I bet you have someone in your life who always looks for the negatives in most situations? Me too. In fact, the last time we got together for dinner and a movie, he complained that we wouldn’t find a good parking spot, would probably encounter slow service at the restaurant and be late for the movie. When I asked him why he was being so negative, he said. “I’m not negative, I’m just a realist.” Really? Is it being a realist to only see the negative and leave out the possibility that there’s a 50% chance of things going in a positive direction? The reality is that you don’t know what could happen. It is more accurate to say that life entails a great amount of uncertainty.
Are you leaving out the most important thing on your list?
As the year draws to an end, you might find yourself busy making lists: lists of gifts to buy, goals to meet, and extra pounds to lose. But the most important thing you’ll need to turn those lists into reality might just be missing—the right mindset. Having the right mindset will help you not only meet daily challenges, but also any obstacles that emerge along the way. If you haven’t given this much thought, you are cheating yourself out of a powerful head start.
First, take an honest look at your mindset during 2015. Did you meet each day with a wow or a whine? You have the power to make a radical change in 2016, one that will not only help you to achieve your goals, but also allow you to enjoy the journey along the way. There is an old proverb that illustrates this point beautifully: instead of focusing on lining one’s path with leather, line the bottom of your feet with leather, so that no matter where life takes you, you will be resilient.read more
It is Monday afternoon and your phone vibrates with a text from your agent – you’ve got an audition for a national commercial tomorrow morning. As you download the sides to start preparing, you’re starting to feel excited. Tuesday morning arrives and you get up early, run the lines a bit more and start getting ready for the audition. You arrive early, feeling prepared and eager to perform. It goes great, you nailed it and you feel on top of the world. Tuesday evening you find yourself glancing at your phone hoping to see a text informing you of a callback. You feel half present as you wait. The evening arrives and it finally comes – a callback! Your mood is elevated. Everything feels all right in the world. Things are looking up again. Wednesday, you feel positive as you walk into the door for your callback. Again, it goes great. You were in the zone. This part has your name written all over it. You drive away dreaming about being on set, getting the opportunity to do what you love. That evening, a text from your agents – they put you on hold. You knew it!! It just felt right. You start re-arranging your schedule to be available for the shoot. Thursday goes by without any word from your agent. read more
How you manage your fear has a direct effect on the quality of your life. If you spend lots of time worrying about future events, that may or may not happen and are out of your control, you’re creating unnecessary anxiety. An actor’s life is already filled with uncertainty, you don’t need to make it worse by dwelling on it. Trying to control the uncontrollable is a waste of time and can set you off into an emotional downward spiral. Instead, get really clear on what fear is, how it can help or hurt you. Start taking control over what really matters—yourself!
The best protection against feeling like a failure is not success. Actors must work hard at developing their own sense of integrity and self-acceptance in order to keep the monster of external validation under control. They are susceptible to equating their self-worth with fame, good reviews, and the amount of jobs they book. Does this sound familiar? If it does, then you are setting the stage for low self-esteem to creep in and wreak havoc on your confidence and well-being. It’s not enough to have professional discipline and show up prepared and ready to work. The greatest predictor of success will be your resilience, how you handle the inevitable ups and downs of your career. You cannot let your self-confidence waiver when things don’t go your way. Sometimes even when you give it your all, you don’t get the results you would like. It feels unfair. Yes, life is unfair and you don’t always get what you deserve. But, you certainly don’t deserve to go down the road of self-deprecation. Instead, learn how to navigate the not so good stuff. In fact learning how to master the disappointments in life will help you feel less like a victim and more like the strong wise person you are capable of being.
Actors are very familiar with the feeling of hurt that comes from being rejected. They deal with it on a daily basis. Unfortunately, the pain of being rejected doesn’t fade with fame or success. When someone says, “No, you’re not right for the part,” it never feels good, even if you’re Meryl Streep. Knowing that rejection is the nature of the acting profession, actors must learn how to deal with it in order to stay resilient and survive. In addition to career survival, it is important for your physical and mental survival as well. There is evidence that rejection not only has a negative effect on your mental state, but on your physical state as well. fMRIs’ (brain scans) show that the same areas of the brain becomes activated when we experience rejection as when we experience physical pain. In fact, a current research study showed that when people were given Tylenol before asking them to recall a painful rejection experience, those taking the Tylenol felt less emotional pain than those people given sugar pills. Knowing the strong impact that rejection has on the body and mind, it is imperative that actors deal with it in a positive, productive way in order not to put their physical and mental health at risk.read more
Are you capable of deep listening?
As actors, listening is key to being in the moment and reacting authentically while performing. Actors who are skilled listeners deliver exciting, alive performances. But, this essential quality may be difficult to access when you are caught up in the chatter of your own thoughts. When your mind is filled with worry about the future, fretting about the past or overanalyzing the present, you are not available to take in what’s happening in the present moment. Getting caught up in the stories you are telling yourself does not allow you to deal with reality accurately. If acting is reacting, exactly whom are you reacting to; yourself or your fellow actor? You’re getting cheated out of a great acting experience if you can’t listen deeply. And, you’re also cheating the audience. We are not built to connect to fakers. To connect to each other, we need the real deal to get our emotions stirred up.read more
Throw Away Your Scripts!
Are you living your life based on someone else’s script, or are you living your life with NO script? It’s hard to follow your passion when you pay more attention to what you should be doing rather than what you want to be doing. If the opinions of others are more important than your own, you will end up living someone else’s life. Choosing a career as an actor elicits lots of opinions from family and friends. They might think they’re doing you a huge favor by discouraging you from going into a profession that has a 1% success rate. Actors must find a way to courageously walk their own path. When people challenge your decisions, remember you are not obligated to do what everyone else is doing.
You’ve got to do what’s right for you, even if some people disagree.read more
YOU HAVE WHAT YOU NEED
When New York Times Theatre Critic, Charles Isherwood critiques an actor’s performance and says, ”Less would have been more,” that has to hurt. But if you can get past the pain of hearing those words and explore the cause of “overdoing” a performance, it’s rich with wisdom. At the root of overdoing anything is the universal feeling of “not being good enough just as you are.” In fact, it’s your belief that you are not handsome, pretty, skinny, smart, rich, talented enough that will cause you more suffering than any words a critic may write about you. Your negative self-beliefs not only get in the way of becoming a successful actor, they impede your ability to achieve happiness in every area of your life.read more
Feeding The Right Wolf
Wouldn’t it be nice if every time you went on an audition, a welcoming committee was waiting to greet you with a nice beverage, a warm smile, and a kind word or two? Sometimes, it’s the little things that can make a big difference in how you feel about what you’re going through. Life feels easier when you have a team behind you, cheering you on, and catching you when you fall down.
That team is called a “family.” But, some people don’t have the kind of support they need as they go through life. That makes life feel harder
As hard as you try, you can’t have a better past. But you can create a better “present.” The present moment is filled with choices. Stay stuck in the past or start getting busy making your present better. Here are 6 things that you can start to do right now to ease your way in the world: