“I took about 3 months off from dancing, really relaxed and got my head focused. I asked myself was dancing something I really wanted to do. It turned out it was, but I noticed going back was just as hard as being a newbie in the business. How do I motivate myself again? How do I deal with the old girls that were there when I was but since I lost the weight during my absence, the girls aren’t so friendly any longer. So how do I prepare now for the customers and the dancers in one lump sum?”

Awesome question! There are numerous issues that need to be addressed here. The first of which here has nothing to do with you being a dancer. It has to do with the negative mental programming you are using on yourself to sabotage your own success. When we do private coaching with students, one of the things that comes up often is that they make attachments to things that do not necessarily exist or are unfair judgments. In your question, you wrote that going back to the business was just as hard as being a newbie. We need to look at this statement a little closer because it will give us some insight as to what your thought process is and how we can better address it.
The reality is, you are not alone here. Hundreds or perhaps even thousands of dancers every year take a break from dancing and go back. Although some may share the experience that you are having, that it is like starting from scratch again, there are obviously many that do not. There are many such women who get back into the business again with either the same level of success they had before, or even more success perhaps? So by making the attachment, that going back to work after a 3-month break is like being a newbie again, you are creating a reality for yourself that may not be true at all. The challenge here is, it is a reality that you created and we need to get you out of this mindset and into one that would work better for you.

The first step is you need to start affirming things to yourself in a positive way instead of a negative one. Rather than say, “To me, going back to dancing is like being a newbie again”, I want you to say, “Going into this club tonight is going to be easy and fun again just like it was when I left before. The only difference is that now I not only have experience and know how to make money, but I have the luxury of some well needed rest and this will make me better than anyone in there tonight!” We need to get that bad programming out of your head before we do anything else, and this is where you’re going to start. Every night before you go into your club, when you are in your car in the parking lot, I want you to repeat that second quote. That’s where we’re going to start. When you change the way you think either in a positive or a negative way, you will see the appropriate change happen in your life. So let’s start focusing in the right direction instead of the wrong one.
Regarding your next challenge, understand that you as a person or even as a dancer have not changed. Things about you may have changed, and yet you are still the same person you are when you left. The fact that your weight loss is a noticeable physical attribute that changed could be contributing to the coldness you are receiving it also may not be. It is an unfortunate side effect of this industry that negativity, gossip and cattiness among dancers can be quite common. What you may be experiencing just might be two dancers saying, “Jeez, remember her? She couldn’t cut it before so she quit and now she’s back. What’s up with that?”

Another theory is that you are more self-conscious of the surroundings you are in than you were before and so your experience may be different than it was when you were working last. The best advice I can give you is to go through your night as if nothing is different. Just be the sale ol’ you that you were before. If the other dancers around you want to be negative, stand-offish, or impolite, then just let them be. You should just remain your same cheery self and move on. I remember several years ago I was working at a club and one of the girls I worked with absolutely hated my guts. To this day I never knew why nor does anyone else. For one reason or another, this girl just hated every ounce of my being. The funny part was, I actually didn’t share the same feelings back. I actually enjoyed working with this person and even thought she was a fun person to be around regardless of her attitude toward me. I had a decision to make, either I could be rude back, I could just ignore her, or I could just be me and act as if nothing was wrong to begin with. I chose the third option. Now, did this ultimately change her demeanor toward me? Not really, and yet I still never walked on egg-shells around her. I just remained who I was and didn’t hide that fact. Ultimately, who’s the happier person? Personally, I think I was. So although the people you are now working with again may see you differently or even treat you differently, just go on being the best “you”, that you can be.

Also be aware that although having a positive working environment around you is helpful, ultimately you need to realize that their attitude toward you has no greater impact on your ability to sell dances and make money. None. Zip, zero, nada. You need to start looking at dancing not as a group activity, rather as a game of golf. When you play golf, it is just a game of you against the ball. That’s it. Although it is a personal game, you still do keep score against others for the purposes of winning a tournament. You need to look at sales this way. Ultimately, it all comes down to what is YOUR attitude for making money, not what is the attitude of those around you. Remember, only dead fish swim with the stream!

Lastly, if you have made some personal changes to yourself in your time away from dancing, these are things to be celebrated. These are things that make you stronger, not weaker, so stop focusing on them as being bad. Understand that these are things that make you better at what you do, not worse. The best advice I can give you in your situation is to stop playing the game by other people’s rules. You need to start understanding that for your environment to be a positive one, it needs to start with you. There may be others around you treating you as the “newbie” per se, what you need to d is convince them that you are back better than you ever were before. This all starts with how you perceive yourself though. Remember, you aren’t some new kid on the block, you are someone with experience, knowledge, and a great attitude deserving of the respect you have earned. Believe this for yourself, and the others around you will as well.