While visiting my sister in Michigan last month, I had the pleasure of spending time with my 19-year-old niece, Sara. One afternoon she asked me to go with her to see (for her third time) one of her favorite movies – Center Stage. It’s the story of a group of young ballet students who strive for one of three cherished places in the American Ballet Company. One young hopeful was a girl from the Bronx named Eva.
Eva entered the company with an “attitude.” Dancing was always easy for her, and she “smart mouthed” her way through most of the classes thinking herself better than the others. Auditions arrived for the final workshop presentation from which the candidates for the Ballet Company would be chosen. Eva didn’t land the prominent role she was expecting. The role she DID get placed her in the chorus line. She believed no one would notice her – or her talent – in that position. Surprised and angry, Eva confronted Simone, her instructor, questioning her placement.
Simone shared her observations of Eva’s abilities by saying, “Back in school, Eva, you were the best and didn’t HAVE to work hard. Here you must keep learning in order to become better amoung the best.”
Simone walked across the floor to the long wall of mirrors and placed her hand on the ballet bar where practice sessions begin each morning. Looking at Eva she said, “Whenever you reach a plateau and you need to bring the passion back into your work, you must remember to return to the bar.”
When we take time to “return to the bar,” we practice the basics of our profession and make them better; we re-learn the spirit that makes each assignment new, different, and alive. By returning to the bar, we remember why we chose our profession in the first place. You KNOW that speaker Ed Tate had to return to the bar many times on his way to becoming Toastmaster’s World Champion Speaker.
This month ask yourself; “Is it time to return to the bar?” Revisit what you do and tweak the parts that don’t quite work for you any more. Where should you update your knowledge? What can you do to make it more relevant? How can you enhance the fun for yourself and your clients?
When you collect your paycheck, you KNOW that money is not for “just that 8-5” on the job. It’s for all the times you kept returning to the bar.