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I talked about networking a couple of weeks ago. I want to drill down on one aspect of networking, and of being part of a community. How good are you about supporting the work of others?

In the performing arts a scarcity mentality can grip us easily. There aren’t enough jobs, there aren’t enough opportunities, there aren’t enough. From that comes the “why them and not me” feelings that get fed by jealousy.

I want to encourage you to reject this, and support the work of others. You didn’t get cast in a show, but a friend did? Go to the show and clap the loudest.

You don’t like the work of a particular artist? Go to their latest work. Have they improved? Do you have greater appreciation for it?

Are you an automatic critic? I found that I wear that hat sometimes, especially in theater, where I understand the work the best. One day I went to a show by myself, and the inner critic started. Then I looked around, and saw dozens of folks having a good time. I kicked out the critic and enjoyed the show. Stop thinking about how you’d do it better, and enjoy.

The arts aren’t binary. Thumbs up/thumbs down isn’t how this works. If you like a show/playwright/concert and I don’t, that doesn’t make you wrong and me right. That means we’ve experienced the same work and had different reactions. How great is that?

Supporting others not only makes you a better community member, it also makes sure you have folks who’ll be there for your turn. Be happy for the success of others. Believe that your turn will come, or start making your own path.


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