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!
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.