9 Wrong Reasons for Doing Anything

JosieBallsMay2011

WARNING – Mini Z says you may have to acquire some balls after reading this post…

It’s very easy to get caught in the trap of doing something for the wrong reasons.  Even as belly dancers and artists, we can find ourselves going through the motions or pursuing a series of activities that are not really true for us as individuals.  We see others doing something, immediately jump on board to do the same thing, and then feel disappointed that it didn’t turn out as planned.  It’s time for a new game plan!

Before doing anything, you should ask yourself… “why am I doing this?”  If the answer to that question falls into any of the categories listed below, you may want to reconsider your actions.  Be honest with yourself about your “why”, and you may just find a better way to accomplish your unique goals and stay on track.

I’m using examples for belly dancers, but the suggestions here ring true for all areas of life.

1.  I Need the Money – Taken to the extreme, this could also be “It’ll Make Me Rich”.  I understand needing income and being in the business of belly dance.  However, if you’re only teaching (or performing or organizing events) for money and not also because you honestly enjoy doing it, then you are setting yourself up for disappointment.  People can tell when your heart isn’t in it, and nothing will make them run away faster than feeling as though you just want their money.  You may even find yourself taking financial and personal risks that are unnecessary and inappropriate, or succumbing to undesirable practices such as gig-poaching or undercutting.

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YIPPPEEEE… sparkly bras!!

2.  I’m Obligated to Do This – This is a big one, and we’ve all been there!  If you’re doing something because you feel pressured to do so, or because others expect you to do it, then rethink your position.  You always have the power to say “no” or “not right now”.  Avoid the icky feeling of “supposed to” at all costs!  But realize that there is a huge difference between feeling obligated and actually obligating and committing yourself to something or someone.  If you don’t really want to do something, then don’t do it.  Even if you’ve said yes to something and are now regretting it, you might still have the option of backing out.  Just keep in mind that it’s always easier for everyone involved if you take a moment to check in with your feelings before you say yes.

3.  This is How It’s Always Been Done – If you’re doing something you’ve done for long time and it’s no longer giving you the results you want, then why are you continuing to do it?  There’s a lot to be said about traditions being kept alive, but if something’s not working, then make changes!  Enjoy the freedom that comes with paving new, bold pathways.  Who says you have to create an elaborate hafla once you’ve been in your community for a certain amount of time?  Who says you can’t pursue being a soloist without having been in a performance troupe first?  Why keep following the same format for your event when your audience is saying they’d like to see something else?

4.  It Will Make Me More Relevant or Popular – Never base your self-worth on doing something you’re not excited or inspired to do.  Everyone reading this has friends, family and fans who love and support you right now.  If you’re trying to win over some critics, I can save you a lot of frustration… it won’t work.  People who don’t appreciate you or your belly dancing are not suddenly going to sing your praises because you’ve starting doing something new.  Your new endeavor will most likely just give them something else to pick apart.  Not that you shouldn’t pursue something because of a few nay-sayers.  But if the only reason you’re doing something is because you want to be more liked or seen as more important, then you need to know that feeling valuable is something that comes from within.

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NOPE! Still don’t like you…

5.  Everybody Else Is Doing It – Unless you are on the exact same path… have the exact same goals… are building on the exact same experiences… AND have the exact same ambition and resources, then this seems like a bad idea.  Stay true to yourself, your convictions and your dreams, and find creative ways to get your own results.  Let’s say you’re in a class that is going to perform a piece, and the teacher would like everybody to wear a lime green skirt with a silver bra and belt set.  Just because some of the group want to purchase lime green silk skirts for $100 doesn’t mean you have to do the same.  Find a remnant of shiny lime green in a similar shade, and show your teacher.  Share your idea, explain your concerns and see what happens.  So what if previous pieces have been purchased from her favorite vendor?  Maybe your classmates also really don’t want to part with $100 for something they’ll only wear once.  Don’t just go along with something that leaves you feeling bad.

6.  It Will Bring Me More Business – There’s an unspoken assumption that everybody should want and pursue more business (or students or gigs or whatever).  But ask yourself this:  Are you really able to take on more business?  This is a bad reason if you’re not ready for additional work.  If you’re truly only available to teach one night a week due to family and work commitments, then why are you pursuing additional teaching opportunities that will strain your schedule and loved ones?  If you truly feel at your best doing two paid performances each month, then why are you saying yes to gigs every weekend, making yourself feel exhausted and stressed?

7.  I Want to Be Just Like “My Idol” – All of our talents are special and unique to each of us, infused with our individual life experiences, and based on our current resources, inspirations and goals.  There’s nothing wrong with aspiring to be like another artist and pursuing a similar path of hard-work and practice.  But don’t say yes to something just because you see them do it.  Think about what you really want, and you’ll probably find that you have your own desires, which will mostly likely be different from what your idol is doing.

8.  I Was Hired, So Now I Have to Do This, Too – Just because somebody has hired you to do a performance or teach a demo, doesn’t mean you have to do something different or extra while you’re there.  First of all, be very clear in what you are doing for the fee you’re receiving before you accept the gig.  If you’ve agreed to dance a 15-minute set for a party, then you have every right to ask for payment as soon as you’re finished (or even better, before you start dancing).  Don’t feel obligated to do more just because you’re already there, and don’t allow anybody to bully you into doing something additional for “all the money they’re paying you.”

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Like silly poses for pictures… I charge for those now…

9.  I Don’t Want to Hurt Anybody’s Feelings – We place far too much importance on the feelings of others, often at the expense of our own feelings.  If you decline a request, then that person might feel a little hurt for a short time.  Explaining why you’re saying no and that you still really value their friendship (or business, if it’s a client) can go a long way in diminishing those hurt feelings.  But if you accept a request you really don’t want to accept, then it’s like telling yourself that your feelings don’t matter.  Eventually, you’ll feel resentful towards yourself and the other person, too.

Z

One Comment

  1. Katherine says:

    Applause!

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