Your “Never Ending” To Do List

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“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 Golden Circle (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!

5 Tips to Rock your Holiday Networking

Snowman-Happy-Holiday-CardThe holidays can be awkward, or you can make them into a huge opportunity by using this time as a platform to network. Most actors take a break or think of this time of year as slow. I say NOW is the time to ramp it up!

The holidays are here now and seem to come earlier every year! For some the dread is starting to set in. And no, I’m not talking about the awkward family gatherings with your fruitcake-wielding in-laws or being relegated to the kids table for a meal you’ve waited a year for.

For many of us, the real terror surrounds holiday networking. So if you’re currently stressing over whether you’re going to look like an idiot wearing a Santa hat or whether it’s appropriate to talk about your acting career at all, you’re not alone.

Oy, all these winter events you have to go to! There are soooo many parties and other opportunities to gather at this particular time of year, so when to go and when not to? Many of us would rather pretend to be sick and stay home drinking eggnog in a darkened room. But in actuality, this is the perfect time to get ahead. All these holiday parties are the prime time to make fresh connections and start the New Year off on the right foot.

Ken Rutkowski, host and president of the Business Rockstars radio show, is a networking veteran who has earned himself the reputation of “the super-connector.” I love finding great info and sharing it with you so please take Ken’s words to heart as if they were my own…because I’m in 100% alignment. Here are his top five tips to network yourself through the holidays.

1. Don’t look at it as “networking” 

View events, social and business as relationship building opportunities and don’t ever ask for money, a job, an audition or anything else for that matter. This is time to create and build rapport ONLY.

2. Pick the right events and be realistic

If the event is only for union members and you’re not one, then don’t go. If the event is at an agent’s office that you are not a client of, then don’t go. Seriously…find the FIT first. If you have a sinking feeling in your gut about attending, then the event is probably not right for you. Go to parties and events where you are certain you will be a part of the right crowd and go with the intention of meeting great people just like you!

3. Dress appropriately 

This is a big one. I can’t tell you how many actor events where I’ve seen pictures on line and say to myself, “Wow, don’t they have a mirror in their house?” At the same time, holiday flair is always a winner. Really know the crowd you’re going to be hanging out with. In general, don’t wear a suit and tie if the event is more casual and vice versa. But jeans with rips in them that look like they need a good wash is a no-no no matter how casual the event is.

4. Bring a wingman or wingwoman.

Two heads are better than one when it comes to meeting people. You’ll be able to cover more ground and have a fallback person to rendezvous with if you need a break. But don’t get stuck…meaning you have to go out on your own to meet new people. If you only end up talking to the person you came with you’ve missed the purpose entirely.

5. Make it about others

Ken became known as a “super-connector” because he was always introducing people to other people. People appreciate it when you do the networking for them. They come to know you as someone who is connected, and gets things done. Take on this role if you have met folks at your event who you think should also meet each other. You’ll be much more remembered by both of those people, especially if they hit it off.

These same tips can also be applied to family gatherings as well with a little tweaking. Not really excited to hang out with your spouses’ Aunt Millie twice removed? Try asking her questions that illicit stories that you could then use in your acting or writing class. You might even be surprised when Millie shares about her nephew the TV Exec who works at CBS…really? Really! Ask questions. That’s the key!

The holidays are an awkward time for almost everyone. Remember, we’re in this together. Stick to these five rules and get ahead this season!

Becoming a Star Over 40? Possible? YES it is.

No one is born a star.  In our youth obsessed culture and marketplace, it’s nice to find out many of today’s iconic stars and household names got a late start. For some celebrities, it takes years of hard work, small roles, and persistence to make it in show business.  Read on and gain inspiration especially if you are also 40+.

Jane Lynch had many minor roles before hitting it big at 49.Janelynch

Jane Lynch, 53, had been in Hollywood for decades taking small roles on TV and in films like “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and “Role Models,” but it wasn’t until a role on a Fox show that she hit the big time. In 2009, Lynch joined the cast of “Glee” as the gym teacher everyone loves to hate, Sue Sylvester. This role helped Lynch become famous while also winning her an Emmy at the 62nd Annual Primetime Emmys. The next year, she went on to host the awards for her first time.

Samuel L. Jackson’s first big role was in “Pulp Fiction” at the age 45.

Samuel L. Jackson has starred in hit movies such as “A Time To Kill” and “Snakes on a Plane.” For most of his career, however, he played minor roles in films like “Coming to America” and “Do The Right Thing.” Then, in 1994, Jackson landed the part of Jules Winnfield in a small independent film titled, “Pulp Fiction” (a role which director Quentin Tarantino wrote specifically with Jackson in mind). Jackson’s role in the film became almost immediately iconic, which led to Jackson starring in other popular films like “The Avengers,” and the “Star Wars” prequels giving him one of the coolest careers in Hollywood.

kathryn-joosten-6Kathryn Joosten was a nurse and didn’t get her big break until she was 60.

Joosten was a mother and psychiatric nurse for years, but after hearing her mother confess on her deathbed that she “regretted not having pursued her dreams,” Joosten signed up for acting classes at age 42 in order to pursue her own. After more than a decade, she eventually landed the role of lovable secretary Mrs. Landingham on “The West Wing” at age 60. Joosten went on to win an Emmy for “Desperate Housewives” before her death in 2012. No regrets, to be sure.  I also LOVE the fact that Kathryn acknowledged participation in one-night seminars/cd workshops as part of the reason she got her “break” as an actor.

Regis Philbin wasn’t a household name until he was 57.

Regis Philbin started out as an NBC page and worked on “The Joey Bishop Show,” but he was never widely known. That changed in 1988 when the morning show Philbin was working on became the nationally syndicated “Live with Regis and Kathie Lee.” After almost 20 years of working on TV, Philbin’s chemistry with Kathie Lee made the show a success and gave him national exposure. At 57, it was the first time the name Regis was in the nation’s vocabulary. He’s been a part of pop culture ever since, most notably for hosting the game show “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?”

Ken Jeong was known as Dr. Ken Jeong until he was 40.KenJong

The man who would go on to become Mr. Chow in the “The Hangover” series could have been known as Dr. Chow. Comedian Ken Jeong spent nearly 20 years trying to break into the business doing stand-up while also practicing medicine as a physician.

Lucille Ball starred in “I Love Lucy” at the age of 40.

Lucille Ball was a pioneer for both female leads and for comedy after creating one of the most beloved sitcoms of all time, “I Love Lucy” in 1951. However, she didn’t become Lucy Ricardo until she was 40. Before “I Love Lucy,” Ball went from role to role in films. However, once television became a prominent medium she (along with her husband and co-star Desi Arnaz) tried to sell her vaudeville act to networks. That act became the prototype for “I Love Lucy.””I Love Lucy” was a huge success, and would go on to help create the modern sitcom (the show was one of the first sitcoms in history to use the three-camera filming format which is standard in sitcoms today) while also making Ball a star.

OK, these other “youngsters” were in their 30s but thought you’d like to know…

Gene Hackman’s legendary career began at age 37.

Before a role in 1967’s “Bonnie and Clyde,” Hackman worked odd jobs like field radio operator in the Marine Corps. Once discharged in 1951, he moved to New York to follow a career in radio, but then won some roles on Broadway. After his big break, Hackman went on to win two Academy Awards.

Jon Hamm almost gave up acting at age 36.

Jon Hamm, 42, spent years starring in minor roles while trying to become an A-list actor. According to his longtime girlfriend Jennifer Westfeldt, he almost gave it all up. “He would just say, ‘I’m going to hang it up, it’s not going to work out,'” Westfeldt told The Huffington Post. However, Hamm landed the “Mad Men” role in 2007 even though he felt he was at “the bottom of the list” and created one of the most interesting characters in the history of television.

Harrison Ford was a full-time carpenter until 35.

For the first half of his life, Harrison Ford was a carpenter. It wasn’t until director George Lucas saw Ford doing some wood-working at a studio while having auditions for a space film he was shooting called “Star Wars” that things changed. According to Lucas, he knew Ford from working with him on a small role in his previous film, “American Graffiti” and asked Ford to read scenes in the role of Han Solo. The rest became history in a galaxy far, far away.

oscars_ang_lee Ang Lee was a stay-at-home dad before becoming a director at 38.

Before Ang Lee won awards for directing he could have won “World’s Greatest Dad” for his role as a stay-at-home dad. After graduating from NYU film school with a Master of Fine Arts in Film Production, Lee stayed home “cooking, picking up [the] kids from school, and doing housework” while his wife, a molecular biologist, went to work. Lee nearly became a computer engineer after years of not being able to get into movie-making. With support from his wife to keep at it, Lee directed his first movie “Pushing Hands” at 38.  This began an amazing career with Lee winning the Best Director Academy Award for “Brokeback Mountain” and “Life of Pi.”

So dear actor, do you have what it takes not only talent-wise, but perseverance-wise to hang in there for however long it takes? I’d love to hear your comments if you’re in the 40+ category of actors still pursuing this career and waiting for YOUR big break!

Sections of this post were drawn from an article posted in Business Insider written by Frank Palotta

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.

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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)

Create a Powerfully Effective Vision Board for Your Career

visionboardFor those of you that truly know me well, you know that I’m a huge believer in the Law of Attraction.  One of my favorite tools to attract what I desire is though creating vision boards. Vision boards can and do work for those that do them right. But what does it take to create the ultimate collage of images that evokes the positive changes you want in life? Well, for one thing it takes a positive mind and for another, it takes a certain kind of technique.

When you get it right, a vision board will help you attract anything you desire as a result of the Law of Attraction. An audition, a great agent, that certain kind of resume building role…let’s take a look at how you can make your dreams come true with a vision board that inspires through evoking images.

Before You Begin Cutting and Pasting:

A vision board that is done right should include images that matter to you personally, not some general opinion of what people want for themselves. To get yourself in the right frame of mind for your search, do a little visualizing first. Think about how you your career to look EXACTLY.  Who are you with, what you want to have, where in the world are you and all of the things you want to accomplish. Write anything that really stands out on a notepad, creating a list of what matters to you. Dream big and don’t be doubtful. Realize that everything you want can come to you with the right attitude and serious focus.

Once you have finished your list, it’s time to find out what is missing. There will be pieces of your life that you left out without realizing it. In order to have a complete vision board that really says who you want to be regarding your career, don’t ever forget that acting is a part of your life…not your whole life.  What else you want also takes some serious soul searching. Think about every aspect of your life and be VERY specific.

Be Sure to Include:

  1. Acting career and other business goals
  2. Your idea of wealth and abundance
  3. Who you want in your life
  4. Where you want to live
  5. The things you want to do
  6. Your health and fitness goals
  7. The things you want to have most

When you have finalized your idea of the life of your dreams, it’s time to start looking for the images that match each desire. The images should make you go “awwwwww!” and “oooooooh!” and make you feel something strong emotionally. Don’t include images of things that don’t make you feel completely captivated as they won’t produce the right vibrational energy to attract the life of your dreams. You need images that will really power you up and create a positive energy that you feel in every cell of your body.

There are Two Main Ways to Find the Right Images:

Online – This is the best resource for finding those awe inspiring images that will kick your Law of Attraction journey into high gear. Simply type in the search what you are looking for and select from the entire results for your perfect image. A great way to do this is by using Google images to narrow down the results to pictures alone. It makes the treasure hunt a lot easier than clicking through links. Save all of your images to a folder and then print them out. Make sure you have color ink to get the most visual appeal out of your images.

In Magazines – If you have a wide selection of magazines to choose from and don’t mind cutting them into pieces, this can be a great way to find exactly what you are looking for. It might take a little more time, but it is a lot of fun. Bring out the collection of dusty magazines or ask for the old copies that others are throwing away. For those that have the cash to spare, try investing in a few specific types of magazines based on the images you want. Travel and automotive magazines are always a great place to start.

Add Positive Affirmations to Boost Effectiveness:

When you finish getting all of your images together for everything on your list, it’s time to boost their effectiveness with positive affirmations. For each image you want to include on your vision board, write down something short and to the point. You want it to affirm those things you want are on their way to you. Use the present tense as if they are already becoming part of your life.

Some Examples of Positive Affirmations Include:

  1. I travel to Los Angeles and enjoy a career in film and television
  2. The person of my dreams is coming into my life
  3. I am excited about getting my dream car
  4. I easily attract money like a magnet
  5. I am more physically fit and attractive with each passing day
  6. Every step I take brings me more success in my acting career

Each positive affirmation can be catered to your own personality. Get creative with it and add some humor, spirituality or inspiring quotes. Whatever makes you feel like nothing is stopping you from achieving all of your goals is what you should include. You can print the words out on paper and cut them out or get in touch with your artistic side and do your own bubble letters – whatever works best for you.

The Finishing Touches:

After you have finished cutting everything out, arrange everything so that the most important things are at the focal point, then place everything else around those. This can be done on a piece of poster board, magnetic surface or on a cork board. For a more permanent vision board use the poster board. If you are the kind of person that changes their mind often, use the magnetic surface or cork board. That way you can easily replace things as they are achieved or if you decide you want something else.

Glue, magnetize, or pin each image in place and take a step back to admire your masterpiece. It might not sound like much at this moment, but when you have it all finished and you are looking at it, you’ll know the great power it truly has over your positive energy level. With every look you will automatically recharge that motivation for maximum Law of Attraction magnetism.

How to Get the Most Out of Your New Vision Board:

Your vision board is complete and it looks amazing. However, if you don’t know how to use it you might as well have done it all for nothing. So though this is the very last step to creating a powerfully effective vision board, it is the most important step of all. You’ll need to make it work for you.

Here’s How:

1. Place it somewhere that you will see it daily. Make it a priority to just look at it without distractions for 5 minutes or so throughout the day. Set an alarm or work it into your break time. Just make sure you set aside at least 15 minutes daily.

2. Believe that every single thing on your vision board is a part of your life and that it is all on the way right now.

3. Imagine yourself as if you already have everything you see. Let the details of having what you want fill your mind and really feel what it’s like to live that life. Think about how grateful you feel for each and every one of those things.

4. Carry this feeling of certainty and happiness with you throughout each situation on a daily basis and watch as your reality transforms to match that of your vision board.

It’s amazing, it works and I have experienced this many times myself!  When all of your dreams have come true, be sure to practice gratitude for everything you have. If you feel really ambitious, set new goals with another vision board to lead the way!