I heard a saying recently (not for the first time, but for the most recent time) that hit me differently than it ever has before and it kind of pissed me off, because we're so quick to buy into it and I think doing so may actually be detrimental to our creative hearts.
"When we know better, we do better."
The reason this statement is potentially so harmful is because, quite frankly, sometimes we know better and we DON'T do better.
We keep choosing the old way.
We keep doing the done thing.
We really really REALLY mean to — and want to — do better and, for whatever reason, we don't.
So "when we know better, we do better" becomes a really icky way to remind ourselves that sometimes we flat-out CHOOSE to do something we know better than to do.
- Fall for slick marketing packaged to trigger our FOMO.
- Sign with HO HUM rep thinking maybe we'll be able to turn 'em *into* a HELL YES over time.
- Do another mass mailing hoping something will be different.
- Submit on an obscure project without researching the key crew to see if they even have an IMDb presence (much less if they actively create content that aligns with the stories you were born to tell).
- Engage in *any* activity that makes you say, "What the EFF was I thinking?!? I KNOW better" afterward.
My take on it is this:
When we know better and we're ready to do better, we do better.
Yeah, not as short and sweet. Not so sexy or bumper-stickery. But accurate.
And it underscores my #1 tip on all things ever (yes, I have one singular item that I'd say overrides just about everything else in ALL things in life that we do):
Whatever we do, may we choose it mindfully.
I am all about mindful choices.
Outside of "Don't sign with that bottom-feeder agent who makes everyone shoot multiple headshots in costume from his favorite photographer because he's getting kickbacks," "Never pay up front for representation," and "Don't waste your time getting creepy talking headshots" there are very few absolutes in this business as far as I'm concerned. A LOT of it is simply: Whatever you do, choose it mindfully.
Know what's *actually* worth your energy (updating your IMDb photo gallery with photos of you on the step-and-repeat from the last festival you attended with your self-produced project) and what's actor busy work or a way to make yourself crazy (trying to boost your social media following from a sad 400 to a sad 650) and when you choose to do the latter, simply choose it mindfully.
Know you're sometimes gonna do stuff that next-tier you knows better than to invest time in, money in, energy in… and that's okay!
But whatever you do, don't engage in activity that you "know better" about and then beat yourself up for having screwed up… again.
THAT is a recipe for self-hate and creatives *must* have a healthy helping of SELF-LOVE fueling the creative brilliance that is at the core of each and every artist.
So… I wanna know.
Where have you mindfully chosen last-tier behavior and why is it not so bad?
This can be everything from taking on a copy-credit-meals project after you've reached the tier of paid work and thought you'd never go back all the way to shooting new headshots AGAIN even though your gut tells you it's your agent or manager who doesn't have the pull to get you in the room (not your headshots that are the problem).
It can be waiting 'til the last minute to pack when you KNOW getting to the airport is already a stress-inducing experience and you do NOT like to be frazzled before traveling (yep, that's me; that's a big ol' I know better and never seem to do better thing fo' sho') or doing that one last check of email before going to bed (even though you have a really fabulous boundary for no screens in the bedroom… oops).
Whatever it is, choose it mindfully. Know what you're getting into. And most importantly, never never NEVER beat yourself up for having done it AGAIN despite knowing better, because, hey… you chose it mindfully.
Reminder: I'm jamming with you Friday on Facebook with another Live broadcast, this time about the myth of competition and what our creative community is really all about, as artists. Be sure you're linked up here to get the notification when we go live!
And at long last, beauties, SUMMER SESSION is open for enrollment! This is the LAST chance for inaugural pricing on our flagship program Get in Gear for the Next Tier! I just added two new vids for you to check out at the info page and I hope you'll grab a mentor (that's anyone who's hit the 70-day mark in our 100-day challenge) because you'll *both* score bonus coaching with me when you sign up through them!
Please hit me up with ANY questions you have about this because the time has never been better to feel less anxiety, less stress, and less overwhelm when it comes to your brilliant creative pursuit!
But hey, don't take it from me! Hear what these beauties had to say! 🙂 Huge thank you to the inaugural class *and* my entire team over here for helping me create the program I'm most proud of. Truly… I'm so grateful. And we cannot wait to welcome you to Next-Tier YOU!
And make SURE you're signed up for our FREE SMFA Tune-Up call taking place in one week — right here! Meanwhile, we're working on updates to the FREE SMFA Hot Sheets to enhance your Self-Management for Actors experience. We LOVE providing these free resources so thank you for taking us up on 'em. 🙂
Stay inspired, you glorious creatures! What can you do mindfully RIGHT NOW?
All my love,