I remember getting up every morning to walk during my first-ever 100 day challenge. Oprah had done her book and video series with Bob Greene and in it was this great phrase I used to remind me to just keep showing up for the work:

“Discipline comes from doing it.”

Even as I transformed my bod, dropped out of my PhD program, sold everything I owned on eBay, and moved back to Los Angeles to give acting one more shot, I never understood the “two-a-day” types.

A “two-a-day” person is someone who hits the gym not once but twice in a day. Because somehow one workout isn’t enough.

*blink* *blink* *blink*

Back then — and heck, even up ’til a few months ago — I saw those who would go out for workouts twice a day as unhealthily obsessed. I would wonder why they’d torture themselves. Why they’d voluntarily punish their bods. Why they’d feel the need to put their tired bodies through all that pain and stress and sweat for such disproportionately low gain.

And then last year I changed what I put into my body… and then my body changed… and then I changed my relationship with my body… and then I changed my mind about “two-a-days.”

Because now I see fitness as a celebration of how great it feels to be in this physical form. It’s not punishment. It’s not torture. It’s a party for physiology that is having a BLAST being pushed to its limits and then going just a little bit farther than anyone thought possible.

Now, I’ve said before that I believe money is a byproduct of success (not what defines success). So often on this Whole30 journey, I’ve looked at my incredible shrinking bod and thought, “This is not the result of working hard or torturing myself or depriving myself or anything negative. THIS is the result of my finally having gotten so clear on what my WHOLE self has been begging for — of my finally LISTENING to myself — making it virtually impossible for anything less than excellent health to stick around.

My weightloss is not the reason I feel so great; I started feeling so great that my body naturally leaned into this state and started thanking me for listening.

And as I thought about how this parallels the whole money-success thing, I realized that looking great is a BENEFIT of feeling so spectacular that I listen to and celebrate my body… it wasn’t and isn’t the goal.

Hmm… it’s sort of like what I say about the importance of focusing on booking the room vs. booking the job, isn’t it? When we focus on a result (making money, losing weight, booking a job), we lose the joy inherent to the process itself. And in a joyless pursuit, the “result” we want never comes.

When instead we focus on the process (being blissed out by what we do every day, nourishing ourselves with only foods that resonate with our bodies’ non-addicted cravings, booking the room by building a fanbase everywhere we go) irrespective of some RESULT, holy crap, wouldn’t you know it? The result follows.

This is that whole “don’t need the job and you’ll book it” thing… but it’s not about how we can game the system into *believing* we don’t want it when we really really really do. 😉 It’s about really loving what we’re doing. And letting that be enough. Period.

It’s the, “If I had a bajilliondy dollars, what would I keep doing with my time and energy?” question. Because anything you’re doing NOW that you’d stop doing if you were sitting on a sofa made of money is something you should probably do a whole lot less of way before you have the bajilliondy dollars as an incentive. And if you so love performing that you’d do it no matter what — if you never booked a gig, never made a tier-jump, never saw your name in lights — then you may actually see those “results” come because you’re in the right place for doing the work FOR THE JOY OF IT.

See, when I hit a certain fitness level recently, I found myself wanting MORE than just my three 90-minute pole fitness classes per week. While those are awesome and fun and challenging and exciting and all that jazz, I felt myself wanting to celebrate my body in different ways. So I checked out Pilates. And after a couple o’ classes on a mat and on a reformer, I was all in with — *ahem* — let’s just say a schedule now FILLED with either pole or Pilates almost every damn day. And coming up here soon, I have a few “two-a-days” to look forward to.

And I do! Look forward to them!

Why? Because it’s not anything I’m doing to try and become something I’m not; it’s something I’m doing to celebrate exactly what I am right this hot second. It feels GOOD to have *different* sore muscles and to breathe more deeply and to find that something I’m doing with Pilates makes a pole flip more precise than ever before in more than five years of working at it. And next up, I’ll finally be taking that trapeze class I’ve been fantasizing about for years!

That’s joy, y’all!

Because I’m doing exactly what I’d be doing if I had reached some “ideal weight” the same way I’d be coaching creatives and leading lovely actors all over the world to a more empowered creative journey even if *I* were sitting on a sofa made of money. Which is why I make a spectacular living doing what I do! I’m not in it for any “result” of money any more than I’m into fitness for any “result” of thinness.

The “result” I want — always — is a whole hell of a lot of joy being surrounded by people I’m crazy about doing things that are super creative and fun and challenging and leaving every encounter feeling somehow improved for having had the experience.

Y’know… growth and stuff.

So, what does this have to do with you?

Well, see, I’m working with brilliant creatives who have gone from NEVER self-taping to having a badass home studio they let others come over to use. And who’ve gone from knowing they SHOULD keep up a show bible to meeting up with a team of other ninjas to update their community show bible together once a week. From being filled with anxiety and self-doubt to absolutely knowing they’re exactly where they’re meant to be, living their dreams TODAY.

Every single day I help people go from the equivalent of believing those who work out twice a day are obsessed to occasionally scheduling their own “two-a-day” workouts because it feels so damn good just to move!

I help them GET to the place where celebrating what they’re capable of (proactively self-taping for targets and getting the footage seen, mastering a show bible and building up encyclopedic knowledge about their buyers, walking into every room with the knowledge they have a storytelling gift to share and it doesn’t matter what the recipient of the gift does with it) becomes the reward.

And amazingly, when we live in a place of celebrating what we’re capable of, OTHER rewards show up too. Like bookings. Like weightloss. Like being so freakin’ in love with the creative pursuit that there’s a core of unshakable confidence once and for all.

The other day on Twitter, someone congratulated me for enjoying the results of all my hard work. I corrected him. “This has never been hard.” And I mean that!

When it was hard was when I *wanted* to lose weight and couldn’t. When it was hard was when I was totally unhealthy and desperately wanted to change but couldn’t stick with anything that made a difference. When it was hard was when I would leave pole class crying because I was so frustrated at what my body couldn’t do but so totally wanted to do.

But when I decided I wanted to care more about how I FEEL than anything else and trusted that everything else in my life would get in shape once I got my FEELING setpoint sorted out, it stopped being hard. It’s like my whole world sat up and said, “By George, we think she’s got it!” and delivered on a silver platter things that had been just out of reach for decades.

Because I put in the work, yes. But I did it joyfully. I did it faithfully. I did it consistently. And I did it without expecting results to show up on a certain timeline — no matter what I saw happening for others. I did it because it felt good to imagine a future me who could have a different relationship with the situation than the then-me had. I kept showing up because I knew “it” would only get truly HARD if I gave up.

Basically, I had this mantra.

Tweet the words out.

And it works for fitness, it works for building a financial empire, it works for growing a storytelling career. There’s something right this second that you imagine will NEVER feel like a celebration you’d want to engage in twice a day that you CAN become “two-a-day” for with just a little refocusing. Whether it’s getting off-book with brand new rewrites you’re handed between scenes on the set, having to pitch yourself to total strangers who are deciding whether to invest ad dollars in your new series during upfronts, or having to strategize the next-tier representation move you’ll have to make because it’s time for you to get with The Bigs and you need to make a smart move here — all things you say, “Um, Bon?!? I’d LOVE to get to deal with those upper-tier problems” about, right? — the way you get to “two-a-day” status with any of those superfun versions of the workout is by showing up at least now and then for the versions of those exact same workouts that — right now — might be hard.

That’d be dusting off your memorization tactics with a commitment to the FREE 30-day self-tape challenge, practicing your Brandprov skills with ninjas in the SMFA Facebook group every day and then in person with folks once a month, and logging time on building your show bible as if your ability to make a next-tier deal depends on your understanding of the relationships you can start tracking right here and now. Yup. All do-able. All “showing up” for the PHYSICAL workout while you focus your ENERGY on getting so in love with the process, the journey, the pursuit itself that you mean it when you say you really would keep doing every bit of it even if you had all the money in the world tomorrow.

What workout for your creative career can you fall so in love with that eventually the idea of doing “two-a-days” with the work would be a dream come true rather than drudgery?

Better yet, share with me what you’ve previously felt was “too hard” but now is just a pleasure to take on, when it comes to your business, your life, your health, your… anything! Comments are open below! Lemmeknow what you’ve got brewing and how I can help celebrate you or of course support you if you still need a spotter with some of your workout. 😉

NEWS FOR NEW YORKERS! The other day, we made a totally quick decision (those are the BEST kind) to book a Self-Management for Actors trip to New York for September! Yup! I know, I’m always there in October (and October is out this year due to a secret wedding thingy some of those fancy showbiz friends of ours are having on some island somewhere) or in May and I just didn’t want to wait ’til May 2018 to visit my beloved NY ninjas again. So… it’s on! September it is! Grab your spot in my one-day Self-Management for Actors intensive right here! Alumni and private coaching clients? Shoot me an email to huddle about your options for time on my calendar. Cannot! Wait! 🙂

Everyone, be sure you’re hooked up with me on Facebook where I’ll be hosting another superfun Facebook Live broadcast on Friday! Not on Facebook? No stress! I’ll upload the replay to my YouTube channel for you to check out.

Finally, Game of Thrones fans — you’ll wanna check this out. If Kit Harington thinks Self-Management for Actors is worth a look, you *know* you’re on the right track. 😉 Thanks to my dear friend and ninja for texting me with this amazing bit o’ news!

Rock on, rockstars! Keep your fitness for this business on the right track! It may take years to see the results you crave, but that “discipline comes from doing it” line was right. There’s plenty you can do today that brings the alignment into focus so the JOY can bring the results (because chasing ’em never brings ’em around). And of course, lemmeknow how I can help. 🙂

All my love,

Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Wanna work with Bon? Start here. Thanks!

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  1. Mike Pusateri July 18, 2017 at 6:14 am

    So much great stuff in here Bon! I think a lot of it goes back to the most basic rule of improv, “yes and…” I’ve found that by finally saying “yes and” to myself and moving to LA, in other words by showing up, it opened up so many opportunities that otherwise would not have come my way. Both in my professional acting life and in my personal life. And many of these good things were completely unexpected. I think they came about largely because it was just about me being tuned in to what gives me joy as you talk about so compellingly in your post.

  2. Tara Wilken July 18, 2017 at 8:15 am

    Thanks Bon! Great piece as normal, however this one really struck a cord with me. Last week I was approached to speak at a health event. Which initially surprised me, but I still submitted topics to speak on. However she didn’t like any of them and only wanted me talk about weight loss goals and to focus individual sessions as a goal orientated weigh in. Even when I told her I wasn’t interested in only checking in with people to see what they weighed each week. She told me I had the skills to encourage people to lose weight. Which is true, I do, but to me, weight loss is about so much more than a weekly weigh in and I was struggling on how to wrap my brain around why she asked me in the first place and how to crystallize my thoughts. And you just wrote the prefect piece. Thank you!

  3. Bonnie Gillespie July 18, 2017 at 10:58 am

    God yes, Mike! So true! 🙂 I love that way of looking at this. Brilliantly stated and here’s to MORE “yes, and…” for your LA life and beyond! 🙂

    Tara, thank you! I’m so excited to get to be a little part of your health event talk. Please keep me posted on how it goes and HOORAY for a reframing of the tired old “weekly weigh-in” approach. You’re awesome! XO

  4. Sean July 18, 2017 at 11:11 am

    Welp, I have myself a flabby muscle. Actually, the way I’ve been missing workouts, it’s a wonder more muscles aren’t flabby, but the one I’m talking about is that of just freaking DOING stuff rather than thinking about it too much. I had a LOT of success when I wasn’t so insular. Did a lot of stuff. Wrote five books, got a master’s degree and guarded the Food n Booze room for Metallica. Because I didn’t THINK about it too much. So my thinker is overdeveloped and my DOER is underdeveloped. And, this is Biblical: to know what to do and not do it is stupid. And laziness leads to death. Those thoughts are actually in the Bible. And, referencing Rocky III, I did the worst thing a fighter can do: I “got civilized”. I got comfortable. I got stuck. Your post today did a LOT to remind me of that and to motivate me to be more balanced between thinking and doing, to get off my kiester and go. If you have an insights from folks who’ve been a similar position–who are comfortable but desperate to not be, who miss their joy–and have ripped themselves out of that slime pit of stifling comfort, I’d love to hear them (or any thoughts you have on this).


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