I will always be the first person to tell you that, if you want something badly enough, then it is always worth the risk involved to make it happen. You are an incredible, talented person, and no one else can offer what you have to offer. The world needs you.
Reading those words on a screen is a whole lot easier than believing them, though, right? Hypothetically, you can do anything, but when it comes time to take that risk, in the moment when you have to choose to either back down or declare “I can do this!”, believing in yourself can be terrifying.
As artists, we have to be our own biggest fans. That sounds a little conceited, but really, it’s not. If you don’t believe in yourself, if you aren’t willing to stand up and let people know what you’re capable of, then it’s going to be really hard to convince anyone else to support you, especially in the artistic world, where there are so many other artists that you’re competing with to move ahead and be seen.
I’ll be honest; it’s safer to sit back and only approach “sure thing” opportunities. The risks are a lot smaller. You’re less likely to fail or get turned away. You can still grow as an artist, even if it is at a slower rate.
Or, you can set your sights a little higher. Dream bigger. Take risks. Believe in yourself enough to put yourself out here and unabashedly show what you’re made of. Try for that long-shot role. Every artist deals with this, whether they’re a dancer, or a painter, or a writer, or a singer. And, if you stick with it, you’re going to deal with it more than once. You’re never going to run out of opportunities to take risks. Being a creative entrepreneur is not for the weak of heart.
If you choose to take those risks, you need to believe in yourself. You need to have the confidence to shine, even if you have to fake it. And then, you need to take that belief, that confidence, and get out there. Make things happen, because opportunity won’t always knock at your door. Put together a professional portfolio website. Join local, national, and online dance organizations. Be active on social media. Make it easy for people to find you and, just as important, for people to connect with you. If opportunity comes knocking, you want to make sure it’s showing up at the right address.
Also, if you can, volunteer to help with larger productions, because making a name for yourself as a good person with a strong work ethic can be just as important as getting noticed as a dancer. People want to work with those who have proven that they will show up and work hard.
Be brave enough to take risks, and dedicated enough to make those the most of every chance you take. It’s not easy. Taking risks, and making them pay off, requires sweat. It requires 110% of your effort. Because, if you’re not working hard, I promise you, there’s someone else who is, and they’re going to get the opportunities that could have been yours.
But, if you decide that it’s worth it, then take every chance that comes your way. Make your own opportunities.
And, hey, believe in yourself. You can do this.