Fail Forward

The Actors Voice
by Bonnie Gillespie
week of August 17, 2015

Originally published by Actors Access at http://more.showfax.com/columns/avoice/archives/002015.html. Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.

Your Turn

Bons, I’m bummed.

Yeah, it’s hot out. My car has no A/C. I’m running all over town hitting classes and workshops I can’t afford. I’m not getting great feedback. I’m definitely not booking. I kinda wanna be done.

But I know better. I know this business is cyclical. I’ve read your stuff on staying the course and I know this is just a temporary condition. Frankly, while I’m in it, it sucks though.

So, give me a new peptalk. Before I lose my shit.

Thanks. Jules.

Girl. I feel you. Of course I do. You know I’ve written about this over the years as you’ve been here with me for all of it and it’s just the nature of the beast. Sometimes we’re gonna get fatigued by the pursuit and we’ve gotta find ways to give ourselves our own peptalks.

Here’s mine, and it’s short: “Fail Forward!”

It’s simple. We’re gonna fail sometimes. There’s no question. No one on this planet has ever NOT failed.

But for me, there’s the difference between that failure that lands you on your tushy unable to get yourself out of some quicksand and the failure that lands you on your tippy-toes, still able to reach up and grab that next rung of the ladder one more time, in case THAT reach makes the difference.

So, when you’re feeling down, when you’re feeling over it, when you’re feeling as if you didn’t do your very best — ask yourself whether you landed ass-down in the sticky stuff or if you failed forward. Because failing forward always feels better than getting (and staying) stuck.

And let’s be clear: Staying stuck is a choice. Fail forward. Land on your toes ready to launch into your next leap. Keep doing that. Eventually, the heatwave will break, the feedback will improve, and the bookings will come. Because they always do. But don’t make it about that. Make it about sticking around long enough to know these patterns repeat.

And make ’em mean less each time they do. πŸ˜‰ You’ve got this, girl!


Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Follow Bonnie on Twitter, circle up at Google+, subscribe at YouTube, download THE WORK podcast at iTunes, or hit “like” at the Facebook. For cool weekly emails from Bon and a free MP3, opt on in. Looking for Self-Management for Actors coaching? START HERE! Yay!

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