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  • Ellen Broen

Dear Diary: How Do I know When To Quit?


The dust has long settled, and everyone's plans are, for the most part, set.


For some, gigs are scheduled and plane tickets purchased. For many others, a less cookie-cutter-apprentice-season lies ahead. And for many of the latter, a DIY summer can feel negative and unstable.


How do you know when to say "enough's enough?"


This question can come about for any number of reasons, and on the other end of the spectrum stands Burnout. Burnout can't say no or measures success by number of gigs booked, connections made, or dollars earned. You may also have experienced Burnout if you've literally been burned by an artistic experience and want to put as much distance between you and that event as possible. Any way you spin it, Burnout is motivated by secondary factors that don't include joyful inspiration.



I quit singing for a year and a half after my first season at Sarasota Opera. Burnout. What followed was (and continues to be) one of the most beautiful phoenix phenomenons I have ever experienced. By allowing myself time to breathe and shed my own negative mindsets and arming myself with wise mentors, I was able to give my life more than two options. You see, up until this point I had been living in a black and white world with my fellow students and then colleagues:



Either you were succeeding and booking gigs, or you were a failure. Boom.


Now, there are many MANY problems with this logic, not the least of which is that a solely either/or mindset is one of the most limiting spaces we can expect ourselves to function within. Additionally, it strips any sort of creative impetus or inspiration from the process of work and collaboration. And then, you have to ask, why am I even doing it?


As I looked down the barrel of this conversation, I took a big leap. I decided that I wanted it all: a life that wasn’t driven by either/or: singing or money, entrepreneurship or someone else’s game, constant burnout or no gigs.


I wanted to sing for MYSELF, to express my deep well of joy.


I wanted to express my powerful essence in every possible way, which included, but was not limited to, music.


What happened? Well, a lot of soul-listening and more wise counsel. I chose to believe the truth: that my life is not black-and-white. I explored how I could connect with artists in collaboration and support and leadership. And slowly, I colored outside the "lines," little by little, until I had completely lost track of them.


Standing back, I had started to create a vibrant, unorthodox, and thriving new landscape.



If you're at a vocational crossroads, I encourage you to take a step back, and ask yourself if you're black-and-whiting your technicolor life. Whether you're experiencing Burnout, fear of a DIY career, or you fall somewhere in between, take a breath. Put fear in the backseat, put the top down, and explore the wide- range of possibilities.


It's time for joy to drive.



Ready to ditch the dual mindset? CLICK HERE for this week´s video and expand your horizons, my friend.




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New York, NY, USA

©2018 BY ELLEN BROEN, MEZZO-SOPRANO. PROUDLY CREATED WITH WIX.COM