New Habits Over Time

Unmade Bed

I started blogging in 2009 but only started blogging regularly since May of this year.  Yippee!  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.

I invite you to keep me on my toes and if I begin to slack off a bit on the posts, email me and say “Lisa, did you forget to post today? Where’s the juicy info, news, great biz tips”?  Let’s keep each other on track with our new habits, K?  

25 Questions. Your Answers May Be A Surprise.

qaWould you like to know a little more about who you are and what you truly believe? Well here’s a simple test that only
takes about 2 minutes. Just answer yes or no to each of the 25 “Do You Believe” questions. Your answers may surprise you!
1.      Do you believe that attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference?
2.      Do you believe that we miss 100% of the shots we don’t take?
3.      Do you believe that our aspirations are our possibilities?
4.      Do you believe that projects don’t succeed…people do?
5.      Do you believe that we make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give?
6.    Do you believe that those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves?
7.      Do you believe that many times… less can be more?
8.      Do you believe that in the middle of every difficulty comes opportunity?
9.     Do you believe that you’re always one choice away from changing your life?
10.   Do you believe that when you’ve done your best you can wait for the results in peace?
11.    Do you believe that sometimes in the winds of change we can find our true direction?
12.     Do you believe that laughter is sunshine in any life?
13.     Do you believe that the most important things in life aren’t things?
14.    Do you believe that a leader’s job is to look into the future and see things not as they are, but… as they can be?
15.   Do you believe if you throw your heart over the fence, the rest will follow?
16.   Do you believe that customer service is not a department… it’s an attitude?
17.     Do you believe that the price of leadership is responsibility?
18.     Do you believe if you change your thoughts you can change the world?
19.     Do you believe you can burn brightly without burning out?
20.    Do you believe that the greatest principal in the world is… the things that get rewarded and appreciated get done?
21.    Do you believe that after the verb to love… to help is the most beautiful verb in the world?
22.    Do you believe that whether you think you can, or you can’t… you’re right?
23.     Do you believe that gratitude can change your life?
24.    Do you believe that its not the things you get but the hearts you touch that will determine your success in life?
25.    Do you believe that if you teach your child the Golden Rule, you will have left an estate of incalculable value?

Your answers to these questions will help you determine what you truly believe. For me the answer to each of these questions is… YES. I believe it! My mission is to inspire people who share these beliefs, particularly creative artists.

As the founder of Act Outside the Box, I’ve created over twenty-five seminars/products/courses illustrating these beliefs. The content is about what you need to know about your acting career – the logistics.  The context is what you believe and how to persevere in a very lop-sided business arena.  If you’d like to find out more about what I offer, check it out here.

This Q&A test was derived from my friends at SimpleTruths.com – repurposed for our community.  Please feel free to share YOUR beliefs in the comment box below!

Your Success is in your Thinking

Positive-ThinkingWe live in a big universe full of possibilities, especially for creative people like you. If you stop to think about how vast this reality really is, you might go a little nuts … or maybe become fully enlightened, depending on the day of the week!

Figuring out how we rein all of this in to something tangible in our creative career can easily lead to complicated over thinking. I like to call this analysis paralysis. One of the only things you really need to know though, is that you’re not separate from anything or anyone out there.  Everything is connected, including you and me.

The Law of Attraction is real and I’m a big believer of it and if you’re reading this, I think you are too. It’s why you’re on my email list or website so I’m going to be talking a lot more about it from here on out.

It’s our thinking and subsequent actions that determine what comes into our lives, good and bad, and what sometimes seems bad at the start (I like to call this uncomfortable) could actually be good for us ultimately. This is growth and development, expansion and ACTing Outside the Box! (see how I did that, LOL?)

It’s all good, except for one little part: the condition that says “First I have to DO this or that.” That’s called waiting for life to occur. That’s called means-to-an-end thinking. “First I have to DO this, then I can have that.”
It really doesn’t work that way my friends. When you put conditions on what can come into your life and career, your mind will never let you feel like you’re doing enough. You don’t feel like you’re enough already, so that’s exactly what you’re going to get: not enough. Starving artist is based on this precept. NOT ENOUGH.

“When I’m better, then I can attract the right agent. The person I am right now is not enough.” Or “if I had done is Not Enoughthat way in the audition instead, I could have gotten the job.” Guess what, that’s a habitual mindset. That’s a mind pattern that will never leave you.

No matter where you go or who you’re with or how you do things, your mind will always tell you, “You’re not ready. You’re not enough. If I just have six more months of working on myself, my craft or when I get an audition with that casting director, then (fill in the blank here.)

“Can you imagine the kind of career I could have if I enroll in that MFA program?” “I’ll be unstoppable once I get an agent!” “Once I finish my summer program at this acting studio, then I’ll be ready to rock it.”

Here’s a fact: Life is now. Life is not, “When I’m perfect, that’s when I can have the right career.”

Stop waiting. Be open right now for the universe to unfold in front of you. Be open for the right situation to come your way. Just go with the flow.

Your success is in your thinking.

There’s a hidden payoff in sabotaging yourself like this: not succeeding at something. What a great excuse you’ve given yourself. What a great reason for not being able to have the career of your dreams.

In fact, it’s the GOLD medal of reasons, pun intended! It keeps you stuck even though that reason is painful because deep down inside you know you’re ready for the success you’re looking for.

Success is in your thinking.

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t continue striving to be better because that’s the juice of life, right? But for goodness sake don’t beat yourself up for every little flaw, or even the big ones for that matter!

Let go of all that. You don’t need to completely structure every second of how this is going to work for you. Be open. Smile and relax. Chill out.

Lisa pointing and looking rightYou’re the right person, right now. You’re good enough as you are. Can you improve? Of course. We can always improve. Once you really get this, you’ll understand forward progress without making your happiness depend upon it. I love to learn and I love to teach because there’s always something more out there to add to your already AWESOMENESS!

The most important thing you can learn is that dwelling on the “if I” and “when I” and “it would be better if” or “if I had that, then I would” takes you out of the present moment.
Thinking about the perfect future is what stops you from having the perfect present. It’s the only thing that stops you.

To your success, Lisa (remember, it’s in your thinking!)

10 Habits to Turn your Dreams into your Reality

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Over my 35 year professional career as an actor and my last 15 years as a coach/mentor/business owner of two companies  that serve actors, I’ve had the privilege and the heartbreak of watching others go after their dreams. One set of actors seem to just know what to do or are constantly educating themselves to figure it out, while the other set seems to struggle, question, stay stuck and wonder “why not me”?

I honestly think it comes down to one, and only one distinction in a human being – their habits. For a habit is a thing you do over and over again without thinking. This automaticity can make or break your career, life and ultimately your happiness day to day.

The good news is you can always create new, productive and supportive habits. Here are some habits of actors who are turning their dreams into realities:

1. They see challenges as opportunities

Most actors interpret fears as obstacles and tend to run away from them. People who live their purpose successfully have developed the capacity to see fear as a sign of what they really need to go for, and put all their courage and energy into it. To ACT Outside the Box, if you will!

2. They see their career and also their life as a game.

Having this vision opens up space for playfulness and creativity instead of limitation. It also cultivates those qualities of resilience, problem solving and confidence that helps actors take risks not only on the stage but in their business to get to the next big place.

How-to-form-good-habits1

3. Living the life they want is the only option.

They’re so committed to making their dreams a reality that they banish any possibility of quitting whatsoever from their mind. They don’t think things like, “If it doesn’t work in 3 years, I’ll just go become a CPA.” Of course, I’m a great believer in having multiple steams of residual income from many sources, but that’s not quitting, that’s being a smart actorpreneur.

4. They always speak their truth.

They are able to speak it everywhere in their lives because they make a conscious effort to connect to their truest desires, their inner voice, and their spirituality without fear of judgment. This is HUGE in an industry where we are constantly judged. This connection to self is often fostered through meditation, journaling, being mentored and being surrounded by like minded-people. Just ask any successful actor you know and they’ll tell you they have a foundation of practices around their spirit and guidance from sources greater than themselves.

5. They aren’t just dreamers: they ACT on their desires.

There’s that word again. ACT is for action, not acting. Starting to get it? Instead of getting stuck in their hopes, wishes and dreams, they snap right into action, no matter what it takes. Whether it’s turning down a job that a gut check tells them to, getting out of a situation that holds them back, investing in themselves financially when called to, or moving to a new location across the country for other opportunities, they have the courage to do it. They do this by listening to, and then acting on, their intuition.

6. They expect and know that they deserve the best.

Actors who expect that what they want is going to happen as if it were an inner-knowing is THE SECRET. You’ve heard of that, right? They expect and feel they deserve to earn well, do what they love, serve others using their gifts. THE SECRET is that they still expect the best even when they don’t have all the answers as to how it’s going to happen.

change7. They have no fear or guilt when asking for what they want.

Because they’re so connected to their passions, they aren’t afraid to ask for what they want. In fact, they understand that their success depends on others, so asking for what they want is part of the deal. They set their boundaries and express their needs without fear, guilt or shame. Best of all, this is a trait that earns them respect from others.

8. They create their own rules.

They create their own rules instead of fitting into path set for them before. As in “they say you can’t do this and you have to do that to make it in this biz”. They make decisions from a place of what they want to have instead of what they think they can have or limiters heard from others. This gives them the freedom to design their destiny.

9. They’ve learned to be comfortable being uncomfortable.

One of their favorite places to be is wherever they are uncomfortable. They don’t get stuck in having all the answers, making things perfect or trying to gain comfort by controlling everything. Instead, they’re aware that they’re not going to see the next step until they make the decision to move forward despite the discomfort.

10. They have teachers, mentors and role models.GClogo

Having teachers increases their awareness. They clearly understand that each time they’re getting ready to pursue their dreams all their limitations are going to come up to the surface so that they can let go of them. Having role models and mentors helps them quickly identify where they’re stuck so that they can immediately change their results.

If it’s time to follow your dreams in an entirely new way, I recommend adopting some of these habits. If you’re looking for someone’s assistance, you’re here!

(Inspiration for much of this post comes from an article I read on broccolicity.com)

You Don’t HAVE to, You GET to!

Everything you do is worth enjoying.  “Dost thou love life?  Then do not squander time, for that’s the stuff life is made of.” – Benjamin Franklin

Most of us see the truth in Benjamin Franklin’s famous quote, but few of us live it.  I don’t think we purposely squander time.  It just happens.  Many of us work so hard and so frantically that we’re too tired to do much more than collapse in front of the TV each night after a long day of our pursuits.  We sleepwalk through our days, forgetting to savor the richness and color of life.  Tragically, days, weeks, months and years slip through our fingers like sand, unnoticed and unappreciated.  In short, squandered.

During my life, I have worked with everyone from a Tony Award winning director and performed for Presidents and Astronauts to spending my time coaching brand new, hope filled actors just starting out.  Some of the best “newbie” actors are children, wide eyed and awestruck by the mere mention of taking a new class or seeing a live performance on Broadway.  I have noticed that children have the edge on living in the moment.  They don’t live one second in the future or one second in the past.  They experience full, passionate hours of playing, learning and truly experiencing this wonderful world.  I’ve often asked myself:  why does this sense of wonder have to drop away as we grow older?

The answer is that it doesn’t.  When you make the decision to live each hour to the fullest, life becomes a buffet of great splendor.  No matter what dates are eventually carved onto your tombstone, each hour you live can be a magnificent symphony where life is measured by moments and experiences, not clocks and calendars.

Take this message to heart and I guarantee you will reawaken to, or perhaps even discover for the first time, a life, acting career and legacy filled with purpose, passion, pleasure and peace.

I couldn’t have said it better myself – and I didn’t.  The above passage was revised, laced with my perspective and shared with you from the amazing Giovanni Livera, author of Live a Thousand Years.

I’m only half-way through this book and I’m recommending it HIGHLY!  Lisa

Raise Your Vibration – Energy is Everything!

Your personal energy is an extremely powerful thing that surrounds you all the time. It is everywhere and is a core part of us but most people don’t know how to manage it for their benefit. When I took a course years ago hosted by T. Harv Eker of Millionaire Mind fame, he said “Everything is energy and energy is everything”…and along side that he also said “The way you do anything is the way you do everything”.  So in my putting two and two together, I read into it that your energy determines the way you do things in the world….well duh!

I’ve noticed that a lot of people (actors) don’t even know that their own personal energy is directly related to their career milestones.  I’ve often heard people say of me that I have a ton of energy.  Well let me confess now that it almost always created, doesn’t come “naturally” and I have practiced generating it for years.  So to folks who don’t see me in the morning after a late night out, or after a full day leading a seminar when I am spent, I say to them…I created it and you can too.

Your potential as an actor lies just as much in your learning to manage and increase your personal energy as it does in your talent and skill set.  Honestly, what good is having all that talent if you don’t have the energy to market yourself, go to auditions or class, or muster the physical (and emotional) energy to STAY in this business through the many obstacles that WILL present themselves?

I’ve been working with vibrational energy a lot recently in conjunction with a good friend who has created a business all around raising one’s personal energy to increase the global energy on the planet.  Raised Vibration uses the acronym VIBE…Visualize, Intend, Believe and Experience.  I won’t go in to that too much here, but suffice to say, being AWARE of your personal energy and how you affect others with it, and how you are affected by the things you see, hear and think, ALL make a huge difference in the outcomes for the goals you have in your personal life and career.  Your personal energy is what allows you to live the life you desire and deserve.

The idea that energy can move and create is nothing new. Throughout history, different cultures have
benefited by tapping into and working with different forms of energy.  Eastern philosophies and practices that have seemed “mystical” are now much more accepted and common.  Holistic methods of healing are now sought out when traditional drugs and cures fail.  There is definitely something about this energy conversation…whether you choose to believe it or not.  It’s only recently that energy work has emerged in the West and for those who experience it’s amazing power, they soon realize anything is achievable.

And how does this relate to the art of acting?  Isn’t it that energetic connection that you are seeking when performing a scene with another actor, or the connection with an audience when on stage live and offering up your energy to move, touch and inspire?  In the end it’s ALL energy.

It also takes energy to DO all of the things it takes to get ahead in today’s show BIZ.  Look at any successful actor and they seem to have boundless energy.  Interviews, rehearsals, performances, photo shoots, special events and fundraisers, personal appearances…the list goes on.  Trust me, no one who is at the top level in the acting community got there sitting on the sidelines waiting for others to lead them down the path to success and a day “off” doesn’t exist.

Moral of this story is to find that place, space, and resource that provides and maintains the energy needed BEFORE you need it!  Really, right now is the EASY part.  When you are working at your biz, in your biz and on your craft DAILY, you’re gonna need it!

Check out www.raisedvibration.com for some great info and as a potential resource for your personal energy.  You’ll be glad you did!  Lisa Gold

9 Qualities of Remarkable Entertainers/Actors

What separates the best in show biz from everyone else? (Hint: It’s not about the money.)

Good entertainers make money.

Great entertainers make us smile and make serious money for themselves in the process.

Remarkable entertainers do more than make us smile and make money. They are the few who possess qualities that don’t appear only in bank account balances, but do make a significant impact on the lives of their audiences, inner circles, and communities.

Here are nine qualities of remarkable entertainers:

1. They find happiness in the success of others.

Great sports teams win because their most talented players are willing to sacrifice ego and acknowledgment to make others look great. Great theater productions, TV series and notable films are made up of actors who help each other, know their roles, set aside personal “perks”, and value co-operative success over everything else. Where does that attitude come from? You. Every great entertainer answers the question, “Can you make the choice that your happiness will come from the success of others?” with a resounding “Yes!”

2. They relentlessly seek new experiences.

Novelty seeking—getting bored easily and throwing yourself into new pursuits or activities – is often linked to gambling, drug abuse, and attention deficit disorder. But according to some leading doctors, novelty seeking is one of the traits that keeps you healthy and happy and fosters personality growth as you age… if you combine adventurousness and curiosity with persistence and a sense that it’s not all about you, then you get the creativity that benefits society as a whole, and THAT translates to creativity in show biz. To succeed, you want to be able to regulate your impulses (don’t take that gig that isn’t quite right just to have one!) while also having the imagination to see what the future would be like if you tried something new.

Check out this “something new” I tried on my birthday a few years back.  Definitely a novelty.  So go ahead – embrace your inner novelty seeker. You’ll be healthier, you’ll have more friends, and you’ll be generally more satisfied with life.

3. They don’t think work/life balance; they just think life.

When you have burning passion for this career, work-life boundaries are almost impossible to maintain. Why? You are your business. Your business is your life, just like your life is your business – which is also true for family, friends, and interests—so there is no separation, because all those things make you who you are.

Remarkable entertainers find ways to include family instead of ways to exclude work. They find ways to include interests, hobbies, passions, and personal values in their daily business lives.  Ever notice the “big boys” working with the same people (sometimes friends and family) over and over again?  It’s because they have become a part of each other’s lives.  So hire your parents, kids and friends for you latest webisode or cabaret act, student film or full length feature.  Network like crazy and bring in to your creative path the people you like and enjoy in your LIFE.  If you can’t, you’re not living—you’re just working.

4. They’re incredibly empathetic.

Unless you create something entirely new on your own—which I encourage as an actorpreneur, but is very hard to do—your business is based on fulfilling an existing need or solving a problem.

In order to identify a need or a problem you must have the ability to put yourself in another person’s shoes, particularly the casting director and creative team of the “place” you want to work; that’s the mark of a successful entertainer. But remarkable entertainers go a step farther, regularly putting themselves in the shoes of their audience. Success isn’t a line trending upwards. Success is a circle. No matter how high your profile—and your ego—soars, success still comes back to your audience.

5. They have something to prove – to themselves.

Many actors have a burning desire to prove other people wrong.  You know who I’m talking about –  that acting teacher from long ago that didn’t see your true talent; the family member who still thinks you’re crazy for choosing this career; the gal that beat you out of the perfect role in your 5th grade play…you’ll show them! These are great motivators. Remarkable entertainers are driven by something deeper and more personal. True drive, commitment, and dedication springs from a desire to prove something to the most important person of all.  You.

6. They ignore the 40-hour workweek hype.

Studies show that working more than 40 hours a week decreases productivity. Whatever. Successful business owners (uh huh, that’s YOU) work smarter, sure, but they also outwork their competition. I personally don’t know a SINGLE soul who works more than I do (outside of Tracy Costa of course!)  There will always be people who are smarter and more talented than you. Remarkable entertainers want it more. They’re ruthless—especially with themselves.  Remarkable entertainers simply work harder. That’s the real secret of their success.

7. They see money as a responsibility, not a reward.

Many successful actor cautionary tales involve buying 17 cars, loading up on pricey antiques, flying to and from private islands in private planes, importing Christmas trees, and spending $40,000 a year for a personal masseuse.  Wait—maybe that’s just Oprah! But being a remarkable entertainer includes not seeing money solely as a personal reward; they see money as a way to grow their business/profile and give back to the community… in short, not just to make their own lives better but to impact the lives of other people too.  Ultimately Oprah, Brad and Angelina, Bono and more, are just as well known for spending their money improving the lives of others as for the fun trinkets and toys they can afford.

8. They don’t think they’re remarkable.

In a world of social media everyone can be their own PR agent. It’s incredibly easy for anyone to blow their own horn and bask in the glow of their insight and accomplishments.  Remarkable entertainers still have to do all of that self-promotion but also accept their success is based on ambition, persistence, and execution… and they also recognize that key mentors, and a huge dose of luck also played a part.  Remarkable entertainers reap the rewards of humility, asking questions, seeking advice, recognizing and praising others…

9. They know that success is fleeting, but dignity and respect last forever.

The most important thing remarkable entertainers provide audiences, other actors they work with, agents and other creative industry professionals- everyone they meet – is dignity and respect.

And so should you, because when you do, everything else follows.

This article was re-written/re-purposed from something I read in Inc. magazine on Remarkable Entrepreneurs.  I think it fits perfectly, don’t you?   Lisa

Are You Committed? Hesitation is a Career Killer.

I first read this quote on “Commitment” when it was given to me in a seminar over 30 years ago!  It got my attention and has been something I live from every day…when I’m faced with even the smallest choice or decision.

In our acting community, I find indecision one of the reasons we don’t have what we say we want in our careers.  Why “choose” when it seems better to leave so many options open?

  • Indecision brings delays – and you want it FAST, don’t you?
  • Regrets usually come from what you DIDN’T do, not what you did do.
  • When you are busy deciding, someone else already did, and now has an opportunity that you do not.

Much of what is taught at Act Outside the Box is around taking action and choosing.  I see a lot of actors doing just the opposite, thinking that if they leave the doors open, someone will invite them through and show them the proper or best pathway.  It really just doesn’t work that way.

Read this quote by Goethe and see if it resonates with you like it did with me.

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back– Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”

I invite you to take action and make a commitment to yourself and your career RIGHT NOW in any area that you’ve been thinking…”hhhuuuumm, someday I’ll do that”.  Be BOLD (says GOLD!)

Box Office Friday – When Art Imitates Life

I began Box Office Fridays earlier this year, intending to update this blog EVERY Friday with wit and wisdom surrounding a subject that would be screening at theater near you.  If you look back, you’ll see my “habit” hasn’t fully developed yet, so please bear with me by reading and keeping me accountable!

In any case I’m not sure if Bad Teacher, starring Cameron Diaz as a foul-mouthed, inappropriate, drinking, ruthless teacher who can’t wait to give up her bogus day job to marry rich, is quite my cup of tea.  I mean I LOVE Cameron, and director Jake Kasdan, son of Oscar winner Lawrence Kasdan, is amazing in his own right.  But do I really want to see a “humorous” portrayal of what is indeed a real problem in some of our schools?

I must admit I’m not totally up on the whole “get rid of tenure” or fire all the “bad teachers” in the system…because lets face it, GOOD and BAD are interpretations.  Just like some folks will think this movie is good and some will think it’s bad, it’s all a point of view. Read more