An Eclipse in ancient times was always seen as a moment when each could take time out to be introspective, asking the heart what would bring the most joy when the sun / moon emerges out the other side. A bit like an opportunity to create a new personal world. This time I thought I would join the challenge.
Earlier this month I mentioned a simulcast I would be hosting for Fine Music 102.5 called Live from the Joan. This was performed in a theatre which could seat around 600 but was live broadcast on FM radio and the internet to a much larger audience. I was a co-host last year with two other Presenters and as a co-host you work with the others in a joint effort keeping energy levels on an equal par.
Hosting on my own this year meant I could do things my way. With the theme for the event focussed on young performers I chose to bend my interviews with each of them around building their career as a professional musician – something many young performers are interested in.
We all had a lot of fun and the audience were superb! So very generous and responsive to what was happening on the stage, I was blown away. I enjoyed it so much and was reminded of how much I loved working on the stage all those years before I gave it up to have children. I think the heart was yearning to go in this direction again.
Indulge me here for a moment because my personal story might help you look at your own personal story.
I have to admit for most – no, I would say all – of my pre-children career I fought valiantly to stay out of the spotlight. International dance tours offered I would find excuses to turn away from, starring television roles I would sabotage. I loved doing TV commercials where no one would recognise me. I ran a dance company where I was just one of the line up.
This extended beyond my own performing too. I married a man where I dedicated all my energy to growing his confidence and his career. Being a Mother was about nurturing young souls, giving everything I could to raising them to the best of my ability. Being an Agent for 15 years was about making my Performing artists – other people – stars in their own right boosting their profiles, negotiating hard for better rates and conditions, increasing their income. Being a Coach was about taking each client and moving them up the ranks to a better position too.
All this was about putting other people ahead of me. It took me a long time to question, why do I put others ahead of me? Why am I happy to fight for their right to stand in the spotlight yet shirk it myself?
Where did this crappy mindset come from?
Looking back as far as I could remember, one major turning point for me happened in early school years. In primary (elementary) school everything was good. I had great teachers who encouraged me to be big.
Moving to an intermediate school – the equivalent these days of say grades 6 and 7 – meant I suddenly needed to learn to ride a bike and ride it several kilometres in peak hour traffic on the roads (no kids allowed to ride on the footpath in those days) to and from school. In the same week I also now had to ride in the dark with a puny little lamp on the front of my bike to and from ballet school which was even further away.
The new academic school required a uniform. Uniqueness was not acceptable and there were strict rules to follow. I was no longer outstanding.
The mental stress of such a dramatic change freaked me out and put me in bed for 6 weeks with a mysterious “tummy ache”. Eventually when they managed to get me back to my new school it was half way through the term and all the kids had made their new friends so I was trying to break into these new circles leaving me open to bullying. Not a great start.
Here’s where the fun really begins…
In the school musical the next year, still without many friends, I was one of the dancers in the line-up with everyone else.
During rehearsal close to opening night, one of the teachers took me aside for a very serious talk. She said “Annabelle you are dancing really big and that is standing out. We need to you dance smaller please.”
I found this really puzzling. “But shouldn’t I be dancing the best I can?” I asked.
“No,” she said, “you need to dance smaller or you’ll make the other kids feel bad. That would be awful, wouldn’t it? Then their parents will feel bad because their children don’t look so good so everyone will feel bad.”
Oh, my god! For a little girl who was already bullied and had been struggling to make friends this was the last straw. I went home feeling really disturbed. How could I possibly not dance the best I could? This didn’t make sense.
I asked my dad for his opinion. He was an orchestra Conductor and deep in the professional show business world so I respected his viewpoint much more than a school teacher. To my surprise he agreed with her.
“If that’s what the teacher wants you to do, then you do it.”
I’m not saying that was the only moment in my history I was told to dance small. A teacher said something similar to me in high school as well just to really put another nail in the coffin. Amazing.
I’m not saying it’s all their fault either. Our reactions are what make our lives, not what is thrown at us. Other people might rally against such comments and go on to becoming big stars regardless. My reaction however, was to be a “good girl” and do as I was told. As a result, in adulthood I always berated myself when it came to standing in the spotlight.
and, the killer of them all…
It makes other people feel bad.
Starting to see the light
Decades have past since then. My coaching clients have taught me so much – the irony of that always makes me laugh. One client in particular, a number of years back, was constantly berating herself for loving beautiful things and admiring beautiful people. She would tell herself it was shallow, superficial, materialistic. Her mother used to hassle her for this and she was embarrassed to tell anyone. As we worked through the coaching sessions, she started to give herself permission to do what brings her the most joy which was to admire the aesthetic.
It seemed to make all the difference in the world. She started to dress better, joined a new design company all about the visual where she was mixing with others who were in love with the visual. It suited her. It brought her joy. All areas of her life started to click into place.
I can see that now and how it relates to my own crappy limiting belief. I’ve had other reminders along the way such as being thrown into a performing job I did not feel prepared for where I was out front singing. Good grief! An ex-dancer singing. Oh well. There were no complaints and even a few thank you’s so it can’t have been that bad.
What it showed me however, like a major epiphany, was that being out front of an audience was not a vain thing for me to do. It brought me joy because I had the opportunity to lift the vibe of a whole group of people all at once. I knew how to do that and could feel their vibe lifting and lowering throughout a performance like flickering flames in a fire so I could almost play them like an instrument. Pretty weird.
Apparently great speakers do that all the time. Lift people up, then let them subside a bit before lifting them again, like a well written symphony. Great sales people do it in a sales pitch as well, just for a smaller audience.
Getting back on the stage
So what if I started to do more MC work? Would you give me a chance?
I’ve started to build a new page to promote my MC and Compere services here. I can host on the stage for Awards nights and concerts but also facilitate more casual styled weekend workshops, staff bootcamps and outdoor events.
I will add more info to the page as I go along.
Do you know anyone who needs an MC or Compere for their up and coming event or concert in Sydney?
Even standing in for someone else at the last minute is a possibility.
Click here to contact me if you have an event coming up or can introduce me to someone who has an upcoming event in need of a host.
I look forward to raising the vibe of your audience. 🙂
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