Misty Copeland was 13 when she started her studies in ballet. In the dance world, that’s considered late, but that didn’t stop Misty from breaking records and barriers throughout her career. In 2007, she became the American Ballet Theatre’s second Black soloist in its 75-year history, and was promoted to principal dancer in 2015, the first Black woman ever in the ABT’s history.
There is no question that through the years, Misty has faced criticism and hardship to get where she is today. You may think that the courage it takes to overcome those challenges must be instilled with that person at birth, but the kind of confidence that later shows up as influence is not intuitive for most of us. It is something that we have to learn to embrace and is often uncomfortable. That may be your story; it is also Misty’s story.
Listen to the full episode to learn how Misty’s upbringing and early career shaped her ability to face adversity and create a courageous shield, allowing her to focus on her life’s purpose: ballet, but also being a voice for diversity in a world that was lacking it for so long.
A few lessons from Misty…
- If you are patient and open with people, they will be open to learning. Part of your ability to influence others is in listening.
- When things are out of your control, you have to do what you can to block it out. This allows you to focus on what is truly important.
- Most of the time, it isn’t about you when people have negative things to say.
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