I have been studying dance since I was 3, I have been teaching dance since I was 14 and have been making my living as a full time college dance instructor for 9 years. By most people's definition I am successful within my career. Then why do I feel this constant need to "prove myself"?
I am still relatively young in my career. Of course as a dancer I am by definition "old." At 33, my future resume does not likely include "commercial dancer." I never even wanted that route. I was all about education, choreography and dance studies all along. Perhaps you also had a clear path to your current career-profession. Or, perhaps you meandered and changed a lot...
The point is. . or rather the question is: when do you stop and realize that you have arrived and you don't have to keep proving yourself to the world? When do you look down and realize that the grass is green right where you are, and the neighbor's lawn may be beautiful but that doesn't mean you should want it or have it?
As young (dance) professionals, we are trained to achieve, to grow our presence in the world and keep "climbing the ladder" so to speak. We want our students to be higher achieving, our companies to be more widely recognized, ourselves to be in demand as choreographers and instructors. We want the fame, the glory, the recognition that we have made it!
Except it isn't about what we are doing or what we achieve at all. Life is about recognizing where we are, following our life's "purpose" and accepting that we are enough just as we are. I have been a sort of "natural" leader my whole life (I think in part because I am tall and use a lot of expressive gestures). But, leadership is not the only success to be found in the world, and just because I have been in leadership roles doesn't meant it is the only way for me "succeed."
And, I am starting to see more clearly how I don't need to compete for a leadership position. I am already in one. In many! I may not be world recognized, but does that really matter? At what point will I say I have achieved success. When I achieve world domination? Yes!
No! Obviously not. World domination isn't my goal. So, what is? To lead on a school level, on a city level, on a state level, on a national level, on an international level, on a galactic level?!? This is crazy! I am crazy!! There will always be someone more well known, with more twitter followers and more blog readers. I am realizing that I have been mislead by my own misunderstanding of success and leadership.
The good news is that I am connecting the dots; they seem obvious as I write them, but to really believe them on a heart and even cellular level is tougher than it seems. I am realizing that I am already doing the work. I am already shaping the world around me. But the coolest part is, I am shaping it not only as a "leader/teacher/choreographer/director" but as a supporter!
I am finding wonderful reward in supporting those around me who are doing amazing and wonderful things. I see more clearly than ever that this is a world of abundance and part of my role is to support those around me who are doing the work I believe in. Being a busy leader is a lonely place, and I want balance and community. No more competition "to the top" (whatever that is supposed to mean!)
There is no top! There are only those whom we encounter each and everyday. And, giving more to them and supporting them is making my green lawn a wonderful place for everyone to play!
How do you support people you believe in? Are you a "leader"? And, what does that mean to you? Are you a supporter? Which gives you more satisfaction?