Ep. 143 Transcript - Dr. Chelsea Pierotti

Ep. 143 Transcript

[Motivational Intro Music]

Chelsea: Hi dancers! Do you ever feel disappointed? I'm sure you do. We all feel disappointed sometimes. Maybe you didn't get the role you wanted or the audition you were hoping for, or you're disappointed in how your solo scored last week. If you're a dancer, you've had to wrestle with that negative emotion of being disappointed. So how do you handle it? Well, let's talk about it.

Hi, I'm Dr. Chelsea. This is Passion for Dance, the show for passionate dance teachers and coaches, but today I'm going to speak directly to the dancers about dealing with disappointment. I know it's something we all have to go through, but we don't actually talk about how. We're just supposed to get over it and keep pushing forward. So how do you deal with it? How do you push forward?

In this episode, I'm going to share with you the steps to dealing with disappointment, so that the next time you need a little pick-me-up after a low score or you need help turning around a bad mood after a disappointing performance, you'll know exactly what to do.


[Motivational Music]

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!

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Everyone Deals With Disappointment – 1:33

If there's one thing you can count on in life, it's that you'll have to deal with disappointment. As a dancer, there are disappointments around every corner: not making a team you had your heart set on, losing a competition you felt confident in, or being cut from a routine. It's part of our dancer life. How is it, though, that some dancers are resilient through disappointment and seem to easily pick themselves back up, and other dancers get stuck and have a hard time bouncing back? Well, in short, the difference is some dancers have learned resilience.

If you usually struggle to bounce back and have a hard time moving forward after you're disappointed, I want you to know you can learn how to be more resilient. But even for people who have built resilience, getting over a disappointment is not easy to do. It might look like someone got over it quickly, but they're probably suffering in silence because it's what most of us do. We pretend like everything's fine.

So it might look like your friend is moving on quickly and isn't fazed by that last routine that didn't go well, even if you don't feel good about it. She might be dealing with disappointment too. We just tend to hide it because we're told, “The show must go on.” And that's true, the show does have to go on, but you can power forward with a healthy, positive mindset rather than powering forward by pretending like it doesn't matter and ignoring how you're feeling. We can learn from each experience to teach ourselves how to be more resilient.

I think it's an important life lesson to learn how to deal with disappointment. It's actually a big benefit of being a dancer is that you get better at it and can build more resilience. We may have to face it a lot, but we can really grow from it. And when you fall short or that opportunity is taken away, you will survive the disappointment and live to dance another day. Let's talk about how!


[Motivational Music]

Hi, dance coaches and ​teachers! If you are a dance educator, it's important to make sure you are on my email list. It's only for educators. It's where I keep you all updated on my mental skills workshops, the Relevé Membership, and even some special trainings coming up that are only available inside the membership.

My email list is where I provide extra resources for dance educators and tips to help you and support you through this teaching journey. If you're listening and you're a coach or a studio teacher, and you think you might ever want to learn more about helping your dancers with their mindset, building their resilience, and motivating them, please join my list to make sure you get the inside scoop.

So, here's how to get on. You go to www.chelseapierotti.com/email and sign up. There's a link in the show notes to the episode as well. And again, that's where I'll announce special opportunities, like the one coming up soon, that's only available inside Relevé, but mostly it's where I provide more support and resources to help you with your dancers.

So go join in at www.chelseapierotti.com/email, and let's work together and make a more positive impact on our dance industry!

[Motivational Music]



Disappointment Leads to Rumination – 4:52

Think about the last time you were really disappointed. It could be about dance or anything in your life. So when you've got that picture in your head, consider this. If you're experiencing disappointment, by definition, the thing you're thinking about is in the past. It already happened. It's over, and now you're experiencing that sense of loss or defeat. But the point is, whatever you're disappointed in is over. We don't feel disappointment for a future event. We feel disappointment after an event, if it doesn't go our way.

So, if you're feeling disappointed, that means you are ruminating or thinking a lot over something that already happened. You're going over it and over it in your head on repeat. Can you relate to that? Do you have an event in your past that haunts you a little bit? Oh, I definitely do, more than one. But when I start to think about them, I have to remember, “Nope, that's in the past.”

No matter what that thing is you're disappointed about, you can't change it. You can't go back and practice one more day, so you feel more confident. You can't go back and sleep better before an audition. You just can't go backwards, but that's what we try to do when we're disappointed. We think about all the what ifs to try and make it play out differently, but that's not going to help you get rid of that icky, yucky feeling or deal with the negative emotion.

It just makes you stuck there.

Dealing With Disappointment Takes a Conscious Effort – 6:15

Deciding to deal with disappointment and not just ignore it takes conscious effort. The automatic, easy thing to do is to do all the what ifs and get stuck there. You have to decide you want to process this emotion and move on. You won't just wake up one day and feel over it. You have to decide to approach this issue with a different mindset and say, “It's time to move forward,” and then actively transition.

So how do you do that? How do you transition from disappointment to a place of acceptance and move forward? Well, I'm going to share six steps, and then once I talk through them, I'll share one of my own biggest disappointments as a dancer and how I wish I would have used these strategies to get over it, because young, dancer me didn't know this yet, and that's a big part of what this show is all about. I want to share what science and psychological research has taught us so that you can do better and have a better experience. So here are the six steps to dealing with disappointment.

First Step to Dealing with Disappointment: Emotional Awareness – 7:15

First is emotional awareness. The first step is to be aware of your emotions and understand that what you're feeling is actually disappointment. It's a feeling of regret, sadness, or maybe a sense of defeat in an expectation. You thought something was going to happen, and it didn't. Disappointment can look like other emotions, like anger.

So it's important to first understand your own emotions and recognize the real reason you're upset is actually disappointment. Because sometimes it might not be, and then this stops right here. Maybe you're not actually disappointed, you're angry or you're jealous. Taking a minute to be self-aware and say, What is actually happening right now? And if it is disappointment, then you keep moving through it.

Second Step to Dealing with Disappointment: Accept It’s a Human Experience – 8:07

Number two is you accept that disappointment is a human experience. It happens to everyone. Even the best dancers in the world have been severely disappointed more than once. If you can recognize that these feelings are normal and start to accept that everyone has to go through this at some point, you start to feel less alone.

The problem is most people don't talk about being disappointed. They stuff it down and pretend like they're fine. So when you're going through it, it looks like no one else is and that you're alone. But the truth is this is a human experience that everyone has.

Third Step to Dealing with Disappointment: Reframe The Experience – 8:45

Once you've noticed it and accepted it, step three is to start to reframe this experience that you just had. So once you have accepted that disappointment is normal, you can start to reframe it. Try to take an objective view of what happened. Separate the emotion from what really happened. You can do this by actually writing down the facts. Write down what happened and then separate the emotion from it. Stick to the facts. If you can detach your emotions from what happened, you can start to regain your power over the situation.

Fourth Step to Dealing with Disappointment: Change Your Self-Talk – 9:21

Once you've separated your emotions, step four is to change your self-talk. When we feel a sense of disappointment, it can go one of two ways. We either, one, blame ourselves, or two, feel like the world is out to get us, and we're doomed to be disappointed again. Neither one of those is helpful, right?

When you're upset, notice your thoughts. Do you say things like, “Ugh, I never get what I work for,” or “I have such bad luck,” or “I can't keep trying and risk this feeling again. I can't do it.” That type of self-talk will keep you focused on that negative event in the past without allowing you to gain control over the situation.

I hear this all the time in competitive dance, when a team or a soloist has given it everything, expecting that certain level of success, and if the judges don't agree with you that day, that disappointment is so strong, and dancers want to give up. They want to protect themselves from feeling this bad again. But again, if you're going to actually deal with the disappointment, you have to shift that self-talk.

So, instead, once you notice those thoughts, you change it to something like, “I feel disappointed, but it's a phase and I can get myself out of it.” You can, again, acknowledge it and notice what's going on, accept it, reframe it, and start thinking about it differently, talking to yourself differently when you start to notice those negative, unhelpful thoughts, turning it around.

Fifth Step to Dealing with Disappointment: – Focus on a New Accomplishment – 10:51

Once you've done that, step five is to focus on a new accomplishment. After a sense of defeat and disappointment, it's easy to wallow in it and decide, “No goal is worth striving for. This hurts too much.” But rather than sitting in that dark place, turn to focus on a new goal, even a really small one. Set yourself up for a sense of accomplishment. You work on something new. Allow yourself to feel a sense of success and personal triumph. Make a plan to move forward on a new goal and shift your focus forward.

Again, this is the conscious effort part. You have to decide that it's time to move forward. Disappointment is in the past. Reframe the event, change your self-talk, and turn your focus to a new accomplishment.

Sixth Step to Dealing with Disappointment: – Reach Out For Help – 11:38

Step six is to reach out to others for help. Since disappointment is a common human emotion that we all go through, if you reach out for support, you will find someone who understands. You don't have to experience disappointment alone. Share your emotion with a trusted friend. Have that friend help you with the other steps to process what happened.

For many of us, talking this out with someone can be the best way to process it. And if you don't want to talk to somebody else about it, journaling it works, too. But I'm telling you, other people know what this feels like. We've all been disappointed, so talk about it. They can help you see the reality of the situation and recognize fact from fiction. They can be there to empathize, but then help you refocus your thoughts and your energy on the future.

So those are the six steps, and this is one of those things easier said than done, but you can choose to work through it. That emotional awareness, what's really going on, accepting that disappointment is human, reframe the experience, change your self-talk, focus forward, and reach out for help.

Disappointment Story From My Dance Life – 12:48

So, Here's a little story of a disappointment in my dance life. I was in my late teens. I went to an audition that, honestly, I thought was a done deal. I showed up like this is going to be a cakewalk. I knew I had what it takes, and I felt super confident. Making this audition was going to set me up for this path that I was meant to go down. I knew exactly where I was headed. “This is just one more step and I'll be there.”

Turns out, I was cut in that first round of auditions. I was absolutely devastated, and it felt like everything in my dance world fell apart. I had no idea what to do next. Everything felt awful. I was so disappointed. But that step one of emotional awareness helped process a little bit. Yes, I was disappointed, but it wasn't really that I was deeply devastated. It was that I was unsure of what's next. So the emotional awareness, what I wish I had had then, was noticing, “I'm a little disappointed, sure. But this anxiety and this, you know, what I was calling devastation, it's actually just the unknown.” I didn't like that I didn't know what was next. I didn't like that I had to find a new path. So that emotional awareness was an important first step. I wish I had sat with it a little bit and actually tried to understand what I was really feeling. It would have been easier to deal with.

Step two of accepting that as a human experience, that part I did a little bit better on, but it honestly took a while, and I was finally able to say, “Okay, I'm not the only one who got cut, and I'm not the only one who hasn't gotten an audition that I wanted. It's wasn't even personal about me. Lots of other people have been through it. So disappointment is for everyone. It's not just me.” So once I could kind of accept that and separate it from me, that started to help.

Then, reframing the experience, I was able to step back a little and say, “Okay, what did I learn? What, what did I gain from this? What did I do at that audition that meant I got cut? What was in my control that I could have done better?” And there were plenty of things. This was early on in my path to being a professional, and a lot of things went wrong in that audition. So being able to step back and say, “What did I learn,” helped a lot.

And then, “What path is open now?” It really actually started to shift and say, I can reframe this to say, I learned something that's really going to help support me in a future audition that could be something even better. And that's where I was able to move to that changing of my self-talk to say, “Okay, yes, I'm disappointed, but I'm a good dancer. I'm just not the right fit for that director, and that's okay. I will still get to dance.”

Where, when I first got cut that first day, oh, that self-talk was terrible. It was a lot of like, “I'm awful. I can't believe this. I'm a failure. I can't tell anyone I was here. I'm going to pretend like this never happened.” It was very dark but being able to walk through this and intentionally shift to then have the self-talk of, “Okay, yeah, I'm disappointed. That hurt, but I am still a good dancer. That hasn't changed, and it wasn't the right fit for this situation, but I will still get to dance. This isn't over.” That led me to being able to focus on a new accomplishment.

Again, it took a few weeks. This was not like I turned it around in an hour, right? But I was able to then find a new goal, a new audition to get excited about. It shifted my focus to taking what I learned, being more prepared and showing up to something new, and at that audition, I got it, and it sent me down a different path that I wouldn't have had, had I got the first one. And of course, looking back, I can see how wonderful it is now, but in the moment, I just needed the next step and the next goal.

And, finally, that reaching out for help, I will say that I sat in this one alone. I did not tell anyone for years. And in fact I did hide that I even went to that audition. I preferred not to talk about it and instead now I want to talk about it, and now I want to share it. Everybody has this. Everyone is going to have something that you thought was going to be easy or everybody expected it to be you over everybody else, “No worries. It's going to be great,” and then it doesn't happen. I wish I had asked for help. I know I would have processed this better if I had reached out to other people at the time. So please learn from my mistakes and reach out to others.

Getting over a disappointment in dance is normal. We all have to do it, but that doesn't make it easy. I've definitely lost events as a coach that I thought I should have won. I've been sent home from auditions, as I've said. I felt left out when I wasn't chosen for a role that I really wanted.

So if you're experiencing a lot of disappointment lately, you're not alone. But you do have a choice to make. You can either wallow in it and let that negative emotion consume you, or instead sit in it for a bit, acknowledge it, choose to process it and make the choice to look forward. Because, even though that audition day was one of the hardest I've had as a dancer, if I had stopped there, there are so many wonderful things that would not have happened. But you have to choose to look forward.

So I hope this gives you a resource, some clear steps, so the next time you feel disappointed in yourself or disappointed in an outcome, you're better equipped to deal with it. As a reminder, start with that emotional awareness. How are you really feeling? Accept that disappointment is human. Everybody does it. Everybody has to work through it. And then reframe that experience. What are the facts? Try to take the emotion out of it. What really happened? Shift your self-talk. Be kind to yourself. Talk to yourself like you would talk to someone you love. Focus on that new accomplishment and reach out for help.

And if you found this helpful, please share this with a friend. Maybe you have a dance friend in your life who has been feeling down lately. Maybe this would help. Send this to them, reach out to them, and let them know that you're there for them no matter what they're going through. Thank you for listening. Keep sharing your passion for dance with the world!

[Motivational Outro Music]

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