Every now and then, I’ll hear an actor say, “I’m going to make it because I want it more than the other guy does.”

Nope. It doesn’t work like that.

Sure, you may stay at it longer than someone else, due to the fact that you want it so much. So, in that respect, you may last longer in what is truly a marathon business (never a sprint), thereby getting more opportunities to “make it” than those who give up sooner. But let’s be honest, no one in the history of time ever got something simply because he or she wanted it sodangmuch. (And that’s a good thing. Think about it. Instant manifestation based solely on wants could create a chaotic, terrifying world. That there is some amount of mappable, chartable progress — even in show business — is probably for the best.)

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t want it. Really, really want it.

Wanting to make it is a good thing, especially if you’ve examined your motives and come up with a healthy headspace from which to pursue this career (because, remember, you’re pursuing way more than you’re getting, even after you make it). Wanting it can keep you going. It can keep you focused. It can keep you doing good things like getting better, self-producing, and giving back.

I was chatting with the parent of a young actor, recently, and she was lamenting the fact that her child hadn’t booked in a while. She said she really wanted a booking for her child, so the child could see “the fruits of her auditioning,” basically. “Oh, momma,” I advised, “that’s an adult want, not a kiddo want.” Kids love the make-believe. They love the playing. Results-oriented focus is an adult construct. The parent was very quick to thank me for reframing that for her, as she was getting bummed out on behalf of a child who didn’t need that emotional pressure. The kid was getting exactly what she wanted: she was playing, creating, showing off in front of new people, spending time commuting with mom, having fun.

I participated in something really cool in 2009. It was a “prosperity game” that a dear friend of mine (and rockstar series regular you probably all know) taught me (and did with me, daily). Each day, we would email each other how we would spend that day’s money. Day One: A thousand dollars. Day Two: Two thousand. And so on. (As of December 18th, we had each spent $5,565,000.)

Like most people who come from humble beginnings, I’ve spent a good deal of time in my adult life fantasizing about “what it will be like when I have all sorts of money.” Of course, I was certain I had mountains of debt (and to some people, I surely do) and many personal favors to repay (like paying back people who never asked to be paid back, but who believed in me before anyone thought there was a good reason to do so), and that there was a significant shift that would have to happen, in order for me to really get to the things that I want.

Nope. The prosperity game taught me that I have a shit-ton more from my “wildest dreams” wishlist than I ever imagined I actually have. All these “wants” I carried around for years are paid for in a matter of weeks, as I play this game, and suddenly I’m faced with the challenge of what to do with tens of thousands of dollars. And I find myself financing friends’ business ventures, greenlighting friends’ films, creating an endowment at my alma mater, and donating loads of money to my favorite causes.

So the challenge I put to you, as we wind down 2009, is this: Examine your wants. And not just the what but the why. Why do you want fame? Or success? Or money? Or respect? Or abundance? Or love? Or challenging roles? Or a platform? What will you do with that cool stuff, once you get it? And how does it feel — when you really get into the examining of it all — to live with that stuff?

As I’ve learned from the prosperity game this year, examining the what and then the why somehow causes the how to take care of itself. What a fun 2010 we have ahead for us! Let’s do this! Want it, yes. But know it’s the why behind the want that drives the how of it all. Wanting it — alone — is never enough.

[NOTE: I can’t think of a better way to close off the year (yes, the lovely folks at Breakdown Services, Showfax, and Actors Access are giving me a well-earned week off, and I’ll be enjoying spa services in the desert, thankyouverymuch) than with a Self-Produced Clip that is meant to be a love letter. In fact, I recently wrote a love letter to my readers, you wonderful people, over at my blog. So, I get it!

Can’t wait to see what the year ahead produces, in terms of SPCotW submissions. I have an inbox filled with suggestions and it’s always so inspiring to find the different ways in which people express and share and put themselves out there, embracing the new business model while the gettin’ is good!]


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 http://more.showfax.com/columns/avoice/archives/001122.html. Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.

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