Effective collaboration at every level is essential for business success. Former dancers who try their hands on entrepreneurship need to learn one critical thing about collaboration. If your mindset is limited to collaborating with others in the same industry, then you’re missing out on a lot of opportunities. Susanne Puerschel brings in Josephine Bonnington-Mailisi to talk about this. Josephine is a dancer, aerialist and teacher. In this episode, she shares her great passion for dancing, circus and more. She elaborates on her vision, pillars of content, her life-long dreams and the concept of gaining financial freedom.
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The Importance Of Effective Collaboration For Business Success With Josephine Bonnington-Mailisi
Josie, welcome to the show. I am grateful that you’re here.
Thank you so much for having me. I’m excited to be here.
You and I connected through good old Instagram.
Facebook and Instagram.
We started a conversation and the more I learned about your journey, where you’re at with your mindset, I would love it if you could give us a 3,000, 4,000 or 5,000-foot approach of how you ended up reaching out to me. What was the journey?
It’s a long journey. The biggest thing was I enjoyed the avenue that you were pursuing and that you weren’t afraid. I feel that a lot of people in the industry acknowledge their mistakes and expect people to take the same pathway as them, but you provided a space where you empowered people to take their own steps and make a journey that allows you to be the best you. I was excited about that. I was like, “I need to be a part of that and share my story.” It gave me the courage to no longer hide behind perfection and allowed myself to embrace my full me.
Thank you for that. That’s sweet. Tell us a little bit about where you came from. You have a Bachelor of Arts. You love the circus and want to perform in a circus. You want to be producing movies and circus acts. Where did this all come from?
I’ve been very fortunate in my life in terms of I’ve always had a large imagination. I’ve never let anyone else’s discouraged my own. From the age of three, I knew I wanted to be a professional dancer but I always knew I wanted to be more than that. I always knew that there wasn’t a limit that I would put on myself. I always knew that I wanted to live in an apartment, be a billionaire and live in cities. I’m three at this age, thinking of all these things. I saw my first Cirque du Soleil show when I was ten and the girl doing contortion. I looked at my mom and said, “Mom, I can do all of that. I’m going to do that.” She looked at me and said, “Okay.” A big part of it is that I’ve always had supportive parents and I haven’t had to convince my parents of who I am. Having that supportive background has allowed me to continue to pursue my dreams. I did full-time dance in New Zealand for a year and then I moved to Sydney. It was a fast turnover. I went over for a weekend thinking I’d get a private lesson, thinking I wasn’t good enough to go to a full-time school.
My private lesson turned into an audition with the director of the school and she was like, “I’d love to have you here. I’ll make everything happen. All you need to do is get here and get a car. That’s all.” She found my accommodation, set up all of my tuition and made everything happen. I ended up with a scholarship at that school. I’m grateful to be able to study circus. I’ve been watching it since I was ten. I watched them perform on Australia’s Got Talent. There’s America’s and we got the Australian version. We were watching it when I was ten and I was like, “Mom, I want to go to that school.” I never thought I was good enough. When I did the audition, she was like, “I’m impressed with you.” I was like, “Okay.” I went there for a weekend and two weeks later, I was living in the city. Two weeks seems to be a big thing for me. After that, I got a scholarship to another circus school so I went there.
In that circus school, I produced my circus show with my friends which sold out. It was exciting and it gave me that premise of like, “This is what I want to do.” I enjoyed the behind-the-scenes work and producing. That’s when I was like, “I can use more than my body as an art form and my mind as well.” It gave me that imagination again to combine the two together. After that, my coaches were like, “New Zealand is too small for the talent that you have. We want you to go overseas.” They wanted to send me to Europe but I was a bit hesitant because I needed a baby step in the middle before I jump in the big pond.
I went to Australia and fell in love with Global Dance Pro and I ended up working for them as well. That allowed my ghostwriting. I didn’t know what this was so I’ve always been called a word genius. Words come naturally to me. I didn’t think anything of it. I thought it was a skill everyone had. I learned that I’m a good ghostwriter and copywriter so I started doing that for Global Dance Pro. While I was there, I got an email from the Sydney Opera House.
It was only in my first term working for Global, dancing with them and living my best life. I felt I was living on cloud nine. I got an email from the Sydney Opera House and they were like, “We’ve found you.” It was actually from my show. A director of a circus company came to my show and she was good friends with the people at the Sydney Opera House. They asked her, “Who would you recommend for this role?” She put my name on it but I didn’t know. I got this email from Sydney Opera House being like, “We’d love to meet you. Can you please send us your things? We’re producing the show. We’d love you to be a part of the creative and have you at the Sydney Opera House.”When we compete with other people, we deny ourselves our own lives. Click To Tweet
I’m a real big fraud alert person. I was like, “Am I being scammed? What’s going on?” I was reading it and I saw the official Sydney Opera House signature on the email and I was like, “This looks legit.” I sent it to my mom and I was like, “Mom, I’m going to be in the Sydney Opera House. Is this what I want to do?” I was like, “What do you mean, is this what you want to do? You’ve worked your whole life for this. Of course, this is what you want to do.” With Global, I had the promise of going to LA and training in LA. I was sitting there like, “I can train in LA for three months and build those connections or I can perform in a real show.”
At the time, looking back, I’m like, “Why was it even a thought?” You trained to get the job but when you’re in that situation, the process of training is also empowering that you forget that you’re training for a job. I sat there with Anthony who is the Director of Global Dance Pro. I was like, “This has been given to me. What do you think?” He was like, “You should go for it. First of all, they seek you. It’s not like you went and auditioned. They found you and they think that you’re the right person for the job.” Having that little bit of, “I am good. This is what I want to do.” I pursued that and it was an incredible experience. I’m grateful for the people I met there.
When you live full-time you feel old because you’ve got the new people coming in full-time and it’s like a cyclic journey. When I went to the show I was the youngest in the cast by seven years. I was like, “I’ve got a long career ahead of me. This is only the beginning.” That gave me the courage to realize, “I can produce my own shows. I’m a creative person. I love choreographing, dancing, circus and all the behind-the-scenes stuff. I would talk to the sound technicians and crew.” It was always out of curiosity. There was no deep, “I want to do that.” I was curious and my curiosity is what takes me through life because I want to know more. The more I know, the more I fall in love with it.
There was a little hiatus in my circus journey. I got sick during COVID, not with COVID. I got endometriosis and inflammatory bowel disease. I had to make the hard decision to move back to New Zealand and have surgery. It was a $20,000 surgery so I was like, “Bye savings.” It was worth it and I wouldn’t change it because I felt I was given a second life. During the time I was recovering, I decided to go to university. I’m now studying a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Marketing, and a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Film and Theatre. That’s giving me the tools to my next platform where I can both produce my shows. I’d love to produce for Cirque du Soleil and other circus companies. Also, continue pursuing my performance aspect. That’s me in a nutshell.
You said you want to be a billionaire.
I have a billionaire mindset, it’s what I call it. It’s financial freedom and for me, financial freedom means the ability to choose when I say no.
Most artists or anybody with a creative mind has a hard time understanding that’s possible. Where did that come from?
I’ve always felt like an outsider looking into the world so I never felt the emotions of the people around me and the limitations they put on themselves. Whenever someone would challenge me with, “I don’t think you can do this,” I would be like, “I’ll show you.” It would propel me to go further forward. With the money side of things, I would get so angry that people would be like, “You’re a dancer. Dancers are not smart. They can’t earn that amount of money or do this.” I was like, “I’m not just a dancer. I’m an intelligent human being. I have so much ahead of me.”
We did this full-time. I remember doing creative workshops and people would always look at me like, “How did you come up with that?” I’d be like, “It made sense.” I would sit there and listen to a song. In my head, I would not only see the choreography but I would see a music video in my head. I would not only see what you see on the TV screen but I would see myself from a director’s chair, seeing the different angles of what I would shoot to portray a certain emotion.
When I thought about the things that I wanted to produce, I knew that I needed the money behind it so I was like, “Why don’t I combine the two?” I can’t keep saying, “I want to do this.” I need to have the backing to make it happen. A lot of people have a stigma against money and they might call it such a bad thing, “Money doesn’t provide you happiness.” I was like, “Money doesn’t necessarily provide you happiness but it provides you with the tools to explore what you want to create.” That was the reasoning behind my mindset. I never wanted to limit myself and I knew that I needed the money behind me to do that.
Particularly in the arts, there is such a ceiling there that people seem can’t break through because the belief is hammered in and being given forward from every generation. It’s almost inherent that artists must be starving in order to call themselves starving. You can’t become a dancer or any other artist if your parents do not support you until you’re 35. When we’re looking at the pay cycle that’s coming in, if you’re not in the professional world, not always are you able to stand on your own feet. What do you think would make a difference in moving performing arts organizations into a for-profit model?
I’ll have to start with the younger generation because I find that the more we’re progressing forward, the more the younger generation is speaking up. A lot of people say, “We need to teach these skills in school.” The problem is that it stays there as a thought that we don’t go, “What is the actual program that we’re teaching them and the actual skills that they’re missing?” It’s like, “We need to teach them to dance.” What do you need to teach them about dance? They need to know the whole process. They need to pass that and apply it to the performance industry. Having those conversations at a young age would then allow the transformation to continue to happen and for it to be a cycle.
I also think at the top end of things with CEOs, they need to see art as not necessarily this creative thing that you see on stage. COVID has shown how much people rely on the entertainment industry to fill that void in their life and seeing it as a form of medicine. It would be a better way to integrate the two together and see that it’s not just a pretty thing that you see on stage with a sparkling tutu. It’s a health thing that we need this type of industry in our lives for people to have that solace and fulfillment.
Even though it’s not a tangible product, it is not something that you can put in your pocket, take home and unpack. It’s something you go to and look up on the TV or your computer. However, it evokes emotion in people. It allows you to step into a world that you usually don’t tap in. The switch in the belief that arts can’t produce money, that they’re only there for the rich and wealthy as entertainment is where we can now switch our minds a little bit. What would it look like if you were running a ballet company as a business? What is it that you wanted to add something?
There’s this thing going around New Zealand about how much the government puts towards each different event. With America’s World Cup, there were like $129 million that was put into America’s World Cup. The Royal New Zealand Ballet had like $9 million, and then there was a performance group that only had $1 million. It shows how the government perceives the different parts of the industries. For so long, people say, “It’s tourism. We’re attracting all of these things.” With COVID, there is no tourism so you can’t rely on that excuse anymore. I feel like those layers are beginning to unravel and see how people value the arts, sports and the differences. At the end of the day, you can’t take home sports and dance but they’re still platforms of entertainment. Being able to see it in that same way how the sports industry can make that a profit, why can’t we do the same thing with the entertainment industry?
This is pretty good and interesting. Let’s dive a little bit into that. Why do you think the government believe that investing all of this money into sports has a better return on their investment than ballet does?
It’s a bigger market at the end of the day. If it comes down to marketing, it’s much easier to market a sports team. For example, if you have a son or dad who plays or a mum who goes and supports rugby, then you have brothers and sisters who are dragged along, that’s five people in the family that you can tag. Where if you go to the Royal New Zealand ballet, how many people can you say that both parents go to recitals, all the brothers and sisters go to the recitals, and that they all watch ballet together on TV at home? It comes down pretty much to the target market. There are more people that they can reach and convince with a message than there are with a ballet. The stigma around ballet and dance didn’t mix. People don’t understand that there’s more than one form of dance. If you ask someone, “Have you been to the theater?” The first thing they’ll think about will be, “I’ve never been to a ballet.” They don’t think about all the other available shows and all the other things that happened with it.
They also think it’s not affordable. People are more willing to spend $50 on a ticket to see rugby because the storyline is simple. I know nothing about rugby. There’s a ball and there are two teams, and whoever does the most time is going to win. There’s always going to be a hero and a victim.
It’s that safety net of knowing the outcome.
Also, because it reaches all of these people. It is a perfect place for advertisement. When we’re giving $12 billion to these sports, we know that we most likely are going to make it back and then some.
How much is a Super Bowl ad?
$5,000 per second or something like that. If you don’t think of the arts, people can’t relate. They were made for the kings and queens. Not any kind of art form, but if we’re looking broadly at performing arts, for example. It originated for the kings and queens as entertainment. The circus too. I feel like we’ve never moved away from that stigma, story and roots. It needs to be uprooted. The roots need to be cut off and we need to make new roots so more different leaves and branches can grow. To understand that, let’s take your marketing skills because it all plays together. Let’s talk about business here.
It’s consumer behavior. We need to understand our demographic and if we don’t understand the people that we’re targeting, we’re flicking out empty messages and hoping for something in return but that’s the smart thing about sports. Sports is a game so they already have that game mindset. At the end of the day, they want to win. You can gamble on sports. What can you gamble on dancing, that one company that profits more than the other? You can’t even talk about profit. There’s nothing that you can invest in.
You can’t even talk about profits.
For example, when you’re given a contract, I don’t know many dancers that will say no because it’s not worth their time. They’ll rather do it because they have a job. Even if they don’t believe in the company or putting their ultimate goal on hold to pursue something, they’ll accept the contract but not many people realize that they have the power to negotiate. Not necessarily the power, “I’m the best.” It’s valuing yourself and understanding that you’re worth more sometimes than what’s written on that piece of paper.You are capable of many things. It’s up to you to decide how to believe in yourself to grow professionally. Click To Tweet
In the sports industry, you have people fighting over different players and different teams, “I’ll pay you this.” A lot of our kiwi players will fly to France and play for too long in France because they pay more. They’re given the freedom to do that so why can’t dancers be also given that freedom? My family’s a huge sporting family. My dad was a professional boxer and rugby player so I know what the industry is like. It’s not like I’ve come out of this blindside of being like, “It’s not fair.” I’ve seen both sides of it and that’s what has given me the platform to be like, “Why can’t we apply this model in a way that suits the performance arts industry?”
Why can’t we tap into that market? What would it look like if we would merge, trade spots or build an alliance and collaboration? That’s all it takes to succeed to let your guard down, put your ego on a shelf and look at what’s outside of you. Look at what things are working, processes and marketing. Let’s start in the arts. Who is your ideal client? Who are you talking to? What is your vision? What are your pillars of content?
It also comes down to the fact that in the industry itself we have such a hierarchy. For example, take a cruise ship. The dancers get paid the least amount out of all the entertainers. It would be the dancer, singer and aerialist. We even have a hierarchy in our own system. We don’t even believe in the value of good performing artists.
It’s not only on cruise ships.
There’s way more. It’s just the easiest example. When we come back to content, a lot of people are producing their own content now but if you think about how much it costs to make a music video? People are doing that themselves. They’re posting it on the internet and not making anything in return because they’re like, “This is my art form. I want to share it with the world,” which is great. I love that. It’s the same as going and watching a free rugby game. The thing is people take that for granted and keep on expecting it. In terms of content with marketing, when we collaborate with businesses, we’re not selling our souls which a lot of people think we’re doing. It’s like, “I’m joining this company. I’m selling my soul. My art form is no longer my creative expression.” That’s where a lot of the problem comes from.
If you partner with the company you believe in, for example, coconut water, there’s not much you can barely say about coconut water. Nobody studies to prove it’s wrong but for the majority of it, coconut water makes a lot of money. It’s electrolytes and perfect collaboration with the entertainment industry but that connection would never happen because people will be like, “We can’t collaborate with a company that’s not dance.” Everything has to be dance-related in the dance industry. You can’t go, “I’m going to partner with Pump which is a huge water company because they’re not dance-related.” A lot of the stigma is that when you partner with someone and you’re not selling your soul, you’re combining ideas to make something bigger.
This is beautiful because it is such a beautiful segue to collaboration in the community as one of the pillars that is essential for success. I see so much in the arts that the industry is single-siloed because there’s so much fear that they would lose their donors if they were to collaborate. I feel that a reset of intention, why we are here, and who we are serving is so imperative. I’d love to know your thoughts on that because you are particularly studying Marketing.
A random thought. With sports, we sell a community, but with dancing, we sell an art form. In terms of content, it’s almost breaking that fourth wall down, allowing people into it and not necessarily being that if you’re in the industry, it doesn’t mean that you have to be a performer. Allowing that community into what we see in the industry would allow for more people to find a tangible thing that they can invest in. Even with the corporate world, you have so many dancers but they feel they have to leave it behind that they can’t dance and do corporate. They build themselves up the ladder but in the corporate industry, they’re still known as a dancer.
It’s when you become your job in any field. Even as an entrepreneur or a manager, if you take that on as who you are personally, it never works. What’s next for you?
For me, I’m finishing my first year of uni, then I’m going back to Australia. I’ve got a few things lined up. I’m lucky to have been asked to lead in a circus show. I’m excited about pursuing that and telling the stories of the indigenous people a bit more. That was something that I feel is another hierarchy thing in the industry. It’s always the people at the top that tell the stories and they make the money for it. Being able to provide that voice for the indigenous people is something that I’m honored and privileged to be a part of. I’m now the Digital and Marketing Manager for Global Dance Pro so I’ll be building that industry and that empire more with Anthony which I’m excited about. We have a meeting about where we are going with all those pictures. I’m also lucky to work for an incredible company that focuses on health and wellness as EMF Performance Centre. I’ll be doing strategic marketing stuff with them too. I’m fortunate enough to have my fingers in multiple pies but also loving everything that I do with them.
When I talk to artists, I often get, “I’m too busy for this. I can only do my art. I can only be a dancer. I can only be a performer. I have no time for anything else.” Here you are with three different streams of income and school. What’s the difference?
I know that I’m capable of many things and I don’t want my pathway to being linear. I don’t want to be like I’m a dancer, a marketer, director and a CEO. I don’t see that in my step. I don’t see why I can’t go in my own little spiral of doing everything.
It’s because everything fits into everything.
For me, the thing it comes down to is communicating what people’s needs are and how I can fulfill them. For example, I know that I would be an incredible CEO and a good marketer because I understand people’s needs and their perspectives. However, I also understand that in the corporate world, you also need paperwork behind you which is why I’ve decided to do a double degree because I didn’t want to not be let in the door. That’s the thing with those degrees. They provide you with the opening of the door and it’s up to you to sell yourself once you’re in there. I don’t want to sound overconfident but I believe in myself so I know that I can do all these things.
I’ve been fortunate enough to do vision boards since I was about seven. My mom and I would always do one every New Year’s Eve. That was our tradition and it continued. It’s always more refined now that I’m older. I’ve always had that on my wall to look at. Every morning when I would wake up, I still have this diagram and there are five columns. Each column has a header that would be like corporate. The next is dancer, circus, and Jamie which is what I call my own company because I am a product at the end of the day. The fifth one is my family and what I see for my lifestyle. Each of those has a title underneath the other different things that I wanted to pursue.
There are so many things in there that if I did everything in a linear step, I wouldn’t be able to achieve it all. My mindset is, “I’ll do this,” and they all link up somehow. You can see it when you see it visually and that’s what allows me to realize that one stream. I’m being so bored if I only did one thing as well. I need to have multiple facets and things to do. That’s how I’ve seen my life as being able to do multiple things. For me, it’s a game. I always compete against myself. It can be something as simple as a spreadsheet. For example, if I can complete a spreadsheet in an hour, the next time I do I want to do it in 59 minutes or less. With that, I’m seeing if I jumped this high, I want to be able to jump even higher than next time. It’s always competing against myself. My biggest asset is that I’ve never seen other people as competition. I’ve always seen them as collaborators. With that, it allowed me to push you in an honest and authentic way moving forward rather than being someone that is seen as a threat.
When we compete with other people we’re denying ourselves our own light. We’re not willing to see it. If we’re not willing to see our light, how can we tap into everything that we have? That’s beautiful. This is your permission for everybody that’s reading and thinking, “I can’t be multi-passionate.” We all are in a way. We just don’t allow ourselves to tap into all of these different passions that we have and explore out of fear. I had to sign a document when I entered a ballet school at ten years old that I will not pursue anything else but dance. For me, I had to give up the piano, horseback riding, skiing and biking. I was a tomboy. Do all of the things do more of what lights you up and makes you even better as an artist
I feel like a lot of people get passion and purpose confused as well. They think, “I’ve got to find my passion,” but ultimately when you find your purpose, your passion comes naturally and you’re able to pursue your purpose through all of your passions. That’s what I’m lucky with because I’ve been able to know my purpose and passion from a young age and pursue it how I saw it in my head.
Do you schedule your day?
I very much so. My calendar and I are best friends.
Walk me through a little bit because that’s something I see as essential for being not only multi-passionate in your pursuit but also able to be more productive.
It is a productivity thing. I’ve eliminated the word busy from my vocabulary. I only say I’m being productive or not productive on either day. Sometimes resting is productivity, this I know. With my calendar, everything is color-coded. I’m also a feeling energetic person so everything’s color-coded into how I want to feel when I’m completing that task. For example, all of my work-related things are color-coded in different colors of blue because I want to feel calm when I’m doing it and enjoy the process.
Anything purple on my calendar which is my favorite color is anything that’s for me specifically or for my own business. Green is for my family. Orange is for things that need immediate attention that isn’t related to any of those facets. Yellow is for any appointments like if I have to go to the hairdresser’s or get my lashes done. I’m going to feel good. Everything’s color-coded in my calendar. I also have my affirmations three times a day which are in purple. I remind myself because I know what times of day where I need that extra boost so I’ve scheduled my affirmations to be at those times of day to remind me why I’m here doing what I’m doing.
Ever since COVID for some reason, I’ve not needed an alarm. My circadian rhythm has found that cycle again. I generally wake up at around 5:00 AM or 5:30 AM and then I meditate to meditation music for 15 to 20 minutes. It’s often to get anxiety out of my body, any fear or anything that I feel limits me through the day. I asked myself the question, “How would I want to feel today?” Whatever thought or emotion that is, I play a song that replicates that. Music is so vital for everyone but especially for dancers. I use that to move. I used that song so I could wake my body up into how I want to feel. It’s not always that I want to feel happy. Sometimes I want to feel calm. I’ll play a piano classic music to make me feel calm. Whatever the song is I’ll generally say my affirmations, wake up, stretch, have a shower, get ready, and then have breakfast.
Normally, I trained before breakfast. I’ll go for a walk, go to the gym, do handstands or whatever I’m feeling that day. After that, I’ll get into work mode. Sometimes we’ll be either studying for a 2 or 3-hour block and then I’ll have a break. I’ll go move my body to break out their energy. I’ll come back and do a different work block maybe for one of the companies that I work for. I’ll have some time to talk to a friend through social media. Because a lot of my friends live overseas, there’s a lot of FaceTime and WhatsApp.
I will generally have dinner and watch either a YouTube inspirational video or sometimes I need something lighthearted so I’ll watch a show on Netflix. I’ll go into another work block and I always cut myself off at around 8:30 PM-ish. I use that time to wind down whether it’s to have a shower. Sometimes I have dance classes as well in the evening so I’ll go to class and get on that high that you get from a dance class, come home and have a big stretch.
That’s a round about my average day. Every now and then I’ll have business meetings or appointments. I love having a digital calendar because it’s so easy to move things. You don’t need to cross something out and change it over. My mom likes paper and writing but I’m a digital person. I’ve been using my calendar since I was 30. I’ve had this color-coding system since then. It worked and it continues to work for me. That’s my day in a nutshell.Curiosity is what helps us grow because the more we know, the more we fall in love with what I’m doing. Click To Tweet
That’s how you set yourself up for success. It is so important to understand that we are not waking up motivated. Some people may but it is not the norm. That is work. It’s something you invest in yourself. We get to decide how we feel and what our day looks like. As an artist and a dancer, I was so much in that victim mentality of it’s everybody else’s job to tell me how I’m supposed to feel and what my day is going to look like. If I had known all of these tools, meditation, reading, setting intentions, journaling, gratitude and all of that prior to me stepping out of the world, it would have made such a huge difference in my career. That’s where this generation can tap into so much more and I see some of them starting to. It’s aligning your habits with where you want to go. It’s not the 8:30 rolling around and hitting snooze one more time. It’s like, “I can be in the studio at 10:00. I’ll make it if I snooze for ten more minutes.”
It’s planning a life that you’re excited about. That’s what it comes down to.
Also, not waiting for somebody else to direct it for you.
Allowing yourself to have that freedom to move things. You’ve created this life. You’ve earned it and that’s what people forget. They keep working so hard towards this end goal that they end up in the process forgetting what their end goal is. Having those moments of affirmations, gratitude and journaling allow you to come back to your strong why and purpose. Therefore, you can attain your end goal a lot faster. It’s never an end goal because there’s always something but allowing yourself to accept that in life is where a lot of people limit themselves.
You see so many podcasts and YouTube videos about, “I’ve got my billion-dollar business but I feel unfulfilled.” That’s because the process to get there is they didn’t acknowledge the whole way of why they were doing what they are doing. I feel like that’s where planning comes in. It’s so simple. People are like, “I’ve put fifteen minutes in the day for myself.” I feel so weird but if you put fifteen minutes in your day for yourself every single day, that’s over an hour a week for you to be you. It’s that simple but simplicity is often downgraded in life and everyone’s like, “It’s got to be more complicated than that,” but it’s not. It’s fifteen minutes of your day to set your intentions and say what you’re grateful for. Start with fifteen and you’ll end up with an hour.
It’s also the compound effect. When you look at how the training is, we organized it over and over again the same thing but you’ve got to get it so you can build up. I find that there are many parallels but I feel that dancers, in particular, are not good beginners in something new.
It’s a huge ego thing as well. It comes down to competition as well. Who are you competing against? Are you competing against yourself or with people in the room? Let the people around you motivate you but don’t let their success want you to pull them down. Bring yourself up. You don’t need to pull them down to bring yourself up. Use them as a platform to keep going up. A big lesson I learned when I was ten and someone said to me, “Being the best in the room is the worst thing because then you have nowhere to go. If you’re the best in the room, you can be better than yourself.” Having someone better than you is not only someone to look up to but it’s also to provide the imagination of where you can go.
If you’re the best in the room, it is not your room anymore. You need to find another room. It matters how much you see yourself as important in fulfilling your dreams. It is so important to not listen to what the outside wants you to be but understanding that you are in charge. You’re sitting in that driver’s seat and nobody else is driving your life. There is such belief in, “You getting the job has so much to do with luck.” I don’t agree with that statement at all.
You getting the job is because you created it. If you don’t get the job, it is not for you. It may not be for you right now. It may open the door for you to do something completely different than you suppose to do or there’s one step in the middle that you’re going to take or have to take. It’s protecting you perhaps as well. It’s not that you’re not good enough. Maybe it’s not good enough for you. We underestimate the power of knowing ourselves and triggers. It’s not about the outside and everything about the inside.
You can’t live in a body and soul that you’re not happy with. Feed your soul and mind and you’ll propel forward.
Thank you so much for this conversation.
Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate it.
Where can we find you?
You can find me on Instagram. That’s probably the best thing. My Instagram handle is @JustDanceJosie. I got offered a full scholarship out of high school to study Commerce at university and I also got offered a position in a performing arts school. I created that Instagram when I was making that decision because I told myself, “What do you want to do at the end of this dance?” It came out as a decision to just dance. It’s like, “Remember that’s your passion.”
Go follow her there. My cup is full. Having this conversation with you anchored in for me that what we’re doing every day, even if it’s tiny little bits, always will push us forward even if it’s not 1% but maybe it’s 0.5% or 0.7%. It all matters because it’s in the journey and not in the goal. It’s who we become while we’re achieving the goals.
Every journey is intended for you. Accept it and take it as it comes.
Thank you so much. Thanks for reading, everybody. Until next time.
- Josephine Bonnington-Mailisi
- Global Dance Pro
- @JustDanceJosie – Instagram
About Josephine Bonnington-Mailisi
After meeting Josephine for the first time, it won’t be long until that infectious smile has left its mark on you. Known to her family and friends as Josie, many will say that her passion shines through her performance and everyday attitude. Her innovation and versatility as a dancer, aerialist and teacher have allowed her to perform in multiple countries including New Zealand, Australia and America.
When she’s not in the circus world, you’ll find her upside down on the yoga mat, bending in door frames or being a fanatical researcher. Amongst all her years of performing and training, Josie continues to up-skill herself. Whether it’s dancing, flexibility, aerial circus, acrobatics or aerial flow yoga, you can guarantee that Josie will pour her heart and soul into it.
Josie is currently studying to acquire a conjoint degree with Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Commerce.
Josie is a talented contortionist, aerialist, choreographer and dancer. Some of her career highlights include MOTIVE 2018 where she was an aerial hoop soloist and co-producer and at the 2018 All Blacks vs China half-time entertainment where she performed as an aerialist. Josie will be bringing our ‘FeeJee Mermaid’ to life through mesmerizing aerial contortion.
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