A few weeks ago I asked asked you guys on my IG what your biggest fears were. The answers you shared absolutely blew me away. Firstly because you were so incredibly honest with me on social media and most of us have never met. And secondly because your fears were so passionate and raw. And so very many of us had similar concerns.
Of course there were the occasional “audition flubs” or “totally screwing up on set” kind of fears. Stuff that is akin to that dream where you realize half way through a presentation or walking the halls at school that you’re naked. But the major ones were these:
Over and over again I read these iterations of the same fears. Ones I have thought constantly in various levels at different times in the last ten years. Hell, maybe even longer as I was probably worried about this in college theater classes too. And I think they have fucked me.
Why? Because I have made them such a part of me that I let my fears make decisions in my career and in my art. Since these thoughts were always at the forefront of my mind, when I did “finally get an audition” I would instantly think it was complete trash, perhaps a self submit, and not do it any justice (please note I have booked a ton of amazing shit on self submits). Or I would think it was so damn important because the idea of not getting an audition was something I spent so much time stressing about. And instead of embracing it as a chance to do what I love, I would stress hard about how desperately I needed it to move up in the pretend ladder of my career (I will never actually succeed) and that informed a lot of my choices to do it the way I thought it was needed, not as a talented actor and creative person, but as I thought it was needed to get booked. Needless to say…that didn’t work.
And then when it came to scarcity in my finances, I would go to work in a shit-mood because I lost yet another “chance” thinking that I was doomed to working this “terrible job” for an eternity (the uncertainty) because I would probably never get a good-paying acting job (I will never actually make it).
Now, this story would have a hell of a lot more impact (and get more views) if I had become wildly successful in a matter or weeks or months from changing this mindset. I probably wouldn’t even be writing it myself but instead answering questions from a reporter on a red carpet. But I am here to tell you I will be doing that. Maybe not today, but soon. And it all starts with changing the way I view my fears.
Over a year ago I realized (after about a month of crying in intervals) that I was literally my own worst enemy. Sure, I was training constantly, keeping up with shows, and all the various “homework” needed to qualify as a working actor. I had reps. I had a self tape set up. I thought I was ready for whatever was needed. But inside I was so scared. Maybe it was being 31, or seeing friends book huge life-changing roles, or maybe it was just a funk I had dug myself. Whatever the case, I could not get out of my own head and the endless loop of my fears.
If you’re holding on tight right now for the seamless step-by-step instructions on how to fix this in yourself, I shall roll credits on the title of this article: You’re doing just fine. That is what helped change my game. Yes, I studied how to be grateful and all that, but I bet half of you reading this are the proud owners of a gratitude journal…and yet you still have these feelings all the time. And I am not saying I have removed them from my life, of course these thoughts/fears still pop up. But I am willing to wage a war against them in my head now…because I know I will be waging the same war for the remainder of my time in this career. Realizing I am doing just fine and I am doing the best I can has opened doors for me. Sure, sometimes an irrational fear will still pop in but I am ready to take it to paper and combat it with evidence.
If there is one thing I am learning from interviewing over 120 actors on the podcast at this point, it’s that success comes when prep and timing coincide. So if you’re already taking care of the things you can control, can you accept that you’re doing the best you can? What doors would it open up for you if you could? Sure, maybe innocuous things at first, like you’d have a chiller/lighter attitude going to work because you’d know that it’s only a matter of time before you may not need to work as often. Or maybe you could start to see the fun in your acting class doing the occasional odd role that isn’t something you’d get an audition for but is still a blast to do. If the very least you get out of this mindset is a little more happiness, isn’t that a fucking awesome place to start?
And if you’re worried that being happy, less stressed, or not as fearful will take away from your hustle or drive, I can assure you the opposite is true. There is a reason why “work begets work” is a saying that is used so often in this business. Your work will be better, calmer, and more intentional. I guarantee it. So take this post as an intentional step from yours truly to say out loud how much this has helped me (because I am very sure you will be witnesses to it changing my career over the next few years) and perhaps it could help you too.