Please do not be cynical…. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get, but if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen. I’m telling you, amazing things will happen. — Conan O’Brien

There are very few “for sures” in this industry. Some of them are that you will get dropped, get edited out, be left on the cutting room floor, not be cast when you’re told you’re the best, be effed over, be used. It’s just business. And folks who take business personally live in bitterville. Or at least spend a lot of time wondering “why me” and calculating how to “get back at” those who “did them wrong.”

Sugar, don’t.

That’s the best advice I can give you: Just don’t.

Life is too big and this business is something you have invested yourself into for the long haul. I mean, isn’t it? Obviously, it’s your choice, but what I’ve observed in working with actors for a few decades now is that there are two types of ’em: those who are results-oriented and those who are relationship-oriented.

Guess who “wins.” Guess who gets the career they’re craving. Guess who lives their dreams. It’s the folks who not only treat relationships as precious and gigs as “just things,” but those who also treat the ego smackdowns with grace.

And that’s a choice.

My husband (who is only occasionally brilliant) is known in our circle of friends and colleagues as saying, “There are not good things or bad things that happen to you in life. There are only things that happen, and the grace with which you deal with them.”

I love that. I live by that.

Apparently Conan O’Brien does too.

I’ll be honest. I never watched Conan O’Brien host The Tonight Show. (I’m a Craig Ferguson kind of gal.) I also never watched Jay Leno host whatever that show was at 10pm. I like the good old-fashioned episodic drama in the 10pm slot, so that’s what I watched (or TiVoed) for the past season. But, of course I kept up with the drama that was the end of Conan-as-host of The Tonight Show and the return of Leno (ugh) and that means I tuned in for Conan’s last hour on NBC.

For those who didn’t see it, please check out the farewell monologue video and/or read the “goodbye speech” that is being quoted all over the Internet. *raises hand* I quoted it too.

What I was inspired by was Conan’s grace.

Grace. Pure grace.

We get so many opportunities to show our true feelings, to yell about injustice, to rally our fans to support us when we’ve been wronged. And when we choose, instead, grace, we show our future employers that we’re not gonna make them look bad if (when?) they screw us over. We’re just gonna play it out in appreciation. We’re gonna be grateful for the opportunity we’ve been given.


So, take a look at the opportunities you’ve been given during which you can choose grace. Communicate with others about your status in a way that makes everyone know you’re someone they’ll want to work with in the future, regardless. Because we’re always hustling for our next gig. Shouldn’t that be enough reason to choose grace when we’re faced with a challenging moment on our last (for now) gig? Even more importantly, it’s what makes us better people. And that leads to more gigs, ever, anyway. I treasure that. Think about it. So should we all. Because we’re always going to be moving on. Why not with grace? Why not?

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

Originally published by Actors Access at Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.

(Visited 137 times, 1 visits today)


  1. Kenna September 18, 2015 at 9:14 am

    amazing article Bonnie, thank you so much! Something I will always keep with me now and hope to practice grace in all moments.

    1. Bonnie Gillespie September 18, 2015 at 11:38 am

      How wonderful, Lenka. I think GRACE may be one of my favorite words!


Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.