The Night My Backstage Collided with My Front Stage - Christine Kane

In this video clip, from my most recent talk at Emerging Women Live, I tell the story of what happened to me one night when I realized what was truly supposed to be doing with my life. 

This process of coming face-to-face with your obstacles time and time-again, is what I call Upleveling.

Every time you uplevel, you create a new normal – and you become someone with new standards.

You become someone with higher energy.

You become someone who can create more income, who has a deeper sense of his or her internal power.

That becoming – that unfolding – it’s why we’re here at all… it’s why we set goals.

When I started this path, I was a musician, a songwriter, a touring performer, and a recording artist. And that “becoming” for me was a pretty intense process, because not only was I answering to the creative demands of that business, navigating the entertainment industry… and I was building my own business.

I had stopped waiting for discovery, and I started discovering myself instead… (and this was a lot of work.)

Eventually that work paid off, and I created my own empire.

I remember one night, I was signing CDs after a show. This woman came up to me and wanted me to sign her CD. While I was doing that, her husband, who was standing right next to her, said six words to me that hooked me for a very, very long time. He said, “Man! You are LIVIN’ THE DREAM!”

So, yeah- I was living the dream… being successful at being an artist.

And for 90 minutes, night after night, every night, I made everyone believe that.

And for a while- it was true.

But that was my onstage world.

After several years of doing that, what started to emerge backstage was an entirely different story.

What started to happen was that after my shows finished, invariably, there were four or five people waiting to talk to me.  And they had questions, like–

“How do I follow my dream?”

“How do I build a business that I love?” 

And I’d just say to them, “Come backstage; let’s talk about it there.” And what I was doing was coaching them. I didn’t call it coaching, but that’s what I was doing.

Night after night, this started to build. It started to evolve… and I loved it.

And… I was embarrassed at how much I loved it.

I remember one night, when my backstage collided with my front stage.

It was after a show, and after my “coaching circle” had disbanded. And the sound engineer, the promoter, the club owner and two other guys from the club were walking me to my car.

We were just walking, talking music, talking art. I got about 25 feet from my SUV and I suddenly realized something disastrous–

The entire front seat was littered with personal growth audio books… and business growth audio books, and spiritual growth audio books. I think I had the entire “Sounds True” library in my front seat!

I took off running… just started sprinting, got to the car, opened the door and started shoving Cheryl Richardson under the seat, Caroline Myss into the glove compartment, Thich Naht Hanh in the back… Jack Canfield under the front seat.

I was grabbing t-shirts out of the back and covering all of the evidence because, God forbid, the “cool kids” discover that I’m into all this consciousness stuff and all this growth stuff.

That night was a really big shift for me. Because I realized that backstage had started to creep into my front stage. And this is why the very first lesson of Being the C.E.O. or Y.O.U. (from Uplevel Your Business) is that you’ve got to check back stage.

Because your backstage is where you life is always talking out loud to you.

And interestingly, after the incident that night, this phenomenon started to happen– where my wise self started to show up each night at my performances.

(One thing you’ve got to know about my wise self is that she’s not floaty, or flowy or angel-like in any way, shape or form. She is a kind of a central casting, quintessential therapist woman.)

And our conversations went something like this-

She would come wandering out, wearing her Eileen Fisher drapey scarves—she would sit down while I was performing. She would watch me. And then she’d say, “So Christine, this moment right here- how are you doing? How’re you feeling?”

“Good, I’m good. This is what I do. I’m on it,” I’d reply.

“Ok. I happen to notice- backstage, when you’re coaching people, you truly light up- your energy changes. And I’m wondering if it’s possible that you may be avoiding what could be your next calling in life.”

And it was these conversations with my wise self, night after night, that made me realize this: Your backstage never lies.

Your backstage is where you find yourself drawn to certain clients. Where you find yourself going to certain kinds of events your drawn to; it’s where you find yourself loving this new way of teaching, or this new way you’re working that ­– for whatever reason ­­– your frontstage has not fully embraced yet.

But eventually, you’ll notice, as I did, that your backstage starts to speak much louder than your front stage.

Now it’s your turn…

In the comments below, share with me… Have you ever noticed your backstage speaking to you?  And what’s going on backstage for you now? Anything?  I’d love to hear your experience of listening to or ignoring these callings in your life.

  • Reshleman

    I am making that same transition now. I have spent the last 15 years as a firefighter/paramedic, and that is the role and context in which most people know me. During that time, I have also become a very skilled trainer, coach and teacher in the emergency services realm, and I continue to teach paramedicine at a community college in Portland, OR.
    I have felt the effects of “burnout’ creeping in for the last year or so, and when I really dissected and analyzed the core of the issue, it wasn’t just burning out on the realities of the system, as so many people in emergency services do – it was deeper. I realize that why I am so passionate about teaching paramedicine is because I am burned out on watching good people suffer and after 15 years of experiencing the ubiquitous human suffering, depression and sadness that pervades people’s daily lives, I want to do more to prevent those ills, instead of responding after the fact.

    So….this will seem like a stretch, but bear with me….I took my love of teaching, mentoring and coaching and I started my own “For Women, By Women” training business. Currently, we do basic firearms safety classes and personal training packages (thanks for that brilliant idea, CK!) with pistol, rile, shotgun and more. We are a 100% female company, catering to women in a positive, pressure-free, fun, non-political environment- which is a very lucrative niche market. We also have plans to expand into all-female outdoor adventures (camping, kayaking, crab fishing, etc), and the response has been great.
    Christine helped me (in many ways and counting) when I found her online after checking in to find out “whatever happened to Christine Kane?” and why I never saw her touring in concert anymore. Well, imagine my surprise when I saw what CK is doing now – and just at the time I was launching my new venture! It helped me a lot to transition my “backstage” to my front stage when I realized that CK refers to her music career and her identity as a musician in the past tense. It has been hard for me to let go of my identity as a firefighter, and even though I am still working in the field as a paramedic, it has been challenging to fully transition my “backstage” love of empowering people (especially women) to challenge their preconceived notions about their abilities in a positive way to the front stage, where people don’t as readily accept or understand exactly what I am doing now, and it certainly doesn’t translate to immediate, easy accolades like the title “firefighter” does. CK has really helped me feel not just alright, but good about that transition, and that I can (not quite there yet) refer to my firefighting career in the past tense, and present my current reality and future as being the CEO of my company that boosts women’s self-esteem and improves their self-concept and self-confidence.

  • Gina C Huskey

    Christine, yes, thank you! I feel my backstage is my inner flow. Its how folks flow to me and we share gifts of information. My backstage is the ongoing momentum of my inner being and it started really seeping onto my frontstage (comedic clerk) for all to see. I also felt similar rushes of embarrassment before I realized how folks already kinda know my heart (backstage) ever more clearly. It feels like what is going on for me backstage now is an advancing…. upleveling the comedic clerk to the comedic cleric. 🙂 I am excited about your presentation. This is beautiful and feels perfectly part of this initiation party I feel backstage 🙂 and on stage 🙂 <3

  • A. E. Starkey

    Christine, this made me smile. I’m glad I watched the video instead of just reading the article, you’re very funny! Loved the transition to the therapist and back (and great use of the glasses as a prop). Really smooth.

    Because you asked, hm . . . just today I noticed I got really excited when I thought of another idea for a short story, so excited that instead of jotting it down in my notebook I started writing it. I’ll have to pay more attention to when that happens. There are probably some stories I could let go of so others that I’d like more can flourish.

    Thanks for this, very insightful!

  • Kelly

    Fantastic message! I feel like the clouds have parted and now I get it.

  • Lori

    Thank you for helping me build clear systems with your Uplevel programs so when my stages collided I was ready to step up. I am so glad you followed your wise self!

  • Marilyn Kortendick

    Hi Christine~
    You are so absolutely right! It’s been very interesting for me, as I’ve always kind of known what my ‘back stage’ was or is. My calling or the nudges I would often get were there even when I was a teen, which I didn’t really realize until many years later.
    Now in my adult years and for quite some time, I have been listening more closely to my ‘back stages’ whisperings. I’ve slowly but surely been taking those steps towards my Truth, what I’ve known all along, but just getting clearer and clearer on. I laughed when hearing about your car incident, as I also have many spiritual and personal development cd’s, tapes, dvd’s, etc. residing in my car, too! And that doesn’t include the zillions of self-improvement books I’m reading on my night-stand! Very cool way that you presented the importance of really listening to our own inner wisdom! Thank you!

  • Noreen Campbell

    Congratulations, Christine! Your humor and passion come through as always. It is wonderful to know that you support so many in their heart centered businesses and lives. Keep it flowing for this is what we really need. Much love, Nor

  • Wendy Pitts Reeves

    Why is it that this brings tears to my eyes?

    My backstage is crashing into my front stage as we speak.
    My future (wise) self is trying to get through, and I am doing my best to listen.

    It is not an easy thing – but I am in this thing for keeps and I intend to make the journey.

    Thank you, Christine,
    for the wise self you bring
    to the rest of us. 🙂

  • leslie

    Christine, I have been learning from you for years. The lessons you have imparted to me have transformed me. This video was yet another example of delivering a very transforming message — but couched in a funny, personal story. Thank you… Again.

  • paula

    Great video and post Christine,
    When the “real” you comes out you are energized and your message flows easy. I’m guilty of removing the self help, coaching book jackets when I travel. Gawd forbid someone finds out I don’t have all the answers! 🙂 Thanks for making my day!

  • Corinne

    Hi Christine,
    You are so true! When I speak what is in my heart (I think this is the backstage), it is never wrong. It is hard to remove the veils and filters, but there is so much peace when you do.

  • Yolandie van Wyk

    I have been thinking quite a bit the last few months about my ‘calling’. I am currently working for a corporate, and enjoying my work… BUT during a back operation and subsequent 6 weeks on my back last October I realised that I would love the opportunity to talk to people, one-on-one and help them with their broken hearts, wounds, hurts… I would love to show people who they are in Christ… I have been blessed with the ability to SEE more than the person is sharing… I litteraly just have a 6th, 7th and 8th sense… But I have no formal training as a coach. I feel this is a calling from God… I would love to do this fulltime but hom can I charge money for this as I need to be able to help support my family???

    • Andrea

      Hi Yolandie
      That is exactly where I was 3 month ago. I needed change, and since I didn’t consciously create it, the universe just decided it would help me along. My car broke down, I couldn’t repair it, and that was the end of my 7 year career as a nurse.
      And then, one day, I had just got my new and first tarot deck, I asked a friend if I could give him a reading. And then I put an ad online to do free readings and in that time, I worked on creating a website. Well it is up now, and I will see where it goes but if that is what I am supposed to do, it will all work out. I have seen over the past few months, the universe will help you. So don’t give up hope, put your thoughts to it, set goals and it will happen.

  • Chris Pacitti

    Hi Christine,

    I am an older man who is now starting to live one of his most genuine dreams. I am becoming a performing singer in several different styles of music and fronting 2 bands. This has been a dream I’ve had since I was 11 years old and I love performing for people and it’s easy for me because I am a completely outgoing people person. I have had my own communications business and I have been an Employee Of The Year for and previous company that I worked for. Sales was my strong suit and every one seems to think I am a success and they love how positive I am for them and they seem to feel comfortable with me coaching and guiding them just like you do.
    But I want to be a full time performer at this stage of my life and I am hurting financially. I need to create a business that I can sell myself and my music and more. I need your help because even though I am completely positive for others I am very judgmental toward myself. How can I create a new successful business and at the same time emerge and be a worldwide touring performer?

    I am grateful for your time and interest in this matter! I love your “I am solid in my beliefs persona” and I could seriously benefit from your input.

    Warm regards and with the deepest respect,

    Chris Pacitti