My cat is nearing the end of her life.

Before you get emotional on our behalf, let me share that the Monkey Kitteh (Thwok is her government name) is happy and comfortable, getting lots of treats and fun meds that make her feel young again… when she’s not sleeping.

At our last trip to the spa with her, the good folks there gave us a really great way to think about “when it’s time.”

“When you think about your pet, there are five things that make up who she is. Think of those things. When those things are gone, it’s time.”

We were able to come up with Thwok’s five pretty easily, and a couple of the five are already gone. But the others are not, and that was kind of nice to think about. She can’t tell us when she’s ready to go like my mom could, so this is a way to check in about timing with something that — no matter when — will be hard.

Saying goodbye tends to be hard.

Cut to: Get in Gear for the New Year.

This is a program I launched in 2014 that — this year — has caused more stress and negative emotion than ever before. Daily during this free year-end training series I’ve received what can best be described as hatemail. I’m not doing enough. It’s not fair that the Facebook algorithm rewards some post more than others. I’m an asshole for making the free version of the offering swap over to paid for the rest of the year. I’m complicit in the Weinstein scandal. I’m too curt in my feedback when asked incessantly for free advice beyond the free training. I’m called rude for not debugging AOL’s deliverability issues. I’m told it’s horrible that I’m mentioning I have a 100-day program called Get in Gear for the Next Tier because I should stay focused on this free offering, not try to pay the rent by suggesting those who are inspired to go deeper with us consider doing so in this 100-day program. Before the price goes up. Oh, and I’m a four-letter-word for increasing the price, BTW.

So, y’know. Being of service while being pelted has been a wee bit challenging at times.

But when we got home from the vet and Keith and I made our List of Five about our kitty, I realized this is also an effective way to decide when it’s time to kill off a program.

I listed up the five things that make up what Get in Gear for the New Year is, or what it was intended to be, back in 2014 when I created it and every year since as thousands of creatives have consumed it and we’ve continued to refine it.

  1. A give. Plain and simple. We love our community and we’re here to serve it.
  2. Representative of the Self-Management for Actors work. If you’re new to the world of SMFA, these 11 days get you immersed in its principles.
  3. Community-building. Through the SMFAninjas hashtag, we could connect and support one another on Twitter. We could track progress and help one another more than just through the emails.
  4. High-converting for the right people (and a filter for the wrong people). Those who GET IT would stick around, help us with #CreatingTheHollywoodWeWant, and maybe even become buyers. Whactors, slactors, negative nellies, wannabes, and opportunists would bounce out quickly during or after these 11 days. Good.
  5. A distraction during what’s usually the most challenging time of the year for me (the anniversary of my mother’s death).

Welp, in visiting this list from the perspective of “when it’s time” to pull the plug, so to speak, I got clear that the lovely Get in Gear for the New Year program still does most of what we created it to do. Whether or not this year’s investment will be balanced out? Not sure yet. We spent thousands on Facebook ads for the first time ever; upgraded our servers significantly; integrated new systems for the intake of new participants and paid experts to tweak ’em; and of course are continuing to spend countless hours dealing with outreach about tech issues, fairness at the Facebook group (a place we never intended to see the workout happen, but it’s tough to stop a moving train), our policies, and the things we REALLY want to engage in: helping people who are putting in the work!

Paying the team, fortifying the tech, just the energy of fielding the above-mentioned spewing of anti-gratitude… these are COSTS. Will we welcome in enough new badasses for our Get in Gear for the Next Tier membership to balance all that out? Only time will tell!

But the fact that the List of Five still represents a pretty good indication of what this program is to us means we’re not at that “end of life” decision, here. While we may need to recalibrate for growth, we’re not putting this baby down yet.

What we’re experiencing, though, *is* straight-up growth management, something we teach in Get in Gear for the Next Tier, in fact. Because creatives who don’t prepare for next-tier life won’t stay at the next tier should they reach it. It’ll be one of those “one brief shining moments” in their creative careers. You’ll book the national then not go out for commercials for two years after that. You’ll cross into the guest-star tier and then struggle to get seen for co-stars. You’ll star in a festival darling and then fail to turn that momentum into a series regular gig.

Ugh. Wouldn’t THAT suck?

Alas, it happens every day.

Leaning INTO the growth as it comes — not treating this new tier as if everything is exactly the same as it ever was, and definitely not hoping you’ll figure it out once you get there — is key.

And that’s why my team keeps having CTJ meetings with me lately. I have a really strong muscle for overdelivering. To everyone. EVERYone. This — as awesome as it is — is not sustainable at a certain tier.

I began taking steps toward living at my new tier earlier this year when I closed off coaching to anyone outside of the Get in Gear for the Next Tier program.

(In case you’re expecting some dramatic announcement now, you can exhale. I’m just working all this growth stuff OUT right now. No decisions yet.)

But remembering to lean into growth is sometimes tough to do.

We spend SO DAMN MUCH of our lives living at a lower tier, struggling to get OUT of that place, aspiring toward something that we want, and wondering if it’s too good to be true when our dreams really do start to be our reality that it’s not at all surprising that growth management is a big job.

It can really challenge our sense of ENOUGHness if we’re not careful. Because, really, if we’re not aspiring TOWARD something, who are we? When so much of our lives have been about getting somewhere, what does it mean when we actually arrive?

What Keith and I like to say is that we’re grateful for this and excited for more.

Always, always, always grateful for what we have. Appreciative of our current tier. Aware that we’ve got it so damn good, every day. And eager, expectant, curious about, and looking forward to that goodness ahead.

Are you managing your growth?

Are you regularly working the muscles that will allow you to enjoy fully the achievements you’re busting your ass to achieve? Are you laying the groundwork for the life of your dreams? The goodies you’re going for have to feel at home when they arrive in your life or they won’t stick around for very long.

Can you create a List of Five about your creative pursuit? What would the five things that make up your ninja journey BE?

And when these joyful, wonderful, exciting things begin to fall away… is it time to be done? Make a shift? Recalibrate so that there is a way to stay within the framework of why you got into this to begin with while REALLY having the time of your life doing it?

Because for all the meds and special care our little girl needs, she’s still mostly herself and that means it’s not time yet. Don’t give up on your dream just because it may be shifting a bit. Sometimes that shift is all about growth… and you want that. You expect that, don’t you? Lean into it.

Share your list with me below!

And of course, if 100 days of structured support for a joy-filled journey sounds good to you, our 2017 price is still available. Join me in the DOJO. Your future self is waiting to welcome you to the next tier!

Hope you’ll be joining me and some of the illustrious alumni of Get in Gear for the Next Tier for a superfun Facebook Live broadcast at 2:30pm pacific right over here! We’re gonna be doing a Brandprov jam (hello, Day 9 of that miraculous free training, huh?!?), I’ll be answering your questions, *and* we’ll be revealing the winners of our Get in Gear for the New Year referral contest! Yep… y’all told a LOT of friends about this free year-end training and your thank-you gift is a coaching sesh with me!

You’re so awesome.

See you in a few!

All my love,

Bonnie G

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. Yvette Lovstad December 29, 2017 at 2:50 am

    5 things that make up my career:
    1. I’m having FUN
    2. I love what I do/what I’m doing
    3. I’m inspiring brown kids like me; showing them what else is possible for them, like Janet Jackson and Oprah did for me.
    4. I’m making more than enough money to comfortably and properly support myself
    5. I’m doing work that helps teach people (including myself) how to better love one another.

  2. Barry Clifton December 29, 2017 at 4:20 am

    To your list of “Whactors, slactors, negative nellies, wannabes, and opportunists”, I would like to add M.A.W.’s “Model, Actor, Whatever”. Don’t let the bastards get you down. Your free training is a pain in the ass, unflattering at times, a bunch of hard work, and absolutely wonderful! Thank you!
    1. My sobriety; without that, I would have nothing else.
    2. My Higher Power. See above.
    3. My family. The love, support, and caring we give and receive from one another is a treasure.
    4. My friends. Being of maximum service to my H.P. and others should always be my main focus.
    5. My sunset career. Rediscovering my dream and pursuing my rekindled passion is icing on the cake…and I LOVE icing!

  3. John December 29, 2017 at 4:52 am

    Hey Bon! Hope the holidays are being good to you and yours. Your post got my hackles up In solidarity with you, but upon reflection I am just so glad to continue reading about your tier jump! God bless those haters and inevitable next tier problems! Onwards and upwards in 2018. Thank you for all you and your team do.

  4. Michael Elric December 29, 2017 at 5:19 am

    I’m choked up. I had to put my dog down and wish I had a list to tell when she wasn’t herself anymore. We still wonder if it was too soon. But, she is in a better place now.
    Thank you for all you do!

  5. Sean Frost December 29, 2017 at 6:29 am

    1–My belief and faith in God
    2–My curiosity
    3–My belief in and desire to spread a little hope
    4–My love of storytelling
    5–My desire (need?) to encourage others

  6. Jennie Olson Six December 29, 2017 at 6:41 am

    1-my recovery from which I build my entire foundation from
    2-my spiritual belief system that carries me through the darkest of times
    3-my friends who are family whom I found out who they really are this year
    4-the relentless creative muse who has been with me always in many forms that feeds my desire to create
    5-the stubborn streak that fueled with all of the above that tells me to never give up and becomes my mantra to encourage others to do the same.
    Thank you for all you do Bonnie. You truly do change lives and are of great service.

  7. José Juan Jasso December 29, 2017 at 7:34 am

    Know that you are awesome and others with that hate mail, either hate themselves or want everything done for them. Keep your head up and you’re in my prayers hun.
    I reflect on how I met you, you did a thing for the sag-aftra and when they were gonna introduce you they paused and were like “ wait does she even need an introduction, does anyone not know her?” I was the only one in nyc apparently that did not. But I’m blow away by all you do for others and how great your heart is.

    1. I’m a giver. I want to help others.
    2. An animal lover. Will open a no kill animal shelter
    3. A hard worker. My work ethic is different.
    4. I’m honest. Your Work and Your word are huge.
    5. I’m humble. Always be humble

  8. Cynthia Whitman December 29, 2017 at 9:10 am

    1. Keeping myself & my collaborators safe.
    2. Keeping myself physically/mentally healthy.
    3. Maintaining my sense of humor & a humorous outlook on life.
    4. Treating others respectfully & being treated with respect by others.
    5. Being kind.

  9. Linda December 29, 2017 at 9:35 am

    5 Things that make up my Ninja journey

    1. Continue to train in scene study class
    2. Continue to network
    3. Maintain balance of ALL things
    4. Continue to learn, improve, revamp to stay on brand
    5. Keep the faith and shut out the noise from myself and others

  10. Tara December 29, 2017 at 11:08 am

    What are five things that make up my creative journey?
    1) Creating and sharing resources helping individuals enhance their connection to their spirit.

    2) Provide and receive JOY in what I am doing.

    3) Recieve and accept abundance in all areas of my life including love, health, financial and wisdom

    4) Allow myself & others to grow and embrace our potential.

    5) Enjoying the journey.

  11. Nicole Trobaugh December 29, 2017 at 11:18 am

    1) Family: Spending time with family is most important.
    2) Peter Pan: Never grow up! Continue to have fun. Don’t let it become work.
    3) Growth: Continue to grow and evolve. Don’t become stagnant.
    4) Experience: Experience new places, people, and ideas. Learn from them.
    5) Go with the flow and breath: Relax, breath. It’s going to be ok.

  12. Carlos Reyes H. December 29, 2017 at 2:39 pm

    1. Facilitating some kind of emotional experience for an audience member.
    2. Continuously learning, honing, taking classes.
    3. Carrying that sense of the high school theater crowd “family vibe” into adulthood.
    4. The hair and makeup, definitely.
    5. Being surrounded by creatives, working with role models!

  13. Catherine D. December 29, 2017 at 11:01 pm

    The five things that make up my creative pursuit!

    1. A desire to create art that excites me and makes me laugh.
    2. An outlet for my energy that feels natural and inescapable.

  14. Catherine D. December 29, 2017 at 11:03 pm

    The five things that make up my creative pursuit!

    1. A desire to create art that excites me and makes me laugh.
    2. An outlet for my energy that feels natural and inescapable.
    3. Willingness to keep myself in good shape and looking camera ready.
    4. A lack of serious desire for any other profession.
    5. A belief that this is why I’m here, and that I am enough.

  15. Claire J Loy December 30, 2017 at 5:11 am

    Hey Bonnie and the gang,

    My 5 things
    1. I feel like myself , finally after years of other distractions and feeling crap about myself I now know who I am and what I want to do. The sense of relief that brings is immense
    2. Every time I do something about my career, a performance, training etc I experience actual JOY!
    3.Being able to play like a child, to harness my imagination and use it, not hide it , because you know that’s what grown ups do .
    4 I have come to a place now , thanks to Bonnie, her book and the Community , where I just OWN my ambition. I’m not embarrassed about it and if any negative betty comes my way, I just let them wash over me .
    5 Excitement abut not knowing what is coming next. Yep! I have started to enjoy the “who knows” element of our crazy ride 🙂

  16. Tonya Kay December 31, 2017 at 2:02 pm

    This year, in the middle of GIG for the New Year, my computer broke. Totally no computer. Such a hiccup for resume revisions and really anything digital since I can’t stand typing with my thumbs and staring at a tiny screen a foot in front of me. Tacky, posture-compromising, ineffective intellectually. But I could read this blast. And I have to respond.

    I’m growth-managing hardcore right now and I love that word. I’ve felt the need for change for two years now and finally I do feel like I’ve tipped the scale and changed more than I’ve known needed change and there is light, my Ninja friends! i can see where I’m headed! The confidence in the journey is a fantastic motivator and I am ruthlessly leaving things behind. But the truth is, it’s always been easy to leave things behind that aren’t serving me: bad habits, negative self talk and unsupportive relationships. Even on social: one off remark and I just block a mutherfucker. I don’t have time. But we rarely talk about leaving behind the things that are glorious parts of our lives. Like kitty kat. Or free time with our Lover. Or in my case, right now, an entire production/event I created and produce. When is it time to Lowy go of the things that are wonderful and popular and still serving us behind? I’m gonna apply the list of 5 here to Pinup Pole Show fornsome clarity.

    What are five things that my production offers to me and do they still exist?

    1. Community: the classic car, pinup, live music, pinup art, burlesque, pole dance, photography and theatre communities all come together at my events. Yes, the show is more popular than ever, after three years of excellent branding, people know what they are coming for and are bringing the right friends to expand our communal Riot!

    2. Indie production-value. Creating a product that ups the ante for Los Angeles live stage and specifically offers a high-quality burlesque event from an independent producer. Lots of low-quality burlesque, theatre and indie production in LA and it was my self-challenge to curate a different experience and therefore draw a more upscale audience. When people feel they are getting more than they paid for, you can charge more, and when you charge more, the guests themselves invest more (dress up, plan ahead, shine the cars, offer sponsorship). Yes, the production-value is sky high still! But to grow and continue this model, I have to put more of my time and Mindy in to expand seating, Cruise-in lot – need a team in that case and again that costs me time and money. So in this case, this number on the list is compromised due to “cost” or my input to grow the indie production value.

    3. Woman-centric. Lady boss, lady performers, lady artists, lady designers. I never made a rule about “ladies only” but it’s in my heart always to shine the spotlight on women doing excellent work and this pays off in that our guests feel empowered too and all of us – men and women and everything in between Are raised up together when we are respected and protected. I have women guests stay after to watch me load out and say things like “I love that you are leading a crew of men!” i don’t think about it like that, but I do value all the men and women that come together to make the show and YES if that’s empowering my guests, artists and performers to create with confidence, YES this is why Pinup Pole Show exists and continues to.

    4. Prestige. I’ve often called Pinup Pole Show my most expensive calling card. When people see that you’ve created and produce a high-quality product, they ask to work with you. Development comes to the show and wants to create a reality series. Producers offer their equipment and crew-power to “whatever I want to put on-camera”. Photographers want to shoot my ideas. Designers want my performers to wear their designs. People want to create with me when they see what I can do. This is still hapoeneing. But I am asking myself “what if I took this cost and put it into on-camera production?” See who offers to shoot “whatever my idea is” then?!

    5. Self-expression. I created this event/production because I had an idea and I wanted to see it live. I has and continues to! Now I must ask myself, “are there different ideas I want to see live? does continuing this idea nurture my other ideas or does the energetic cost hinder that? does this idea turn into the next ideas?” i don’t know the answer yet on this fifth on the list.

    Okay, thumb typing is over! Thank you for this blast and offering a way to look at evaluating things from our past to assess if they fit in or how they fit in with our growth.

  17. Dakota Shepard January 1, 2018 at 9:16 pm

    Hi, beautiful kitty!

    1. odd
    2. magnetic
    3. intuitive
    4. kind
    5. efficient as hell

    So much love your ways.


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