One of the fundamental elements to my work with creatives is a shift in mindset.

(Well, there are a few mindset shifts, not just one, but this one’s a biggie.)

As artists, we’re all leaders.

Let me rephrase that in case you find that too easy to gloss over.

You, yes YOU, reading this right now, YOU are a leader.

By choosing a career in showbiz, by leaning into your storytelling dreams, by pursuing gigs in the healing work of creating art… you are a leader.

And leadership is lonely.

For ONE main reason.

At some point — as leaders — we’re on our own.

In the beginning, we’re chugging along, there are plenty of others doing what we say we want to do. We can look around at a group of people, we can even see successful folks among us. We can check what we’re doing compared to what they’re doing and we can feel as though we’re getting a bit of validation that we’re on the right track (because we can see evidence of “this works” or “that works” here and there).

Then folks fall away. Friends who were with us ’til the end on this creative journey are nowhere to be seen. They picked something else. This got hard. They were just done.


But it is part of why — the more successful we are, the longer we stick with it, the farther along we get on this creative path — the lonelier it becomes.

That’s a pretty big paradox to reconcile. You’re *finally* seeing the kind of traction you once DREAMED of. You’re going out on auditions that previously were on your vision board. You’re getting opportunities you swore you’d pinch yourself for! But you’re no longer really seeing a peer group of folks to help you KNOW you’re on the right track.

For the first time, maybe, you’re doubting yourself MORE than you did at the beginning when you knew nothing about how this business works. Even though you’re so much farther along than you ever thought might be possible.


What a crappy way to feel at such a crucial time in your growth, right?

How do we prevent turning this into a backslide, a spiral of self-doubt, or an Upper-Limit Problem that takes us out of the game?

By starting now — and forevermore — the *ongoing* practice of fortifying our enoughness (and of course this is an inside job). By reminding ourselves that at some point on this journey, we’re NOT gonna have anyone showing us exactly how it’s done. By understanding that when the population dwindles, it’s a sign of our growth, our being on the right track, NOT a reason to get scared and head back down the hill we’ve been trudging up for so long.

Scroll down to join me in the comments and let’s discuss this a little more.

expansive capacity

This is specifically an example of the convo in our Expansive Capacity membership space (where the January topic is Your Relationship with the Industry). I am all about helping with the perspective shift required to endure this part of a creative career!

(A note on that: If you’re SMFA alumni and would like to apply to join us for February’s Expansive Capacity mind-body woo-woo enoughness mastermind topic — Your Relationship with Partners — the deadline to apply is Friday!)

Okay, so back to your work, here.

No matter what tier you’re starting from today, get in love with the fact that you ARE a leader.

That maybe you don’t see much of yourself out in the world because it’s up to you to make it happen and inspire others coming up behind us.

That even if you DO see a bunch of “you” on stages and screens everywhere, you’re gonna do it differently. You have something else to say. That’s leadership, honey.

And it’s important!

YOU are important.

Feel me?

Let’s jam about this below.

I’ve got you, babe.

(Oh, and if you’re not yet alumni but you’re kind of intrigued about Expansive Capacity, let’s get you on your way to qualifying by starting your 100-day journey with us today! Ooh, not yet ready to commit to 100 days of life-changing [NOT exaggerating] Self-Management for Actors investment in yourself under our care? Okay. That’s cool. We’ve gotchoo covered too! Let us get you in gear with some FREE training to at least get your tools up to shape so you can compete wherever you are. Mindsetwe’ll have to get to it someday, hon. That’s the one common thread in EVERY creative I’ve ever worked with — from those starting out to those with multiple gold-and-shiny awards. The deeper work *has* to happen. So… whenever you’re ready, I’m here. Don’t wait ’til you’ve had too many Upper-Limit Problems show themselves to you before you seek out my help. That’s all totally optional resistance you’re gonna get tangled up in and I’d love to help you get through as much of that with as little nonsense as possible. Yes, this career can actually be filled with EASE. Your gut already suspects that, though, doesn’t it? Yeah… I thought so. Please don’t feel like you have to keep doing it “the hard way” just because that’s all you know from your journey thus far. K?)

Wow. That was one long parenthetical. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Sure hope you read it!

All my ninja love,

bonnie gillespie

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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  1. NTZ January 22, 2019 at 8:39 am

    beautiful, Bonnie!!! so hitting home today & i’m starring this one because i know i’ll want to come back to it, too. and as inspirational as they can be, i also think this piece speaks to why it’s more difficult to find pace cars who match my path/vision.
    standing in our own leadership is lonely, esp. if we want to move in an ethical & principled manner. but it’s not completely lonely when we have real supporters like you & fab ninjas & partners in our corner.
    so many smooches!

  2. Bonnie Gillespie January 22, 2019 at 10:08 am

    Well said, Z. It’s also why we cobble together pace cars out of pace-car PARTS of others. We find elements of certain people to help us create a montage of the role model WE will turn out to be. Ooh… I like that imagery. A lot! ๐Ÿ™‚ Love you!

  3. NTZ January 22, 2019 at 11:03 am

    oooooo! me likey! that’s so wonderful & the montage speaks precisely to what i’ve been imaging both for inspiration and for my brand. i’m a world-class cobbler! (make a great one, too!) LOVE IT! LOVE YOU!

  4. Bonnie Gillespie January 22, 2019 at 11:45 am

    Here’s to PACE CAR COBBLER — a new dessert we’ll make in the desert, yes?!? Delicious!

  5. NTZ January 22, 2019 at 11:50 am


  6. La Trice January 22, 2019 at 1:09 pm

    Loooove this one! So true!
    My favorite part:

    …just because there’s not a lot of outer proof doesn’t mean we aren’t making those changes for the future us to use as validation…”

    Really speaks to my heart. Look at the track record and use that as validation instead of waiting for someone else to validate you! Love it!
    Thanks Bonnie!

  7. Bonnie Gillespie January 22, 2019 at 7:07 pm

    Yayayayayayay! Lead ON, La Trice! So important. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Jamie Lee Kearns January 23, 2019 at 8:26 am

    Oooof! Yes! THIS: “For the first time, maybe, youโ€™re doubting yourself MORE than you did at the beginning when you knew nothing about how this business works. Even though youโ€™re so much farther along than you ever thought might be possible.”

    Now I know so much more about what I DON’T know and that can sometimes make going forward scary. SO much I still have to work on and “will there ever be enough time to know ALL THE THINGS??”

    But, reminding myself that this is a journey, and yes a lonely one sometimes. Reminding myself that I’ve done things that I only dreamed of when I was in college. Reminding myself that there is proof my hard work has paid off and that this life of leadership, hard work, and focus is what the job of an actor actually is. That’s what I’ve signed up for.

    Thanks for being part of this journey!

  9. Ninja Erin January 23, 2019 at 12:58 pm

    Love this, Jamie! Right ON!

    And let me offer a friendly reminder that you don’t *have to* know ALL THE THINGS. What you know, right now, is enough. And what you’ll know tomorrow is enough. And what you’ll know five years, ten years, twenty years from now will be enough. โค

  10. Jamie Lee Kearns January 23, 2019 at 7:06 pm

    ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks Erin!

    I always want to know ALL THE THINGS! LOL! I think that’s part of my fascinate?? I want to know all the languages, dances, instruments, sports, skills, arts, everything! There are not enough hours in the day for all the stuff I’d like to learn about.

    But the think to note is that “it is enough”. I’ll learn more. Right now, what I have is enough.

  11. Bonnie Gillespie January 25, 2019 at 7:55 am

    Yes! And I think what actually happens over time is we shift from feeling the need to KNOW ALL THE THINGS to trusting that we actually DO know all the things already. We start trusting our inner guidance like never before and that’s when the magic really starts to happen — and fast!

  12. Jamie Lee Kearns January 25, 2019 at 8:38 am

    Looking forward to the magic!


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