As Showcase ends and the next event begins, it got me thinking, what contributes to making us happy with our results? And you know what the answer is? A lot of things
Anytime we learn something new, whether it’s dancing, golf, tennis, we put ourselves in a vulnerable position. We might fear looking uncoordinated, not learning as fast as we expect, or being judged. The truth of the matter is, in order for us to really learn, we have to be open to all of these things. Open to feedback, open to making mistakes, open to not delivering. The more open we are to not doing it right, the more we will grow and learn.
The first faux pas is comparing yourself to others. Yes, I know you are thinking this is impossible if you are in a competition. The word competition means to “compete”. I was once told to only make goals that you can control. Which means, I can have a goal to give it my all, or dance with a lot of energy, but I shouldn’t have a goal to “get first place.” Why? Because that’s something that is up to the judge (which is not in your control.) What you can control, are goals that are action-inspired. So instead, be in charge of the effort you put in before and during the event. Be in charge of your emotions. I have found that if we do compare, we compare our weakness to their strengths. Which is a lose/lose situation no matter how you look at it. There are so many variables that go into play of others that you have no idea about; previous dance experience, frequency, individual practice, injuries, age, and background to name a few. What is important is the progress you make based on the criteria mentioned above.
In many cases, we are taught to be careful of what we say, because a person’s perception of our words is what matters most. But, that rule doesn’t go for every situation, competition critiques and feedback to be specific. When a judge gives you feedback on your dancing, trust what they are saying. Sometimes our individual confidence level determines how we take feedback. We tend to flip-flop the feedback. If we are complimented in a certain area of our dancing, we think they are just saying it to be nice. They aren’t, they are telling you where they see your strengths at the time. That’s why they are the experts. You shouldn’t listen to feedback from people that aren’t experts in the field whether it’s other pupils or people who don’t have an investment in your progress.
We, yes I mean you, often get in your own way. Making good use of the feedback is vital. If you spend too much time beating yourself up post-competition, how much time are you taking away from preparing for the future competition? The productive, and of course logical thing to do, would be to work hard on the areas the judges recommend, and perfect the areas in which you already possess strengths.
Remember, taking first in a competition is something that can be accepted, but losing focus of yourself is a much greater loss. Continue being your wonderful, unique self, and you’ll always win.
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