who you are out of fear that somebody does like you. We are not for everybody. We don’t have to be for everybody. But by showing up as you, authentically as you is where you find the people that are really behind you, beside you, and in front of you. These are the people that you can really count on regardless of where you are in your life and in your business. Every artist is running their own business. You need to know how to negotiate. You need to know your financials. You need to know how to motivate, inspire yourself, stay in shape, grow all of this. This is what entrepreneurs do and that is running your own business. So you are capable. All that you need is truly inside of you. It is a matter of being brave enough and courageous enough to let it out regardless of what anybody else tells you.

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.