You kind of have to just dive into everyday like this is the last time I’m going to do this. I think that’s how you become the best.
I just work so hard to prove that my talent was enough that I didn’t have to fit in to this box and this mold of what everyone thinks of which is.
You can do anything you want even if you’re being told negative things. Just to stay strong and find motivation.
Misty Copeland’s Top 10 Rules For Success
Evan: She’s an American ballet dancer.
She rose to stardom despite not starting ballet until the age of 13.
In addition to her dance career she’s become a public speaker and stage performer.
She’s Misty Copeland and here’s my take on her top ten rules of success.
Rule number one is my personal favorite and I’d love to know which ones you guys like the best.
And as always as you’re watching if you hear something that really resonates with you please leave it in the comments below.
Put quotes around it so other people could be inspired as well.
And when you write it down it’s much more likely to stick with you as well. Enjoy.
Misty Copeland Rules
- Be driven
- Live in the MOMENT
- Step out of your comfort zone
- Dive in
- Be passionate
- Strive for perfection
- Inspire others
- Be open to guidance
- It’s possible
- Give your all
- Take yourself to the next level
- Accept yourself
Rule #1. Be Driven
I haven’t had the typical path of most dancers especially as a professional dancer. To be in the corps de ballet and to be a soloist for as long as I was and to then get my first big break doing a principal role, that’s not typical. Usually if that doesn’t happen early on in your career that path is kind of shut down for you to ever become a principal dancer.
So I knew that when Alexei Ratmansky, the choreographer, choreographer and residence at ABT and the choreographer of Firebird. When he gave me the opportunity to learn the role I knew that this was kind of my last opportunity to prove at 29 years old that I’m capable of still being able to develop into an artist that can carry an entire company on my shoulders as a principal dancer.
So I just kind of went into it like head-first and worked so incredibly hard, didn’t take any days off which I wouldn’t recommend to anyone. And during that process of having Firebird created for me I developed six stress fractures in my tibia.
Let’s say that again, six fractures.
In your tibia that you still danced on and did that the night of the performance.
Yeah, I didn’t know the severity of the injury and I think that was kind of a way of protecting myself that I didn’t want to know how badly I was injured, and so I pushed through as long as I could. I knew that I had to get a couple of shows under my belt and prove that I was capable.
You talk about this confidence, this perseverance, you didn’t want to let people down, but still most of us feel that way, but may not have the whatever it takes to get through it.
I think a lot of it is being African American and having the struggles and the experiences that I’ve had and seeing all of the people that seeing me on the stage, how it’s affected them. That’s what kept me going on those days when I couldn’t physically walk, when I had doubts and thought, why am I fighting so hard?
I might not ever be able to jump again. Why am I doing this? And it was those little brown girls. It was those girls in the audience that were there the night of Firebird. That made me feel that I was going to do it no matter what physical obstacles I felt I was going to find a way around it because what was possible for me to create could change the future for so many young dancers and it just makes you super-human when you feel that.
The weight of that though, the responsibility-
But I didn’t feel it as weight it felt like this amazing support and energy from, you know, all of these people that are there to support me and that were watching me because I was creating a path for them.
Rule #2. Live In The Moment
I think that when I was younger, you get so like, antsy and you just want the good things to come and it’s hard to enjoy the process and I think that’s something that I really understand and appreciate now. I mean my life is so chaotic with just being busy all the time that I literally just take everything one step at a time. Like even when I’m on the stage, and I’m like I can’t think about third act I’m in second act now and I’m going to think about the piqué en arabesque I’m about to do, not about the pirouettes I’m going to do in two seconds. So it’s literally just like taking everything, you know, just pacing yourself in one thing at a time.
Rule #3. Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone
So when I for some reason felt that I had this small bit of confidence to audition for the drill team and I made sure I was auditioning for captain not just to be apart of the team, which was not, that was not something that I normally did in my life, like step outside of my comfort zone and do something where I was being put out in front of people. But I auditioned and they made me captain and the drill team coach, Elizabeth Cantine, saw something in me immediately.
She saw an ability that I had, my body proportions, and she thought, you are a ballerina. And I want to introduce you to someone who’s giving a free ballet class at the Boys and Girls Club that you already attend. I was not at all interested in ballet but after about a week of hiding out in the back of this ballet class on the basketball court, the teacher, Cynthia Bradley, pulled me on and I took my first class in socks and shorts and a t-shirt.
Rule #4. Dive In
I think that if we woke up every morning and we looked at our day or our careers as though something was going to go wrong or something could happen, we couldn’t reach our fullest potential. You kind of have to just dive into every day like this is the last time I’m going to do this. I think that’s how you become the best, that’s how you become your best self. You know, I don’t step on to the stage thinking, I might fall tonight, it’s like, I’m going to go for it and if I fall how am I going to recover.
That’s kind of the approach that you have to have especially when you’re at this level. That you can’t think about, you know, what if. What if this goes wrong? Just keep striving.
Rule #5. Be Passionate
I think it’s important to be passionate about what you do but know that it doesn’t come without hard work. Success doesn’t come without sacrifice. And it’s a beautiful thing when you put all that work into what you’re passionate about. You can sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor. You know I can’t say where I will go next but I know that ballet will take me everywhere that I can imagine dreaming of going and it’s pretty awesome.
Rule #6. Persevere
And there were other issues too right, with your body type because you’re very athletic. Okay, she’s so tiny sitting next to me. But you’re incredibly athletic and that also created some problems right?
Yeah, there just, I guess you can call them setbacks but I overcame them. They just continue to come. You know, once I became a professional, I, all of a sudden matured into this curvy woman with a bust and with more muscle and all of those things also are not thought of as a ballerina. And I just worked so hard to prove that my talent was enough that I didn’t have to fit into this box and this mold of what everyone thinks of which is, a white woman with no chest and no muscle and I was everything that that wasn’t.
Being a Black ballerina definitely is everything. And my life and my path as a ballerina would be completely different if I wasn’t an African American woman. It has provided more obstacles than I think I knew when I discovered ballet at 13 years old. But at the same time it’s made me want to persevere even more and I think it’s made me a stronger person because of it. And I have so many more obstacles to overcome but I absolutely love classical ballet.
Rule #7. Strive For Perfection
Interviewer: You’ve accomplished so much. At this point in your career what is your driving force, and what is it that’s keeping you going every single day?
Well the thing is I have so much more I want to accomplish. So I think that as a ballet dancer you’re constantly being pushed to kind of stay on top of your game and with so many younger dancers that continue to come into the company it’s like you have to keep up with them. I mean every generation gets better so that’s constantly like pushing me and I just love what I do.
And I think as dancers we’re constantly striving for perfection and that’s never going to happen. So it’s just going to keep us going and going. But, you know, I have so many new roles coming up that I’m excited about so that’s keeping me motivated. And, of course, being a principal dancer that’s my number one goal.
Rule #8. Inspire Others
I understand the importance of me having a voice and exposing people beyond, you know, the typical ballet world to this art form. I think it saved my life, and I want to introduce it to more people and coming full-circle that’s something that I’m trying to do now is to give back to those communities through Boys and Girls Clubs, being an alum, to invite people into my world as it’s happening.
I think it’s really amazing to have grown men that have never seen a ballet in their life look at me and see a woman that they can relate to, someone who looks like their sister, their daughter, their mother and to say, well I’m going to put my child in that because they can see themselves through you. I think it’s creating a completely different path through these people that never saw themselves in this world and to watch me still growing and on my path I think is really powerful.
Rule #9. Be Open To Guidance
I was very open to accepting guidance, and I think that that’s something that you really have to be vulnerable and open to or these people will just kind of pass by and they don’t enter your life when they should be. And Prince came into my life, I think I was around 27? I’m 31 now. And he thought I was extremely talented and wanted me to dance in one of his music videos which I thought was odd. So when I met him, I saw this incredible human.
I didn’t know him as Prince, this big star. I met him and I spent a lot of time with him as an individual and I learned so much about myself, and about, again, just being even more vulnerable I think to, in order to grow as an artist you really have to have that side of yourself be open.
Rule #10. It’s Possible
You can do anything you want even if you’re being told negative things, just to stay strong and find motivation. I’m 5’2″, I started when I was 13, I’m black. There’s so many things, but I’ve made it happen. I’m very lucky to be where I am but it’s a, it’s possible.
Thank you guys so much for watching. I made this video because Tiger Lily asked me to. Also if you want to nominate someone for the next top 10 video, please check the description for a link to a video where you can vote for people and put in your suggestions as well.
I’d love to know what did you take from this video? What was the most important lesson that you learned, that blew your mind, that you’re going to immediately apply to your life or your business somehow. Please leave it down the comments below. I’m super curious to find out.
I also want to give a quick shout out to William and Tim from Projectauthenticity.org. Thank you guys so much for picking up a copy of my book Your One Word, taking a picture, making a blog post. I really appreciate the support and I’m glad you enjoyed the read.
So thank you guys again for watching. I believe in you. I hope you continue to believe in yourself and whatever your one word is. Much love, I’ll see you soon.
Give your all
I think there’s no real way of preparing for something that seems scary. I think it’s really important for a young person to not set limits on what their dreams are. If they have something in their mind and they feel strongly about it, give it your all.
Take yourself to the next level
Before I danced, I was extremely shy and I literally wouldn’t speak. And I was terrified too and my way of communicating started out by writing in journals. With the opportunity of writing Life in Motion and Firebird, it’s kind of taken me to the next level. And I’m just getting better and better about feeling confident about how I communicate things. And it’s extremely different writing but it all kind of ties into the same thing. I think that this experience has made me a better performer.
It took a while to really find myself and to find the right way of taking care of your body. I’m sure every professional dancer goes through that. Being a teenager to an adult and your body changes and also, I think that, my body type is very different from a lot of dancers that I dance with.
So like I was saying it just took me just accepting that I am beautiful and that I have this body and just accepting me for me and I think that’s when I really found this confidence that I can go on stage and I mean, Kevin the director, saw that as well and I think that’s when he promoted me and I think that’s when I started getting more opportunities.