I love it when something presents itself so many times within a few days that I have no doubt it’ll be my column’s topic for the week. Not sure if you’ve noticed, but there’s a big outbreak of the Monkey Mind going around lately. Artists and creatives who usually have their game face on are finding that chattering voice of self-doubt getting louder and louder, ’til it threatens to derail auditions, meetings, even relationships.

But isn’t that always the way? When the stakes are highest, the Monkey Mind is its loudest.

So, how do we put this chatter in check?

Well, that’s the biggest problem, right there. Most of us have tried all manner of tactics to hush the negative self-talk, to use logic to combat the voice that says, “You have NO shot at this” (y’know, countering with, “I’m just as talented as everyone else. I’ve been training for years. I can do this,” but still feeling that pit in your stomach), to muscle down that Monkey Mind.

That won’t work. It’s just like logic and the Internet: they rarely intersect.

What works is something that combines gratitude and the creative process.

Think about how it feels when you’re sitting outside in the waiting room, when you’re feeling the stakes are high, when you’re so acutely aware of how different your life will be if you *just* get this gig, and the chatter begins. You go into your iPod. You chant. You breathe. You go over your lines. You pace. You do WHATEVER you can to try and drown out that chatter.

Instead, try this: Give a big sigh of relief. Your friend is here.

(Bear with me. This is about to get really good.)

Your friend, your most creative friend, your best storyteller, the one who can even make YOU believe something — something you *know* is fiction — is REAL in a way not dissimilar from being sure there’s a monster under the bed, that friend is HERE.

That friend is HERE right at the moment when you need to enter an audition room and convince *others* that fiction is real.

Awesome! That thing that lives in your brain and that has the most highly-developed skill of turning fiction into reality has shown up RIGHT before you’re headed into a room in which you’ll need to tap into those superpowers! Yay!

THANK HER for showing up. Instead of squaring her by the shoulders and shouting, “Get OUT of here! Stop telling me I cannot do this! Stop making me doubt myself! Stop telling me I suck and I’m going to fail and I should just pack it all in and go home” (and then getting mad at yourself when you spiral out of control), you bring her into your arms, thank her for showing up, and walk her toward juicier material. “Hey, hon. I know you have a script you’re chewing on already. Here’s another one,” you’ll say, and show her the sides. Get her to use her superpowers to bring that same realism to this material.

Try it. Try it when the stakes aren’t so high, when there’s just a teeny bit of chatter chirping at you. Start building the practice of welcoming that monkey into your life. Do it in acting class. Do it before family dinners. Do it at actor-only networking events. You’ll get so good at it that doing it when it *really* matters becomes easy.

Lemmeknow how it goes for you!

Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Wanna work with Bon? Start here. Thanks!

Originally published by Actors Access at http://more.showfax.com/columns/avoice/archives/001584.html. Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.

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  1. Avatar Elizabeth MacLeod March 16, 2014 at 11:22 am

    Bonnie… you are so brilliant. I love this. In fact my friend’s kid’s going through some heavy stuff… I was with her on Friday….. I think I will share this post with her. We were talking about this kind of thing together…..and I think it would solidify it and bring a breath of fresh air into an other wise tough situation. This advice is life advice . . . audition advice, yes…. script advice, sure… actor’s advice, of course . . . but man… I say, use it everywhere!

    The next time she (Monkey Mind) comes to visit , I’m gonna say… hey hon… Hi… so glad you showed up cause I’ve got a project for you that I need some help with.” I think she’ll be all over it. 🙂

  2. Bonnie Gillespie Bonnie Gillespie March 16, 2014 at 11:24 am

    Put that gorgeous girl (the Monkey Mind) to WORK, baby! Thanks, Elizabeth. You’re a rockstar. <3

  3. Avatar Cathy March 16, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    Ah yes, befriending the voice of Resistance! Have been avoiding something I know could be a game-changer. Time to take the Big R by the hand, and ask her to join the ride!

  4. Avatar Susie Mordoh March 16, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    I was just talking to a client about how we simply need to redirect the chatter going on her head. I’m sharing this with her….THANK YOU Bonnie, love this post!

  5. Avatar Michelle March 17, 2014 at 10:29 am

    I’m going to name my monkey friend Bridget. She’s fabulous and gives the best advice! 😀 Thank you for yet another great idea, Bonnie! 🙂

  6. Bonnie Gillespie Bonnie Gillespie March 17, 2014 at 8:33 pm

    Cathy — “The Big R” indeed! You gently show her the way and watch everything change! 🙂

    Susie — Oh, yay! Thank you for sending your client my way. I hope this post is helpful for her as well. That chatter can become TOO much. We’ve gotta find ways to redirect the energy. Right on!

    Michelle — Bridget is lovely, isn’t she? What a fab friend! Let her help and help and help some more! <3

    Thank y'all for stopping by and commenting! I love it!

  7. Avatar april March 17, 2014 at 11:57 pm

    wonderful advice, bon. and so timely for me right now – i have a lot of “chatter” going on in my head. i need to quiet it down and invite my best storyteller in.

  8. Bonnie Gillespie Bonnie Gillespie March 22, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    Can’t wait to hear how you do that, April. It’s such a fun process once we turn it into an invitation rather than a denial. 😀 Yay for Monkey Mind!


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