Surrounding Yourself with Positivity

Hey Bonnie,

Really liked the call you did with Dallas Travers, like I told you. 🙂 After coming back from an amazing experience in India building with Habitat two weeks ago, I’m finding it more difficult to focus on and care about the things that weren’t working for me prior to this trip (i.e., CD workshops). I am devoted to creatively taking control, so to speak.

In the wake of this, I am noticing quite a bit of the negative actor slump you mentioned. I am very sensitive to it, and actually try very hard to not have those people in my life, but it’s all around. I’ve started a weekly group with actors to focus on marketing, staying focused, etc., and this issue has come up in our discussions and I get very upset by it. It’s hard enough to lift my own self up when the “monkey mind” happens: “Why didn’t I book that?” “Why haven’t I gotten as far as most of my friends who are series regs or recurring?” etc. Do you suggest cutting these people out or how do you deal with this? UGH.

I tend to respond to people who make super negative statements like this: “Well I don’t see the world that way. I choose to see the business like this… I have talented friends who are series regs/working actors who aren’t related to Goldie Hawn or haven’t slept with Harvey Weinstein. We’ve been in shows together and there’s a piece for each of us who actually are persistent. The more people I know who book, the closer it is for me. Why on Earth do I want to validate or perpetuate the idea that the business is hard and no one can make it?”

This is the perception I choose and I guard it like a li’l precious puppy gettin’ eyed by wild coyotes.

Thanks for letting me rant.

Jennifer R. Blake

Hi Jennifer,

I so love this. I am a big fan of the whole, “If success is all around me, I’m right on track,” mindset. I absolutely adore surrounding myself with people who are rockin’ it, making it happen, and finding themselves filled with joy for the journey. I find I don’t have a lot of time for folks who don’t rock that vibe. Somehow, I can’t schedule a lunch date with someone who consistently tries my patience over a game she’s playing that must be called something like, “How much can I complain about how shitty everything is in my life,” or at least that’s what that game SEEMS like it should be called! I just don’t have the time. Life’s too short and too filled with wonderful things to spend more than a moment ever focusing on the struggle.

But, sometimes it will be your closest friends (or even members of your family) who come at you with the most negativity, and that means that disengaging can be complicated. Because it is your own mindset — and success in the pursuit of this career — at stake, I urge you to make surrounding yourself with like-minded people one of your top priorities.

Not too long ago, I decided that I would rather spend time with ten people who “get it” than with ten thousand people who don’t get it, in some attempt to try and help even ONE person in that ten thousand have an epiphany. So, when you choose to even respond to someone who’s being negative, consider that doing so may be taxing you. You know I love the quote, “Energy is currency. How do you wish to spend it?” This is the type of thing for which that quote exists. Spending time trying to bring people who enjoy wallowing in a rut OUT of that rut is almost always wasted energy. And it’s risky, because you can actually find yourself being pulled down.

Because down is a tempting place! It’s the whole “misery loves company” thing. When we hear of someone else’s troubles, ours don’t feel so bad. But when we hang out with folks who want to talk “trouble,” after a while, we too are people who talk trouble. And that stink walks into the room before you do, at some point.

I have been very fortunate this year to surround myself with some of the most positive, forward-focused people on the planet. Sure, it’s been a scary time for freelancers this year. Money is tight and I’d be lying if I called 2009 my most prosperity-filled year thus far in my career, in terms of MONEY. But I can tell you that 2009 has been my most prosperity-filled year, period. That’s because these creative, brilliant, positive, action-taking co-conspirators are living the Outliers model of success. They’re surrounding themselves with others who agree that we CAN choose to build a community around which success abounds. And as I begin to do my year-end reflection with these folks, I am continually inspired by the successes that have happened in such a short period of time for so many people.

Almost entirely based on their choice to be positive that they CAN make things happen. Even now. Especially now.


I absolutely adore your phrase about “guarding your perception.” It’s one of the most important things you can do. And people who truly “get it” will help you guard that. Those who don’t? I recommend you stop finding time to be around. Yes, that feels harsh sometimes, but it’s essential. There are people I’ve cut out of my in-person life who are still “Facebook friends” and I’ve had to block their status updates because they’re just so damn negative that I can’t take it. So, while they know we don’t see each other in person anymore, they have no idea how little I see them at all anymore.

“You’re always so busy,” they’ll say. Yep. I’m busy surrounding myself with the best people on the planet. I will always find time for that. Because when your community is a “no bullshit” one that won’t let any of its members get away with self-indulgent wallowing in negativity for very long, you know you’re tapped into something too powerful to ignore.

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 Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.

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