How to Know if It’s Actor Busy Work

The past two Sundays I've had speaking engagements. The 22nd was at Theatre West — a theatre at which I was an apprentice member nearly 20 years ago. The 29th was at the SAG-AFTRA Conservatory at AFI Summer Session — an event at which I speak every summer, but this time they moved me to the big theatre.

Both of these talks were awesome. I was tuned in, tapped in, turned on as the saying goes.

As many of you know, I've been undergoing a deep dive of mind-body work this year. To say it's been intense would be an understatement.

Well, one of the many gifts of this inner exploration has been that I'm beginning to use my body like a temperature gauge for what's going on within me AND around me.

At one of my talks there was "that dude." You know the one. He's the person who has nothing better to do on a Sunday morning than to attend the talk of someone whose work he's not a fan of, sitting in the audience, arms crossed, DARING her to know what the fuck she's talking about.

Guess what: I know what the fuck I'm talking about. 😉

But during the Q&A, of course his hand went up and of course I called on him and as soon as he started talking about the horrific state of our heartless industry, I felt a sensation like a wash of acid across my lower back.

"Oh, hello," I said to my pain, from inside my brain.

I quickly went about the work of using one portion of my brain to hear his question while allowing the larger part of my mind to thank my body for signaling "Danger!" and to let my sympathetic nervous system know it could stand down. "All is well. We're safe. Thank you for protecting me. All is well."

Yes, this is legit a part of how my life is now.

I *daily* have convos with various parts of my body and my brain and my spirit and my emotions and all the reactions happening over what's real, what's imagined, what's past, what's present, what's future, and what's mine and most importantly what's NOT mine.

As a former actor, I find this to be pretty dang awesome. It's allowing me to use my instrument! It's a form of creative expression I once used for my storytelling! It's how I could MAKE REAL things that weren't really happening (so *of course* I can rewire my brain for how it experiences pain by reversing that). Holy crap, I actually know how to do this… I'm just *really* rusty. 😉

But like all talents that get rusty, we've just gotta practice to get everything back up to peak state.

Boom! Thank you to the dude with the crossed arms for giving me some low-stakes practice. 🙂 More recently, thank you to the dude who was texting while driving. And thank you to all the interactions to come that will give me the chance to make this conversation FLUENT.

It is a superpower after all.

I share this because those who work with me regularly are starting to perceive a shift.

Even though I presented very little NEW information in these two talks I did recently, I did things differently. I led off the talks with a visualization. I asked these beautiful artists to go with me to a place in which they could FEEL in their bodies the act of telling the story they were born to tell. On the set. On the stage. Out there in the world living that big dream. For REAL.

Feel it. Eyes closed. Hand on heart. Deep breath. This vision of you on the set, surrounded by your dream cast, directed by your dream director, saying words written by your dream writer, all in service of you getting to tell the story you were born to tell… this vision… where in your body does it live?

In creating this space as an anchor, we were able to do something really spectacular: Determine what's gonna help us get there and what's a waste of time. Which relationships are on the road to that big vision and which ones are detours along the way. What's actor busy work and what's not.

On that last one, I wanted to share a great way to know for sure — even if you haven't been able to do one of these seriously awesome visualizations with me — when the ever-seductive actor busy work is presenting itself.

It's actor busy work if…

  • it's taking the place of something more important you should be doing to improve where you are in this business (doing more targeting research, building relationships, creating your own content).
  • you're doing it not because you want to but because you've heard that it's something you "should" do (y'know, like pumping up credits or building a social media following) and in your gut you really hate it.
  • it's something you're going to use to beat yourself up with, should it not make some noticeable change in how things are going for you in this business.

I have a whole category of actor busy work that you can comb through here if you want to check anything in particular. And of course if you're a part of the membership that is changing lives 100 days at a time — Get in Gear for the Next Tier — you already have access to my master list of actor busy work (and alternatives) in the DOJO. (Not yet a member? Remedy that NOW to lock in 2018 pricing!)

When I'm asking you to trust your gut with this stuff, it's assuming it's the gut that's in charge when you're visualizing your next-tier life. If — when you did the visualization work with me — you felt it in your throat, your neck and shoulders, your toes, your very bones… that's what we're using interchangeably with "gut."

Anything that's potentially that good ol' seductive actor busy work… check your bod. You might not be feeling it in your gut. You might be making a business decision from a place of fear.

(And you should never make a business decision from a place of fear.)

Folks, there are only THREE SPOTS LEFT in our one-day intensive in Los Angeles next month! If the SMFA Retreat has been on your wishlist, don't delay in snatching your spot. We always fill up and OMG, these just keep getting better and better!

So… what's the most seductive actor busy work you've ever bought into? I'd love to hear! Pop your experiences in the comments just below, y'all!

'til the next BonBlast… stay ninja!


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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