Sydnie L. Mosley has a nickname. It doesn’t exactly have to do with her work as the Artistic Director of SLM Dances in NYC, but it has everything to do with why she’s so revered for what she does. Some of her co-workers call her Sydnie “for the people” L. Mosley because she answers every question with, “Where are the people?”
A dance performance is about the exchange between the performers and an audience. Take either away and you’re left with bored people in a room or the makings of a Billy Idol song.* Our work, no matter what field we’re in, is no different. There’s the work we do and the people we do it for.
Asking, “Where are the people” forces us to recalibrate why we are doing whatever we are doing in the audience’s/client’s/user’s perspective. Our work is received via their experience. If we keep reminding ourselves about how everything is making them feel, think, and connect, we’ll do just fine.
If you’re going to have a nickname, it might as well be “for the people.” Our work is for our people. They’re the ones who validate our value. Without them, we’ve got nothing.
Want more? Listen to Moseley’s full interview with Jerry Colonna on the Reboot Podcast. See also this post on a similar idea from Bruce Springsteen, “Be The Artist And The Audience.”
* “Dancing With Myself,” obviously.