In my last post I began to discuss mistakes and fear. Mainly fear of making mistakes! However it’s inevitable you’re going to make them, so fear not. However there are some mistakes that you can easily avoid that will make a HUGE difference in speeding up the path to your dreams and goals as an actor. So whoop, there they are:
MISTAKE 1: CONFUSING HOPE FOR GOALS
We all have hopes for our career, deep desires for our future life, and what we yearn to see happen. It feels good to dream and imagine. But sometimes we let the good feeling that comes from expressing our hopes get in the way of working to see them realized. Very typical of artists.
This happens two ways:
- We don’t know the difference between a hope and a goal. A goal has a certain kind of anatomy that gives hope structure. We’re too often satisfied by the feeling we have and think our hope is strong enough to stand on its own. But it’s not. I mean I love good feelings and preach a lot about finding that satisfying place, however it’s the specific features of well constructed goals that enable our hopes to come to life. It’s the ACTion part of the formula for success.
- We’re not disciplined enough to either do the work of constructing good goals in the first place or to see them through. We let the hope suffice for now, resigned to the frustration we’ll feel later. I can’t imagine ever doing that anymore. My hopes are too important for that. I’ll bet yours are too.
MISTAKE 2: NOT CONNECTING TO “THE WHY”
The real issue here is that we are not consistently connected to our “why” which is the biggest cause of a gap between our choices today and our results tomorrow. One thing research has taught us is that stagnation and very few results happens mainly because we don’t connect to our future selves. If we have a desire for our career but don’t see our future self as the product of the choices we’re making right now then it’s easier to put off the marketing efforts, open call audition, (insert yours here), till tomorrow or skip it entirely.
When we can connect to our “why”, we can see the connection between our future reality and our present decisions. That means it is vital to establish goals where we have a strong emotional connection to the outcome. We have to connect our ACTions today to the payoff tomorrow.
MISTAKE 3: BELIEVING THE NEGATIVE LABELS
You’ve heard the statistics: Most people who set a New Year’s resolution blow it year after year (me included by the way, which is why I’ve stopped that nonsense!) There are lots of negative consequences to this yearly disappointment but one is setting up the rest of the year based on failure, which then dampens our sense of what’s possible.
The more we fail, the easier it is to label ourselves as someone who can’t win. Just as bad, we sometimes let others do that job for us. But don’t believe it. We all have hardships, setbacks, and challenges. We all have things that didn’t go so well in the past. So here’s the reality…
Negative labels are just an interpretation of the past. You’re free to interpret the past differently at any time you choose. You’re also free to see it as one chapter, not the entire story. As far as I know, the only person who can’t win at the acting game is the one who lets these negative labels determine their present, which in turn, predicts the future. It’s that “rat on a wheel” and “stuck in a rut” space. Many actors are all too familiar with this.
MISTAKE 4: LETTING OTHER THINGS TAKE PRIORITY
This has always been a tough one for me because I want to do soooo many things in life and many of my creative coaching clients face the same situation. However if being a sought after, highly paid actor is one of your goals, you’ll need to make this particular goal a priority.
But just because you declare it a priority doesn’t mean it IS one or your only one. The next mistake we make is not recognizing our unspoken priorities. We have many things competing for our attention and time and some of these are extremely important. If we don’t get clear about these, and a myriad of other daily details and where they fit, it’s almost certain we will sabotage our attempts to achieve our dreams. “Life” gets in the way.
This is doubly true for one of my least favorite priority distractions— procrastination, which is just a competing time claim that has no real or inherent value. It makes sense to organize our efforts around a regular date night, but not Candy Crush, which in late night hours I have been guilty of playing, losing sleep, and thus causing a back log of attaining my goals the following day! But now I get back on track quickly. My priorities, and realizing I’m not perfect but committed, is the key!
MISTAKE 5: NOT BELIEVING IN YOURSELF
Here’s the one I think is probably the most important. We tend to experience what we expect. If we expect to fail, or even have this lingering doubt, we’ll likely fail. If we expect to win, we’ll likely win. Why? I’m sure you’ve heard the term “self-fulfilling prophecy.” The idea is that our predictions and expectations direct our actions, even if we’re not aware of it.
Someone who thinks they can’t achieve a goal, or that it’s super hard to achieve, is the kind of person who will give up more quickly. And at the same time, someone who believes they can achieve a thing they’ve set their mind to is more likely to see opportunities where others don’t, more likely to work a little harder when it counts, and more likely to persevere when others quit.
There’s no guarantee you’ll accomplish everything you desire, but there are several things you can do to dramatically improve your odds. This includes taking the right steps, but it also includes avoiding the bad ones.
So there you have it. I am convinced you can shortcut a lot of time and trouble by avoiding these top five mistakes!
Please let me know your thoughts in the comment section below. Thanks!