Holy cats, I'm back from New York!
And while this was a truly spectacular trip with more Self-Management for Actors goodness packed into a week than I've ever experienced, there are a few standout moments I just can't put away.
I'll be sharing some of them with you over the coming weeks… starting with this one.
In preparation for my SMFA Alumni Master Class on Saturday, I had given out homework involving a life pie.
There are many types of life pie — the first one of these in my life was crafted in August of 1993, when I had first moved to Los Angeles and got together weekly with a group of fellow creatives after our playwriting-with-gang-kids sessions at Heart of Los Angeles Youth Theatre to work through each chapter of The Artist's Way.
This 1993 version included mapping out how much each slice of pie was filled up vs. those slices that were perhaps quite lacking in substance. If we were looking at a pie tin and a full slice ranked 10, a sad little depleted piece of pie would be closer to a 1 or 2, creating a divot to represent the missing yummy goodness that — in a balanced life — should be there.
The most recent one of these I crafted was in May of 2017 at a spiritual business retreat in British Columbia, and we used the 1 to 10 scale to represent ego to soul, when we think of which version of ourselves runs each piece of the pie.
There are many ways to do a life pie, and the way I had the elite alumni of the New York master class prep theirs was closer to the one we do as a part of Get in Gear for the Next Tier, which means the pieces of the pie follow the major categories of the curriculum for the 100-day program (you can see the categories here). And the 1 would represent energy, time, investment going into that territory being sorely lacking… a 10 would represent those things thriving.
Welp, one of the badasses in this New York master class on Saturday — as we went around the room and discussed not only the life pie crafted as a part of the homework but also the one we did as an overlay right then in class — had a few 5's on his pie. But as he said as much, he very proudly said, "But you know what? I'm trending upward with all of these."
Applause! Applause! Applause!
I wanna talk about the power of trending upward, because it's major.
Since the "downs" are a part of a creative career just as much as the "ups" are, celebrating that we're trending upward is a beautiful thing.
There's never going out for auditions but knowing you're doing the work of targeting a hell-yes agent that will turn that around.
There's not having booked the gig but knowing you always book the room.
There's having a low balance in the ol' bank account but knowing things won't always be that way, thereby soothing the anxiety completely.
There's being in bed, sick, but knowing wellness is just another good night's rest away (and then GIVING yourself that, for cryin' out loud).
Knowing there's work going IN that sends things OUT into a better direction over time FEELS GREAT!
And if I needed *any* confirmation of how lovely that FEELING is, I returned home to a new class of SMFA ninjas who've enrolled in — and won scholarships for — our life-changing 100-day challenge, Get in Gear for the Next Tier (which you can join too, y'know).
Here they are, celebrating being at the start of a climb. Being new. Being ready to try something a little different from the same ol' stuff they've done before. COMMITTED to trying it my way for just a few months. Celebrating trending upward!
Because they have a knowing — a deep sense of "OMG, trusting my gut was *right* after all" — that things are heading in the right direction.
And that knowing changes everything.
Even a 3 on a slice of the ol' life pie feels like it might as well be an 8 when there's the peace that comes from trusting that upward trajectory is what we're initiating with our work, now.
(And in case you've ever been at an 8 but sat around waiting for some imaginary "other shoe" to drop, you know that trending DOWNWARD feels like poop and really makes enjoying that 8 challenging, after all!)
So, I ask you, where are you in each piece of your life pie? And — perhaps more importantly — are you trending upward in any area that feels undernourished lately? If you're feeling mushy, is the exercise class booked for tomorrow? If you're feeling tired, is a nap on the schedule for later today? If you're feeling hopeless about your career, are you plugged into a community whose sole function is to HELP YOU see a way through it all?
FEELING as though you're headed in the right direction is sometimes all it takes to get headed there.
Check in with yourself.
Map out a life pie if you want!
But most importantly, never judge yourself harshly for where you currently stand. That just puts your feet in quicksand or cement and makes things a whole lot tougher than they need to be. Instead, see the work you're putting in to get where you want to be as a really sweet favor you're doing for yourself. See *this work* as the most important thing you clock in for today.
Whether or not you're joining me — and a whole bunch o' really fabulous human beings from all over the world — for these last 100 days of 2017 engaged in work you will KNOW has you trending upward every damn day, I'm excited for you to get going in the right direction!
(And hey, really WANT to join but think you need a payment plan? What the hell. We offered it up during the scholarship announcement at my Facebook Live broadcast, so why not offer it up to you TODAY, here?!? Comment below and we'll hook you up. Just like that! 🙂 We cannot wait to welcome you into the dojo for 100 days that will rock you to your core!)
For those not in need of 100 days of my help along the way, please do whatever it takes to give yourself the perspective that you're trending upward. Know you're never feeling mushy and then binge-eating cake for too long. Know instead that next workout is right around the corner… and then warm up so you don't get too sore doing it.
But you've gotta do the work. That, my friends, is ALWAYS true.
Isn't it great that the work can be so damn fun?
See y'all on the inside!