As 2014 came to a close and you began to reflect on what you’ve accomplished, how many of you decided that 2015 was going to be YOUR year? It will be the year that you will take more risks, be bolder and face your fears head on.
Maybe you’ve decided to stop second guessing yourself and you will no longer fuel the insecurities that have kept you stuck and or afraid on your journey to living the life you’ve always wanted in the entertainment industry?
Yet, it’s February and that grab-the-bull-by-the-horns attitude sounded great when you wrote your goals on paper back in December, but you have yet to turn those written words into action.
Sound familiar? Well, you’re not alone.
It doesn’t matter what you’re trying to accomplish, the feelings of not being good enough, making a potential mistake, being laughed at, not being taken serious and someone telling you the word no, are fears that are universal. From business to acting to even parenting, who wants to fail?
Here are two things I suggest you work on that can help.
The first one, is the importance of changing the way you view the word, fail. The act of failing holds whatever merit you give it. Just because you personally may not accomplish a goal the first, second or even the third time around, doesn’t make you a failure. So you bombed your audition, you received negative reviews, or your agent dropped you. All of these are just temporary road blocks put in place to build your character. To teach you something so that you can become stronger, so that you grow in your craft and so that you can appreciate the end result all that much more.
The second thing is to realize that those fears you have bottled up that fuel your self doubt are so deep rooted and possibly even traced back to a childhood moment when someone of authority judged you and made you feel like what you were doing was wrong or not safe. So instead of working out the reasoning, you end up locking up that moment of disappointment and assume it will be forgotten over the years.
In acting, to portray a character, you have to be willing to be vulnerable and take chances and throw caution to the wind so that your character can breathe life. Excited for the challenge most people charge at the opportunity until they are faced with the idea that they have to share this moment outside the seclusion of their bedroom, and that critic they locked up long ago and thought they forgot about, surfaces to tell them that they need to be careful. That people are going to be staring at them and judging them. So instead of embracing the moment they hold back for fear that they might end up looking silly and amateurish. So most either end up playing it safe and risk blending in with everyone else that came to audition, or they come up with an excuse so that they don’t have to follow through, and kick themselves later.
I can tell you this, the fears in our head are always louder than in real life. Each of us has apprehensions of the unknown. Don’t let those fears be your creative crutch. Instead, allow those fears to be the fuel that will push you beyond your comfort zone, because it is there that you will unlock those golden moments.
What if instead of closing up when an uncomfortable moment creeps up on you, you choose to let go, embrace the vulnerable feelings and allow it to paint the scene and just see where it goes. Commit to the choices you feel in those seconds and stop worrying if others are going to like it and just take a leap of trust that you are enough.
So to conquer your fears this year, instead of shying away from what you feel insecure about, face it head on. As an actor, you should be exposed to all facets of acting. If improv isn’t your strong point, you should jump in. I’m sure you’ll soon begin to realize that after the first class, your perception was totally off. The more you begin to do this with everything in your life; you’ll start to see your life in a whole new way. You’ll begin to make connections with people and places in a way you never thought possible. You’ll hopefully begin to embrace change of the unknown as a chance to keep sharpening your tool and grow as an actor and more important, as a person.
In the Godfather DVD Commentary, Frances Ford Coppola said: “Remember that those times when you feel that your ideas aren’t good enough, or people are putting down on your ideas, or you’re getting fired — that these are the same ideas that you’re going to be celebrated for 30 years later. You almost have to have courage.
From this moment forward remember to:
(1) Focus on the things you do right so that you can emphasize them in future auditions.
(2) Don’t put off or procrastinate the things you fear. The longer you take to act, the more time you have to talk yourself out of something. Don’t be your own roadblock.
(3) Remember to act confident and you will become confident. Success starts with your attitude far before anyone knows your name.
(4) Don’t seek perfection, there’s no such thing. Instead seek the desire to know that you are giving your all to every opportunity you are given, so that when you walk away you can hold your head up high instead of having regrets of what you should have done.
(5) Don’t compare yourself to others; we each have our own journey, so embrace yours.
What are you doing to face your fears this year? I’d love to hear from you.