Overcoming the hustle emotionally

Megan Levinson has been a Radio City Rockette for over 10 years. Being a Rockette is not all candy canes and rhinestones. The job demands incredible physical, mental, and emotional strength. In addition to Radio City, She has had the opportunity to work with, workshop and perform Mia Michaels choreography. Megan’s other credits include performing in a Jean Paul Gaultier fashion show in Vienna Austria, in a Jodi McQueen music video, and at regional theaters throughout the United States. 

During her professional performance career, Megan witnessed significant gaps in mental training for performers. In addition to becoming a certified personal trainer, Megan is also a Sports Psychology graduate student at John F. Kennedy University. She founded Peak Performance Ready and works as a mindset coach for performers of all ages and art forms.

Megan says, “As a performance mindset coach, I am a coach for your mind. As humans, there are only 3 things we can train: our craft, our body, and our mind. People tend to put much more value and time into training the physical aspects.  My belief is that we can all achieve success with just the physical components but eventually will hit a ceiling, a limit of how much we can do and how well we can perform. But with training your mind, you can break through that ceiling and are able to perform up to—or beyond—your full potential.”

We spoke with Megan about what dancers can do to combat the emotional consequences of the hustle.

RN: What is “the hustle?”

ML: I believe that how we choose to define “the hustle” can have an impact on our overall well-being and performance abilities. The hustle can be healthy and balanced or unhealthy and unbalanced.  In my opinion, the hustle is started and driven from passion, which is an extremely powerful emotion that plays a big role in our thoughts and actions.  When passion becomes obsessive, it can negatively interfere with overall well-being and can lead to unfilled potential, loss of enjoyment,  burnout, unethical behaviors, and/or complete transition away from the performance domain. When so much of our identity and passion gets tied up into results that we can’t control, we become a passenger on an emotional rollercoaster, with highs and lows, powered by good and bad results.

With that being said, I do believe that passion is an essential attribute that drives us towards success and fulfillment but sometimes we can end up suffering because of our passion. If we have only one passion in life that is pursued and attended to, it can lead to the exclusion of all other things. This is when our passion can impact our ability to have performance and life satisfaction.  If results and things that are not in our control cause our passion to burnout, so does our purpose.  This probably sounds contradictory, since I started out by saying that passion is a beneficial trait for success and fulfillment, but I should have specified that it is a very specific type of passion that we want driving us on our journey. 

Passion is broken down into two types: harmonious passion (HP) and obsessive passion (OP). Each leads to different outcomes. 

  • Obsessive passion (OP) entails becoming obsessed with or relentlessly pursuing what we are passionate about. This is dangerous because with OP, the activity ends up overpowering the person. A sense of self-control is lost and the lack of balance can cause feelings of worthlessness, guilt, shame, and burnout. 
  • Harmonious passion (HP) entails the integration of the activity into the authentic self. We must value our worth both inside and outside of the performance domain. HP involves understanding one’s morals and values, knowing one’s worth, with a focus on continual growth and improving skills.  For the human body to function and perform optimally, it must operate in harmony.

RN: How to combat the hustle emotionally?

ML: Learn to live for the process, without being defined by the results. 

RN: How do we engage in passionate pursuits driven from harmonious passion while minimizing obsessive passion? 

ML: Here are a few tips on how to nurture your HP:

  1. Practice mindfulness. Learn how to anchor yourself in the present and be fully engaged in your activity. Connecting with your senses and circle breathing are great tools to help you stay present. 
  2. Practice gratitude. Express gratitude for the experiences you have each day. Let go of your ego. Focus on the gratification of simply doing what you love.
  3. Practice being flexible and adaptable when striving for goals to better handle unplanned events.
  4. Set goals and make autonomous decisions that are in line with your values. 
  5. Find balance. Explore other areas of your identity and other pursuits that bring you joy. Decrease activities that cause interpersonal conflict or adversely impact other areas of your life.
  6. Leave room to spend time with those who matter most to you and enjoy your time with family and/or friends.

Want to learn more about how working with a mindset coach can help you break from the hustle and reach your performance goals? Visit www.peakperformanceready.com.

Photo: Isabella Long by Rachel Neville

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