Ep 152 Transcript - Dr. Chelsea Pierotti

Ep 152 Transcript

[Motivational Intro Music]

Dr. Chelsea: Today's episode is an incredible story of resilience and how one woman went from leaving an abusive home at 14 to creating a life for herself as a performer and business owner. Josephine Lancuba is an award-winning performing arts business and talent management professional from Sydney, Australia. She's an educator, speaker, talent agent, and has spent two decades in the arts industry, leading and managing studios and production-based businesses (including her own musical theater studio) for the last ten years.

Josephine's story of resilience is absolutely inspiring, but it's more than that because she shares actionable tips for building resilience as a teacher, studio owner, and how we can help our dancers. We also talk about building confidence, defining your own success, and vocalizing what you want. It's a great conversation that will lift your spirits and inspire you to keep sharing your passion for dance. Here's my conversation with Josephine Lancuba!


[Motivational Music]

Hi, I'm Dr. Chelsea, a former professional dancer and mental performance coach. I know what it feels like to be a passionate dance teacher who cares about your dancers, but you want to challenge them and help them be their best, and I also recognize that some traditions and teaching practices in the dance world are harmful. So I'm on a mission to change our dance industry by creating happier, more successful dancers using positive mental skills.

When you understand how to help your dancers with their confidence, how to find their own motivation, work together as a team and more, your dancers will unlock new levels of competitive success and happiness. And it's not just about them; you deserve the same. So we'll talk about how dance teachers can use positive mental skills to be more confident, resilient, and motivated as well.

Be sure to hit “subscribe” wherever you listen to podcasts. There are new episodes every Thursday, and each week you'll hear from me and my guests with advice and actionable tips for building mental toughness, covering topics about mindset, motivation, resilience, and building a community. Passion for Dance is a show designed to help dance educators like you have a positive impact on every dancer you teach.

[Motivational Music]


Dr Chelsea: Hello, Josephine! Welcome to the show. I'm so happy to have you.

Josephine Lancuba: Thank you so much for having me. I'm really excited to be here!

Dr Chelsea: Aw, thank you. Will you share a little bit about you and your dance journey so our listeners can get to know you?

Josephine and Her Dance Journey – 2:25

Josephine Lancuba: Sure. Absolutely. So, I am a performing arts business coach and a studio owner of ten years. I started coaching a couple of years ago, and I specialize in working with studio owners, and I have a business which has a signature group membership called Studio Biz Success. But I wasn't always a coach. I've been doing that for the last couple of years, and like I said, I was a studio owner for ten years, and I still am. I have four sites. I'm here in Sydney, Australia, so the opposite side of the world from you. And, you know, I didn't start that way either.

I was an artist, so I started my career performing. I got an agent. I graduated from full-time college (musical theater college, actually) and went on to have this career, and that was part of my journey. You know, it was a good 10/20 years doing this. And more recently, I started focusing on the business side, not so much the performance side, especially when I had kids. That's when it really shifted for me. I was actually in a — you might find this quite hilarious, but I was actually in a Spice Girls tribute show.

Dr Chelsea: Oh, fun.

Josephine Lancuba: Yeah, I was playing Sporty Spice, which you wouldn't know looking at me now. I have two kids, but that's the role I played. And, you know, I was four months pregnant, and I just went, “Oh, I don't think Sporty Spice is going to fly, four months pregnant onstage,” and I was already sort of feeling like I wanted to wind up a lot of that live performance stuff.

I was teaching in the industry as well, so I was — you know what it's like with this sort of industry. You know, you do little bit parts. Gig here, teach there, whatever you can. It was so modular for so long, and that's when I went, “Okay, I'm having my kids, gonna hang up my jazz shoes and my microphone and really focus on the teaching and the studio ownership,” and then eventually into that business coaching. Yeah.

Dr Chelsea: Well, thank you. It's so fun to hear different people's perspectives and journeys, and I like that you said modular. You're right. I think that's what a lot of us feel like. Yeah, you have lots of different jobs with different people at different organizations and different aspects of your life, yeah.

So when we were talking about what we wanted to focus on today we were talking a lot about resilience. So that's kind of the big topic I would love to have you share your thoughts with, since you've had such a journey. Starting with the basics, then, about resilience, is there a resilience story that kind of sent you down this path to helping others be more resilient in performing arts?

Josephine’s Resilience Story – 5:09

Josephine Lancuba: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Your roaring resilience, I think everybody has it inside of them, and regardless of the circumstance of which your life journey has been, it's something that we can all tap into. But I guess there are a few different layers to my resilience story, you might say.

Initially, you know, I come from the school of hard knocks. That's the best way to describe it. I grew up in a very destructive home, and I know a lot of people come from broken homes. I specifically did come from a background of domestic violence. It was a very, very volatile upbringing. It just was. And I moved out of home when I was 14, so that was a lot.

Dr Chelsea: Yeah.

Josephine Lancuba: I was still putting myself through school. I was paying my own rent. There was a time where, you know, I just literally was living below the poverty line. I was couch surfing. I was a kid, you know?

Dr Chelsea: Yeah.

Josephine Lancuba: And so, that's really what happened in my life as a young person. Funnily enough, though, I’ve always, always found a way to stay connected to my craft. I loved to sing. Singing and dance were very on par when I was a young person, and it was just my passion place. Anything I could get involved with within the school, I would do. I was in the shows. I was in the band. You know, whatever I could do, I was there, and I was just one of those kids.

It doesn't mean I was a good kid. I was a naughty kid for sure. I was causing trouble, you know, skipping school and doing all the things that you shouldn't do. But what do you do when you don't have guidance and mentorship? You do whatever you want, right? So that's what happens. You end up hanging out with the ruffians, [Laughs] and you just get by any way that you can.

But, luckily for me, I had this passion for performing arts, and that to me is definitely what saved me. I will say that hands down, because I knew there was more for me. I knew there was something within me that got sparked whenever I was in a classroom or was singing, you know, on a stage or whatever I could grab my hands on, or in a rehearsal room with the school band. I just loved it.

So I thought, “Okay, that's something I want to do.” Then after that, there was a bit of a challenge, you know, growing up in this circumstance, financially, we know that you need resources to tap into the arts. You don't get to go to do classes and private lessons and workshops and things when you don't have any money. And I was really fortunate enough to have a woman (her name being Karen McClain) at this little studio. My sister was a dance teacher, and she spoke to the studio owner, and they gave me free classes.

So that was beautiful, and so, I was on this scholarship basically, and that's propelled me into this world. I went and studied full time. I was fortunate enough to do that. I worked three jobs, whatever I could, to make it through performing arts college. I really scrapped my way through it eating ten-cent noodles. [Laughs]

Dr Chelsea: Right. Yes.

Josephine Lancuba: And I graduated, and then that was the first part of that resilience story, just that whole childhood and really struggling financially. And, you know, to now be someone who has a multi-six-figure business through the arts is pretty phenomenal. But that's how it started.

And then I had some weight challenges, especially body image challenges. I went through a lot with that, and I think a lot of young dancers do, or even adults. I'm 40 now. 20 years ago, when I was really getting into the industry, it was a different world. I think it's still a problem. I think that body issue in studios is a major thing that we need to be aware of, but, I mean, I went to a full-time college, and literally the principal of the school said to me, “You have more rolls than a bakery,” in front of the whole class. And the thing was, when I reflected back on that person, I was my fittest self. I looked amazing.

Dr Chelsea: Yeah.

Josephine Lancuba: I wasn't a prima ballerina, you know? I didn't have that physique, and I was always athletic. Hello, I was cast as Sporty Spice. You know, and it's just a different vibe. And so, I had struggled with that a lot, with my self-image, body image. I was trying to be someone else in auditions, dressing like someone else, not landing the gig, not understanding what was happening.

And then, eventually, I remember one day I rocked up and just said, “I'm not gonna blow dry my hair. I’m gonna be myself in my big curly hair. I'm just going to be myself!” And I rocked up, and I got the job because I'd made a decision, and obviously I was comfortable in my skin, and people feel that.

So that's when I started working when I said, “Hey, this being me thing is really cool!” [Laughs] I started getting teaching gigs, backing myself, and then obviously there was the rejection as an artist. That was another whole resilience piece, you know?

Dr Chelsea: Sure.

Josephine Lancuba: Everything from, again, going for a hundred things and only booking one. I mean, that's the nature of it. And then also just having that modular lifestyle as a teacher and, again, that, “Teach over here. Teach over there. One hour. Three hours,” and trying to really make that work financially and schedule wise. That was a really big challenge that I had to build resilience through because I knew I was working towards a bigger picture, which was a career in the arts. So I had to get through the messy middle. But, yeah, so those are the three layers, really, of how I'm now here! [Laughs]

Dr Chelsea: Yeah, that is quite the journey. When you think back now on the lower moments, the comments that are said, the rejections, the, you know, not sure if you're going to be able to dance until you get a scholarship, do you have a sense of what made you get up and keep going? I think it’s we can look at a big-picture resilience story that is so inspiring, and I think yours is absolutely one of those, but it feels different. We're like, “But today, right now, I don't feel like I'm capable. Like, it doesn't feel like I can keep going.”

So I don't know if you can zoom in a little bit on some of those harder moments and what helped you be resilient to keep pushing?

The Power of Forgiveness – 11:45

Josephine Lancuba: Yeah, I hear you, and these days come, even for me, still. There's no human on this planet that doesn't have a challenging day. I mean, I told you before the call started, I was dealing with a screaming child before we hit record. I mean, we all have days. But definitely, I think there are some key ingredients to really building that roaring resilience, and I think again, like I said, as we commenced, everybody does have it within them, and we shouldn't compare ourselves to others.

So, you know, for example, me being out of home at 14, but you, you know, just because your circumstance is different to mine, I'm not saying, “Oh, I deserve more attention just because my situation is worse than yours or your situation is worse than mine.” It’s a level playing field when it comes to the way we feel. That doesn't change. We all have different thresholds, and we need to recognize that. But I really, truly believe the first step is to — I believe there's a deep connection between forgiveness and resilience, and I'll explain that

Dr Chelsea: Sure, yeah.

Josephine Lancuba: I’ll explain that. So the forgiveness piece is not just about forgiving others. That's part of the story, but it's also about forgiving yourself. And so, when we allow that forgiveness, we can move forward positively.

So, for example, if I was to sit here and be resentful for all the people that did me wrong or the person that didn't give me that job and my parents for not being that great, to be real, I could really end up in a space, in a headspace, in a mindset that doesn't bring me forward, doesn't help me reach my goals. So I’ve made a choice to forgive those people, and that is a daily practice. “I forgive you. I love you. Thank you. I'm sorry. I'm sorry it had to be that way.” Whenever it pops into my head, I go through these motions. It's a practice. And I think that that is very important because otherwise life would be very depressing if we sat in the negative.

But the same goes for ourselves. So knowing that you've gone for a job, and you didn't get it, you could sit there, and you can mull over that for the next month, two years, you know, and let that resentment build inside of you. But the resilience comes from forgiving yourself too and saying, “You know what? That's okay. I forgive myself. I love myself. I know I can do this and thank you for my arms. Thank you for my legs. Thank you for everything that works. Thank you for my extension, my beautiful feet, or maybe my not-so-beautiful extended feet, but they get me walking, right? They get me walking from A to B.” Forgiveness is a practice, and I truly believe it is connected to resilience.

Another step that I take is breath work. Breathing is so important. Sometimes I need to do it before an event, if I'm feeling really nervous, if I'm feeling anxious about something. And I don't suffer from anxiety as a disorder, but you don't need to, to feel moments of anxiousness, right?

Dr Chelsea: Sure.

Josephine Lancuba: So I will take a step, just take a breath. Sometimes I have to do it if I'm about to — you know, I'm a speaker. Even to this day, I have to take a breath before I start. Even though I know my stuff, it's nerve wracking when you have to present to an audience. You've got to really just take a moment, take a beat, and breathe. So box breath, the four breaths in and out, things like that. Whatever works for you. But just a moment of calmness, even if it's ten seconds.

And, really, another part of this resilience piece is reducing your expectations. And that doesn't mean reducing quality. I want to be clear because I believe in quality, but it also means that sometimes if you're 80% there, it's okay. For example, you want to apply for a teaching position at a really great studio that you feel would elevate your career. You want to be in that space, but you're afraid you're not good enough. You make the application, and doing, just doing is part of it, even if you only believe you're 80% ready. You're never ready. If we wait for 100%, you'll be waiting forever and ever and ever. That's what I've learned. I truly believe it. You've just got to reduce those expectations and go, “That's okay. I'm going to go in at 80%, and that feels good to me. I'm going to accept that about myself, and I'm going to go for it.”

So yeah, just the forgiveness piece, the breathwork in the moment, and like I said, forgiveness is a daily practice and also just reducing those expectations on yourself and also on others, right?

Dr Chelsea: Mm-hmm.

Josephine Lancuba: It doesn't have to be perfect for it to work. Do you know David Goggins? An American guy?

Dr Chelsea: No, I don’t.

Josephine Lancuba: Yeah, he's some American guy that has been in conferences and stuff, and he was like a soldier in the US Army, and he's a speaker and all the things. And he says this line, and he says, “No one's coming to save you,” and that sounds really negative.

Dr Chelsea: Uh-huh.

Josephine Lancuba: Right? But it is kind of true. Well, it is true. Regardless if you're surrounded by love, affection, nurturing environments, no one's coming to save you, and it is on yourself, and you've just got to believe yourself and go for it. Which is, I know, harder said than done, but if you can breathe, forgive yourself, and move through that lowering of expectation (again, not quality, expectation), then I think you can get there. It's all mindset. It's a total mind game.

Dr Chelsea: It is. Which is my favorite thing to talk about. I totally agree with all three of those. I want to dig in a little bit.

When you're talking about forgiveness, I think I hadn't framed it in that way before, thinking about it as self-forgiveness, but I think the way I think about it is the same result, that it's about what is truly in your control, and then if what other people have done, what other people have done to you, other people have said, I can't control what that person said or what they did or the job I didn't get or the dancer that was better than me, so I have to let all of that go and just focus on what I can control and being proud of myself. And that goes back to the just doing it. Even if it's not perfect right now, you went for it, and there's so much to be applauded in that piece.

Josephine Lancuba: But we’re saying the same thing, right? Because you're saying, “Let it go.” That's forgiveness. That's saying, “I forgive myself. It's okay. I'm going to let that go and flow through. I'm going to move forward. I'm going to move through it.”

Dr Chelsea: Exactly.

Josephine Lancuba: That exactly what it is.

Dr Chelsea: Yeah, and I think that's why I like — I just hadn't phrased it as forgiveness, but I think we are absolutely looking at it in the same way, and I think that's really a nice reframe for me to think about it as a forgiveness lens.

And the done is better than perfect is the other thing I was thinking when you were talking about that, even if it's not a hundred percent. I was talking to some dancers recently about how they wanted to be more confident, which I think is so tied to resilience when they didn't score very well at a competition or were struggling to feel like, “Well, I'm never going to be able to do that. I'm not good enough,” and being resilient when you get that bad feedback, and they were like, “Well, I just need to be more confident.” I was like, “Well, how are you going to be more confident? Where's that going to come from?” And they were like, “Well, once I make it. Once I'm successful.” I was like, “No, the confidence has got to come first and having some of that.”

Josephine Lancuba: Yeah, and that can be broken down into bite sizes too. This is going to sound really strange. I'm going to compare it to buying a house.

In Australia, it’s the biggest thing: you have to own a house. Like, that's the dream here in Australia, right? Yeah, parents will say, “Go buy a house.” “Go buy a house.” “Okay, but how?” “Oh, you just go by house.” I was like, “Yeah, but what are the steps? What do I need to do? Do I go speak to the bank? Do I need to set a plan? Do I have to have a budget? How long is the savings plan for –?” There are many steps to buying a house, but unfortunately our parents just said, “Go buy a house.”

Dr Chelsea: “Do it.”

Josephine Lancuba: “Go do it.” “Okay, how? How mom and dad?” I don't know. So it's the same thing, you know, “How can I be more confident?” “Okay, well, just go be confident. Be you. Stand and be proud. Own the space,” right? What does that mean? You know, exactly.

And it's a daily practice. It's affirmations, and I know that sounds lame, you know, sticking an affirmation on the wall and staring at it, but constant reminders that, “I am worthy. I can do this.” And yeah, I just think that too many people think about this big picture. “I'm going to be more confident,” but then they don't actually break that down and go, “What does that look like? How could I become more confident? Do I need to maybe practice more so that it’s just something that’s a part of my body?”

Dr Chelsea: Mm-hmm.

Josephine Lancuba: Maybe I should go and throw myself in the deep end and do some casual classes outside of my studio and just try something so super new that feels really uncomfortable because sometimes being uncomfortable can help you build resilience and confidence as well.

Dr Chelsea: Absolutely. So, I think that confidence piece is absolutely in being uncomfortable. It's like confidence comes from taking action and doing it, which I think is what I'm hearing you say so much too. It's like, go take the class, apply for the job, talk to someone. You have to be uncomfortable and go for it in order for that confidence to happen, which is also where that resilience comes from, because then you know, “I may be struggling, but I just have to take action. I just have to keep going.”

Josephine Lancuba: Yes, and I think we regret the things we didn't do more than the things we did. And so, people will say no, but you just need to know that's going to happen. Like, if you prepare for the no —

Dr Chelsea: Yes.

Josephine Lancuba: — and say, “Look, someone could reject me and say no, and then I'll go ask somebody else, and eventually someone will say yes,” it's a numbers game sometimes, and honestly, sometimes we can take people's opinions with a grain of salt too. It's an opinion. There are certain things you can't deny. There are facts. Maths, for example.

Dr Chelsea: Mm-hmm.

Josephine Lancuba: One plus one is two, and no matter how you reframe it, it doesn't change the equation.

The same with technique. I suppose there are different perspectives, but essentially there is a technique involved in particular dance genres, which you can't deny. For example, you're not going to stand in parallel in a ballet class, right? But there's a level to that too. There's a level to that too.

Dr Chelsea: Sure.

Josephine Lancuba: There's interpretation. So I think being open to the fact that people have a different perception, interpretation, opinion and that's okay. You know, just because someone said you weren't good enough doesn't mean you're not good enough, is what I'm trying to say.

Dr Chelsea: Yes, absolutely. I agree. All right, I want to shift a little bit about what we were talking about, from resilience to success, because they go hand in hand, and we need to be resilient in order to reach that success. But I also wonder — and I guess I'll just ask you first before I go anywhere further — what does success mean to you, and do you think being successful requires that level of resilience or how connected are those to you?

The Resilience-Success Connection – 23:49

Josephine Lancuba: Yeah. So, funnily enough, I mentioned earlier, I've got a coaching program for studio owners called Studio Biz Success. It has the word “success” in there, but when I explain what that means I actually say, “To create and grow the studio business that you desire and deserve,” and that is really it. It's what you desire, right? Success is however you frame it.

For me, success looks different over the years. It used to be I wanted to be a rockstar, right? I wanted to be a rockstar, literally. I was doing rock bands. I was doing all this really fun stuff. I traveled overseas. I got to do some cool things. I auditioned for some major stuff here in Australia and got pretty far with it but never really became a rockstar, but I always felt like I was. And that's really it, right? It's perception.

And then that shifted and changed, and then I wanted to be a good mom, and then I wanted to be a really great business owner, and then I wanted to earn X amount of dollars, and the needle just kept shifting. And then what I realized, really, recently — and actually I'm reading a book from Arianna Huffington called Thrive, and she talks about the three metrics of success. And the two ones that we know are money and power, right? These are the ones that society says determines success. But then she talks about the third metric being wellness. And I think that's it.

I think mind, body, and spirit, if you're happy, if you're feeling — for me, success is freedom, and I think having such a struggle in my youth, that finances do matter to me. I'd like to say that money doesn't matter, but it actually does because I know what it's like to not have any, and it's hard. It's really hard.

Dr Chelsea: Right.

Josephine Lancuba: So I don't want that, and I don't want that for my children. I want to leave a legacy of comfort, wealth. That's what I want, right? That doesn't mean that’s what everyone else wants, you know?

Dr Chelsea: Yeah.

Josephine Lancuba: And I think that we have to ask ourselves why we do what we do. You know, why are we doing this? Why are we teaching? Why are we running studios? Why are we performing? Why are we taking classes? Why do we do what we do? And once we tap into that truly, deeply, then success will come from that because it's just pursuing that why.

You know, when I started my studio business, I wanted to create happy and fulfilled kids through the joy of musical theater and dance. That's what I wanted to do, and I've accomplished that, so one would say that’s success, but the needle keeps shifting, right? The needle keeps shifting. Then it became about, “Well, now I want to make this a six-figure business,” and we did that. Like, okay, the needle keeps shifting, the needle keeps shifting.

And I think it's okay to evolve, but there's also a point where you’ve got to just sit in it and reward yourself along the way, even for the small wins. I do have a reward system, by the way. So each month I have different projects and things. And I'll say, “Okay, if I achieve it this month, I'm going to go do this thing.” It doesn't have to cost money. It's just about a reward system.

Dr Chelsea: Mm-hmm.

Josephine Lancuba: But yeah, for me, it's about freedom. It's about being able to, you know, leave that legacy behind, impacting my community in a positive way, making arts accessible to people that usually don't have those opportunities.

Dr Chelsea: That makes sense, and I agree. I always talk about success being self-defined but that it's attached to your values. I think that's what you're saying about it being your why. Your personal definition has to be rooted in your values and your why, and finding that is hard, but it's important and always evolving.

Josephine Lancuba: Can I just say one thing actually that came to mind, and this is really important, I think anyway, in my opinion. Not to compare ourselves to others, I think, especially in the world of social media, especially younger people from teens to young adults, sometimes I feel like we're trying to reach something that is not necessarily realistic. And I'm a big dreamer, right? I'm not saying you can't go out there and do things, but I think we suffer from comparisonitis in today's day and age, and that's just — we've got social media. It's really hard. It's hard. You're constantly thrown advertisements and imagery and messaging.

And so, to really get away from that, you do need to actually set aside time to think and have space. I think that is very important to defining what success looks like, actually taking out of your calendar, scheduling thinking time, and that means no appointments, no emails, no teaching, no nothing. Just a couple of days or a day sitting in a cafe, your favorite cafe or whatever.

Dr Chelsea: Mm-hmm.

Josephine Lancuba: But just taking time away from the world to sit and be with your thoughts, to journal, to just literally have the space to think because you need clarity as well to determine what your true goals are and not to mimic what other people tell you your goals should be. You need to actually craft the time out of your day and say, “Right. Now, I can actually sit with my thoughts and decide what I want for me,” instead of taking the handbook from someone else and saying, “Oh, well, that's what success looks like.”

Even just in the dance industry, you know, “Oh, well, I need to be working at the best studio in town, and I've got to be earning this much per hour, and I've got to be choreographing by the age of 27, otherwise I'm a failure.” Things like that I just think, is that what you want though? So you're going to ask yourself some tough questions, but I think it's definitely worth it to make the time to ask yourself those questions.

Dr Chelsea: Yeah, absolutely. Oh, I completely agree, and I think we spend a lot of our teens and twenties trying to get other people's success and then eventually learn to sit with it.

And I was actually just thinking about it because at the time of this recording, we're actually coming up on the holidays and even though this will probably be live after that, but I always block out a couple of days of exactly what you're saying. It's like the deeper reflection on everything that happened. “Where do I feel successful? What do I want next year to look like? Have values shifted?” And it's honestly some of my favorite time of the year to block it out and pause and actually sit in it. But I didn't start doing that until probably like early-mid thirties. It took a long time, and now I love sharing it so that people learn it before I did and start it so much younger, because it's so valuable to, like you said, block out that time and really sit and think about what it means to you.

Josephine Lancuba: Yeah, totally. I mean, even that, I've got my podcast Studio Biz and All That Jazz. Now, that took me 18 months to get off the ground, and I've always wanted to do it, but I never took the time to really sit down and decide what that actually looked like. I just knew it was in my head. It was in my head. It was in my head. And then when I actually sat down and crafted out the time for that particular task, for example, it came about within a couple of weeks.

I think sometimes we have something in the back of our mind for so long, we make it harder than it needs to be, and if we just took some space and time to focus on it and focus on what we want to achieve and really set some time aside for those goals, then success is inevitable.

Dr Chelsea: Yeah, I totally agree. Well, I think earlier you listed out and shared those three like really tangible ideas about resilience. But before we go, I wanted to check in, maybe shifting the perspective because so many people in my community are the teachers, the coaches, the educators, right? And we, ourselves, need to work on our own resilience, absolutely. I think everything we've share is a part of that, but we also, in this business, are trying to help our dancers be more resilient, right? We want to help them learn this as well. So any actionable tips that they can take back to their dancers to be more resilient. Where do we start?

Actionable Resilience Tips – 32:10

Josephine Lancuba: I think it’s really interesting because, like I said earlier, we can say all the things, but it really does come down to backing yourself and trusting in yourself, knowing that you are worthy and there's a place for you in the industry.

Now, I've worked as a talent agent for over ten years, and believe me, I know there's a place for everyone in the industry, and people will have cookie-cutter ideas of what particular things will look like, but the truth is there really is space. There's space. You just have to know that, trust in that, and hope that, if you keep doing the do, right — because that's the other bit, you can't sit back and go, “Well, I tried but it didn't work out. Oh, well.” If you keep doing it, if you keep going, if you keep trying and putting yourself out there and what I like to call showing up, if you keep showing up, then eventually it will come to you. But really, if you can just trust yourself, you've got this.

Dr Chelsea: Yeah. Yes.

Josephine Lancuba: And that is the key to it, you know? It's backing yourself 100%. Some of the exercises I give to my clients around this particular task of how do we back ourselves, I always take it back to their why. I get them to write down why they're doing what they're doing. So again, for a young dancer, “Why are you pursuing what you're pursuing or doing the thing you're doing or taking the class you're taking?” If it feels challenging and you're not reaching the milestones, again, comparing yourself to others in the room or whatever. I always sit down and say, “Okay, write down your why, and then I want you to write down your dream list, your top three to five things, like what do you want to achieve? What's the big goal? What's the ultimate thing that you would love to happen here as a result?” And then I actually say, “Every time you're feeling a little bit of doubt, I want you to just go back, keep that why somewhere you can read it. You know, you might print it out, pop it in your bedroom or have it on as a note in your phone, whatever, and go back to it and read it. Don't forget that it's there. So when you're feeling a bit lost, ‘Why am I here? Oh, this is not — I'm going to quit. This is too much. I can't handle it. I'm not good enough,’” all the negative thoughts start to roll through the head. And then I go, “Okay, go back, read your why and your dream list.” That's it. That's all you can do. And then just know that you can trust yourself. That's it.

Dr Chelsea: No, I think that's wonderful.

Josephine Lancuba: We regret the things we didn't do more than things we did sometimes. I mean, it depends what you did.

Dr Chelsea: [Laughs]

Josephine Lancuba: I’m not suggesting that you do something horrendous here, but generally speaking, from a goal-setting perspective. My mom wanted to be a hairdresser and her mom didn't let her. It was a very old, Italian family, traditional. She said she wasn't allowed to be a hairdresser, and that was it, and so, she could never be a hairdresser.

I mean, it's little moments like that where you go, “Really? Don't let other people determine your future. Don't let other people tell you what you can and can't do. Just go for it and head back to your why and that dream list. Keep those dreams alive,” is what I'm saying.

Dr Chelsea: Absolutely. I think that's good advice for those of us in positions of being the teacher, being the mentor, to hold space for our dancers to do that and encouraging them to do it. And I think many of us did have either our dreams squashed or somebody else not believing in us, and we can be the difference, right? We can be that teacher that says, “I believe in you, but you need to believe in you. So let's create time for that to happen.”

Josephine Lancuba: Yeah, I mean, that's it. And I've had so many students in the room that have had these doubts within themselves, and it can really be challenging when you're working with especially children that have anxious feelings in the classroom. But I think just carving out time, carving out time for them, having those conversations. Obviously, we have to stay focused on the group. It's very hard sometimes when you've got someone in the room that might feel like whatever, but you can have those little, quick conversations before or after class, keeping them motivated. Again, doing that exercise that, “You know, why are you here? Let's go around the room. Let's talk about why we love dance.” Having those conversations and bringing that why to them is a beautiful way to do it. “What's your dream? What's your big goal?”

And I always say — I've done this before. You know, we've done exercises. Step into your star. It’s a visualization. We imagine there's a star on the floor. We imagine what color it is. We step into it. It radiates through our body, and we talk about our dreams and goals. And people will say amazing things. And I always say, “There’s nothing too big or too small in this room. Nothing is silly. If that's what you want to do, just say it and own it,” and having them actually vocalize that in a class space can be confronting. We don't force it. If someone feels uncomfortable, that's okay. We'll move to the next person. I'm not going to make you do it. I think they need to be ready to sort of proclaim it. But once they proclaim it out loud, it’s said. It’s said. “I'm going to be a rockstar,” right? So, once it's said, it's almost like it starts that path in motion for them as well.

I think vocalizing what we want, not just having it all stuck in your head, it's accountability, right? That's basically what I'm talking about. Having that accountability. When you say it in a room, it's almost like, “Well, now I've got to go do it,” right? Because if I'm saying it it’s going to be true.

But just letting them know that the dream can change too. It can evolve. It can change. Just as you said, it doesn't mean it has to be true in three weeks’ time, but just getting people on board with the idea that anything is possible, having those conversations, doing those exercises in class, you know, building up that confidence I think it's really key.

Dr Chelsea: Yeah, I love that. It sounds like a wonderful exercise and just holding space for our dancers to —

Josephine Lancuba: Yeah.

Dr Chelsea: — sit in their why and have their goals. I love that. Well, thank you. Such great advice on resilience for our teachers, for ourselves, and for our dancers. I really appreciate you. Will you share real quick where everyone can find you and your work if they want more?

Connect With Josephine – 38:14

Josephine Lancuba: Yeah, absolutely. So firstly, my podcast Studio Biz and All That Jazz is available everywhere you listen to your podcasts. Also Instagram @josephinelancuba, literally spelt as said, Lancuba, the country. Yeah, you can find me. Send me a DM if you listened to this episode. Let's have a conversation. I love a good chat, but also www.josephinelancuba.com is my website.

Dr Chelsea: Wonderful. Thank you so much, Josephine. It was a pleasure to chat with you. I appreciate your time!

Josephine Lancuba: Thank you.


[Motivational Outro Music]

Thank you for listening to Passion for Dance! You can find all episode resources at www.chelseapierotti.com/podcast, and be sure to follow me on Instagram for more high-performance tips at @dr.chelsea.pierotti. This podcast is for passionate dance teachers and coaches who are ready to change the dance industry by creating happier, more successful dancers. I'm Dr. Chelsea and keep sharing your passion for dance with the world.

[Motivational Outro Music]

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