I have approximately four hundred and seventeen things to share about these life-shifting few days I've just spent in Canada. I mean, whoa. This soulful entrepreneur retreat was everything I had hoped it would be and more.

So choosing exactly where to start with my takeaways is tough….

But I'm gonna lead off with a little something I've never shared — or, well, hadn't 'til this weekend — and that's why I do what I do.

See, one of the many circle-up-and-work sessions we had in our time together included sharing our why.

Here I am surrounded by lightworkers and healers and therapists… and, yes, a brand strategist, a travel photographer, and a restaurateur, but even those folks in the less woo-woo arts have really beautiful WHYs. They're healing the world.

Of course, I am too.

But I never talk about it because all anyone *really* cares about is that I can help them go from co-star to guest star billing, identify and land a next-tier agent, or once and for all help them embrace their most castable brand.

SOMETIMES they care about my #CreatingTheHollywoodWeWant initiative, but for the most part, it’s “get me that agent” and “get me that role” I’m hearing.

Because I've been conditioned to believe that talking about MY why is of zero impact when it comes to justifying that anyone should ever work with me, take my advice, or even read Self-Management for Actors to begin with, I've just sort of kept it quiet.

Until now.

As we went around the circle and explored the WHYs of these beautiful, inspiring, delightfully powerful women, I thought, "I'm gonna share it. I'm gonna get real about my motivation in every. single. thing. that I do with and for the creative community I'm here to serve. I'm coming out."

And part of coming out means really coming out, which is why you get to read these words now.

My work heals blocked artists. And this is important because blocked artists lack the ability to do their storytelling magic at the highest possible tiers, reaching the largest audience possible. And since the whole point of storytelling is to help others feel less alone, every storyteller's job is essential. Therefore, my work is a part of the healing process for the world itself.

Whoa.

I actually just put that in writing.

And I'm bracing myself for aaaaaalllllllllll the, "Who the hell do you think you are, monkey?!?" that comes from folks who may only value me for my ability to identify a brilliant target strategy or my keen awareness of the players in this business and their comprehensive histories. Folks who need me because I can steer them away from actor busy work or help them figure out their age range.

But this weekend, I got clear that the reason anyone needs me for any of the actual nuts-and-bolts of what I do is because YOU TOO understand that your work is important. YOU TOO get that your storytelling has the potential to heal the world as it makes others feel less alone. YOU TOO feel more connected to your purpose (and why you chose to be a storytelling creative to begin with) when you are able to have your greatest reach, connecting with those who most need inspiration, entertainment, or just a silly laugh to get through the day. And YOU TOO know that when you're blocked — whether that block takes the shape of not having the right rep, having money blocks, not getting out commercially, feeling disconnected from your True North, or not being clear on your primary type — you're less effective at living out your WHY: Telling the stories you were born to tell.

So, that's why my WHY is important. That's why I'm a healer. And that's why I've been shifting away from hiding medicine in the ice cream and toward revealing that the medicine *is* the ice cream. 😉

Phew.

And so it is.

Thank you for letting me share this with you. I wish you so much inspiration and joy and clarity as you navigate about your storytelling journey. Your work is so fucking important!

That means mine is too.

So let's get to it! There's so much ahead for us all!


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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16 Comments

  1. Catherine Campion August 15, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    Yup, you summed up my career in one sentence: I’m a STORYTELLER for HEALING.

    ~Amen.

    Reply
  2. Bonnie Gillespie August 24, 2017 at 11:24 am

    Isn’t that a wonderful framing? 🙂 Yay! Keep telling those healing stories, Cat!

    Reply
  3. Shannon Cox November 23, 2019 at 11:29 am

    I think this just changed my whole life forever. Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Bonnie Gillespie November 23, 2019 at 1:10 pm

      I’m so glad that you landed here. 🙂 Our work is important. Stay inspired, Shannon!

      Reply
  4. Lynne July 3, 2020 at 3:30 pm

    THis is so wonderful. You just helped me clarify why I have been feeling lost and struggling!! Thank you so much. You never know when your actions or words make a difference, yours’ just did!

    Reply
    1. Bonnie Gillespie July 3, 2020 at 4:51 pm

      I’m so glad you landed here today, Lynne. {{{hugs}}} Keep creating! 🙂

      Reply
  5. Deborah Madick August 7, 2021 at 7:54 am

    This is beautiful. Dang it Bonnie! This is 4yrs ago and it’s as fresh, raw, real, and authentic as if you wrote last week. Truth. “The ice cream is the medicine.” ❤️

    Reply
    1. Bonnie Gillespie September 15, 2021 at 9:41 pm

      Thank you, sweet Deborah. Our work is healing work.

      Reply
  6. Anael June 28, 2022 at 7:06 am

    I’m reading this post (hell, probably rereading it) and it resonates so beautifully. Thank you for sharing, Bonnie.

    Reply
    1. Bonnie Gillespie June 28, 2022 at 2:16 pm

      Thank you, Anael. 🙂 I appreciate you reading it and letting me know it’s resonating with you today.

      Reply
  7. Tara Wilken June 28, 2022 at 6:01 pm

    Aww Bon! 💚 I know we’ve chatted about this privately before but your “ice cream” is the main reason I reached out to you initially. I saw your WHY– long ago. I’ve loved watching you embrace more openly your “why”. And so excited to see where you go from here. So much love you to you!!

    Reply
    1. Bonnie Gillespie July 7, 2022 at 10:13 pm

      Yessssssssssss. I love that we’ve been together so long and I LOVE how much you’re getting to see ME see what YOU saw long ago. 😉 So good. Love you!

      Reply
  8. Kathi Carey June 28, 2022 at 6:12 pm

    Beautiful then… necessary now. The storytellers will get us through. Always. And, of course, it’s my calling. ❤️❤️❤️

    Reply
  9. Sadé Grandberry June 30, 2022 at 1:38 pm

    Thanks for sharing that, Bonnie. I saw the title and you must be psychic. It was spot on and timely for how I’ve been feeling.

    I don’t know my why or maybe I’ve just lost sight of it. I’ve been feeling like quitting lately. Nothing satisfies me anymore. Everything seems pointless and meaningless and maybe that’s because I’ve lost sight of my why or maybe my why wasn’t strong enough from the beginning. Maybe I never really pursued my why.

    I feel like I’m just going through the motions and I’ve lost hope of any type of career blossoming. Maybe I’ve just gotten sick of all the no’s (102 in the last year and counting). I thought I just needed a better agent and more auditions but I got that finally and still haven’t seen any progress in my career and I guess I’m just sick of waiting to live my dreams. I’m questioning my talent and purpose and thinking maybe it’s just not meant to be. But I don’t know where that leaves me.

    I see everyone living their dreams or advancing their lives in some way, starting families, businesses, buying houses and mine seems like it’s at a stand still and I don’t really know how to move forward or why that can’t be me. I used to be so ambitious, optimistic, a dreamer, goal-oriented — but now I just feel unmotivated and lazy.

    But thanks for sharing your why with us. It is a beautiful, meaningful why that resonated with me. I certainly felt less alone reading about your journey to owning your why and will spend some time trying to figure out mine. I know some of my why has to do with exactly what you said about providing healing, comfort — a sense of belonging, community — and a feeling of being seen and heard through the use of storytelling. I’m just not sure how to do that or if I’ve ever done that.

    Reply
    1. Bonnie Gillespie July 7, 2022 at 10:12 pm

      There’s sooooooo much here, Sadé. Let’s try to unpack some of is (we can do more in the upcoming Get in Gear for the Next Tier call, too.

      Re: Whether you ever had your why figured out… can you look back at journal entries or work you’ve done with us about your ideal day or your True North vision? Anything there get you in the ballpark?

      Re: Feeling unsatisfied and ready to quit… honey, PLEASE know that a huge chunk of THAT feeling is just living through the TIME right now. It’s exhausting to pursue your dream with unflinching enoughness already… and then we layer on the spin-out of civilization as we know it and the revolution can make even the most fulfilling creative career feel like TOO MUCH. So give yourself a little breathing room to just be feeling like the world is a lot… and that has very little to do with you or your dreams, right now.

      Re: 102 NOs you’ve tracked… why are you tracking? And when you share, why is it “and counting,” as if you’re already rolling out the red carpet for the next NO rather than getting excited that each no brings you closer to the yes that statistically IS more likely to happen, each time a NO is added to the list? Be sure that tracking is GOOD FOR YOU right now. And if it is, and you enjoy the tracking, then get dispassionate about it. Using tracking that we enjoy doing to beat ourselves up about it is self-harm, and I won’t let you do that!! Be kind to yourself. It’s like weighing yourself and then being cruel to yourself for the number you see. Stop that. Either take it in as data (neutral) or stop tracking. Period.

      Re: waiting to live your dreams… why do you have to wait? Create your content. Build your project. Work with people who inspire you. DO STUFF. There’s no need to wait for ANYone or ANYthing to be able to make stuff happen. That’s a big part of the beauty of this business and being a creative storyteller! Just get to it!! 🙂 Definitely better use of energy than focusing on an agent or auditions. Do the work! The people will seek YOU out.

      Re: comparisonitis — you KNOW we don’t advise you look at others’ stories to compare, ever. Yes, look at your Pace Car, for tracking patterns. Yes, look to your Lighthouse Leaders out there, to know what’s possible. But why are you looking at everyone else’s dream-pursuing and deciding your life falls short? Live your life! So much of what you listed is BEYOND showbiz (starting a family, buying a house, creating a business) and you can do ALL OF THAT without your showbiz life having any change to it, at all. What are you waiting for?

      Re: feeling unmotivated and lazy… see the above about OMG the time we’re in. I’m full-on depressed, Sadé. I didn’t email my mailing list for MORE THAN A YEAR. I didn’t get out of bed for MONTHS. I have eaten NOTHING BUT SUGAR and I sometimes do nothing but play games on my iPad because I cannot — physically — do anything else. It’s not US. It’s the TIME. Give yourself space for that. Talk to your therapist. Journal. Allow the feelings! None of this will last forever.

      I love that you came to the conclusion that your WHY is also about healing and connecting and providing a sense of belonging and comfort to the collective. So… do that. 🙂 Write the script. Collaborate with others. Hit all of the content creation days in The 100 and do the content creator TRACK to get focused in The SMFA Vault! You’ve got this! You can connect with your WHY just by starting in on it.

      No need to wait for permission to live your dreams!

      Even in all of my depressed state, I’ve been able to take a look around and be so grateful for living the life of my dreams. Do I want it to be a less depressed version of itself? YES. And it will be. But not because I get an agent or book a project. 😉 Because eventually the revolution will be in the rear-view mirror and we’ll all have lived through something really huge… and we’ll have LOTS of stories to tell about it. And until that day, sometimes just watching puppy vids on the internet can get me headed in the right direction.

      You’re closer than you know. HUG YOURSELF. I love you.

      Reply

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