Career Development Plan - Time To Quit?
Dear Odette, I've been fighting this endless battle with myself a lot lately, and not sure if I can take it anymore. I started dancing when I was twelve. It began as a hobby, but escalated into something more. I began to dream of a life a dance, striving for a professional career, a professional ballet school and a dancers life. At the time, I was young and didn't think about the complications (money, body type, stress) and began to think it was all possible. It wasn't. In the last year I have realized there is no way I could ever be a good dancer. I have no turnout what so ever, my feet are flat, and no matter how hard I try my flexibility is that of a wooden born. I have no natural affinity to ballet what's so ever. Now that I realized that I can't dance I've been struggling with the idea of quitting. I always hear other dancers saying they love dance so much, but I can never feel the same way because I always want to quit, but don't because I feel emotional attached to dance. I want to quit because I know I'll never be a good dancer, I will never be the top level, my feet will never look good, and I will never get anywhere with dance. I feel like I am wasting time, money and sanity on dance. I want to quit, but I don't. I need advice from someone who knows dance, not just some stupid therapist that my mom made me talk too. I could never talk to my teachers. They scare me way too much. Is it time for me to quit? I'm told that I shouldn't quit because I love dance, but I don't feel that way anymore. I feel attached and can't leave. I don't believe that I love dance anymore, but I just can't bring myself to leave. I feel stuck in a rut and can't even focus on anything anymore. Help.
Reply by Odette
To:- Career Development Plan - Time To Quit?
Thank you for reaching out to me, I hope I can help you in some way. It's hard yet easy for me to give you advice on this topic, since I went through similar feelings when I was younger. When I was 16, I had to decide whether I wanted to keep dancing or continue back on a 'normal' route with academics. I'm pleased I pushed through to make it as a professional dancer, however those doubts at the back of your mind are always hard to get rid of.
If you feel you need a motivation boost and it's your confidence which is down, not your passion, then look at Virtue 4: Mentality. However, if it is more a change of heart then you need to take some real time to reflect on what you want.
It's true, you don't think about the complications of ballet when you are younger. All that matters is you love to dance. Yet as you grow older, I think many dancer's face the reality of how tough this career can actually be. People from the outside only really see the glitz and glamour of our career, but not the daily grind of a professional dancer. Yet because it is something dancer's love so much, we are willing to shut out the 'bad' stuff and only remember the good which leaves us pursuing the career for as long as we can.
For you, you are so young and such a future ahead of you whatever you choose. I'm not going to tell you to quit or stay, because I don't know enough about your circumstances... I'm not you. However, I will say, it is a career which needs your fullest commitment to pursue. You won't enjoy it if you're always doubting whether to quit or not. And, you probably won't make it if you are doubting yourself. Having said that, no dancer has the perfect attributes and there's always imperfections to each one. I think dancer's naturally tend to be very hard on themselves, so remember that and give yourself some credit for the unique dancer you are.
If you start to begin to look at other careers you would like to fulfil, this will help you see the possibilities. All these emotions and doubts are taking over your mind, but they are not so productive and these mixed emotions won't help you make a decision. You need to think more practically and try to knock out the emotions to really see what you want to do. Put a 'business mind' on and see what will be the best for you in the long term.
I understand what you're going through, so please keep in touch. Let me know your thoughts from what I've said here and I'll be happy to write more.
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