I have to admit, fall is my favorite time of the year. Perhaps it has a lot to do with the five year old in me who still holds onto the magic of the season. However the older I’ve become and the more responsibilities I’ve taken on; motherhood being the most important of them all, I find myself letting January through October rush past me in a blur.
This November I decided to slow down and take on a gratitude project. Just a little something that allows me to photograph anything that inspires me everyday and on the 30th day I will compile these photos into a book so that I can reflect on how lucky I am.
At the start of this project it was easy. However on day four I began to realize that I couldn’t have a book with 30 photographs of just my kids, so I started to dig deeper. I began to see that although there are many things I have to be grateful for, there are also a lot of things I need to work on. Where I currently am is a direct reflection of my past choices and I need to digest this reality, own it and not blame my outside circumstances for not advancing in my life and career. I don’t often take on New Years resolutions because I tend to fail by week two; probably because in the past my resolutions were always vanity driven. This upcoming year, I’ve decided to make it more about my mindset and belief system so that I can manifest the life I want by embracing who I am, by realizing there are no mistakes as long as you’ve learned from them and to be open to change. Also to get on board of getting rid of any excess stinkin’ thinkin’ as Zig Ziglar would say.
Contrary to popular beliefs, I’ve come to realize that it’s not about where you grow up, what drama school you went to, how many connections you have in Hollywood, how long you’ve been an actor or who your agent is that will define how far you will grow in this industry. Yes, all those things do contribute but they are not what ultimately defines your ability to reach a certain level of success; you are.
The most important thing you can change to help propel you to the next tier (aside from skill) is your mindset, your attitude, your determination and your laser focus on your why statement.
I’m sure you’ve read stories about people who are exposed to extreme adversity and came out on top. They are the ones who grew up in unfortunate surroundings where all odds were stacked up against them. Yet there are those few who refuse to let their external circumstances define their character. They refuse to let their missed opportunities decide their fate. They continue to believe that they control what happens next, not the actions that took place against them or the opinions of others. These individuals are the ones who end up creating something that will change the world, that will inspire others in a positive light or perhaps they become multi-millionaires in the process. You read these stories and wonder, how?
So what makes them different?
What’s the secret to their success?
It was their mindset.
Those who can learn the laws of their mind can forge their own success and destiny. Reading every acting book and taking classes with the best instructors will give you knowledge, which is vital to booking roles. However it’s your work ethic and your belief about your personal success that will largely determine whether or not you will ever become successful. You can ask anyone if they want to be successful and I’m sure they will all say yes. However once the honeymoon stage (deciding to become an actor) wears off and the reality sets in that you actually have to work for this success, people give up. They chose to blame their agent, their headshot photographer, their ethnicity, their skimpy resume, their robust resume, the fact that they are SAG, the fact that they are non-union. You get the picture. Some people make up excuses rather than take personal responsibility. I’m not implying that those who reach a desired tier jump don’t ever think negatively. I’m just saying that if you choose to blame others for where you’re not at this point in your career, is not only counterproductive but it’s a waste of energy. Remember that what you think about and what you thank about is what you bring about.
The human mind can accomplish whatever it believes. To be a successful actor, you have to believe and behave as one. Not after you’ve gained notoriety. Not after you’ve booked twenty national commercials. Not after you have top agents seeking you out. The moment you decide to create a career as a professional actor is the moment you need to start believing and acting as if you already are. Having a positive mindset is not only the first step, but also the most important.
Out of every one hundred actors who flock to Hollywood to pursue their dreams, only a handful will make it. There are so many reasons: no business skills, no real dedication, unrealistic expectations, not enough funds, it wasn’t their dream, a horrible case of self-doubt and so on. Everyone has the capability to be successful, to learn new skills, to gain the necessary knowledge or to get on-set experience; yet people still fail. Not because they are not talented, but because of their lack in personal belief that they are and have always been capable of success and a weak why statement. When someone or something makes them feel inadequate they grow a belief that success is impossible. Your eventual level of success will be a direct product of how you think.
As someone who chose a creative career path, you will always be looked upon as bold, crazy, daring, needing to come to your senses. Someone will always have an opinion of what you should be doing. You will be told that something cannot be done, or worse, that you personally cannot do it. To fulfill your dreams takes guts. It takes determination, it takes being able to be who you authentically are and not take criticism so personally that you would give someone power over you to steal your joy. It’s having an unwavering commitment to a goal, to a dream and to a vision that cannot be shaken by negativity, by ignorance, by the uneducated, by the misinformed or by the rude comments of others.
I once read a quote that said, “Ninety-nine percent of failures in life are from people who have a habit of making excuses. Success in any life endeavor comes to those who see the possibilities where others see difficulties because they are willing to adjust their thinking.” Be the person who is constantly willing to adjust.
Earlier this year my husband and I started a real estate investment company. We invested money into mentors who could teach us and who were at a level we want to be at. Before the mentors began working with us, they had us fill out some paperwork. As I began to read them over, one in particular caught my attention. Regardless of what business you choose to get involved in, having a strong grasp on your why statement is crucial to anyone’s success. If you’ve never had an opportunity to define your why statement I suggest you should; especially going into the New Year.
Here is a link to the 7 Levels Deep Exercise they had my husband fill out. It will talk about being a Real Estate Investor, but all you have to do is substitute the wording for: actor, director, writer or whatever you’re trying to pursue. Remember if your final why statement doesn’t move you to tears, then you need to start over and go deeper. If you can’t be brutally honest with why you’re willing to sacrifice and endure the 3, 5, 8 or 10+ years it might take you to reach your definition of success, then it will become easy to give up. When everything seems to be moving at a snails pace, your why statement should give you the motivation to keep going. Your why will take you the distance, so make sure it’s personal and it packs a punch.
At the end of the day we all understand that success is never handed to you. You have to work smart, get creative, be willing to step outside your comfort zone, you take action, you challenge your old beliefs and you risk failure because you understand that this path is what you were meant to do and it’s not a matter of if you will succeed, but when.