*Photo By Justin Patterson Photography
"Take the Note"
(How to take critique without getting defensive)
Sometimes in this life, we have to take some critique of our craft, our self, or other things about us that we may or may not be able to change. We showgirls and boys encounter this on an almost daily basis in auditions, on jobs, or when trying to procure an agent, manager, or even just getting headshots (our intense version of a business card). Learning to take the “note” gracefully is one of the things we learn very early on, because someone else who does this better will be deemed “easier to work with” and those who can't will be labeled, “difficult”. Ladies tend to get this label more often, (warranted or not!) however I’ve met some men in the business who definitely got the “difficult” label. I would like to help you avoid this because it can be a career maker or breaker. As I’ve heard one director say “I’ve got an LTS list meaning Life’s Too Short…to work with that person!” Stay off the LTS list. Better yet, flip the script and make one of your own.
So first lets categorize the things about ourselves we can change and the things we can’t change:
Unchangable: Your height, your actual bone structure and physical attributes you are born with like your natural eye and hair color, your first language, and where you were born.
Changeable: Everything Else
As you can see, there is very little about you that can’t be changed or improved to meet the requirements of a job you’re pursuing, and you can definitely change your attitude, your accent, your hair color, your brand, increase your knowledge, etc. Adaptability is an asset, and it helps make you Bulletproof. Think of Madonna, the queen of reinvention. The Madonna of 2017 is a totally different Madonna from 1979. That ability to adapt and reinvent has helped her build an empire that just won’t quit, and yet underneath all that change, it’s still Madonna.
(Disclaimer: I would suggest never changing something about you that you love. Ex: I am a pale ginger person, and I like it. It suits me. I’ve spent a lifetime staying out of the sun. Some people might like me with a tan, but I wouldn’t. So pale I stay, and I own it. These attributes are part of your brand, and view them as a valuable asset. Just have the good sense to listen to wiser people when they say some part of you is really not a good look for you, or helping you move forward!)
Most of the time, what stops a person from being able to “take a note” is their ego. I have a personal policy of leaving your ego at the door when you go to work. My fellow showgirls call it “being a sponge”, meaning to soak up the knowledge that’s being passed on in that note, and try to incorporate it. So when you get a “note” in your life, do your best to smile, nod, say yes, and give it a try. It's not always easy, but it's a big asset if you can do it. You have no idea how much this will set you apart.
I won’t lie: This is a hard one to put into practice. We are proud of our work, our selves, and our history…so it’s not likely that we want to change any of that. However, sometimes we must change to get or keep a job, and the Bette who’s willing or able, or even just seen as adaptable by reputation, is getting that contract.
Bulletproof Bette shares her wisdom in the first ever Showgirl’s Guide to surviving and thriving in a city and industry that wants to eat you for lunch. Get exclusive content when you sign up below!