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Ballerina Turned Entrepreneur, Caitlin Ritt On Career Pivots And Redefining Yourself

At the age of 24, reaching the height of her career, Caitlin Ritt pivoted her career path and left the world of dance. Like anything worth having, the...

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The hardest thing for Caitlin during her career shift was letting go of the identity she had created for herself as a dancer. For a long period of time, Caitlin hung onto the term “ex-dancer” or “performer”, as this was who she knew herself to be for so many years.

Caitlin recalls: “Getting over the identity involved getting over insecurities that I had, which made me create the identity in the first place. What has helped me shed my identity was actually making this shift and, though hard, walking away from the dance world. When I stepped away on my own accord, other dancers were shocked. Making that leap was the biggest form of challenge, and it gave me the most strength. Perhaps this is what gave me enough courage to start my own business because everything else paled in comparison to walking away from this identity.”

 

Knowing Your ‘Right’ Path

Once she made the career shift, Caitlin knew she was doing the right thing. One significant token of affirmation for Caitlin included the fact that she had rented for the next month at the time that the doors to her new business opened.

 

Photo: The Lotus Method with Client; Source: Courtesy Photo
Photo: Pre/Post Natal Exercise Specialist, Emily Huff at Lotus Method Studio with Client; Source: Courtesy Photo

Another sign of affirmation for her is that TLM has never been in the red. Though both of these affirmations are wonderful, Caitlin reveals that her most profound sign to show that she is on the right path are her clients.

Day in, and day out, Caitlin expressed her gratitude for prospective clients who would tell her they wanted her services. It has been their validation, and words of encouragement that has kept Caitlin going as an entrepreneur.

The relationships she makes with her clients, watching their transformations, and witnessing how good they look and feel is the best feeling according to Caitlin.

She is genuinely excited to see how happy women are when they get their bodies back not only aesthetically, but functionally as well. This aspect is the greatest level of success. “I get those texts and I tear up, that’s why I do this… when I left the dance world, I wondered if I could ever find that passion that I found on stage. Being on stage in front of hundreds of people is the most euphoric high I’ve ever experienced. With dance I would get this feeling maybe once every 3 months when I’d perform, but in my work now, I get that euphoric feeling weekly, and that’s pretty much how I define success.”

 

Selfless Aspirations

With ballet, the discipline is founded very much upon self. Dancers are constantly focused on what their bodies are doing, and staring at themselves in the mirror.

Research confirms that “a dancer’s personal vision of her body image is an important part of her psychological health and well-being and can help or hinder her dance performance in the studio. Several dance studies have shown that heightened self-consciousness can contribute to the development of negative body image.”

For Caitlin, it seemed that the only time a dancer got gratification was when they were being affirmed from an external source. Nowadays, Caitlin considers her work as an entrepreneur to be much more selfless.

“Doing something for someone else; taking the knowledge that dance gave me and putting that energy towards someone else is the most rewarding thing. It’s much more selfless. I’m not an insecure person anymore. I’m far more confident in who I am, and what I bring to the table not just in my career, but in relationships and life, and yes, some of that comes with age, but I changed career paths for a reason: because I felt like I was going down a path that was unhealthy, and now I’m doing something that is so rewarding, and I absolutely love it,” says Caitlin.

 

Shaless Peoples is the creator of the Da Capo Careers Project where she listens to, writes about, and shares the stories of 20, 30, and 40 somethings who have started their career paths from the beginning in order to experience a more passion-filled, meaningful, balanced, and happy work-life. To learn more about the project go to www.dacapocareers.com. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Facebook, and on Twitter at @ShalessPeoples.

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