Here is the love!
This post is rather like the flip-side to yesterday’s “Where is the love?” entry. If I was decrying entertainers who sabotage, then I also need to praise entertainers who collaborate (which is just as common, and is one of the points of tenuous balance in this career). Yes, there will be people who wish you ill. However, there will also be people who want you to succeed. Some will embrace you tightly.
I firmly believe that when the team is strong, it’s a win for everyone: The patrons are entertained and happy to be supportive, the entertainers/bar staff make a living, and the owners turn a profit. All is right in the universe. It behooves you to be generous (but not to the point of making yourself a martyr).
Understand this: I’m not telling every veteran dancer to share every bit of knowledge with every neonate. Like James Brown said, “I taught you everything you know… but not everything I know.” I personally have mentored only two people in all my time doing this. One was a crash and burn, the other is Scotty – and he is a friend for life. I have zero regrets. I am currently trying to gauge whether or not a dancer I’m trying to help is going to accept or not. I only offer a little to see if there’s any point investing.
I am very selective about whom I mentor, but I am very generous about whom I encourage. If I see someone who is essentially a good person, but who is not fulfilling a potential, I will tentatively extend a hand. The current dancer in question is not polished at all (in fact, he embarrasses me sometimes with his antics); however, he is reliable, honest, funny, extroverted, and friendly. He showed up at work spur-of-the-moment last Saturday when another dancer bailed, and he has done this multiple times. He helped me, because I would have been short-staffed. I realized, after several weeks of him being around, that he is a team player. This one can be honed, if he listens. I want this one to stick around, but he won’t if he can’t make more money. Then where will I be?
Is this selfish? Yes. Definitely. However, it’s symbiotic. He gets paid, and I get some relief. I may also end up with a new friend. So, what’s there to lose? Right now I’m watching carefully to see if he’s committed, and thus worth my investment. If yes, we’ll proceed. If no, then I’m out only the three pairs of underwear that I gave him (that I never wore anyway).
Perhaps that wasn’t the most altruistic example, and thus doesn’t really balance the sabotage entry from yesterday? But it is an example of how there are helpers who balance the haters. I have met many, many dancers who have encouraged me when I was down. I personally never had a mentor, but if there is anyone who begins to approach that role, it would be Carlos. That man is amazing. I admire him very much. If I could give only one piece of advice to every adult entertainer in the world in one moment, it would be this: Collaboration good, sabotage bad.