Creativity + Productivity = Success
Street Dancers, do you want success as a creative artist? Are you tired of being broke?
Being outside of the UK is giving me an even clearer perspective on views I have regarding street dance.
I’ve always felt like I was sitting on the periphery; able to look at situations from a number of different angles and find solutions. Living in LA, I have been able to detach myself further and see it from a ‘birds-eye’ view.
I always notice how street dancers are struggling to survive let alone earn a stable living. I see creative people juggling many things in their life in order to allow them to pursue their artistic endeavours; resisting the expectation of society to conform and get a ‘regular’ job, because if they are deprived of their creative pursuits, they will be miserable. Finding a balance is extremely difficult and a very real issue. For a creative person, being poor and able to do what they love is better than being rich and stable in a job that pays the bills yet doesn’t capture their heart and imagination. If these are our only options, then either way we are stuck in a rut. Neither of those scenarios affords us the true results that we are looking for. It can be a frustrating, vicious cycle.
If you have to work a ‘regular’ job then the time you have available to focus on your creative endeavours becomes limited. It is impossible to put restrictions and time frames on creativity. It just doesn’t work like that. If you have chosen the route of ‘struggling artist’ then money becomes your problem. Chasing paper and wondering where your next cheque is coming from, will leave you constantly worrying about money. The result again, is that your focus on creative work is limited. Therefore, in both cases you are unlikely to be producing work at your optimum level. When the focus is on survival, people will also resort to doing things that they maybe aren’t best placed to be doing. e.g. teaching dance classes when your heart isn’t really in it. The fall out is that the quality of output becomes substandard. This also has a negative effect on the industry as a whole. If we are not striving to reach our full potential as dancers, creative artists and entrepreneurs, we will continue to struggle to be elevated as an industry in its own right.
Time to get real. Do you think you are doing something ‘unique’. Take a closer look and ask yourself, are you really? Are you doing something exceptional? Are you doing something that sets you apart from the rest? That raises the game in some way? Or are you being mediocre? Or even less than mediocre? Or following trends without even realising it? Are you doing something that contributes positively to the dance community? Do you have a long-term goal? Or is your thinking for short-term gain?
A deeper effect of sub-standard output is this; we begin to lose faith in our own community. Via my company Spread Love Dance, I constantly have people approaching me, telling me about problems that they are experiencing in the world of street dance. For example, I heard about an event that happened recently in Europe. If what was described to me is accurate, the event was a catalogue of errors from start to finish. Invited guests (including pioneers of street dance) being accommodated in what sounded like an underground bunker, flights being booked incorrectly leaving people stranded, the event starting 6 hours late plus many of the competitors not turning up because they were mad (with very good reason) about the situation that had unfolded. All this; and that is before the spectators have been considered. Hundreds of people travelling abroad, paying for flights, accommodation, event tickets and more. Is any part of this scenario fair?
Someone please tell me, what is going on? We need to stop scraping the barrel and start working together to make the environment better for everyone.
Another get real moment. Stop trying to do things that you have not developed the skills to do. I have seen this a lot in the street dance environment. Do you call yourself a dancer? a teacher? a choreographer? Have you genuinely honed the skills to call yourself any or all of those things? Do you organise events? Is your latest concept video your best work? Does your show reel show you in your very best light? Do you have professional or business skills that will stand you in good stead to get ahead in the game? Are YOU the best person for the job?
Now is the time to think about WHAT you are putting out in to the world and WHY. Make appropriate decisions for your own progress. Say ‘no’ sometimes if it doesn’t suit you. Know what your aim is. Work out what skills you need to be able to achieve that aim. Be willing to invest in yourself and your future. Then go and do everything in your power to get those skills that will help you to achieve your goals.
I am fortunate because I have a 14 year professional marketing and event management career behind me and skills that afford me a safety net of being able to earn good money if I need to. In fact, it adds to my arsenal and increases my creative capacity. The skills I have developed have stood me in good stead to be successful with my creative endeavors. As a result I have been able to set up a dance related business and now my dreams are in sight.
By having this I am not dependent on finding a way to earn money from my creative endeavours. This means that I can create honestly too. I can afford to take my time planning and developing my ideas and my skills. Which ultimately leads to even greater success.
I am currently living in LA, investing in myself and upskilling so that I can eventually invest more in my community and in the things that I believe in. I am here taking part in an intensive dance and teacher training programme with Shabba-Doo. I am receiving a first-class education which goes way beyond the dance content alone.
Anyway, I am not here to preach and tell you what is right or wrong or what you should or shouldn’t be doing; my purpose is more to raise some questions in your mind. I also know of some useful resources that will help you to start to focus your efforts more effectively and increase success in your creative career.
I would like to share a website with you. It is called Lateral Action and has been created by Mark McGuinness. He is awesome and provides a wealth of FREE advice to support creative artists to forge successful careers. One of his offerings is The Creative Pathfinder.
The Creative Pathfinder Foundation Course is a FREE 26-part creative career guide, delivered to your inbox. It will equip you with the essential skills for success in the 21st-century creative economy – whether you are a freelancer, independent artist, entrepreneur or employee.
The course is taught by Mark McGuinness; based on his 15+ years’ experience of coaching and training creative’s of all kinds. He will be your guide through the maze of opportunities in the creative industries.
If it’s meant for you it won’t pass you by. Sign up for it here. It’s golden!
And if you think this information might help someone else don’t just keep it for yourself – PASS IT ON. Let’s step out of that scarcity mentality – remember, there is enough for everyone, go get yours and help others to get theirs too. I will leave you with this quote:
“People with a scarcity mentality tend to see everything in terms of win-lose. There is only so much; and if someone else has it, that means there will be less for me. The more principle-centered we become, the more we develop an abundance mentality, the more we are genuinely happy for the successes, well- being, achievements, recognition, and good fortune of other people. We believe their success adds to…rather than detracts from…our lives.” Stephen R. Covey
Spread Love. Dance. Share Success.