Notice I didn’t title this “Stop Caring about What Others Think.” There’s a reason for that.
Even those of us who really care very little what others think will have moments in which we’ll feel a little ping of, “Ooh… that person has THIS (incorrect) opinion about me. That’s unfortunate.”
I’d like to get you closer to THAT little statement being about the most extreme thing you feel, when it comes to the discomfort of others’ opinions of you.
BTW, I ask if that sounds good not because I feel validated if you say, “Yes, Bon! That sounds GREAT! Let’s do that!” In fact, I’mma keep writing this whether you nodded your head, said aloud, “Yes, Bon! That sounds GREAT!” or stopped reading right there.
(See how I’m a living example of what I’m about to teach? Yeah! That’s the good stuff. I’d never ask you to try something I didn’t know first-hand can work.)
So, let me take you to an example from our Self-Management for Actors Facebook group. Over the weekend, an actor shared a screengrab of something her agent had posted up online. It was at best unprofessional, and at worst racist.
When confronted by clients and onlookers about the potentially offensive message she — as the representative of actors who fit all SORTS of breakdowns posted by casting directors — instead of apologizing for the misfire, doubled down saying essentially that diversity casting incentives make it hardest on Caucasian blonds.
* insert three thousand and twelve things I’d like to say at this point but will not *
The member of our SMFA Facebook group did exactly what we expect of our members, and that’s turn this shitshow into a teaching moment, a convo about what the most ninja thing to do is… when you find yourself at an ethical impasse with your agent in a very public way.
That’s lovely. That’s exactly how leadership works. It’s dispassionate about something that’s absolutely exhausting in its ability to fire us ALL up. Ready to discuss the logistical work that must be done in such a situation. And of course, the answer is — as always — if you know your NO line, when someone crosses it, you part ways. You stop doing business with them. And if something like this hasn’t crossed your NO line (for example, you find having *any* agent more important than being able to agree with your rep about the value in diversity casting incentives), you work the muscle of how to speak about the situation in a classic Brandprov workout. Because someone WILL ask about your opinion on hot topics in this business and you’ve gotta be ready to speak on-brand and in alignment with your values while keeping your head about you (unless losing your head is #SoOnBrand).
Welp, as all such conversations can do in big groups like ours, a little sideswiping started happening. Some passionate emotions got going in the comments. And I, as admin of the group, said to two members in particular, “TO YOUR NEUTRAL CORNERS.” They both were told not to post on the thread for a few minutes while they could cool off.
It was immediately after that that one of those two continued the fight with the other member and *then* turned his attention to me.
Oh, sugar. That’s soooooooooo not a good idea.
See, because I’ve got a community to take care of. And when you shit on the rug in my house during a party I’m hosting, I’ll ask you to clean up after yourself or take a seat while we do some clean-up. If you then proceed to yell at ME for being the responsible homeowner? You get evicted.
Zero emotion. Simply proper allocation of my energy expenditure. I have no time to invest in jaggoffs who wanna come at me on the internet. I’m creating things and investing in people who make this business — and this planet — a better place. You’re a distraction.
Once upon a time, I would’ve spent valuable brainspace going back and forth about how to handle this situation. Do I lock the thread? Do I boot both people involved? Do I post an admin announcement about our group’s rules and how to follow them — even though the vast majority of folks in our group do very well with following the few guidelines that frame our community experience? Do I go out of my way to make sure that everyone knows the full story of everything that happened both publicly and privately? Do I do whatever it takes to set the record straight in case this person is out there talking about how he got booted from my group because he had a different opinion from me? (By the way, on that? I never even shared my opinion on the little side-topic fight he was looking to have, so were he interested in saying I disagreed with him, he would have no evidence of that… which would be the kind of thing that once upon a time I’d want to get really clear about, out there in the world, in case he was telling people lies about me.)
Once upon a time, I apparently could easily be distracted from taking my eyes off the prize for my true purpose in this business and in this life of ours.
The *new* form of mental masturbation — and this one is pretty meta — is trying to figure out HOW I’ve evolved. Is it aging? Is it maturing? Is it having upped my “Big Ol’ 5”-ness to the extreme? Is it sobriety? Is it Abraham-Hicks? Is it having built a muscle I’ve worked out consistently over time?
The truth of the matter is, it doesn’t MATTER *what* it is that has made it so I spend next to NO time worrying about what others think of me anymore; the beauty is that I don’t… and that room in my brain, that time, that energy, that emotion is sooooooooooooooooo much more brilliantly spent on things that actually make a difference in my life and in the lives of others.
What I know for sure has made a difference — and what I’d like to ask you to start with if you have a strong muscle for caring about what others think, worrying about what they’re saying about you, concerned that there’s some “wrong” out there about you that you have to hunt down and make right with all the accuracy of what actually happened — is appreciating more.
Flat-out finding something about which to be thankful, grateful, appreciative. Without judgment.
So, back to the example of the dude I booted from our group for coming at me after I said “cool off” to him. Should there be any drift-in of emotion about whether or not he’s out there saying, “That Bonnie Gillespie can’t take it! I disagreed with her POV and got kicked out of her group!” the response in my mind is, quickly, “OMG, I am sooooooo grateful that this random stranger’s misbehavior gave me a low-stakes opportunity to show thousands of other members that I *will* protect them if someone comes at them after having been given a warning not to do so.” That gratitude for the chance to display leadership while making my ninjas feel safe to discuss something that — in other places all over the internet — got WAY more heated and flat-out mean, reinforced the community we’ve built, the professionalism with which we can handle emotional issues, and raised everyone’s optimism for finding a solution to the ACTUAL topic at hand.
Interestingly enough, just last week I got my advance galley copy of Shawn Achor’s Big Potential. (Pre-order your copy here.) Holy hell, I’m in love. I’ve been posting about it all over Instagram and even did a private Facebook Live event for graduates of Get in Gear for the Next Tier in the DOJO. In fact, I thought there were so many good tips in this jam session when it comes to the value of a community on creating more happiness and success that I decided to upload the replay to YouTube and share it with y’all.
The action item for you today — especially if you care too much about what others think and are wasting precious brainspace on it AT ALL — is to find something about which you can be grateful, thankful, appreciative. Without judgment for what went wrong, what’s fair and what’s not fair, what’s true and what’s not true… just straight-up gratitude, outright, for something. Find it.
And also find your way over to your free SMFA Hot Sheets (please be sure you’re using the right email address to log in) because I’ll be uploading the NEW SMFA Show Sheet (it was 23 pages, last update… cannot WAIT to share the changes in what’s casting and what’s in development this time out) right in time for our free SMFA Tune-Up call Wednesday! Not signed up? Fix that right here! (And if you’re signed up, you’ve already received email confirmation of that fact and — hooray — what fun we will have together!)
I’m sure we’ll talk all about the — OMG, zero shock whatsoever — “shocking” things going on in our industry lately and of course I’ll answer your questions, so come ready to be badass in squeezing so much goodness from our time together! Can’t wait!
Here’s to your newly reallocated energy going toward things that really matter! That’s, BTW, *not* what others think (about ANYTHING); it’s about what you’re here to create and how you’re meant to change the world for the better with your storytelling brilliance.
Align with those who can help make that happen! We’re easy to spot. You vibrate differently in the presence of those with whom you can make the most magic. Seriously, watch the vid about Big Potential (here) for some awesome science to back that ish up!
And so are you. 😉 “See” you on the call!