One of the people who commented on my 1st article on HEALTHY COMPETITION brought this matter to the table: How about healthy competition with yourself? A great question that ties to the title of this week’s article. Can you answer my question? I can’t.
Yes, I am my best friend most of the time. I am positive and I’m normally smiling. I wake up and look forward to my days even though rejection is 99.999999% of my job. I’ve learned to cope with it and give it less and less importance every time but, once in a while, the day comes. I call it: JURASSIC PARK.
I have no counsel and everyone around me is of no help! My poor mum has to be on the phone listening to me making a huge deal about not getting that audition that was perfect for me. Yes, they were searching for a breakdown that described me, plus they said the character would wear a red dress and I own a red dress!! So unfair. And then I will go on to say how my life is horrible and it doesn’t work and an hour later I don’t know how I got to absolutely hate myself.
Familiar? I hope so. (If not just leave your doctor’s recommendation in the comments).
1. Know when it’s coming.
This metaphor took me a while: Think of your bad thoughts as a TYRANOSAURUS REX, they are blocking you from moving. You fear the attack at any move and they are hunting you after every move. But in order to not find yourself in that position you have to learn to see the signs. That vibrating jelly is the signal that it is coming. Learn to watch yourself for a minute every day and watch for your personal signals.
Prepare and be your own best friend those days.
2. Let yourself have bad times.
I am a strong person so it is really awkward for me to have down moments. I’ve learned to allow myself to have a night when you put a bun in your hair, cuddle under a blanket with your favorite jar of Nutella and watch MULAN for the 10,000 time.
It is exhausting to have to be happy all the time. You are not the only person that has doubts, expectations, deceptions, etc. I can assure you that. The difference resides on how each of us deals with them.
Some people cope with it by posting positive phrases on FACEBOOK every 25 minutes. (I don’t buy it). So don’t sit there scrolling down your feed thinking how marvelous everybody’s life is and how yours sucks.
3. Surround yourself with positive people.
When you are in your dark days I know you just want to hide under your bed until everything gets better. Reality is that when you get to peek out everything is still the same. So yes, hide. But then you’ll have to eventually emerge and push yourself to interact with positive people around you.
BE CAREFUL with energy stealers! (AKA Velociraptors.) They are always there. They are waiting for your down times (not to help you but to feel better about themselves) and if you surround yourself with them you’ll end up making your obstacles much worse than they really are. It is still really hard for me to detect them, but when I do, I give our relationship some space and get my power back. Then I can’t be affected by their “negative karma’.
You want people around you who are encouraging of who you ARE, who are happy for your successes, who share positive things with you and someone you feel comfortable talking to. Perhaps compose a list of people in your life that are WONDERWALLS for you!
4. Set smaller goals and bigger ones.
Lets set the cards on the table: Saying you want to make a living as an actor is like saying you want to prove that you can fly. So being new in acting and setting ‘GETTING AN OSCAR’ as your goal is going to make you really unhappy.
I propose setting up smaller goals and writing them down: goals for this week/ goals for the month/ goals for the year
5. Cherish your small successes.
Every small step you take deserves a celebration. Has it ever happened to you that you go to the gym and put 5 lbs more weight on a machine and feel like THE ROCK when leaving the gym? Well that is how you have to feel after every step you take in your career.
You get new headshots? You create a reel? You create an actors access account? You submit for 10 auditions? You get an audition? You get a call back? YOU GET A ROLE? Every step that gets you closer to your goal or dream is something to feel proud of.
You can’t measure your success by the roles you would want to get and that are RIGHT NOW out of your league. Be objective when thinking what/who is reasonably within your reach to further your career and go for it. Then, eventually, after pushing your present limits, you will have new limits. Like levels in a video game!
6. You’ve come a long way.
I had this thought for a long time ‘ Why didn’t I start acting earlier?’ I assumed that I would be successful and working all the time and bla-bla-bla. But I recently realized that there is only one reason: I WASN’T READY. I was an idiot with other preferences in life and still discovering who I was and what I wanted, while now I know I am ready. If I had been hired back then I wouldn’t have made a favorable impression so I am glad that the opportunities are arriving at my door now.
With this I am trying to say shake the hand of my past. It is there and I am no longer the person I was then. For some time I would look back to decisions I made, things I said, opportunities I lost and feel a shiver of discomfort rise up my spine. These days, when I get this shiver I start cracking up. LAUGH AT YOURSELF! All the time.
To truly laugh, you must be able to take your pain, and play with it.
Charlie Chaplin (If you don’t know who he is, just stop reading.)
7. Be a better diagnoser
We tend to be destructive when talking about ourselves and analyzing our problems: ‘I’m sad. I’m a fool. I’m a fraud. I’m horrible.’
These are not actual problems so they don’t have ATTAINABLE solutions. Try to sit down and analyze what is the source of the problem and be constructive.
You’re not A SAD PERSON: You may just be feeling lonely, too consumed in your work, tired of your daily dynamic.
You’re not DISGUSTING, more likely insecure, a natural emotion in this demanding business we have chosen.
You’re not a FRAUD or STUPID: You may be innocent or romantic, both desirable traits that expose us to our own vulnerabilities.
You’re not an ANGRY person: You may occasionally act in an immature way or may be dealing with unresolved issues.
So don’t generalize, be specific and work on the real issues. That’s where you have to start.
8. You can be whoever you want to be.
If after all these steps there is still something bothering you, a thing you legitimately don’t like about yourself, change it! Every day is a new page to write. You are not committed to what others think you are or you assume you are. It is scary to pursue something that was never yours, yet somehow always has been in your head. But that, my friends, is the only way of becoming the person you picture yourself to be.
Thanks for reading my latest article for Ms. In the Biz!!