Back To The Basics



After changing from her hum-drum school uniform into her favorite sequin dress, Brittani anxiously awaits her Mom to pick her up from school. Why? Because they’re going to a dance performance at the local theatre! Celine Dion’s Power of Love swells as the curtains part and the duet ballet performers take the stage. Brittani’s heart goes pitter patter as the beautiful ballerina spins around her handsome lover, dramatically leaping into his arms and effortlessly flying across the stage.

Brittani immediately informs her Mom that she is going to be a ballerina. She makes her buy the ballet slippers and the pink leotard and sign her up for class. Her Mom twists Brittani’s hair up into that perfect ballerina bun and she is ready take the stage! The class begins. The students stand at the ballet bar. “Now,” the teacher says, “up on your toes. Now flat. And up. And down. And point. And down.” Brittani has a perturbed look on her face. These were nowhere near the amazing leaps and spins and stunning movements the ballerina did in the show. Brittani thought, this is boring. This is not what I signed up for. So Brittani asks her teacher at the end of class when she’d learn to do things like spins and leaps and the exciting stuff. “Oh darling,” the teacher said in her French accent, “that comes much later. You work on pliés and pointing toes for years before you are ready for advanced moves.” Completely disillusioned, Brittani unraveled her bun and turned in her ballet slippers the next day.


I was trying some new Capoeira moves that were more advanced but nonetheless didn’t seem that complicated. I was bewildered as to why I wasn’t getting it. My instructor watched me and pointed out that my base was weak. The (easy) simple position from which I was starting was in poor form, thus making the move a lot more difficult than it would otherwise be.

Oh, hello capoeira-metaphor-for-life moment!

In the recent past, I’ve gotten hyper focused on working on my proverbial base. Setting in place healthy routines to give my life structure so that I’m stronger and more effective. Sometimes it’s hard to do these things because they are so basic and simple and can therefore feel not so important: Wake up. Play happy music. Make bed. Cleanse face. Brush teeth. Write in gratitude journal. Vision board reflection. Make breakfast. Read a chapter or two outside. Meditate. Get dressed. Check in with accountability partner. Set about my day. Rinse and repeat.

It’s a focus and goal to make these routines non-negotiable and carry them out daily during my week. I’ve recently had some nice opportunities arise in my career and, after getting on a roll with a number of callbacks, booked my first commercial of 2016! It was all very exciting, but I found myself anxious at the idea of losing this momentum (we all know how temperamental this industry can be) and subsequently got a little sloppier with my routine. How important are these little things really in relation to the bigger things that were just happening? How can I motivate myself to make my bed, make breakfast, and sit in a meditative silence when all I want to do is go to callbacks, book jobs and be on set! Not doing stupid routines. As I got lazier with my routine, I realized life started feeling a little harder as well. Ugh.

Just before I derailed too much, this Capoeira session came as a keen reminder from the universe to always continue working on the basics, to keep my base strong. So I show up every day in the simple ways (at least, that’s the plan). In a moment of clarity, I realized that as I continue to get bigger and bigger opportunities, I need to be ready to take them on! And if I don’t keep my foundation strong, it’s going to be a lot more difficult. Just as it is a lot more difficult to perform that next level move in Capoeira if I don’t consistently train the basics.

How tall can a building be if it doesn’t have a strong foundation? Do I want to be a skyscraper or a two-story condo?

You have to keep doing those small things that don’t seem so big or important; it’s the consistency of doing those things that makes the big and important things do-able when they come.

Focus on the foundation. Stay strong. Be ready for the spins, leaps, and the exciting stuff!

What are your favorite routines for staying sharp? How do you stay motivated to do them regularly? I’d love to hear your thoughts!