Rising 360 | Tap into your true potential.

Rising 360

August 31, 2021


Gina & Susanne discussing the myth that has been established in the industry for so many decades is that you work your body and you exhaust your body on a daily basis, and that’s what is going to bring you into the spotlight.

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Rise 360 with Gina & Susanne | Tap into your true potential.


The topic for today is self-care. You may feel like the word self-care has been overused and that there is a stigma around self-care and what it looks like. We are going to talk about how you can use self-care to your advantage to tap into your true potential.

“Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve from that overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.”

This is applicable to us all that we have to have something to give from. We have to replenish our spirit so that we have something to draw from. Oftentimes, we put other people first or other priorities like the dancers can put health and fitness in front of taking care of their physical body and rest and reconnecting with their soul. So if anything takes the place of that focus on the whole dancer, the whole person, then it starts to deplete the very space from which we give.

It’s such a foreign method of thinking. This belief that we are tapping into something we wouldn’t be able to tap in if we exhaust ourselves over and over and over again, physically so much is not true. There is a tiny little truth about it. But it’s not about doing it consistently every day. Let’s ask a better question like what other ways are there so you can tap into your subconscious, into your higher self. You don’t necessarily have to tap into the absolute exhaustion phase of your body and basically create that chemical reaction that really enables us to tap into that higher self. What other ways are there? Meditation is away. It can feel uncomfortable. However, it is much easier on your physical body because when you are a performer you getting into the studio, you have to be tapping into all of your power. And if you are thinking that you have to exhaust yourself before you’re capable, that’s a lie.

Operating from a source of overflow is a healthier balance

Some amazing things can come out when we are depleted and we’re at the very end. There is still more there, but that is different from consistently operating from this space of lack and depravity and emptiness. The better thought pattern perhaps would be how you fill yourself so that you’re so full that the artistry overflows from what you have inside. Then there are those special times where you get to the point, you’re exhausted, you have nothing left to give, and you find something that comes out of that space. From a day-in and day-out perspective, operating from a source of overflow is a healthier balance.

The beauty of what comes out of that exhaustion or what we’re tapping into is that we don’t have the energy at that point to perhaps care what other people think. Our fears and that clay that we have put around ourselves has no longer something to stick on to because that energy has been used up and it falls off. That is the one true thing that comes out of that physical exhaustion.

What does self-care mean?

 Self-care is such an overused word. And now it’s like have a cup of tea, wear a weighted blanket. All those things are great, but that’s not really what self-care is. So what does it really mean to care for ourselves?

The weighted blanket, a cup of tea, and taking care of your needs and the way you want to feel may be included into self-care. Society has put the first layer as the top layer of self-care, meaning that going to get your nails done and your eyelashes did and a massage, that’s self-care. But there is way more layers that go like 10 layers deep on what it really means to take care of yourself.

Self-care means putting yourself first, meaning putting that oxygen mask on first before you help anybody else. That requires a certain level of confidence and awareness of how you’re coming across, how you want to feel, what are your intentions, what are your goals, how do you want to map out your life, and truly understanding that you are the creator and you are in charge? Finding that power again that maybe is in jeopardy right now because you’re listening to all of the other people and outside sources that are telling you how to show up and what you’re supposed to be and do. It’s knowing what is right for you, and that takes a lot of confidence. Does that mean what are your boundaries? What are you able to give and get without compromising your core values? What are your core values? Have you actually sat down and jotted them down or even started the process of thinking of what your core values are? Where do you want to be in 12 months, 3 years, 5 years, 10 years?

Many of us only think about the fastest route to get into a company and perform like a professional. We underestimate the power of planning and boundaries and understanding ourselves and self-care. Self-care means what do you need for yourself so you can show up as the very best self, not for other people, but for you. And it is for other people. It may sound really selfish, meaning that we’re self-absorbed and only thinking about ourselves. However, we’re not doing everybody else a favor if we are showing up as our weakest self or if we’re showing up as a version that wants to but can’t and is grumpy all the time or is tired and exhausted. That’s not how you serve others. If your actions really inspire other people, then you’re taking care of yourself and you’re helping with taking care of everything that you are, you’re helping others to have the permission and the leadership to do the same.

Self-care is not selfishness

 Self-care doesn’t equal selfishness. It actually equals giving because when we care for ourselves, when we put on our own oxygen mask first, we’re then better able to care for the people around us. As dancers, we have sources to draw from. When we practice self-care, other people see it. It raises us all up. And wouldn’t that be something powerful in the dance community if self-care and with a mindset of it’s not selfish, but a way that I can give more as an artist, became the norm and we inspire each other to live and give from that space?

So we’re not asking the right questions. We’re so on the mindset of it’s hard. You have to put sacrifices in there. You won’t have friends. All of the negative is on becoming that artist, but we’re not actually leaning towards the other way and asking the question, okay, how could this be fun? How can I make it fun for me in terms of how do I want to show up today? How do I want to feel today? And if I want to make this fun and exciting and I want to keep the love that I feel for this art form alive, not only today but for my entire career, what is it that I have to do today to take care of that future version of myself? That’s where values and goals come in so importantly. We’re not teaching that in school. That is something that is so imperative to know. If you don’t have a vision, if you don’t know where you’re going, you’re going to get lost somewhere along the way.

Taking care of yourself is being responsible

It is a responsible choice to put ourselves first to decide to take the time to self-care. Self-care doesn’t have to be an hour-long thing, it doesn’t have to be this checklist of things that you need to do that just adds more things to your day. It could be five minutes of meditation or even two minutes with all the screens off, just being. Just sitting there. Finding the joy, finding the fun doesn’t have to be an arduous task. If you’re a morning person, maybe carve out 10 extra minutes and set your intentions for the day, get yourself in the right frame of mind without having it be this big weight on your day.

Love yourself first and everything else falls inline

Knowing and having that hyperfocus on how you want to feel is more important than the doing because the doing will fall in place when you set the attention on how you want to feel. That starts with feeling worthy of taking care of yourself. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.

Our careers are shortened if we don’t care for ourselves

When we don’t care about ourselves, our careers become shortened. The more we age, the better artists we become. That’s really the tragedy of it all. We’re not taking the time to care for our minds and souls and bodies. And so our careers are shortened, which shortens the length that we are artists for. We’re missing our best work in our 30s. There hasn’t been enough focus on replenishing, not just like how do I get stronger, how do I get thinner, but how do I care for my mind? And then how do I care for my soul? If we’re not tending to those two things as well, then our artistry is flat. And we can’t sustain that over years. Our career will be short. So without the perspective of caring for our whole self and each one of those parts, we’re just shortening our career and probably really stealing a lot of the joy in the process.

The myth that working to exhaustion is what brings success

The myth that has been established in the industry for so many decades is that you work your body and you exhaust your body on a daily basis, and that’s what is going to bring you into the spotlight. That’s simply not true. The ability of our bodies to perform on their highest level comes from our mind’s ability to see the possibilities. It doesn’t take consistent exhaustion to teach your body that. You can teach your mind to do so. With that, you are having lesser injuries, you will find way more joy in doing so.

We all need muscles to sustain our body and flexibility and all of this, but dancers don’t need to rehearse and work 8 to 10 hours a day on their bodies and not training their minds. Dancers are the only breed of athletes that work so hard at this level without taking breaks. You would never expect a professional athlete to train in the morning and work all day long in order to go to bed and wake up and do it again the next day. That’s just mind-blowing. The amount of work behind the dancer on the stage is never taken into consideration.

Tips on self-care

If you feel like the topic of self-care is oil on the water for you, it feels completely against your beliefs, or what you have been taught, then ask yourself the question, what if self-care is not selfish? Like what would that look like and what would it feel like to you? You can go through all the motions of taking a bath and getting a rubdown and maybe also putting up some boundaries and expanding or closing your circle of influence and not people-pleasing, but if you’re not behind it and if you don’t understand the why behind it, it is going to be a short-term solution and you’re not going to integrate it in your life.

After you’ve arrived in the place where you feel your worth and you understand that it’s not a selfish thing to focus on self-care, the next tip is to find what you really enjoy. If you’re a morning person, build that into your morning routine. If you’re a night person, build it into your evening routine. Find what works for you and do only the stuff you love. If you’re not into meditation, then find something else. By the way, you can meditate while you walk. It doesn’t have to be a close your eyes, sit down event. If you love to do what your self-care things are, then you will keep doing them. That’s the whole idea.

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

Important Links to Gina McFadden:

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  • About Gina


    I’m so glad you are here. With all that I have, my goal is to serve YOU – to inspire YOU to better health and wellness in an accessible, actionable way. My passion is to empower dancers like you in their pursuit of better health and peak performance. My work as a dance educator has focused around giving dancers the knowledge and tools to care for their bodies and minds.

    Dance has been a part of my life since I was nine. I trained at ballet studios as well as competition studios – my heart knows and loves both worlds! (Did you know you were reading the bio of Teen Miss Dance of Michigan 1994?!) I went on to dance professionally The Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, Ballet Pacifica, State Street Ballet and The National Choreographers Initiative.

    My students include ballet “bun heads,” competition dancers, concert and commercial dancers…I’ve even taught 3-year-olds (which, as it turns out, is a lot like herding kittens). Most recently, I have been on the faculties of Boston Ballet School, New Jersey School of Ballet, Grand Rapids Ballet School and an adjunct professor at Grand Valley State University and Hope College.

    Want to sample some of my writing? I have a blog here and am a blog contributor at The Muse by Apolla. Want to take one of my virtual classes? I teach Apolla Insta Live Series twice a month!

    My degrees in business and legal studies tell the tale of a young lady who once thought she wanted to be a lawyer…but this beautiful art form kept calling me back…

    Wanting to learn more about anatomy and mind-body connection, I completed my RYT yoga teacher training in 2016. Oftentimes my students will end up in down dog in the middle of a ballet barre because…down dog. I am a Holistic Life, Career & Executive Coach and work with clients (dancers and non) around the globe.

    I am married to a handsome Marine (oorah!) and mamma of two lovely daughters, ages 9 and 12. My other joys in life include cooking from scratch, working out, spending time with my family, hosting big dinner parties and reading.

    Honored that you are here, Dancer! Please reach out to me via email if you would like to connect!


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  — Susanne shares a quick thought that came to her after hearing a quote. Who told you that you are not deserving of what you want? She remembers how this feeling showed up in her life and how other people’s limiting thoughts would so easily be accepted as hers. Watch the episode here: Listen to the podcast here:   Who told you that you are not deserving of what you want? And I’m back. […]

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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.