I did something brilliant with my SMFA alumni master class in New York last month.

It was cool. It was something I’d never done before, but the muse woke me up in the middle of the night, whispered the idea into my ear, and then played out a visual of how good the energy would be, were I to follow this lead.

(I always follow the lead of the muse; I’ve got a lot of experience trusting she’s always right.)

Instead of the usual go-around-the-room-and-introduce-yourself thing, I asked my beloved masterminds to sit still for a moment, close their eyes, take a few deep breaths, and picture their best lives.

Visualize those meetings and auditions and close-ups and interviews and fittings and award shows and all the comings and goings in between as close to present-tense as possible… and it’s you, living this next-tier life.

Breathe in again. Really feel the electricity of this reality. Open your eyes. Exhale.

Now… introduce yourself.

Not the usual go-around-the-room introductions; introduce next-tier you.

Right now, we’re holding the coming-out party for next-tier you. Present this badass.

In meticulous detail.

* * *

If you’ve taken a moment as you’ve read these words to get into a feeling place anywhere close to what we shared on that Saturday in September, you can imagine how powerful things got as we went around the room, each introducing “next-tier me” to one another.

There were assistants, stylists, a team of reps who GET us, healthy relationships, a fitness and meditation regimen, non-negotiable self-care, and YES success galore — but more importantly, a whole bunch of stuff that could ACTUALLY start up right now.

Right this minute.

It’s as if the energy so completely shifted in those first few minutes we shared that the entire day was elevated. Our work took on a different quality than ever before — and there were some lifers in this group of ninjas — because we were vibrating on a new level.

We WERE making plans and strategizing activity from a next-tier place.

No ramp-up necessary.

Lower-tier decisions got crystal clear. Experiences we never need to have again became non-options where before we were weighing out the pros and cons. Target lists and relationships came into focus for the reality we’re feeding, not the one we’re leaving behind.

It’s like an instant turbo boost, the magic that can happen, when we ask ourselves how we can lead the way to the life of our dreams.

* * *

On Wednesday, some of you glorious creatures joined me for another of our famous Self-Management for Actors Tune-Up calls (thank you) wherein we jammed about issues facing creatives all over the world… and I thought we’d spend a lot of time talking about sexism, bigotry, racism, homophobia, assaults, violations, a network of support for an old-boys club, and a steady stream of appalling revelations ranging from “I had no idea this was happening” to “It happened to me, too.”

I’m pretty clear about my opinion on all things in this industry — and in this life — that are designed to keep anyone feeling small, powerless, out of control. Heck, it’s *because* I champion empowerment through transparency of established and mysterious systems and structures that Self-Management for Actors exists! I never want someone believing, “This is how it is,” about anything.

Because there is always another way. Always.

But one of the things required of creatives who wish to really change things — especially in the face of “this is how it is” — is that we embrace our role as leaders.

I feel so strongly about this that a good part of Get in Gear for the Next Tier is crafted around this very concept and I devoted the closing remarks of Wednesday’s call to the importance of leadership in storytelling.

[Thank you for watching Leadership in the Face of Challenges (an excerpt from the SMFA Tune-Up call from 11 October 2017).]

Here are three minutes you may enjoy, even if you weren’t around for the whole call.

As I mentioned in our SMFA ninjas Facebook group: “Use your ire to make change. Use your ire to tell stories. Whatever you do, don’t use your ire to feel sorry for yourself, victimized, or powerless. That’s part of what gets us so deep into this disparity in the power structure of every societal structure.”

I link these experiences — the next-tier you introductions in my SMFA alumni master class in New York and the requirements of leadership in the face of challenges this industry or this life itself may throw our way — by asking you to approach every situation thusly:

Take a breath. Center yourself. Visualize next-tier you. Then before taking any action whatsoever, ask yourself, “How can I lead?”

Next-tier you knows how to lead because it’s leadership that got you to that next tier.


So good to welcome you here!

Make a difference, beautiful. It’s a part of your damn job!

All my 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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