I was watching a talk presented by the badass Mel Robbins.
She’s new to me since a ninja shared this quick interview at our Self-Management for Actors Facebook group a couple o’ months ago.
Aside from the fact that I’d like to see her attribute quotes she tweets (yeah, the J-school gal in me *really* dislikes lack of attribution… especially from a best-selling author… whose interest in BEING attributed should drive her awareness of the importance in attributing what she shares), Mel’s pretty freakin’ brilliant and I’m realizing the more of her stuff I consume that she’s definitely speaking my language (hence my awareness when she’s not attributing; *I* looked up who said the things I shared before sharing them. When I see her NOT attributing the EXACT same shares, I get stabby, because I know how easy it was to discover the source of the quote).
OMG, NOT THE POINT!
Let me push that soapbox outta the way. 😉 Not sure how it got here.
Anyway, one of the coolest things I saw her talking about last week is something I’m moved to share with you because OMG it’s so *big* when you think about it.
We rob ourselves of support, as creatives.
I mean… by a lot.
Here’s the example Mel shared — and I’ll try not to get emotional while typing this because, seriously, it moved me to see it.
There’s this kid on a highdive platform. We can see him up there, shivering. Yes, because he’s wet and cold but mostly because he’s nervous as hell. He’s many feet in the air and he’s gotta clear that platform, go hurtling toward the water, and make it look great. Oh, and not die.
Okay. We’re there, right? We can see this.
We can feel the nerves, the exhilaration, the anticipation… all of it.
And off to the side behind this kid, there’s a coach.
This coach has been working with him for months if not years. He knows the exact things to say to best support this young athlete. He knows not only the technical elements of what’s about to happen but also the exact kinds of words that will motivate and inspire this highdiver to reach deep within while he’s so scared, get in touch with that part of HIM that knows he *can* do this, and then leap.
There is no lack of support, encouragement, and 10,000-hours-level experience woven up in this single person who stands by at the most crucial moment this kiddo can imagine has ever existed. Because at this moment, this IS all there is. “Clear the platform; don’t die.”
Of course, you’ve felt like this.
You’ve felt like this as you’ve walked into the audition. You’ve felt like this as you’ve clicked SEND on that email submission to a new agent. You’ve felt like this many times over in your creative career and while you may stay in a craft class so you’re regularly working out, building those muscles, and learning how to settle yourself down before a performance… how often are you partnered up with someone like an acting coach for your creative BUSINESS?
At a performance, you’ll have an entire audience cheering to let you know at curtain call that you did a great job. After an agent meeting, how often do you have immediate feedback if you want to bounce off someone, “And then he said…” to find out what that might MEAN?!?
Back to Mel’s example of the child-diver on the platform, coach nearby.
She said, essentially, when we’re young, we rarely take on new endeavors — or even not-so-new ones that are high-stakes — without people surrounding us, cheering us on, encouraging us, even quietly inspiring us by letting us know we’re not alone.
Yet so much of the time in our adult lives, we rob ourselves of so many levels of support that could be valuable! We may enroll in acting classes and we may hit an improv jam now and then, so there’s community to whom we’re connected when it comes to our craft, sure.
But by and large, creatives don’t connect with a network of fellow storytellers to jam about their brand, their targets, their show bibles. Actors aren’t getting together to practice their pitches, do some Brandprov, hold mock agent meetings. Brilliantly talented performers aren’t sharing feedback with one another on cover letters, talking about trends in the industry, and getting real about myths (like “stoppers” masquerading as “musts”).
YES THEY ARE!
Holy crap! As I’m nodding along to Mel’s talk going, “Yeah, we don’t give ourselves as much support as adults as we get when we’re young and new at things. It’s like all that encouragement just goes away…” I stop myself and go, “Wait a sec, Gillespie! What are you THINKING?!? Um… look *around* you!”
And I first did a quick inventory of my life: I have a team to help me run my empire. I have a crew of instructors who’ve helped me build my physical fitness over the years. There’s the naturopath, chiropractor, couples counselor, massage therapist, intuitive coach… um, yeah. I roll deep. When I decided to try Whole30 last year (resulting in — over the course of FIVE months — 55 pounds lost, 8″ down around my waist alone — um, hello!!), I knew I couldn’t do it without accountability so I created a Facebook group to help me learn and stay focused.
Of course, thinking of that Facebook group, I began thinking about THE big group… our thousands-of-members Self-Management for Actors Facebook group in which everyone from selected highest-tier coaching clients all the way through to a new member who just hours ago learned “there’s a book” that this group is focused upon… and realized that we’ve built exactly the kind of support system that Mel was saying we rob ourselves of, as adults.
This is what we’ve built!
I gather with SMFA masterminders regularly to do exactly the sort of focused work I just listed off as “By and large…” stuff we *don’t* do as creatives. Every day it seems I’m in a one-on-one with someone busting through blocks and creating new ways of framing some long-held beliefs about how this business of ours works. And as we enter the FINAL 100 days of 2017, I connect with these amazing people from all over the world who are putting in spectacular work with Get in Gear for the Next Tier — transforming their lives in just 100 days!
How does all this happen? Support. Encouragement. A never-before-attempted creative approach to the same old stuff that over time gets frustrating and confusing. Being of service. Two gives for every ask. Showing up and staying engaged!
If you’re reading this nodding along like, “Hell yes, mama, you are TOTALLY describing my world! I jam with ninjas regularly! I NEVER send out a cover letter without running it by my accountability buddy! My show bible team meets weekly to share data! I’m rockin’ the self-tape challenge like a rockstar and I check in with the group, my bestie, or you, Bon, at least weekly and if I don’t, I can *feel* the rust starting to show up on the joints,” then YAY! You *get* the power of connection. You *get* that we can’t go it alone and operate at our highest potential!
Even if we’re introverts, we’re social creatures by design and that feedback and connection is something we crave.
Now, if you’re reading this thinking, “Um… Bon… I don’t know. I checked in at that SMFA Facebook group. I’m not feelin’ it,” I’m gonna tell you you’re not doing enough. I’m gonna say you should consider brushing up on your fluency with SMFA here, then come introduce yourself (again) in the group, and ASK for what you need! If you say, “I need an agent,” don’t be surprised to have group members nudge you toward the homework that comes before such a basic statement FIRST. If you say, “I don’t know where to start,” know you’re not alone! (And read this.)
But lean into your community! Do so with the hashtag #SMFAninjas on Twitter or Instagram if you’re not a Facebooker. And if you’re into *none* of the social media, that’s okay too! People connect through the comments on my blog posts, at in-real-life and virtual meetups going on all over the world, and yes, with me for huddles about everything from numerology to walking the pressline for the first time and from Whole30 living to absolutely landing that hell-yes rep of your dreams!
Heck, it doesn’t have to be THIS community that supports you — although I’d argue there is NOTHING like the level of badassery swirling through our world here — but please, don’t try to go this career pursuit alone. It’s unkind to yourself to isolate. Give yourself the benefit of support.
Don’t step out onto that highdive platform alone.
It’s too scary and unnecessarily lonely.
At the very least, come join me for a Facebook Live broadcast at 2:30pm PDT so we can jam about creative ways to stay encouraged and supported in this creative career. Click through all the links above in prep. Bookmark things that intrigue you. Share this with a friend who could benefit from the buddy-up! It’s never to late to START.
Oh, and even if you’re only catching the replay on my YouTube channel, I do hope you’ll tune in, because I’m going to be sharing an announcement about a mini-course I’ve just spent the holiday weekend creating for members of The SMFA Vault… and that I’m making available as a BONUS for enrollment in the last Class of 2017 at Get in Gear for the Next Tier! It’s a mini-course exclusively designed to help you manage the DIPS in a creative career… so you always have the power to get your JOY back!
Phew! See? You’re not alone. Even if we’ve never met, I’m here for you.
So excited for our time together in a few hours! Let’s make the most of our connection… it’s such freakin’ powerful rocketfuel to the next tier!