I’ve noticed a trend in my life lately.

I’m entering into my favorite establishments (Juice Served Here, Burke Williams, etc.) and explaining how I want to feel, first and foremost.

I’m not making a list of things I want to experience. I’m certainly not listing results. I’m not walking in with an agenda about what’s going to happen.

(Insert your own self-talk for auditions or meetings or anything else high-stakes right here, y’all.)

I’m making a list of feelings I hope to have.

And folks are getting really good at suggesting what might lead me to those feelings… and that openness is filled with “rightness.” It’s shockingly simple yet amazingly effective.

So here’s what I’ve come to.

I think there are two questions about feelings I need to ask before taking any action.

How do I want to feel?
How do I want others to feel?

How do I want to feel? — Almost always, the answer is: “filled with joy, elated, purpose-driven, happy, GOOD.” Something in that range.

How do I want others to feel? — This changes, but the majority of the time it’s: “connected, empowered, equipped with information, challenged to do something with it, INSPIRED.” Yeah.

I’d like to challenge you to have a think about how you make others feel with your art, with your words, with your craft, with your talent, all the way down to your dang cover letter.

(Think about it. Rather than listing off all your recent bookings, goals for next season, and highlights of your training, what if you crafted a cover letter with the goal of leaving an agent feeling, “Wow. This is a total pro. I can send him to any casting director. He’s a booker” instead?)

We so often get into the me-me-me of it all and approach situations from a place of what *we* hope to achieve. I’m not suggesting we turn that off, but maybe let’s bring into the equation what it is we hope to feel… and what we’d like others to feel after having left this encounter we’re about to share.

Hell, if we center ourselves and remember that what we say we want to achieve may very well have more to do with storytelling and leaving the world a better place — and less to do with bookings or earnings or instant results — we may line up beautifully with exactly where we’re meant to be.

Give it a try. See what putting feelings first with these two simple questions might do for your creative — and personal — journey.

And lemmeknow, will ya? 🙂

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 Ann Dalrymple May 17, 2016 at 11:24 am

    Just wanted to comment about the”The Gal Whose Mirror Is Her Favorite Audience Member,” (quote from your email blast).
    Perhaps she was just very insecure for a few reasons:
    1. She may feel very shy about interacting with others, especially if she doesn’t feel she does the activity well, so she looks in the mirror because it’s hard to look at someone and not have them include her. or worse – laugh at her I was so shy once, I found it difficult to talk to others, so it was easier to be “involved” with what I was doing at the time. I didn’t realize this came off as egotistical or standoffish – neither was my intention. It was a self protection defense.
    2. This was especially true if the group was “cliquey” and I felt like an outsider, or I had heard them make judgemental comments about others in the group.
    3. I was very insecure about the way I looked. I thought I had to “measure up” to be included, so I was always looking in the mirror to make sure I was “correct” or “pulled together”.
    4. Now – after many years of self doubt – I embrace my weirdness, don’t particularly care about my looks or what the group thinks. My life is much more fun because of it. My point is – don’t judge until you know someone’s viewpoint.

  2. Avatar Laura B May 17, 2016 at 11:28 am

    Bonnie love every darn one of your posts. Your email about the gal at dance class led me here to read this post. I think if you are one of these people that only looks at yourself in the mirror you are missing out. I personally hate the whole social media thing promoting myself, etc but I feel that it is how we will get noticed and tell people about what we are doing and want to be doing. It can feel narcissistic but if you don’t do it people will pass you up. So I struggle with this.
    As for this post I love it. I want to feel valued and I want others to value me. I think we all really want the simple things. The other day I told someone they did a great job. I could tell they had not heard that often. It made me feel good and made my day better.

  3. Avatar Dave May 17, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    Dig this and the Mirror Gal email. I think a good life is like good improv — it’s not about making yourself look good; it’s about making your scene partners look good.

  4. Avatar Ashley Lovell May 17, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    This was part of the topic at a workshop I attended last night – the principle of taking only inspired action; no shoulds. I used to be a 4 hrs sleep, every casting website several times a day, as many headshot/postcards/mailers , as I could afford, as many newsletters and status updates as I could think up, 100 mile an audition actor. But after ten years of that, upon reflection, the best and most fruitful experiences I had are the ones that felt good to me before they started and/or that seemingly came out of nowhere; through a connection or somebody “coming across” my materials. And I have so many friends who’ve had similar experiences; feeling a good vibe from sow thing, even things hat on paper may not have looked like a great gig, but turned out be real steps up – and ones on the opposite end who fought for things they wanted against many odds and didn’t end up feeling it was worth all the fight. When something is right, it comes. You have to participate; as Jim Carey says, “you can’t visualize and then go have a sandwich,” but if you practice int acting in things that feel right and good and “worth it” to you, you will be, as Oprah say “so full that you are overflowing” with things to give others. This supports your ability to make others feel good without feeling that you are losing anything on your end. It will be a fruitful experience all around; the actions and the jobs that are correct for and resonate with you will be fruitful, (and the positive vibration that comes off if you will attract more of the same and let what you want – which wants you – come and find you), you can feel it – if you’re tuned in, and the knowledge that you are effecting others in great ways both by your ability to give more, your resulting treatment of them, and the results of that treatment. It’s the unique balance/harmony of listening and responding that yields amazing things. It works wonders.

  5. Bonnie Gillespie Bonnie Gillespie June 19, 2016 at 1:00 am

    Thank you all so much for your comments! Ack! I took so long to get back over here. Playing catch-up now!

    Ann — Oh I *so* appreciate your Devil’s Advocate approach to something I only shared a couple of lines about in an email. I can assure you — as I’ve made a life out of being inclusive and community-building, and working very closely with creatives for decades as they slay their dragons — there is none of what you are describing in this particular person (with whom I’ve had many convos about her expertise and self-assurance). I’d never have made an example out of someone who was feeling broken vs. cocky, I promise!

    Laura — It is really challenging finding the balance between getting the word out there about what we do and how much we love doing it and coming off as showy. For sure! But I think for those of us who have *any* concern that it may come off as showy, we’re less likely to overstep (it’s those who don’t even get a whiff of it who step all in it, most of the time). LOVE your list of how you feel and how you want others to feel! What a great example of how you lived exactly that, recently! Thank you for sharing.

    Dave — Life *is* all a good improv exchange, isn’t it? “Screw your partner” improv is never as exciting to watch (or experience on stage) as the true give of the “yes, and…” 🙂

    Ashley — I call that the “aligned hustle.” For sure! There’s something so meaningful about doing any of those bits of work from a place of feeling connected to doing so! I *love* that you have a decade of experience to check back and SEE the results of one style vs. the other. Really great! You articulated it so beautifully. Thank you!!


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