These pictures have one thing in common: they were all taken by an amazing photographer, makeup artist, and industry member.
This article is the story of how she almost lost her finger; the MASSIVE impact it had on her business, and the lessons she learned along the way.
Trigger Warning: this article has descriptions and images of an injury caused by an animal. It’s the real story of what happened to my friend this summer, and what lessons her recovery brought.
My friend is a dancer.
Like all of us, she is not only a dancer.
She’s a TALENTED artist and a photographer.
She’s a PROVIDER for her parents.
She’s a lighthearted, HAPPY, healthy person.
She’s fiercely INDEPENDENT.
And a lot of those things almost disappeared over night.
Over the tip of her thumb.
This is my friend’s thumb.
Those little red marks? They're not from a manicure.
They mark the spot where she was bit by a dog four months ago.
This is how long it took for the tip and the nail of her thumb to grow back.
She was in her home.
The dog wasn’t giving signals of aggression.
It was owned by someone she trusted.
My friend stretched her hand out to say hello—
And the dog decided to take a bite.
The next picture is much more graphic.
Please skip it and read the no-image version if you're not ready to take a look.
Thousands of dollars and a hospital visit later, she was missing the tip of her thumb.
She was EXTREMELY lucky.
This was, all things considered, a TINY injury relative to the size and aggression of the dog.
It could have been much worse.
It could have gone much better, too. This was the cost:
Her ENTIRE emergency fund.
All of her savings.
Her ability to do even basic things for herself for months.
Her inner peace.
Almost half a year of earnings at the club.
All over the smallest part of her smallest appendage.
For months, she couldn’t work at the club.
Couldn’t hold doors, hold pencils, hold her camera.
Do her hair, put on her makeup. Strap up heels.
Get on a stage.
The things that gave her meaning, value, and independence were gone.
Over the tip of one finger.
Before this happened…
She thought she was doing all the right things.
She wasn’t living shift-to-shift.
She’d saved up.
She was on the right track.
She’d worked hard to get where she was.
She had people to take care of.
But it wasn’t enough.
It’s hard to push.
It’s hard to save.
It’s hard to build a financial plan.
It’s hard to work that extra shift or take that extra class.
It’s REALLY hard to know what you need, learn how to get it, and work so hard that you can keep it.
Most of us are doing our BEST with what we were taught.
But most of us weren’t taught about selling, saving or investing.
So we rely on…
“It Won’t Happen to Me”
Think about this right now: you’ve heard of dancers struggling with bills, finding themselves in bad situations, accidents, loss of work, injury—you’ve heard of these situations because we all have.
But our brains just want to believe it can’t happen to us.
We’ve got luck on our side.
It’s just a little easier to get through life that way.
Luck is fickle.
It doesn’t care what you thought was going to happen.
You Know Who Else Doesn’t Care?
The hospital didn’t care – they still sent her the bill.
Her landlord didn’t care—they still wanted the rent.
The club didn’t care—they still weren’t letting her on the floor.
She’s one of the strongest people I know—but when I saw her again, she was devastated.
And no wonder.
Financially, physically, and emotionally, she had to start again at zero.
She didn’t know if she’d ever regain full feeling in her hand.
If she’d ever be able to do the same things.
If she’d ever feel like herself again.
She’s Not Alone – Haven’t You Ever Had to Start Over?
All dancers eventually face crises.
They’re not a POSSIBILITY.
They’re an INEVITABILITY.
Because our industry has so many young people just starting out,
we don’t like to talk about it much.
It’s easier to ignore or avoid.
We like to convince ourselves we’re invincible.
Not saving up.
Not investing in our future.
Not building other income streams.
Not getting health insurance.
Not paying taxes.
You might get away with it- until it catches up with you.
Life always catches up.
This isn’t a “drag,” or a “read.”
This isn’t “calling you out.”
I’m writing this because maybe no one else around you has sat down to have this conversation.
Maybe you grew up like me, worrying if the rent would be paid or the lights would stay on.
You didn’t have the time or bandwidth to worry about MORE, MORE, MORE.
Because all you ever got was LESS.
We’re all handed down financial stories and scripts.
We’re all doing the best we can.
This is about defining what that best is for you.
About taking the time to take yourself seriously.
Maybe you think you have enough put away, but you haven’t done the math.
Maybe you’re still living shift-to-shift.
Maybe you’re getting so overconfident you think a few dozen stacks in the safe will keep you safe.
Maybe you’re so scared to go from surviving to thriving that you’re setting up the hurdles in your own path.
Maybe you don’t even know where you are in all of this.
If any of those sound like you…
You’re Not Alone.
I’m right here with you.
So is my friend.
So are ALL dancers who have faced serious stopping points, hurdles, and emergencies during their time in the industry.
Everyone in the Racks to Riches community wants to see you win.
I want to see you WIN.
So today I want to remind you that, while being unprepared doesn’t make you a bad person, emergencies can make for…
A Really Bad Time for a Good Person.
If you ever find yourself in an emergency,
you won’t be able to turn back the clock and pick up that extra shift.
You won’t be able to ask for that extra tip or get that extra hour.
You won’t be able to throw your savings towards investments that PAY YOU passive income whether you work or not.
You won’t be able to sign up for health insurance to cover the costs of the care you need.
It will be too late.
But right at this moment, it’s not.
If you’re working regularly, and you’re walking into work this week with a chance to bring in cash –you can start making different decisions TODAY that will set you up for the REST OF YOUR LIFE.
Or, stay stuck on decisions that keep you in the same spot.
It’s serious stuff—and it’s not a quick sales lesson-but it’s a conversation I wish someone had with me almost a decade ago. It would have saved me a lot of money, time, fear, anxiety, stress, ruined relationships, and bank fees.
I hope bringing this conversation to the forefront will save you from making some of those same mistakes.
Today my friend and I had this conversation again:
The conversation of how, when, and what we MUST take action and accountability on if we want to stand a chance after the industry
How we can set ourselves up to SELL more, SAVE more, and DO more with our limited time.
How we can ALL do a better job bringing financial literacy with us into the club- and helping each other through this industry instead of tearing each other down.
I’m SO grateful for these conversations – thanks for being a part of them with us.
And About My Friend…
She’s back at the club and starting again.
But she’s not starting from scratch.
In the time it took her to heal, she reexamined her beliefs about sales, money, saving, and her professional path – and she’s stronger than ever.
She has a chance to take everything she learned and set herself up to be better than ever.
Her body healed, her mind is sharper than ever, and she’s going to ABSOLUTELY take the end of the year by storm.
I’m so PROUD of her. And we’re all so grateful that her hands will stay busy making art, photography and magic for years to come.
If you're looking for a fantastic photographer in the New Orleans and Houston Area, hit her up!
And About You..
If you’ve made it this far, I know that you’re thinking long and hard about these issues too.
I know you’re struggling to make the future you want come true.
And I KNOW that you’re not gonna give up now.
There are TWO MONTHS left in 2019.
Don’t wait until next year to make progress.
Don’t push it off until “later.”
Don’t rely on luck or chance to get what you want.
This is your time to make great decisions.
This is when you set up 2020 to be your best year yet.
No matter what your long-term ideas are, remember to plan for the GOOD and prepare for the BAD.
No matter where you are on your journey, I wish you the BEST.
If you’re looking for resources on personal financial management,
And if you’ve been waiting on 101 Lines and When to Use Them…it’s HERE! Click to get your copy now, with an included workbook, and over 250 pages of content to help you grow your sales, mindset, and skills at the club. It’s business time!