My first ever 100-day challenge was a very private and awesome one.
I — without telling ANYONE — made my plan to move (back) to Los Angeles working backwards from the end of 1998.
Busy. Active. Committed to a PhD assistantship producing a campus TV show after having earned a fellowship writing about the disparity between instructors and students using instructional technology. Dating. Happy… but not THAT happy.
And confronted by my high school bestie at our 5-year reunion. He said, essentially, “Every moment you’re NOT out there doing the acting thing, you’re pissing me off because your talent needs to be shared, and you’re not sharing it, and I watch those who are doing what you should be doing and I just wanna shake you.”
Shake me he did.
Shook me to my core.
My “age 28 epiphany” happened because of his spark. And I returned to Los Angeles better prepared to take it on… and very quickly to find I was NOT here to act; I was here to serve those who do.
But here’s the point of this post.
I had 100 days before I made the big move. I worked backwards from the day I wanted to GTFO of Athens, GA, and land in Los Angeles (technically, Sherman Oaks, which was a short-lived crazy-roommate sitch, but that’s also not the point).
One. Hundred. Days.
I was gonna return to LA as an actor. And here I was knockin’ on 200 pounds. Nope. That’s not a thing. Unless you’re 250+, you’re not gonna book. You’ve gotta be slimmer and OMG I had not weighed 150 since, oh, I don’t know, TENTH GRADE?!? Yeah, that’s right. I’m a big girl.
NOT APOLOGIZING FOR THAT.
But I set out on a “I’m gonna flip my life from 196 to 169 in 100 days” goal and it was such a big deal that it was posted on the door of my apartment — which was frequented by friends, students, suitors, and somesuch. No shame. I was putting it right out there on the door. I HAD A GOAL.
One. Hundred. Days.
And here’s what I knew.
EVERY day would include a walk. EVERY. DAY.
In the town that actually has an average rainfall similar to that of Seattle, but within DAYS rather than months, that meant there were days I got up at 5ayem and trucked my ass out before the sun came up (even on days when there would be no sun… only rain) and made that walk happen.
I’ll never forget the day my neighbor Sloan — who walked with me on all the sunny happy “we look sexy” days — was standing in her doorway, coffee in hand, as I hoofed it back up the stairs, drenched from rain, a wet rat of a speed-walker, having done my duty. She said, “Dayum, girl. You could’ve called today OFF. No one would even know.”
And I said, “Hon, I love you. But this is between God and me.”
THAT was everything.
I’m not even — technically — a “God” person, so it may be strange for me to share this.
But I would walk, eventually jog, and one or two days RUN because I had made a deal. And the deal I had made was not with myself, not with anyone in my life, not with anyone in my FUTURE life… but with something bigger.
“This is between God and me.”
I would actually sing along to music I love, changing the lyrics to be about this commitment. Hell, here it is nearly two decades later and I still use those songs and those modified lyrics to keep me committed sometimes.
What I learned in all of this is that it’s great to be accountable for the stuff you want to make public — believe me, there’s a LOT I’ve made happen in the public eye and I don’t regret any of that.
But I also make a lot of things happen because I have a deal that’s deeper than any of that.
Whatever your center may be, whomever your checkpoint is, this is my advice: MAKE A DEAL WITH YOURSELF and make it happen. Commit to whatever it is. 100 days, 10 days, 10 minutes… make it happen. And make it happen because you invest in YOURSELF.
Don’t make it about anyone else.
YOU are enough.