Hello beauties. Hope you’re hanging in there with all the cray going on. Keep breathing. Keep re-centering. Keep remembering that you are enough!
Today, I’m going to share a bit about one of my most effective superpowers, Baseline Criteria. I first codified this brilliance in 2018 and started sharing it with our members right away. Let me set the stage.
I’d been on bedrest, I’d weathered a hospital stay, my undiagnosable mystery pain was in charge of everything and we were about to head to Georgia for my father’s 85th birthday party. Because if I didn’t go, the family story would be “Bonnie didn’t show up.” And even if all I could do is be propped up against a wall doped up on painkillers, dammit, I was *gonna* show up!
But because by this time, we knew what I’m contending with is a mind-body healing journey — one that involves some deep diving into childhood trauma and maladaptive stress responses, doing heavy-duty reparenting and neuralpathway rerouting — we also knew there was no way to go into a room of 100+ people whose Trump-bumper-sticker SUVs filled the parking lot, be in the presence of the three people who’ve been cruelest to me my entire life, and NOT have a plan.
The plan became: Baseline Criteria.
There were three things I needed to do at this party.
1. Say “Happy birthday, Daddy.”
2. Catch up with my favorite aunt.
3. Check on my niece.
Everything else? Optional. Bonus Points.
When we realized that this Baseline Criteria could take as few as 20 minutes to complete, suddenly everything got super simple — something my physical, mental, and emotional health deeply needed — because this meant we could be DONE with this party for which we’re flying across the country, staying for five days, spending a few grand… in under a half-hour.
And that would be okay!
Of course, all these thoughts flooded in about what people would think if we were there for such a short period of time, what they might say, all the usual expectations-laden things that cause us to do things we may not actually be healthy enough to do… and there was such peace in knowing that there is complete freedom to feel DONE with everything once Baseline Criteria is achieved.
Like with everything.
Since realizing the power of Baseline Criteria a couple of years ago, Keith and I have used it before going to Hollywood networking events, I’ve used it in committing to being available for a bajilliondy Zooms, and he used it at Comic-Con during his film’s premiere last year! His Baseline Criteria was a great photo of the panel in which he participated with the Comic-Con logo all over the place. Once one of his cast members snapped that shot, everything else at Comic-Con was Bonus Points.
Because we’ve been teaching it in our flagship membership (Get in Gear for the Next Tier), we’re hearing many reports that lovely clients are using it in their auditions and during online rehearsals and for sure in contract negotiations. When I shared BC with a dear casting director friend of mine, she got SO excited to try it and has since reported in that it has revolutionized her commercial casting sessions!
Just last week, I had to get up before sunrise to attend an online mastermind. I was exhausted and really wanted to stay in bed, but I used Baseline Criteria to get me motivated (and with Mars retrograde, we need that extra something in that area). I set the BC of connecting authentically with one person during the Zoom. Someone whose enoughness *I* could see and feel; someone who indicated to me that I was being seen fully as well. A new business friend. That’s it!
Sure enough, within the first 45 minutes of the Zoom, I noticed the chat had reset itself to that “private message” indicator and this wonderful human I’d been really feeling had sent the note: “Love what you said about magnetism and repelling the wrong clients. That share was pure fire. Thank you.” I of course, wrote back that I enjoyed her insights on the hot seat that another masterminder was doing, and gave her my email address if she’d like to connect outside of this group. Boom. Baseline Criteria met… and the whole Zoom experience (start to finish) was more relaxed because I didn’t go INTO IT needing to *learn all the things* nor did I feel any sense of overwhelm about stuff I didn’t need to add to my entrepreneurial toolbox.
I had set BC for meeting someone wonderful and really connecting. That happened. Everything else? Bonus Points! And for me, right now especially, connecting with a new potential biz bestie is absolutely worth getting up early for.
Baseline Criteria. Let’s say it’s a year from now. You’re about to attend a premiere. You’re feeling extra introverted. You do all the smart Self-Management for Actors networking prep to be sure you’ve studied up on whom you’ll meet, you’ve practiced your Brandprov, and you’re even getting in a nap before the event. Now you revisit your Baseline Criteria.
It could be as simple as a photo of you in your on-brand outfit on the red carpet for you to add to your gallery at IMDb. It could be staying through the final credits to cheer when your friend’s name is on the big screen. Perhaps it’s being present for the cast and crew talkback/Q&A and you needn’t see the film at all, so you can chill about arriving on time and being around so many people. Or maybe there’s a particular agent whose eyes you’d like to catch (and then do all the follow-up later, virtually).
Whatever the Baseline Criteria is, set it. Set it as early as possible and watch it cause you to relax about what’s to come. It’s as if BY KNOWING we have permission to “call it done” once we’re at Achievement Unlocked status on our Baseline Criteria, we somehow have a far more pleasant experience before, during, and after whatever it is we’re facing.
I want you to try this. And I want you to notice where you start feeling the freedom that setting Baseline Criteria creates. When we’re super clear on what it is that we require from any encounter, experience, or exchange, it’s as though infinite possibility opens up for the space that USED TO be occupied by anxiety or dread… or even anticipation!
Let’s start living in BONUS POINTS, y’all. Because that’s what everything after Baseline Criteria turns out to be!
Have FUN with this deceptively simple superpower! If you’d like to share how this goes for you, comments are open just below. Let me hear from you! 🙂
Enoughness is an inside job… and sometimes you need a guide to find your way there. Let Bonnie Gillespie get you started.
Love love love this Bonnie! Gosh, this came at the right time! Always such goodness. I’m going to remember this in the weeks ahead…I’ve been having some (well lots) of anxiety with a certain coach and it’s getting to me. This coach is very tough on me. Some feel we do better under someone telling us everything we are not doing right…but not always! Ain’t for me. But I’m going to finish out my lessons and be professional. But this is going to be in my tool belt FOR SURE. So, thank you for this protection. 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻
Oh I’m so glad, Caroline. And I’m sad to hear about your coach-anxiety. Ugh. That sucks. I think right now in particular, a gentler approach is the way to go. It’s just got to be OKAY to go easy while so much is rattling our nervous systems right now.
Lemmeknow how it goes seeing the rest of your time with this coach as BC already met, and now it’s just Bonus Points in all sorts of magical ways. (And if there’s NOTHING good that comes from here, you have your Baseline Criteria met so it’s gonna feel less important to wring anything out of the rest of your time with this mismatched coach.)
Sending you love!
Thank you Bonnie…agree wholeheartedly and that is great advice. Something in my gut is telling me to try and finish out professionally the best I can. But this has not been easy. Agree—definitely a time to go easy on everyone. We never know other battles people are facing. Sending love and light to you always!
This is where I go, “Am I taking care of THEM or am I taking care of ME?” I’m pretty good at calling myself out on my own bullshit, so I know if I’m trying to bail on something rather than doing work that’s confronting or triggering (but necessary). As an upholder, when I decide it’s UNKIND — TO ME — for me to stay there, I allow myself to bail. If you’re an obliger, ask yourself if you’re trying to keep showing up so as not to let them down. Because if that’s the only reason you’re still going, there’s nothing professional about staying in an abusive situation once Baseline Criteria has been met.
Sending love and hugs, whatever you decide!
I love using BC! And bonus points come easier as well! And like the examples given above, it can be applied to any area of one’s life!
Grandma Jaye approves this message!
That’s right!! GMJ loves her BC!
Love this Bonnie and I so appreciate your vulnerability in sharing your journey! Super powerful. I look forward to consciously trying this out! What I can imagine is the freedom and dis obligation that would arise by reframing my/our experiences. We truly do create our reality! Peace and well wishes!!!
Of course! 🙂 I’m happy to share and I’m glad my examples help. Thank you for popping in!
This is awesome! Speaking as someone who has recently realized that “some” of my body injuries recently are the result of working with my therapist on old trauma, this hit just the right spot.
Thank you for always sharing your knowledge with others.
*smooch* You rock, Ann!
Yes!! This is the crossover operations x mindset content I love! It’s essentially the whole MOSCOW system (Must/Should/Could/Won’t) system in a palatable form for actors, the examples Bonnie gave were tangible and helpful. Love it!
Ooh, I’ve never heard of MOSCOW but that is a very cool list of things to label stuff with. Glad BC is resonating with you and that the examples helped you see it in play. I’d love to know where you’re using this and how it’s going!
I definitely got the wrong thing out of this, but honestly, it just feels like such a relief to read about the concept of baselines! I’m not even talking about serious stuff–I’m just thinking about the day-to-day monotony of Covid living. To have the freedom to look at my to-do list, pick out the minimum required daily activity, and then make everything else a bonus for that day sounds so refreshing.
The monotony is exactly when BC is its best, for me! Seriously tiny things… good lord do we need that level of a win multiple times every day right now. 🙂
I love this! I use a similar approach in my biz called Minimum Viable Product (MVP) that goes hand-in-hand with the “ship at 80%” rule. It frees me up from over-doing and over-thinking (which I do way to much #capricornammiright?
I hadn’t though of applying this to social and networking now too. Thanks for the inspiration!
Oh, yay!! Yes, when we were naming it, MVP was one of the names we played with but BC is just so much more BASIC somehow. And by making it criteria, it’s as though we don’t have to go through something we cannot come up with good Baseline Criteria for, right? Lemmeknow how you do with this, socially and in networking!
This is brilliant. Love the idea that we set the baseline for our investment of time and energy. LOVE this idea, cannot thank you enough!
I’m so glad this is helpful, Bill. 🙂 It’s been so valuable in our lives, I have to share.
LOVE this! Feeling exhausted today and I have a show tonight – definitely need to figure out my BC. I’ve heard the concept called “base minimum” before and that did NOT jibe well with this recovering perfectionist! Done IS better than perfect.
Beautiful! I’m excited to hear what your BC was for your show. 🙂