Creating New Industry Relationships – a “How To” Guide

You’ve got to meet, listen to, work with, and hang out with people at the next level and you will get to the next level.  No exceptions.

When I first started out I did background work like a lot of actors do.  I spent my days on set counting the hours until lunch and reading magazines.  Sometimes I’d be upset when getting called to the set. I was in the middle of something important…like a card game with another actor.

Yes, you read that correctly. I didn’t pay attention to the crew and learn their names, but I sure knew I’d like to be in the union and get the better food and more money. Oh yeah, and I thought that if I looked really sweet at the director he might give me a line. I was such a novice back then and I really needed someone to tell me what to do to have my career work out.  Now I’m the one that does that for a living.  Full circle, right?  And that’s why I do this…to pass on what I’ve learned the hard way through lots and lots of experience so it doesn’t have to be as hard for you my friend.  Read on please…

Actors who’ve created an enviable career have a knack for understanding how to make every experience a small step on the ladder to where they want to go. (Goal) They observe others, pay attention and they can undoubtedly share a lot of lessons they’ve learned along the way (many of which they probably learned the hard way too). 

So here’s are a question to ask yourself if you intend to expand your network of influence by forming some new stellar relationships in service of the forward progress of your career:

1. How many casting directors know your work?

You know the old saying “It’s who you know” that will help you get ahead in this biz?  It’s actually our tag line at Actors Connection. Well honestly, I think that’s only half true. 

My take on it is “it’s who knows you”.

For every agent meeting you take, you will be asked, “How many casting directors know your work?”  Before you interview, my recommendation is that you have at least a list of 10 or don’t go! And when you have an agent, they will want you to continue to grow your list on your own in addition to the auditions they send you on.

So how do you create a network of influential people like those top casting directors that know you, like your acting work and are in your court?  

Let’s look at 5 ways to do just that:

  1. Mail or email your headshot and resume to the 20 top casting directors in your area of focus every quarter, without fail, letting them know that you’re available and what else is going on in your career. Ex. new class, skill acquired, call back or booking.
  2. Identify which CD’s you’d like to show your talent to in person and book a meeting with them at a casting director workshop establishment like Actors Connection in New York or Ace Studios in Los Angeles.  If you’re not in either of those two cities, check for local opportunities or submit a reel for critique on ActorsInsite.com.
  3. Attend a networking party, brunch, assistant’s night, screening or other event where casting directors and other industry professionals will be in attendance. Introduce yourself as an actor and be interested in them and what they do before you offer a headshot and resume.
  4. Volunteer at or attend a charity event frequented by the entertainment community.  Animal rescue and health awareness causes always draw actors, agents and casting directors alike.  Do your research on your top picks to see what they stand for and if you get behind the same cause, you have commonality.
  5. Follow or friend them on Facebook, Twitter and other social media.  Today casting directors use the web to offer advice, post auditions and offer feedback on many things hoping to help the actors they will meet someday in an audition room.

It’s time you understood that without a HUGE network of people that have you on their radar, the chances of having the BREAKTHROUGH, kick-butt, acting career of your dreams are pretty much dead in the water.  Talent is not enough…people have to know you’re talented, like you, and have you be on their list in order for you to be able to act for a living. There are many people in the showbiz world who are ready and waiting for you to get connected and STAY connected.  You never know which one of them will be key in your forward movement. 

I’d love to hear some of your thoughts on meeting new people…how you do it, why you do it and most importantly, how you keep in touch!

Do You Have Worthy Goals?

In my last post I talked about 20 signs you’re already successful.  Most people think success is the creating, going after, and obtaining of goals.  As I write this we’re about to end one year and being another, a time when many are busy making plans, goals and resolutions for a future brighter than before.  However, no matter when you are reading this, goal setting and creating the path to your desire is something that can be accomplished any and every day.  Let’s take a closer look…

Being successful is a creative process and you’re engaged in it already.  It’s something we live, not an end state we arrive at.  The choices we make either align with or block the path to success.  This starts with choosing worthy goals.

Desire – seeds planted that lead to your divine passion and purpose.  Signs, dreams, feelings, visualizations and images.

Destiny – the experience of the growth of that desire.
If you set a goal that takes months or years to excel at (like being the best actor you can be craft-wise, or being represented by CAA) and this is a time span you can embrace because you love what you’re doing, your vision of this goal will make it easier to respond to setbacks that are normal on the path and you aren’t dismayed by external factors because your goal comes from within.

There’s a good chance you’re going to make a New Year’s resolution this year, and there’s also a pretty good chance you’re going to break it.

Why? It’s no secret that setting goals for yourself is hard, especially when many of the goals you have may be out of your control.  (like being represented by CAA!) But the things that ARE in your hands that are accomplish-able are still a challenge and the hard truth is that many people who make goals never achieve them.  So I recommend a shift in what you call a goal.

Here’s a short list of worthy goals.  They are all a progressive realization and while some I’m listing may feel a fit for you, some may not.  By the way, your goals can and will evolve…a major goal that will sustain you for a lifetime is to be self-aware.  I’m always, always, always working on this one and for me in this business of show, it is to be of service.  Your worthy goal can be a word or a phrase.

Love and compassion for all
Promoting Peace
Teaching others
Pursuing creative expression
Protecting the weak
Promoting culture
Exploration and discovery
Being of service
Protecting the environment

Choose a goal without worrying that it must be permanent.  Sit quietly and center yourself. Breathe deep and exhale, another deep breath, exhale, now a third breath, exhale.   Think about the goal you want to achieve…ask yourself “am I already living my goal at least part of the time?”  Is this pursuit enjoyable and energizing?  Does it come naturally and make me feel more like the person I want to be.  When you can say yes, then you’re making your success a living reality and thrive today as well as tomorrow.

I wish for you a bright future year, month, week and day ahead, full of purpose, passion and the pursuit of worthy goals!  Please feel free to share one or more of them in the comments section below.

“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but within ourselves.” – Shakespeare

20 Signs You’re Succeeding At Your Career (Even If It Doesn’t Feel Like It)

We’ve all had days, weeks, months and — for some — even years of dark times, stagnation and even depression over the state of our career. (There’s that TIME thing again!) Whether we fall into ruts of self-sabotage, loneliness, insecurity, or waning belief in our future, leading a happy, joyful life as an actor can sometimes feel like a fairy tale.  However, I’m here to let you know that just like dreams, fairy tales do come true!  Here’s how…

I often tell my ‘business of show’ students and coaching clients they’re doing soooo much better than they give themselves credit for. I can see it even if they can’t. It’s the old “can’t see the forest for the trees” analogy.

Most of us are so busy trying to dodge the bullets, grasping for any signs of progress, and looking for those outward results, that we forget to stop and appreciate the little victories along the way to our goals and dreams.  More on goals and goal setting in my next posts…

But for now, consider for a moment that you’re already doing a tremendous job. Living a life as an actor isn’t always an easy thing to do, but it can be most enjoyable when we start to see the good instead of focusing on the bad. (There’s that Law of Attracting thing again!)

You are actually living your career dreams already by recognizing these 20 signs:

1. Your relationships are less dramatic than they use to be. The drama is now mostly on the stage/set where it ought to be.

2. You may not have as much money as you want but you know and believe more is on the way. However, you’re not waiting to live a rich and abundant life NOW.

3. You’re no longer afraid to ask for help and support, thinking it is a sign of weakness. Instead you realize the juice of this business and you’re open to allowing someone to be a contribution on your journey.

4. Where you live feels like home. This means your actual living home and in your skin.

5. You’ve raised your standards. The bar is presently high and you’re setting it higher as you move forward.

6. You let go of things that don’t make you feel good. This could extend to people, experiences, and negative thinking. thumbs-up Feeling good is your top priority.

7. You have moments where you appreciate who you see in the mirror. Hey, it may not be all the time but when you recognize those moments, you grin from ear to ear with a pleasant knowingness.

8. You’re working on limiting your inner critic and consciously disavowing outer critics who are not out to serve your best interests. Bad reviews have nothing to do with you. Opinions are like…(you know what goes here!)

9. You’ve learned that setbacks and failure are part of career growth as well as self-growth. Fail your way to success. Correct and continue. There is no such thing as perfect.

10. You have a support system that includes people who would do anything for you. And that’s not by chance.

11. You hear “I love it”, “great job”, “wonderful effort” and “I love you” often, from family, friends, partners, and industry professionals.

12. You’ve acceptesuccess-girl in grassd what you can’t change, but are changing what you can’t accept. This tricky balancing act has become the norm.

13. You don’t complain as much, but instead focus on solutions. You recognize that you can’t solve a problem with the same mind that created it and search for a different approach. You’ve also limited the complaints you’re willing to listen to. (Take special note if you work background…a breeding ground for complaints.)

14. You don’t blame your parents, and accept them for who they are. OK, though I’m not a therapist, this is the big one!

15. You’ve stopped caring about what others think of you. Ahem, I meant THIS is the big one. By not care, I mean you understand that what other’s think about you is none of your business. (For “how to” do that, check out an excellent book written by Terry Cole Whittaker that I highly recommend called  “What You Think of Me is None of my Business.”)

16. You can celebrate other actor’s successes and really be happy for them.

17. You have a true passion that you are pursuing. It’s not the fame, money or your ego that is driving you. You feel this passion more often than not.

18. You’re able to accept compliments without deflecting. When acknowledged for your acting prowess, singing skill, or for the way you’ve inspired someone through your artistic expression, you simply smile and say “thank you”.

19. You feel connected to your work both on and off the stage. Every part of your career, not just the actual craft of acting, is part of your passion.No fail

20. You have many goals that have come true. Finishing that acting program, having fresh new headshots to distribute and making that notoriously scowling casting director smile during your audition are things you had on your never ending “to do” list and they got DONE! Up next, getting an agent, a co-star role on a series, a big check…You don’t discount the previously met goals as insufficient to the ones not yet realized.

Look to this list of 20 in times of doubt and when you’re just not feelin’ it. Sometimes a few reminders of just how absolutely awesome your career IS going can make a huge difference.

Tweaked and significantly added to by Lisa Gold. Original base content from Shannon Kaiser of www.the-open-mind.com  

Law Of Attraction Quotes To Live By

 

In the last several years I’ve become a believer, a fan, a follower of one of the natural laws of the Universe, the Law of Attraction.  As I delve into the concept, then take the tenants into practice, I can see the materialization or manifestation of my smallest desires to some of my largest goals realized.  What you focus on expands.

It’s pretty obvious to me I am not alone in this thinking.  Here are some well known “thought leaders” that have been inspiring you for years and their most famous quotes on the very powerful Law of Attraction.

My hope is that these quotes inspire you as they have me.  Read them slowly and savor!  As usual, I welcome your thoughts in the comment section below.

 

Every single second is an opportunity to change your life, because in any moment you can change the way you feel.
– Rhonda Byrne


You create your own universe as you go along.
– Winston Churchill


It is the combination of thought and love which forms the irresistible force of the law of attraction.
– Charles Hammel


See the things that you want as already yours. Know that they will come to you at need. Then let them come. Don’t fret and worry about them. Don’t think about your lack of them. Think of them as yours, as belonging to you, as already in your possession.
– Robert Collier


What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.
– Mark 11:24


Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase. Just take the first step.
– Dr Martin Luther King Jr.


All that we are is a result of what we have thought.
– Buddha


Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.
– Albert Einstein


Whatever the mind can conceive it can achieve.
– W. Clement Stone


How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.
– Anne Frank


Divine mind is the one and only reality.
– Charles Fillmore


Whether you think you can or think you can’t, either way you are right.
– Henry Ford


Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.
– Muhammad Ali


If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.
– Yogi Berra


To accomplish great things we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.
– Anatole France


Nurture your mind with great thoughts, for you will never go any higher than you think.
– Benjamin Disraeli


Nothing is, unless our thinking makes it so.
– Shakespeare


When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.
– Helen Keller


Keep away from people who try to belittle you’re your ambition. Small people always do that, but the really great ones make you feel that you, too, can become great.
– Mark Twain


Those who think they have no time for bodily exercises will sooner or later have to find time for illness.
– Edward Stanley


We are always getting ready to live but never living.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson


I attract to my life whatever I give my attention, energy and focus to, whether positive or negative.
– Michael Losier


That which is like unto itself is drawn.
– Jerry and Esther Hicks


What you radiate outward in your thoughts, feelings, mental pictures and words, you attract into your life.
– Catherine Ponder


Nothing external to me has any power over me.
– Walt Whitman


Happiness is not a destination. It is a method of life.
—Burton Hills


If you can dream it, you can do it.
– Walt Disney


Whatever you create in your life you must first create in your imagination.
– Tycho Photiou


The grateful mind is constantly fixated upon the best. Therefore it tends to become the best. It takes the form or character from the best, and will receive the best.”
– Wallace D.Wattles


Be thankful for what you have, you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never ever have enough.
– Oprah Winfrey


A person is what he or she thinks about all day long.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson


Nurture great thoughts, for you will never go higher than your thoughts.
– Benjamin Disraeli


As soon as you start to feel differently about what you already have, you will start to attract more of the good things, more of the things you can be grateful for.
– Joe Vitale


Man, alone, has the power to transform his thoughts into physical reality; man, alone, can dream and make his dreams come true.
– Napoleon Hill


Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are the children of your soul, the blueprints of your ultimate achievements.
– Napoleon Hill


Gratitude is an attitude that hooks us up to our source of supply. And the more grateful you are, the closer you become to your maker, to the architect of the universe, to the spiritual core of your being. It’s a phenomenal lesson.
– Bob Proctor


A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks he becomes.
– Gandhi


Everyone visualizes whether he knows it or not. Visualizing is the great secret of success.
– Genevieve Berhrend


I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.
– Michael Jordan


I have decided to be happy, because it’s good for my health.
– Voltaire


Every saint has a past and ever sinner has a future
– Oscar Wilde


A moment of gratitude makes a difference in your attitude
– Bruce Wilkinson


Learning is a gift. Even when pain is your teacher.
– Maya Watson


I can be changed by what happened to me, but I refuse to be reduced by it.
– Maya Angelou


Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.
– Martin Luther King Jr.


There is no cosmetic for beauty like happiness.
– Lady Blessington


All things are difficult before they are easy.
– Thomas Fuller


You are in the perfect position to get there from here.
– Abraham Hicks


Givers get given to.
– Russell Simmons


Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.
– Judy Garland


The entire universe is a great theatre of mirrors.
– Alice Bailey


Love everyone. Trust few. Paddle your own canoe.
– Anonymous


Criticism is something we can avoid easily
by saying nothing, doing nothing,
and being nothing.
– Aristotle


Genius is the ability to receive from the universe.
– I Ching

TIME and The Law of Attraction

I’ve been writing a lot on the subject of time in my last few blog posts.  This is due to the fact that I recently took part in a 4-day silent meditation retreat.  It was over a long holiday weekend so it seemed perfect timing…meaning, business wasn’t expected to continue at its normal pace so I felt I could fit it in my schedule without too many things getting overlooked.

WOW, what an eye opener!  One of the biggest take-aways from the Vipassana was the speeding up AND the slowing down of my experience with time.  We literally had 6 meditation sessions a day with rest, tea and meal breaks.  And 4 days with no talking!  ME, not talking.  That alone is quite a feat, but as I said time was super warped.  Some days the sessions flew by and other times it seemed like forever, though we were doing pretty much the same thing.  Eyes closed, deep breathing, counting breaths, not speaking, in and out, over and over and over again.

The point is that somewhere I came to understand that the only point in time that truly matters is the one we’re living right now.  The present moment.  I’ve been teaching this for years, but the meditation experience brought it home.

And no matter how many times I teach “the joy is in the journey” and “you can enjoy every moment on your way to your manifested desires”,  most still want a microwave fast career.  Go to school (or a few acting classes), get an agent, have a few awesome auditions, book a gig on TV, film, be seen by key people and become a household name, highly sought after actor on her way to a big award…and like YESTERDAY PLEASE!  Listen I get it, so here’s a little something for you to chew on…

For those that have known me over the many years or even if you’ve just recently started reading my blogs, you may know that I’m a huge believer in the Law of Attraction, and I truly believe that if you’ve read this far, then you’re here for a reason and your timing is perfect.  So I’d like to share a short video from one of my great teachers on the subject, Abraham-Hicks.

The video is entitled “Why is it taking a long time to manifest?” and I offer it to those of you who want what you want faster than you’re getting it and the possible answer to why that is. Click this link and take 7 minutes, eyes closed, and listen to the answer.

I’m still a huge believer in enjoying every moment to moment delicious moment of the day, and I’m still creating lots of things I desire that haven’t yet manifested for me too.  But I’m not in a hurry about it anymore.  Instead I know that it, they, he, she, those are coming my way and I’m perfectly content if it’s tomorrow, next week or next year.

I’d love your comments on the video/audio and or the Law of Attraction and how it works in your life below!

New Habits Over Time

Unmade Bed

I started blogging in 2009 but started blogging regularly in 2017.  Before I was consistently inconsistent and I had results that mirrored that.  It took a long time to develop this habit, years actually, but I’ve learned a lot along the way and pass it on to you so you can cut down the time this habit building process takes.  And like Oprah says, the one thing I know for sure is that starting is the easy part.  It’s the continuing that gets a little tricky.

How do you think your career would be impacted if you mailed regularly to your database of contacts informing them on the status of your career?  What gigs could you be in the running for if you consistently informed the folks that have already seen your work and acknowledged they enjoyed what you do, that you are available?  What if you did this as a habit and not just once in a while when the mood strikes?  There’s the time it takes to create a habit and once you’re habitual, the time it takes to reach your desires shortens.  I like the thought of that, don’t you?

I’ve learned from many of my mentors, and from my own experience, that starting small so I can win at whatever I take on is the key, not only for me but for everyone.  Designing something that I will do every day, especially when I′ve never done it before ever, is a set up for upset.  Many folks give up right away if they miss a day, kind of like a going off a diet.  They just simply quit.  But if you′re really committed, each day is a new day that provides an opportunity to begin again.  My commitment is to add to this blog a minimum of 6 to 8 times a month.  Just so its “out there”!

Anything new that we as actors want to include in our daily lives is going to be tough at first.  It takes time, right?  Where will you fit it in?  Did you read my last post?  Hint…the strategy there works!  Writing follow ups to meetings, sending headshots to prospective new agents, researching the casting directors of the shows we want to be in it is soooo easy to NOT do.  Saying we want to do these things, planning them, that’s all good.  However being in ACTion and having it become habitual is where the real juice lies and momentum takes over.

I recommend beginning the process of consciously creating new habits with something easy.  Tasks like making the bed every day at first may seem like a real chore.  Then with time, it′s almost just part of the daily activities and feels weird if it isn′t done.  It becomes missing from the routine.  Flossing, wiping the sink out after washing dishes, putting the lid down on the toilet seat are all good, small tasks you can begin with. Your process of consciously building habits is great to test out your new skill set with these simple household chores. 

My advice to any actors out there who have big dreams is to keep the faith and take small, consistent, habitual, winnable steps toward your goals.  New habits, done consistently over time equals success.

Keep the faith!  Having that faith is an amazing quality and I love being in this community where faced with rejection more than acceptance, we keep that faith in place.

If you want some help being consistent in your ACTions, then join us every Monday for a great structure of support – Massive Action Mondays! (It’s part of The Gold Standard, but you can also participate separately).

Your “Never Ending” To Do List

Yellow_To_Do_List2

“I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they are great and noble.”   Helen Keller

I love this quote and I love who it came from.  One of my FAVORITE things to do is cross things off my to do list.  And I’m sure I’m not the only person in the world who sometimes can get completely STOPPED because of the feeling of overwhelm.

In my last post I talked about the Time Trap and the desire of most actors to get what they want, like yesterday!  But if you’re anything like me, things are added daily to my never ending list that can often make my goals and dreams seem very far off indeed.  It’s an illusion of course and I’ve since gained a new perspective.

My perspective shifted greatly once I noticed a recurring theme with many of my coaching clients, that though progress is being made, it’s often overwhelming taking on new things and deciding what to do with what seems an expanding “to do” list.  Where to start, what to leave out, what’s a priority…how to fit it all in?

So I’ve got a really cool strategy for you that will make a HUGE difference, especially if you are one of the folks that have not been able to keep up with the “building” over time of performing multiple tasks.  This strategy will bring you focus and clarity on what to do, and more importantly what not to do.

Make a “to do” list.  EVERYTHING you have to do both personal and professional.  Things like: Make an appointment for the dentist; clean the bathroom; call 3 photographers, make appointments, choose one; wash the dog/car/clothes; write 5 postcards, travel to Australia, buy a Birthday card for Tom.  Call Joan about dinner on Tuesday.  Go on Actors Access and submit for some great auditions.  Pay bills.  Sign up for The Gold Standard (ha!, had to slip that one in!)

Everything goes on the list.  This will probably take at least 15 to 30 minutes or longer.  Then when you’ve emptied your brain of all that you have to do, more things will come up if you stay in silence and let them come.  Then write those things down too!

Next, divide this one huge list into 3 smaller lists:  The things you are never doing (at least right now), the things you are not doing (at least right now…this time frame being not within the next 4 to 6 weeks) and the things you are doing now.

The never doing now list contains items that if they never, ever got done, will not affect your life and goals in an adverse way…yet you may someday still want to do them.  For example, travel to Australia or re-paint the bathroom.

The not doing now list contains things that are definitely needed and wanted to accomplish, but again, won’t adversely affect you life or goals if they don’t happen outside of 4-6 weeks from now.

That leaves the “to do” list…things that if not attended to within the next month to 6 weeks, will adversely affect your life and goals.  These items should then be scheduled…actually pick a time and date and put them into your calendar.

So the things you’re doing now get put into your schedule, to be moved around if need be due to auditions, other opportunities, etc. but then get rescheduled, got it?

Once they are in your calendar/schedule you will have a clearer picture of accomplishing the things that are directly related to what you say you want.  For some this will be a huge accomplishment and breakthrough, for others, a review.  Either way, do it please!

“What you resist persists” – Anonymous

By the way, if you don’t use a calendar or schedule of some kind to keep track…GET ONE.  Honestly, you’re life will become much more manageable when you keep track of your appointments (especially the ones you make with yourself!)  Get started today.  It’s not too late, in fact, we have an opportunity to start newly every day

Enjoy marking those things off the list!  Ahhhhh, feels GOOD!

As usual, I’d love your comments or perhaps you have some tips about time you could share with the community.  Write them below now…don’t put this “to do” on your list!

Creating Your Ultimate Career – The Time Trap

Have you CREATED your ultimate career yet?

The biggest reason any actor’s inability in creating the career of their dreams is simple.  I call it the Time Trap.

First of all, let me ask you this:  Why do you want it to happen so FAST?  What’s that expression? “Half the fun is getting there!” – It doesn’t seem to apply to our actor community.  Maybe it’s the society we live in but we all seem to want a microwave career.  Everyone is always in such a hurry!

Creating the career of your dreams – out there in the future, requires that you understand that your dreams are already in existence right now.  Yeah, I hear your inner voice shouting, “But it doesn’t exist the way I want it to yet!” — your inner voice is LOUD!

There  you are stuck in the Time Trap with a part of you canceling the work that you’ve already done to achieve where you already are, which if you look is pretty significant…but that doesn’t count, right?  The Time Trap also seems to cancel out the upcoming ACTions still needed in order to get to the next goal or milepost because you most likely haven’t created them yet or even know what they are…you just want it all to be different than it is right now, which is insufficient.

No wonder so many actors never achieve their ultimate career dreams.  Remember statistics say that 97% of professional actors leave the business withing 3 years of getting into it!

I want to share with you a quote from Esther Hicks of Abraham-Hicks, a spiritual leader/teacher of mine, who teaches this premise around time and getting what you want.  Please read what follows slowly, without distraction, and let it sink in.  It truly can and will change your point of view about the time it takes to have a successful career:

If you are willing to let your improved emotional state be the evidence of your progress, then the progress will continue; you will continue to feel even better, and the tipping point will come where physical evidence can be seen.

But if you look too soon for the evidence, and you do not yet find it, you will lose ground. The need to see the immediate evidence of progress is the most significant hindrance to most people. When you attempt to take score of your progress too soon, you move further from the results you seek.

There is no desire that you hold that is for any other reason than you believe you would feel better in the having of it. Whether it is a material object, a pile of money, a relationship, or a physical state of being, every desire is wanted because you want to feel better.

When you discover the power of feeling better first, by the deliberate focusing of your mind away from problems, struggles, irritants , and any other manner of unwanted things and focus your mind upon the simplicity of even your own breathing, you will have found the key to the power of allowing. And allowing is the answer to all that you seek.”

I shared this life lesson with you because in my own life I have found that if I pay attention to how I feel first as the most primary importance of my focus, the stuff I want comes to me faster.  I’ve figured out how to get out and stay out of the Time Trap…and I hope you do too!

I’ll be posting more about TIME and how it affects the way we move through our career, feelings of overwhelm, how to manage all of the details of the balance of career aspirations and family life in upcoming posts.

I’m grateful to you dear reader and welcome any comments you have on the subject below.

5 Big Mistakes You Can Easily Avoid

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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!

The Miracle of Mistakes. My Gift to You.

In my next series of posts I’ll be delving into the subjects of mistakes and fear.  Let’s face it, being an actor can be scary sometimes. 

Not knowing where your next paycheck will come from; the insecurity that is built into a business where your gig always ends and you have to constantly find the next one; the naysayers and non-believers in your career choice and path; the fear of going up on lines at an audition or worse, on the set or the stage.  Yep, there are a ton of mistakes to be made in your future (if you’re really out there doing this career) and I want to urge you to not fear making them. Mistakes are something we usually want to avoid, right?  Well I’ve got news for you (and a little story) that will offer some “re-framing” around your interpretation of mistakes.

Let’s start with the story of a mistake turning into something good – – –

Dom Perignon made a mistake during their wine preparation one Spring. The wine was entering a second stage of fermentation and was sure to break the bottles. His sous chefs asked him how they might prevent the bottles from exploding from the yeast that had come to life. Should they try putting the wine back in the cask?

Yes, Dom replied. Let us see what happens!

Days passed, and it was time for a tasting. A sample was tapped and passed to Dom. He smelled. He peered into his glass, a little perplexed at what he was seeing. He sipped. Well? he was asked. It is like drinking stars, Dom Perignon replied.

Et voila. Champagne was born.  Why a story about champagne?  On New Years Eve more champagne will be consumed world wide than any other beverage on the planet in celebration of the new year.   How about weddings, birthdays and other special occasions? Can you IMAGINE this holiday with out it? No, I certainly cannot!  And to think it came from a mistake.

Now of course there are some big mistakes that you can totally avoid.  You don’t have to make them yourself, and instead learn from others (OK, me!) so that you don’t have to pay the price!  I paid a lot of mistake tax in my time and I wanted to offer them to you so you don’t make them too. 

Stay tuned for my next post in this series to learn about 5 really big mistakes you can easily avoid that will make it easier and faster to realize your dreams and goals as an actor (and a person too!)

As usual, I welcome all of your comments below.  Do you have a mistake that you know you’re making over and over again, but can’t figure out how to break free?  Or maybe you can share a mistake you’ve made that you have learned from and let others hear what you found out.