I’ll Know It When I See It

One of the many amazing things we do in our revolutionary 100-day challenge program is get super specific about goals.

I mean like crystal clear, down-to-the-thread-count-of-the-sheets-you-sleep-in-on-the-morning-you-wake-up-early-because-your-phone-is-blowing-up-with-congratulations-for-the-news-of-all-the-nominations specific.

Why is this important?

Because in the many convos I’ve had over the years with the type of folks who are at the top tier, living their dreams, rolling in success *and* with the type of folks who are struggling, slogging through, feeling unmotivated and powerless to see any sort of traction, one thing is abundantly clear:

Those who live their dreams got very specific on exactly what that would look like LONG before the manifestations started up.

Those who fall short of living those dream-level realities never really got specific about how things at that next tier would look or feel.

Usually because it’s just too painful to think about.

“I can’t think about how awesome it’ll be to hold up an Oscar when I can’t afford to stay in craft classes and will therefore never be as talented as those people who win awards.”

“It hurts to imagine being on set, delivering lines opposite my swoon-worthy co-star, when I’m pretty sure my agent has forgotten I exist.”

“Visualizing doesn’t work. Every time I picture being a working actor, I immediately envision all the barriers I’m up against. It’s depressing.”

Riiiiiiight.

Because you’re not getting specific enough with who you ARE as a storyteller.

If I have a magic wand and grant your wish to put you on the set of your dream project, in your dream role, surrounded by your dream co-stars, speaking words written by your dream writer, being directed by your dream director, having had your dream agent negotiate the deal with your dream casting director, knowing your dream publicist is prepping the gameplan for your media-trained press run for this project, all set to wear your dream-designed outfit, but first ready to huddle with your dream manager about the next dream project when you head back to your dream trailer after wrapping this scene… DESCRIBE IT.

Describe ALL of it.

Describe every single one of those people I just listed off plus all the others I left out (personal trainer, chef, assistant, shrink, breathworker, esthetician, massage therapist, numerologist, craft coach, ME — your badass mindset/business/soul coach) in great detail.

Describe the set, the trailer, the car you drove up in (or the car that dropped you off, and then describe the driver), describe the playlist you stay plugged into, describe what you’re wearing in and out of costume, describe the home you’ll return to at the end of the day, describe its furniture, your pets, the people you surround yourself with. GET SPECIFIC.

Here’s why.

No one can help you build a bridge to your goals if you haven’t been super specific about WHERE they are. (Tweet that, baby.)

When I ask the magic wand question and am met with, “I’ll know it when I see it,” I know one thing’s for sure: NO. NO YOU WON’T.

Because you can’t *know* it until you’ve begun to feel the threads of it weaving into your real life right now. Until you’ve flirted with greatness, you can’t be sure you can attain it. The way dreams and goals WORK is that we see a glimpse of ourselves at our best or doing our highest work or the stuff we were put on this planet to do… and we FEEL how damn good it feels to be living that reality.

We weave IN the reality by recognizing wee bits of how that will FEEL and then leaning into those feelings as they present themselves in our lives *every damn day* right now. No matter how long it’s been since there’s been a great audition, no matter how sure you are that your agent has quietly dropped you, no matter how ragged or raw you’re feeling about the futility of actor busy work you kept doing for far too long.

Get over that you’re not THERE yet and paint the picture of what your dream life looks — and more importantly, feels — like. Do it because it feels so good to fantasize in such a realistic and richly detailed way. Do it because it WORKS. Focus on why you’re *here* and what that means you’re meant to do at the greatest reach possible. Get specific. Feel this as you write it out (and write it out by hand — typing does NOT map this stuff out in the same way).

And when any little opportunity comes along that provides a flicker of THAT FEELING, lean into it. It may be a no-pay collaboration at the local improv workout space, but you felt it hit a note that resonates with that wildest dreams version of your life you laid out in your journal last night… so do it. It’s exactly what you’re meant to do.

Don’t have that feeling? Consider passing.

Let your incredibly detailed picture of you fully engaged in living your wildest dreams lay the groundwork for every step you’ll now take toward it. Your every yes (and NO) from here on out is either ON that map toward that future or it’s taking you off-course entirely. Mindfully choose the steps you will now take. They’re important.

If you’re a visual person, draw it out. I’m not just talking about some tired vision board with inspirational words and images cut from a magazine like you’re creating a ransom letter with ten variations on the word DREAM in place. I want you to create a real you-in-the-mix graphic depiction of the future as you wish to live it. And I want the details to be meticulously crafted. I want you to feel ’em as you write ’em up. And then I want you to start moving toward that future.

Because you totally can. But only if you start getting intentional and purposeful right now.

Scroll down to share with me what you’re going to do to lay out this gorgeousness. Comments are open and I want to jam WITH YOU about creating this reality. I want to help hold the vision FOR you too. I know this works because I’ve seen it (and lived it) many times over.

We can even talk about this on my next Facebook Live broadcast — later today (at 2:30pm PDT, in fact) right over here. Be sure to pop in and jam with me! And if you’re in LA next week, make sure Thirsty Third Thursday is on your calendar! We’d love to see you there!

Ninjas of New York! My one-day intensive Self-Management for Actors seminar September 18th is filling up! Snag your spot here or reach out about booking a private. 🙂 You won’t wanna miss the next-tier action we’re bringing together while I’m in town!

Hey… y’all, Self-Management for Actors *keeps* staying in the top spots at Amazon and I’m so completely floored and grateful to you for that! When you tell people about my work, please send ’em to this handy START page (you did know we have a handy START page, right?!?) because there’s no easier way to get STARTED in the Bonaverse than right there. Heck, revisit it yourself if you’re ever feeling rusty for some top resources! Bookmark it.

🙂

Stay inspired, you glorious creatures! Thank you for visiting and huge thanks for weaving me into your creative journey! 🙂 I continue to find such joy in watching you carve out the path to your next tier. I’m honored that I get to be a wee part of that whole AMAZING thing.

Much love,


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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10 Comments

  1. Fernanda August 7, 2017 at 11:53 pm

    Great post! This part “And when any little opportunity comes along that provides a flicker of THAT FEELING, lean into it” resonated with me deeply. Yes! I never thought of it that way. Now I need to get more specific! Thank you!

    Reply
  2. Katrina Mattson August 8, 2017 at 6:46 am

    I love this! I think one of the most important things about the specificity is actually the saying no-it’s hard, when you’re starting out, to not grab for everything that comes your way. But when something is offered that is off brand and doesn’t take you forward in your path, it is an action of specificity to say no to that project!

    Reply
  3. Aerial Nicole August 8, 2017 at 7:28 am

    Thank you for sharing this day/exercise! I just took some time out to actually write all this stuff down, describe it and journal about it. It was really fun and man it felt good! I realized I am really into an exercise when I start writing in the journal and I don’t even care about grammar specifics. I just am so into the exercise that I can’t seem to get the thoughts on the paper fast enough. You know it is good when you are feeling the excitement bubbling throughout your body as you write. This was a fun day! Thanks, Bon.

    Reply
  4. Bonnie Gillespie Bonnie Gillespie August 8, 2017 at 11:40 am

    Y’all, thanks! 🙂 So glad this clicked for you!

    Fernanda — Cannot wait to learn about your specificity! 🙂 Won’t it be fun to lean into it more when that flicker shows up? So glad to connect with you! XO

    Katrina — EXACTLY! And then, when you *do* say yes to an off-brand or off-course project, at least do so mindfully. Say, “Yeah, this one isn’t a brand builder, but it pays well so I’m in. I know the cost.” No stress! 🙂

    Aerial — So excited to learn more about what you journaled (and YES at the flowing of that pen and how it just overrules all overthinking about grammar, spelling, even neatness)! YES! So glad you had fun with this! <3 Stay inspired!

    Reply
  5. Sean August 8, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    I’ll be writing this out, fo’ sho’. Might take a pic of what I write and send you a link or two–sounds like permission to set the perfect scene. This will take a minute, though. Holler at ya soon right here.

    Reply
  6. Sean August 8, 2017 at 2:08 pm

    Okay, so I wrote the whole thing out, though no numerologists–I did include a personal trainer to help me get in shape for the next great project, and action thriller–after the project I describe.

    Unsurprisingly, the more I wrote, the more I saw–the more detail I could describe (though some brand names escaped me and I ditched the Pagani Huayra for a Porsche Cayman as I’ve actually sat in a Porsche [okay, a Boxster] and already know I like it).

    One thing I did notice was that I really need to hone in on the TYPE OF ROLE I want to play. I could imagine all the extra stuff, but all I said role-wise was I was playing a man who might be a murderer. If the director were, as I mentioned, David Lynch, you know there would be some layers there, and I like that he has granular specificity and seems to tend toward characters who have a quirk or three to them–that fits me and the “tough nut” brand very well.

    This was a great exercise for dreaming what I want to have, but it was also great for pointing out what I need to know I want to DO role-wise. There should be no hesitation when somebody asks what I would like to play–I should be able to come up with something totally on-brand immediately because i’ve thought about it and know my brand well enough to recognise roles tailor-made for me.

    Reply
  7. Ivette Li-Sanchez August 9, 2017 at 8:27 pm

    Wow… I do feel like Aerial Nicole. My hand could’t write as fast as my imagination was going. LOVED this exercise. A ew things surprised me: first, I didn’t write about money until the very end (huh?!), second, all the shows that I have dreamed about being part of, didn’t show up either… I have this whole new show and I didn’t come up with a specific name, I just want people that are as inspiring and good… I guess that’s not bad for a start, but def will get a little more specific… Thank you for the inspiration as always Bonnie!

    Reply
  8. Bonnie Gillespie Bonnie Gillespie August 10, 2017 at 10:39 pm

    Sean — How wonderful! I love that you got so clear on what still needs to be filled in with this work! Well done! Revisit it again. 🙂 It’ll continue to serve you.

    Cat — God yes. So much yes!

    Ivette — Fabulous! I love that you got clear on the feelings of the people who surround you! The details will fill in, for sure. Keep revisiting this work and YAY for specificity! So delicious!

    Reply
    1. Catherine Campion August 11, 2017 at 12:34 pm

      I’ve been told my brand is, “Female Willy Wonka.” One of the greatest compliments of my career!

      Reply

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