Do you have T.A.C.T.?


One of my biggest pet peeves is someone being deliberately mean or cruel, especially to someone who is only doing their job and/or is too intimidated to speak up for fear of causing a scene/looking unprofessional. I get so fired up, when people use their power and/or position to create fear or cause tension in the name of ego; mainly theirs. Being nice doesn’t mean you should be a doormat but it’s also important to remember: yes, there is only one you, but when you are in any professional situation, especially the entertainment industry, there is always someone bigger better and sometimes, in a very high level position. And even if you are right, they have the final say. I know what you’re thinking, “So, is it possible to be kind, professional and assertive?” Of course it is!

Most of us grew up hearing things like, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it!”, “Be the bigger person!” or “Kill them with kindness!” I remember my parents & teachers saying things like this when I was a child, yet, all of these years later, it is something that I find myself thinking and saying on the regular! Sometimes, is it to remind myself that kindness is the better option than gossip and/or reacting based off of emotion and other times, it’s a thought when I hear people talking poorly about someone or even themselves! But- that does NOT mean, if someone is being cray cray and yelling in your face, you should just take it and “let it roll off”! You are a human being too and while I don’t suggest reacting the way you would in an acting class or during a scene on set, (Hiyah!), there is a way to roll with the punches, be objective and still stand your ground. I like to refer to it as: T.A.C.T.

T: Take a breath, or 1,000. I would bet that, you all have been taught in a class setting, whether it be yoga or any good acting class, how crucial breath and breathing is. It’s the same with a heated situation. Take however many deep, in through the nose, out through the mouth breaths that you need, to get your mind off of the subjective or emotional feelings and thoughts. This way, you are able to see the situation clearly and without the cloudiness of, seeing red and wanting to punch people in the throat. Breathing through the drama is much better than being a bigger part of it; regardless of wanting/meaning to be in the first place.

A: Attitude and Approach are everything-Always think before you speak! I am so guilty of rattling off at the mouth- you should have met me in high school! Yikes. It was because of my mouth, my crappy attitude and instant, subjective reactions in my adolescent years, that led me to getting my ass handed to me by coaches, teachers, employers and pretty much everyone, time and time again. So, after much therapy and self-discovery, later in life, I was actually able to take an outside look at my tone, approach, attitude and myself in general. I realized very quickly that what I was putting out there, is what I was getting in return. That’s not to say, that when I was in a situation where someone was belittling me, or just being rude, that it was because of something I was doing. I am just pointing out that when I “gave in” by maintaining a positive attitude and approached the situation in a calm, level headed way, my typical need/want to argue, just to prove a point, was null and void. It was pretty miraculous.

C: Confidence, courage and collaboration. Being confident, having the courage to put yourself out there, knowing you might be “wrong” or even fail, and being able to collaborate, yes, even if you don’t “like” who you are working with or for, is an absolute MUST in this industry! In my opinion, these 3 words are often mistaken for, arrogance, pushing the envelope way too far and me, me, me. And that’s fine; if you plan on having a very short lived “career” or not having one at all. For those of us who are here for the long haul, this is NOT the option we have chosen. Again, sometimes, we will not necessarily like or agree with a particular person or situation. But, until we are being hired by Sony to make these decisions, or have the mula to make the executive decision to put ourselves and only people we like, in the driver’s seat, being confident, courageous and collaborative with others is a skill I suggest you start to adopt. Playing well with others is key, so just do it!

T: Turn the negatives, into positives and learn from them! This is a skill all in itself- thanks Dallas! After a not so ideal situation is over and you are in a place to revisit this in order to learn from it, take some time and write down the negatives on one side, draw a line in the middle and write the positives directly across. I.E. Negative: “The crew on this set were always so cold and rude to the cast.” Positive: “I can only imagine how hard the crew had to work and how much was probably going on behind the scenes, that we weren’t aware of.” The most helpful thing that I found in doing this was that I was reminded about a little thing called, empathy. By putting myself in their shoes, frame of mind or position, I was able to find empathy, no matter how crappy the situation was. I could release the angry feelings I had and move forward, once and for all! Because, after all, if you aren’t moving forward, you aren’t moving at all.

“Work hard, be kind & amazing things will happen.” -Conan O’Brien