“Hello. My name is Mary and I’m addicted to the hustle.”
The hustle. The grind. The supposed “life of an artist.”
You know what I’m talking about…It’s the: waking up early to line up for an audition, taking 3 dance classes back-to-back-to-back, only having time to grab a Cliff bar and a banana, running to your side gig babysitting or bartending, then crashing into your pillow only to do it all over again the next day.
We’re taught that the hustle—that give 110% at all times mentality—is what it takes to succeed in this business. It’s simply “the artist’s way” to live paycheck-to-paycheck, to survive on Advil and black coffee, and to give up anything and everything to pursue our craft.
Social media has only added to this pressure. If you’re not maximizing every minute of your day in pursuit of your dancing dreams, you must not really care. But the truth is, you’re actually inhibiting your full potential…because you burn out before you can get there.
You’re not at fault for succumbing to this go-go-go lifestyle. It sucks you in and truly becomes addictive—until it becomes dangerous…leading to burnout, overuse injuries, and apathy toward your artistic aspirations.
What’s ironic is that these three consequences might make you feel like you’re not good enough or not working hard enough when the opposite is actually true. According to an article in Psychology Today, signs of burnout include chronic fatigue, insomnia, impaired concentration, physical pain, increased illness, loss of appetite, anxiety, and depression. When you push yourself to the point of exhaustion, the consequences leave you feeling incapable. It’s a vicious cycle.
We have got to stop romanticizing running ourselves into the ground.
In order to be successful in our artistic pursuits (and we use “successful” to mean healthy, sustainable, and enjoyable), we must get off the hamster wheel—running and running and getting nowhere. Stepping aside from the hustle (which, we admit, is easier said than done) allows you to view the whole picture, reevaluate your goals, and navigate the journey with perspective, insight, and grace.
July is the peak of summer intensives, setting us up to dive back into training, auditioning, and performing full force come the Fall. But what if we—together—made a commitment to dive in differently this year? Instead of returning to our overbooked schedules and unhealthy habits, let’s take a beat before we decide to step back on that hamster wheel.
This month we’re collab-ing with two professional dancers who are also experts when it comes to this topic:
- Jess Spinner is a ballet dancer, health coach, and founder of The Whole Dancer. She’ll provide insight on how (and why it’s important) to combat the hustle both physically and mentally.
- Megan Levinson is a Radio City Rockette, certified personal trainer, and founder of Peak Performance Mindset. At the end of the month, Megan will discuss how we can combat the hustle on an emotional level, cultivating our harmonious passion to train not only our body, but also our mind for peak performance potential.
Stay tuned each week as we finally break down what’s been breaking us down.
Let’s reconsider those routines and patterns that don’t actually serve us.
Let’s remind ourselves of our values, our priorities, and our long term goals.
It’s time to rethink the hustle.
Photo: Madeleine Pautier by Rachel Neville