Success Leaves Clues

Soon — like, within days if I can get my ish together — I’ll be announcing a brand-new, super-affordable, fully interactive, deep-dive way to work on the Self-Management for Actors with me and my team.

How did I come up with this ridiculously cool way to jam with creatives from all over the world simultaneously?

I plunked down my own money to take a course in something I have no need to learn.

In case you’re curious, it was a course on how to get started blogging. Um… I started blogging before it was called blogging. I had an online journal in the 1990s and friends would email their comments to which I would reply in future posts at this web space I hand-coded in HTML from my Apple LC III using ClarisWorks. And since then, I’ve amassed millions of words (more than three million of those on the topic of the business of acting alone) on the internet using various blogging platforms. I’m good with “getting started blogging.”

It was the platform I wanted to study.

Here was a course taught in a way I believed it might be possible to deliver some Self-Management for Actors goodness… but a way in which I had little experience. What better way to experience it than as a student?!? And because I wasn’t distracted by trying to learn the subject matter (okay, I’ll be honest. I learned stuff. It’s impossible to be immersed in a topic with some really smart instructors and not take away a couple o’ pearls), I was able to experience curriculum delivery in a way that inspired me to create MOAR THINGZ for you! Hooray!

I’m not here to tell you about that, though. (That time will come. Stay tuned.) I’m writing you today because since taking that very cool class, I have encountered a few REALLY interesting folks (including fellow students in that class) who are on the receiving end of information in a totally different way than I am.

I *get* that there’s this whole “learn from your failures” concept. Heck, I learn from my failures every time. What the frick would be the point of having so many if we never learned from any of ’em?

But these folks seem to take their failures and then decide what won’t work.

Like, “One time I had a blog and it got no visitors therefore all blogs fail and what’s the point?”

I mean, epicly stupid conclusion-drawing.

The actor version of this I most recently encountered was, essentially, “I don’t need to read Self-Management for Actors because what I need is an agent and unless you introduce me to an agent you’ve not helped me and you suck.”

Okay, boo-boo. You believe that thing. Rock on.

I begged an actor to hear me when I explained that “tier zero” is a spectacular place from which to SET the trajectory. To DECIDE what it is she wants to be in the industry. And I was met with reason after reason that until some guru decides for her who she’s supposed to be, there will only be failure.

I’m the exact opposite of this kind of learner, BTW.

Sure, I’ll look at my failures and learn something from them. That’s important. But what I won’t do is take my failures and stack them all together and turn them into the story of how my goals can’t possibly ever be reached.

I’m living proof that massive change is possible in very short order. All it takes is deciding your turning point is RIGHT NOW and then doing the damn thing.

Continuing to tell the story about how it’s never worked before? Yup. That’s something you’re never gonna catch me doing.

Because I look past *any* failure — no matter how big — to my successes (and when I can’t seem to find any of my own to lean on at the moment, I look for others’ successes) and I study the bejeezus out of those successes to figure out how those successes happened.

Good news! As Jim Rohn famously taught us, “Success leaves clues!” (Tweet it.) So it’s not like you have to see another person’s success and stare in bewilderment as though you have no hope of ever having that sort of success.

(Y’know, unless you’ve decided to stack your life’s failures into a story you can’t seem to shut up about for some reason. That reason certainly can’t be because it feels GOOD to tell that story to yourself and the world over and over again… yet some folks do. Whatevz. Interesting choice!)

That it ever has happened means it can happen again. That’s what’s awesome about success in anything!

How about — instead of deciding “the way it must work” based off how it HASN’T worked in your life thus far — deciding there are myriad ways it works and all it takes is studying some success you see out there in the world to find a way that feels good for you to try?

Because every damn success story out there has SOMETHING in common with your story. Your work today is to find that commonality and lean into it.

Find your pace car. Find ten of ’em.

Share with me below what you’ve learned about them — and then about you — and tell me what you’re going to put into practice right now that you’d previously pooh-poohed.

I can’t wait to study YOUR success with these clues you’ll leave behind!

And of course, I can’t wait to share with y’all the amazing new stuff I learned about how to bring more Self-Management for Actors into your lives. 🙂

Stay inspired, gorgeous!

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. Avatar Sean Frost January 23, 2018 at 3:52 am

    Pace cars? The folks who came to mind are Jamian Blackmon and Holly Dell; unless I miss my guess, these two are “ahead” of me, a tier or maybe two up from me, but I can see their success starting to come and might be able to take some hints from them on how to replicate it.

    1. Avatar Jonathan January 23, 2018 at 8:58 am

      Hey Sean! What was your method of finding/discovering your pace cars?

  2. Avatar Sean Frost January 23, 2018 at 3:57 am

    What I’ve learned about them: persistence. Yeah, they go through some stuff, as do we all. But they are dreamers, man, as well as doers. They DO something. They get after it. They get it done. And they get results. And, this is key, they seem to keep an optimistic but not la-de-da attitude. Attitude is so key.

    What I’ve learnt about myself: need to actually take action on a consistent basis; need to keep the attitude positive; need to remember that it can be done, as I’ve preached for years. Hey, if I won’t take the advice I give, why am I giving it?

    1. Avatar David Silva January 23, 2018 at 7:27 am

      The pace cars I’ve been watching have a few things in common- persistence, and an unwavering spirit (in public anyways). What I’ve taken away from them, on a personal level, is that I must stay consciously aware of my mindset- to avoid fears from taking over. I’ve started to learn that when I trust myself, do good, stay focused, and give myself little reminders that I’m EXACTLY where I need to be… usually it’s followed up by a nice phone call or email with a booking 🙂 What I’ve learned from watching these fabulous ninjas on here, is to just suck it up and DO IT. I’m currently j. The process of gathering all my footage and commercials, there’s a lot, but it’s felt overwhelming to me- so this week, a website will be made, there will be content, and damn right it’ll most likely launch at 80%, and I know that’s okay 🙂

  3. Avatar Kimberly Logan January 23, 2018 at 7:21 am

    I also find it interesting to think of myself as someone else’s pace car.
    I’m not ‘uber-successful’, but I’ve worked on stages consistently in Chicago since moving here 13 years ago – reading this post I thought of some specific folks who are working steadily as well, but at those mid-tier to upper-tier theatres (where I’m *just* starting to work). Then I thought of the lower-tier theatres I’ve worked at and the folx who are just getting in on that level…What can I *do* to level up myself? Maybe part of that answer is consciously thinking of the people a level or two below me who might be trying to figure out how to get where I am?

    If I can think of my job/purpose/goal as leaving ‘success hints’ for others, that means by definition, I’m being successful.

  4. Avatar Jonathan January 23, 2018 at 8:58 am

    Fantastic and challenging blog today, Bon! I definitely lean toward being a failure stacker, and I’m becoming aware my “why”. Double-whammy: I’m emotional, and I’m a perfectionist.

    So, when you say “One time I had a blog and it got no visitors therefore all blogs fail and what’s the point?” it makes TOTAL *logical* sense that the conclusion is false. But *when you’re in it* — pace cars be damned — it FEELS true. And as someone who struggles with perfectionist tendencies, if I wasn’t good at it the first time, I probably won’t try a second time. It’s illogical and it’s failure stacking, for sure. But I can see, for me, it’s emotional self-preservation.

    Of course you’ve touched on this in the past, but I’d love a future BonBlast discussing how we don’t have to DISMISS our precious actor-y emotions, but can acknowledge them and put them in PERSPECTIVE when moving forward is at stake. Mindset is priority #1; “emotion-set” isn’t far behind.

    Much love!

  5. Avatar Deborah Unger January 23, 2018 at 10:43 am

    Okay, I know who my BIG pace cars are: Ann Dowd, Margo Martindale, June Squibb, Kathy Bates, Jayne Houdyshell.

    The other pace cars I have are 5 brilliant women I’ve been hanging with for over 6 years. One of them, Jen Ponton, is my #1 pace car. And I am bloody lucky that I can talk to her directly. PLUS, I have 4 more women that I can talk to about other aspects of the game.

    I can do all that because I found some like-minded folks and we put in the time together – once a week for 2-5 hours for 9 months. So we know each other, we trust each other, and everyone has something valid to contribute.

    We don’t meet like that anymore, but those 5 ladies are always a phone call away. And I will trust them as I move from tier to tier to the top.

    So, yes, pace cars, yes ideal star folks. But don’t dismiss the folks around you right now. Take your time, invest some time in getting to know who is worth it – and that they feel the same way (this avoids that little stalker problem) — and do the work.

    With this support, you can really go to town on turning that failure into your next success, and enriching the success you have. Because you will not be alone. And that is as important as anything else.

  6. Avatar Erin Zapcic January 25, 2018 at 4:10 pm

    LOVE that so many of you are setting pace cars for yourselves in terms of their mindset for the business and not just their tiers or their bookings.

    Jonathan, have you tried tapping (EFT)? We do this as part of our work in Get in Gear for the Next Tier; it helps with acknowledging those “actor-y emotions” and working through them.

    Thank you, Deb, for the reminder that we can learn from our peers just as much as the folks who are at different tiers! And YES, Kimberly, to reframing your definition of success!! <3


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