Don’t Come to Me for Advice

Just kidding.

Actually, I’m not.

I find advice is overrated. It’s a sure way to learn someone else’s limitations for the situation YOU are facing.

Someone without your resources, without your wit, without your smarts, without your talent… um, what does it matter what THEY would do if they were in your situation right now?

It’s an opinion.

That’s all advice is.

Here’s what I prefer to share — and to receive when *I* find myself in a situation that I feel I need to crowdsource a little bit — an experience or two I’ve had when in a similar situation, what *I* chose to do, and what the consequences were.

You may be thinking, “Yeah, Bon… that’s the same thing.” But it’s not.

I mean, if I look to my peer group, my pace cars, and my role models, most of them have been through things similar to (uncannily similar to) what I’m facing at any given time. And when I go to them, I don’t ask, “What would you do…?”

I say, “I noticed you recently faced such a challenge in growing your team. How did you navigate this particular issue?”

Notice the components to this.

  1. I know this person has been through something similar.
  2. I like how it looks like it turned out (at least from the outside).
  3. I know our situations aren't identical, but perhaps their success leaves clues for mine.

Let’s play this out for you.

You hate your reel. You know you need better footage. You don’t want to shoot your own short (no matter how many times I encourage you to do this — for the IMDb credit, for the union eligibility, for the relationship-building, for the festival exposure, for the freakin’ on-brand footage totally within your control). So you’re considering hiring a company that does reel shoots for you. (This is my favorite, by the way.)

You fling up a post in our Self-Management for Actors Facebook group saying, “Hey. Should I shoot with one of those reel facilities?”

*crickets*

Or worse. A bunch of people who don’t know you, don’t know your tier, don’t know your targets — many of whom have never considered shooting their own footage or hiring it out — sharing highly opinionated thoughts about why this won’t work. Or will work. Or what they once heard some rando say at a workshop that one time. Or whatever.

You may end up more confused than you started out!

This is why the way you ask for advice is one of the most important parts of getting good guidance. Seek out someone who has been through it. Observe whether you perceive the way things turned out for them to be pretty positive. Then ask how they decided what to do when in a similar situation. Repeat. Then line up the data you’ve amassed and make an informed decision that feels GOOD.

And that’s backed up by experiential knowledge rather than theory.

When you come to me for advice, what I *always* encourage is that you look into what the data is showing you. If you insist that I tell you what I would do, were I in your situation, you will find me exploring WITH YOU where you currently sit, where you hope to go next, and where you hope to get ultimately in this business and in life. And from there, I may draw an example from my own life that feels relevant at the moment.

But I won’t give you advice. 😉

For more on this, check out “Data Never Lies” for concrete examples of how to use the SMFA methods to know for sure what your next move should be.

And if you know you wanna jam with me and the team in August for a day filled with all things SMFA, there’s still room in our one-day intensive in Los Angeles and you can snatch your spot right here today!

(I’ll definitely share my thoughts with you, provide feedback, and give a ton of support and guidance. Advice? Not so much. It’s not worth that much anyway. It’s just an opinion after all.)

All my ninja 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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