[Motivational Intro Music]
Chelsea: Hi, dancers! I have a short and important message for you today. How far is the gap between what you want and what you actually have right now?
I'm Dr. Chelsea. This is Passion for Dance, the show that's usually for passionate dance teachers and coaches. But today, I want to talk directly to the dancers. If you have big dreams, I hope there's a gap between where you are now and where you want to be. But how big is that gap? Do you have a real sense of the hill or mountain in front of you, and are you willing to do what it takes to close the gap? Today, I want to help you bridge that gap between where you are now and where you want to be.
Welcome to the Passion for Dance podcast. I’m Dr. Chelsea, a former professional dancer and dance team coach turned sport psychologist. This podcast focuses on four main pillars: motivation, resilience, mindset, and community. Each week, you’ll learn actionable strategies, mindsets, and tips to teach your dancers more than good technique. This is a podcast where we can all make a lasting impact and share our passion for dance. Let’s do this!
The Gap Can Be Hard to Quantify – 1:18
When I ask the question, how far is that gap between what you want and what you actually have, I understand that can be hard to quantify. It's hard to picture and really understand the reality of that gap between where you are and what you want. But all too often, dancers have big dreams and goals (like a state championship or being in front, making a college team, being a Broadway dancer), and yet you don't pause and notice the reality gap and then decide you are willing to do the work it takes to close that gap.
The reality gap is knowing how far you are from a skill you want, a score you want, the feeling of success that you're striving for. Do you know how far away you really are? And if you know, are you ready to do what it takes to reach your goals?
If you don't have a realistic picture of the reality gap for you, it can be easy to be intimidated by that gap and scared to work for it, or it can also feel so far-fetched that it's just, well, not worth it. It's hard to put in the effort when it feels Unreachable. Maybe the dream feels out of sight, or like it'll just take forever to get there. Maybe you're dreaming of making an audition that's four years away, or maybe you've been working on the same turn sequence for months and it still feels like that perfect execution is impossibly far away.
When your dance dreams are really big, the reality gap often feels overwhelming and you get stuck. You're stuck in the here and now where practice is hard and you don't feel like you're making the progress you want to see. So motivation falters, it's hard to get up and go to rehearsals every day, it's hard to put in that full effort because those big dreams feel too far away.
Get Clear on Your Dreams – 3:09
But there's no reason to stay stuck. Take a moment and get a clear visual of what you're dreaming of this season. Find a clear dream in your mind of something this year. Try to create an image in your mind of what that dream looks like. Maybe you're taking a picture with a trophy and all your friends. Maybe you're dancing at a specific place you've been dreaming of. What are you wearing? Who are you with? What emotion is flooding through you?
Once you know where you're going, that's the first step, but if you're feeling stuck, it's helpful to remember what you're fighting for. If it's hard to show up at practice, if it feels like rehearsals are getting monotonous, you might have lost that dream. Why are you showing up every day? Why are you putting in one more rep? Why are you working hard at home? Because you have a dream that matters to you. Hold that clear dream in your mind.
But here's the hard part. Now you need a reality check. Are you actually doing the work it takes to get that dream? Be honest with yourself. Notice the reality gap. Are you ready for that dream moment right now, and if you're not ready, if your dancing's not there yet, what's holding you back from doing everything necessary to make it happen?
Here's my message today: remember your dream. Notice that reality gap, but don't get stuck there. Take control of your dreams, assess what work needs to be done, and commit to it.
Four Things Getting in the Way of Dancers’ Dreams – 4:47
See, when dancers get stuck and aren't willing to put in the work to achieve their dreams, there are four things that usually get in the way. So, if you have big dreams, but you realize, if you're being honest, you maybe aren't putting in as much work as you could, see if any of these are true for you. Maybe they're holding you back from putting in full effort right now.
Number one is if goals are actually too big and unrealistic. But I want to say that's probably not true. If you have a dream that involves your team or something you want as a group, your coach or your teacher probably wouldn't let an unrealistic goal be your driving force. So we're going to ignore that one. No dreams are too big. The other three are possible though.
Number two that could be getting in your way is those negative thoughts that tell you it's not possible. It's that ugly script in your head that says I'll never get there or I'm not good enough. It can certainly get in the way.
Number three that I see a lot is dancers who are avoiding discomfort. Sure, we don't like to feel uncomfortable. We don't like to feel like we aren't good enough or we can't do it or that somebody might be watching us if we're not perfect. So we just avoid that icky emotion, avoid the discomfort, kind of stay where we're comfortable using the dance skills we're already good at and just stay there. But that keeps you from moving forward.
And the fourth thing that can get in the way is losing touch or forgetting what is important or meaningful about your goal. Again, in the day-to-day grind, it's easy to forget why you're here.
You Have the Power to Turn These Around – 6:34
So I ask you, are you really working as hard as you can to make your goal happen, or are you avoiding feeling uncomfortable? Are negative thoughts taking over, making you pull back from giving your all, or have you forgotten how meaningful the goal is to you? If any of those are true, it's in your control to turn it around. Negative thoughts, avoiding discomfort, losing touch with your goal are all things you can change.
Consider the old stick versus carrot metaphor. Not actually sure where this came from, but it still holds. When you are trying to motivate yourself to go full out one more time, to show up early for a workout, or be positive after a failure, you can either motivate yourself with a stick or a carrot.
A stick stands for that punishment. Maybe yelling at yourself saying, “Get it together! What is wrong with me? Why do I keep missing that?” But, of course, that just fosters more negative thoughts and makes you want to avoid that icky, uncomfortable feeling. So, usually, you stop putting in the effort it takes to make improvements. So instead, you could motivate with a carrot.
The carrot represents the positive reinforcement. You focus on the good things that will come if you go for it. You focus on how good you'll feel if you give it one more full out or if you don't quit on that workout. Of course, that's what I want to encourage for you. Focus on positive motivation, not punishment. Remind yourself what your goal really means to you. Truly hold that picture in your mind. Remember how good you will feel if you give it everything. It's not about what happens at the end. It's knowing you did everything you could and saw growth. So focus on the positive future you want, how proud you will be of yourself if you put in the effort it takes to achieve those dreams.
Yes, there might be a gap between where you are now and your dance dream. Acknowledge that reality, but don't be afraid of it. There's no reason to avoid discomfort or be mean to yourself as you pursue your dreams. Focus on the small daily growth, notice how good it feels when you unlock a new level of excellence, and keep your dreams front of mind.
You are in control of your own effort. I hope you choose to put everything on the line and fight for your goals. The win is in the journey. I hope it brings you a little dose of inspiration today, and please share this message with your fellow dancers who might need to hear it. We need more positivity in our world. So, don't give up on your dreams and keep sharing your passion for dance with the world!
Finish Strong Virtual Masterclass – 9:31
Hi, dance coaches! I want to tell you about something special coming up on Sunday, December 17th, 2023. When I do mental skills workshops, I typically work with teams and dance studios independently providing a custom experience to each one. But I know that isn't in the budget for everyone, and I also know many of us are looking for that boost of motivation during this busy competition season. So, I want to ask you, have you met all your goals this season, or is there still something you want to accomplish, and you know your dancers need to step it up if it's going to happen?
If you still have something unfinished, you know it's time to dig deep and find a way to keep everyone motivated through the end of our long seasons. But don't let the rest of the season drag on. I want to help you solve some of the stress around competition season by improving your dance team's motivation.
So I created a new virtual masterclass. It's open to everyone. It will be live on December 17th. It's called Finish Strong, and I'll tell you all about the three key ways to increase your dancer's motivation, of course, with clear action steps that you can implement right away. Don't sit back and let the rest of the season pass you by. Take the reins and finish the season strong. You can show your team what it means to push through a challenge, put your heart into your goals, and be proud of your effort.
I truly love working with coaches. I'd love to see you there! So if you'd like to find out more about this special workshop opportunity, visit www.chelseapierotti.com/finishstrong. You'll see the link in the show notes, wherever you're listening now. That's www.chelseapierotti.com/finishstrong to find out more!
[Motional Outro Music]