I know what you’re probably thinking, “Is this lady crazy? I can’t just sit here and do nothing. It’s January for crying out loud. It’s not only a New Year, its pilot season! That means new opportunities, new roles to book and new headshots to take. Sitting still and doing nothing is not going to get me closer to co-staring with ______.”
Look I get it. I’m a multitasking super woman too, and the thought of not juggling multiple projects at one time and being able to cross items off my to-do list gives me a silent anxiety attack. Whether you’re out there currently auditioning for upcoming pilots or you’re new to the hustle and you’re hoping one day you will be, everyone can benefit from the following suggestion, myself included.
It’s not about being lazy or just zoning out and neglecting responsibilities.
It’s about taking a moment to just breathe while you step back from the hustle so you can renew your spirit, mind and purpose.
January is the ideal time to take stock of 2014 and hone in on what worked and more importantly, what didn’t work.
I’m not saying to veg out for the entire month of January. I’m asking you to try and carve out some time this month to just sit still for a minute and focus. Take stock of what you are going to do to grow as an individual and as an artist this year. So many actors are busy at being busy, but never really get anywhere and then complain that they just can’t catch a break. Are you willing to be honest with yourself and list your strong points, your weak points and what you need to do differently? Remember, you can’t improve what you don’t acknowledge.
Here are three simple tips that hopefully will help you hone in on what is most important at this point in your journey and suggestions on how to get there
Tip #1: Methodically Choose What You’re Going to Focus On
Our thoughts are ridiculously powerful. I would go out on a limb to say they hold more weight than our words and our words can sting or can bring immense happiness to ourselves and to others. Our thoughts consciously and unconsciously dictate how we receive information and how we react to it. A simple shift in our thinking can change our entire course. How we are perceived not only in this industry, but in life in general has everything to do with our attitude and our actions and those two important factors are motivated by our thoughts. Do you see the pattern here?
This year, decide that you’re not going to let negativity rule you or stop you from doing what makes you the happiest. You don’t need someone to tell you that you’re a talented artist to believe that you are. Sure, we all love praises, but true validation of our worth come from within. Life Coach and Author, Tony Robbins once said, “Where your focus goes, energy flows.” I love that quote because it’s so true. Choose to focus on negative criticism a reviewer, an acting coach, a friend or even a family member gave your previous performance and that will become your crutch. Don’t give anyone that much power of your own self-worth.
This year, decide in your mind and in every atom in your body that you are AMAZING, TALENTED, and WORTHY of being on that stage, in front of that camera, or in that audition room or wherever else your talent lies, you DESERVE to be there. What separates you from those who have a successful career in acting isn’t talent, because that can be learned. It isn’t representation, because that can be obtained.
It’s the attitude of gratitude.
Just by being here in Los Angeles being able to pursue your dreams is huge. Thousands will never get an opportunity to be in your shoes, experience what you get to see or be mentored by the professionals you will meet. You have so much to be grateful for, and none of it has anything to do with the amount of money in your bank account or the roles you’ll book. But everything to do with your attitude, your mind, your body, your heart, your spirit, your health and your thoughts, should I go on?
Focus on the good, even in the storm and only good will continue to grace you.
Tip #2: Find Purpose in What All This Means
I was lucky to befriend a girl last year I met on set, which regretfully, I’ve since lost contact with. As I began to learn her story I realized every odd was stacked against her. Abandoned as an infant, foster family to horrible foster family, she never grew up with anyone supporting her emotional wellbeing, yet in the midst of all the negativity, she chose to fight for what she KNEW she deserved. She fought for happiness. She picked up a motivational book by Wayne Dyer called “The Power of Intention” and that completely changed her thinking, her heart and ultimately, her life. Instead of letting the negative energy chip away at her soul, she chose to let those moments be her greatest teacher.
Everyone actor out there needs to have a purpose that goes deeper than just wanting to act, wanting to perform in movies, wanting to do commercials. Your purpose becomes your beacon so when the turbulence of this industry tries to chip at your self-confidence, you may flinch, but you never lose hope or direction.
The quality of our life has everything to do with the meaning we give stuff. Are you that person who is going to dwell on all those missed opportunities, are you going to stew in the fact that one acting coach, agent or manager told you that maybe acting isn’t for you? Do you look at misfortunes as a silent blessing that perhaps that wasn’t your door because the universe is setting you up for something greater or do you look at it as it’s just your luck because nothing ever works in your favor?
Every time a door does not open for you instead of getting angry, try gratitude. Even misfortunes that occur in my life, after the initial shock, I take time to find the lesson. What was my part in all this and what can I do differently. This is how you grow, it’s how you become more aware and it’s how you learn not to sweat the small stuff.
Tip #3: Figure out What to Do Next
You ever hear about those people who escape tragedy by being in the wrong place at the right time? Like the family who misses getting hit by a car by just inches or a person missing their plane by 60 second only to learn tragedy occurred and so on. These moments change people. Some will shake it off and go on with their life as if nothing happened and others will stop and reflect on what it means to them and will look at it as a gift to have another chance to make a difference. If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m one of those people. None of us have to have tragedy or near death experiences as a wake-up call in order for us to change our lives.
If you’re willing to be present in every moment in your life, you will be surprised at how much you can learn. Your life can take on whatever meaning you want to give it. We’ve all read that quote by Gandhi, “Change Your Thoughts, and Change Your Life”, it’s true. Just a small tweak in someone’s thinking can literally alter an entire direction. Being stuck is a state of mind, not a true validation of your situation.
Change isn’t difficult. The thought of getting ready to change is what stops people.
If you feel like you’ve gone in circles with your career since last year, now is a great time to figure out the patterns that have kept you stuck so that you can make positive progress for the next 11 months of 2015. Most of us aren’t even aware of the things we do that hurt us more so than help us. The actions you take today are powerfully shaped by the emotional state you are currently in, so be mindful of your thoughts. Plus the actions you put into play today will pay off by the successes you will enjoy in the future.
In my opinion, always operate from a state of gratitude and give thanks for the success, love, happiness, opportunity, peace, joy and financial freedom that are ALWAYS in your court.
May 2015 be the year for your biggest, wildest and most exciting opportunities yet to come.