I keep a journal.

I have since the age of 8.

I’m not consistent with it.

It’s taken on many forms in all these years.

But I always have some notebook in which I’m writing things down… and then keeping that book. Shelves of books filled with my handwriting exist in my home. Some pages tear-stained, others with flecks of dried flowers I pressed between them, still others with lists of big dreams and goals and plans. But they’re all treasured volumes of my life’s history, more or less.

And if you ever catch me out somewhere alone killing time before a meeting, I’m more likely to be writing in my journal than click-clacking on a keyboard or checking a gadget for new data. I have enough in my head I’m always trying to process.

Well, on my recent travels to New York and London, I flipped through the journal I’ve been carrying since March (its first pages contain the agenda for our first-ever SMFA Escape in Desert Hot Springs; now we’ve hosted three of these life-changing events) and noticed I had written down — several times — these words:

“Less judgment; more appreciation!”

(That’s a Keith Johnson quote, by the way.)

Whenever I write something down repeatedly, it’s because it didn’t TAKE the first time. Or because I wasn’t ready to hear it. Or perhaps because — in this case — I’m an ENTJ, for cryin’ out loud. The J is for Judgment. It’s a part of who I am at my very MBTI core!

So how the heck am I supposed to engage in *less* judgment?


When I started using my primary learning style (interactive; which means I don’t *really* learn something until I teach it) to present this phrase in Self-Management for Actors seminars in New York and London, I *got* it.

We actually achieve the goal of judging less when we appreciate more. It’s in fact the act of appreciation that soothes the urge to judge.

Whether it’s the jaggoff who doesn’t know how to park his car in a way that leaves room for another (“Oh, wow. I so love the color of this car. And look at that patch of flowers right there, curbside. Ooh, and there’s a puppy being walked with joy by its new person just down the block. I appreciate all of this!”) or the self-promotey blowhard who joins our Facebook group and cant be bothered to read the group guidelines and follow them (“Awesome! She too loves actors and she wants to bring them good information. Of course… the fact that she charged in here starting off on a SELL is icky as hell but…” Oh wait. That’s judgment. Hold up. Try again… “How wonderful that there are so many people so passionate about storytelling and helping actors live their dreams!”), it’s coming from a place of less judgment; more appreciation that makes all the difference.

Especially with ourselves.

How often do we engage in less-than-awesome self-talk? (I’m not even going to call it “toxic self-talk” because that’s got judgment in its roots and I’m really working on the “less judgment” part of this thing right now.)

Here. More on the power of our self-talk:

When you feel yourself tempted to judge, look around and see what you might be able to appreciate instead. Even if — no, especially if — it’s something *inside* yourself.

As we head toward the end of the year, if you’re carrying around some judgment for what “should’ve” happened by now, immediately turn your thoughts toward what you can appreciate about what *has* happened.

Then repeat after Keith: “Less judgment; more appreciation!” It’s a really great mantra.

All my appreciation,

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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