I was on a coaching call with one of my very favorite SMFA ninjas — she’s got an awesome agency meeting within hours of this post going up — and as we strategized for her meeting, she brought up a concern.
Since so much of the work we do with Self-Management for Actors is about next-tier mindset, she was quick to mention that she didn’t want to give too much bandwidth to worrying about something that may never even happen.
Here’s where I got to clarify WORRY using an example from my own collection of superpowers to ease *her* worry about worry.
And now I get to share it with you!
See, one of my superpowers is “producer brain.” I have the ability to take a 10,000-foot view on just about anything, see all the potential pitfalls and roadbumps, assess the likelihood of success or failure, weigh the risks vs. rewards, and then make a gameplan for executing a joy-filled strategy IF my producer brain has signed off on the project.
Producer brain can look a lot like worry to those who don’t have the ability to access producer brain so easily.
Like my hubs, for example.
Keith does *not* like producer brain because it often needs to be heard to be its most effective. Meaning, I do my producer brain work “writers room style,” and that requires bouncing ideas off others, what-if-ing various possibilities, running worst-case-scenarios through their twists and turns… and for someone who finds this sort of thing not only tedious but crazymaking, it can be flat-out painful to endure.
But here’s what’s great about producer brain and how I’ll suggest you employ it — even if you don’t yet have a Popeye-sized muscle for it like I do: When used effectively, it allows you to STOP any subsequent worry!
For example, “I’m worried she’ll ask me in the meeting about why I want to leave my current rep” (don’t worry; this isn’t an example from my coaching session, just a good one to use to illustrate my point). Okay, great. Producer brain goes up and says, “What are the chances she’ll ask this question, one? Two, what is the REASON behind the question? And three, knowing the actual REASON for the question and the likelihood it’ll be asked, what dispassionate take on the situation can I plan to share that isn’t defensive or blame-laden or anything else that could take the meeting off the rails?”
Once producer brain gets those three questions answered, it’s time to LEAVE producer brain because the longer you stay there, the more tempting it is to turn dispassionate analysis, problem solving, and gameplan creating into full-on worry.
And we don’t want that.
Now, if your immediate reaction to this concept is that there’s no WAY you’d be able to even ask yourself those questions without spinning off into a never-ending life of worry on the issue, I’ll ask you to start building the muscle for this on easier things.
“I’m worried she’ll ask me in the meeting about THIS credit on my resumé.”
- What are the chances that particular credit will be singled out? (Low. I have lots of credits. And there’s a reason I was invited into that room. That ONE credit is not the cornerstone to the whole encounter.)
- What is the REASON behind the question? (She wants to know more about my work, about me, about my “picker,” about my NO line, about my ability to handle a question that I might be asked in a casting office someday, should she send me into one.)
- Knowing the actual REASON for the question and the likelihood it’ll be asked, what dispassionate take on the situation can I plan to share? (She’s not looking to play GOTCHA about the bad time I had on that set or how small my role turned out to be! So, my answer about that credit is all about what I learned, the relationships I built, and where I’m headed NEXT.)
See? We get so certain that we’ll be cornered about a thing we’re not excited to share that we immediately assume (and then worry) that the person asking the question somehow KNOWS this is a vulnerable spot and then we get weirded out about having our soft underbelly exposed, displaying our lack of confidence about THAT ONE THING.
And that’s simply not what’s happening. Ever.
An agent wants to know you’re gonna be magic in the room when she sends you in front of a casting team. Period. Yeah, she may need some info about the WHY behind your WHAT when it comes to some of your previous decisions, but remember, you’re there for what she sees in you and where you’re headed. She sees the potential to make money off you and has you in the room with her at that moment to confirm what she’s seeing on paper. She’s not looking to snag you in a lie, to stump you with a tough question meant to trap you, or catch you being inauthentic. No secret agenda. Not ever.
But when we have something we wish no one would ever look at or ask about or even know exists, welp, we’re really certain everything is about that. (Psst! It almost *never* is.)
Are you ready to practice producer brain? Can you practice clocking in for just enough worry to do some creative problem-solving and then getting back to the work of prepping for those next-tier experiences you have lining up for you due to all the good work you’re putting in?
Feel a little worry creeping in? Head up to producer brain. Ask the questions. Get ’em answered fast. Then get back to the good work. Y’know… doing more of the things that are the whole reason you got this latest awesome opportunity in the first place.
Yes, there’s still room in the Los Angeles SMFA Retreat! Grab your spot here and we’ll get you caught up with the homework email that just went out Wednesday. SO excited to have this time together! If you’re at the SAG-AFTRA Conservatory summer intensive tomorrow, be sure to pop by and say hi while I’m teaching the Self-Management for Actors goodness in this favorite AFI venue!
Before I sign off, some of you have been enjoying my journey to better health and fitness so maybe you’d like to check out this first-ever selfie from pole class (yup! I’ve dodged cameras in that studio for 5+ years and I finally decided to share a peek — especially because I have the coolest new pole tank to show off! #SoOnBrand).
For those who’ve been asking about more guidance in the area of radical self-care and the benefits that come streaming through all areas when we engage in it unapologetically, keep an eye out for a fun frisky fit bit of inspiration from me coming soon. 🙂 Yep. I’m gonna share it all… because for someone who’s been “plus-sized” her whole adult life, it’s pretty spectacular to have dropped 55 pounds without ever having felt even slightly deprived. And to now, at age 47, be coming up on a weight I’ve not been since high school? Effortlessly? Yeah… it’s awesome. I’ve gotta share!
Can’t wait to bring more goodness your way, now and always!
My stepson’s headed to LA for his annual visit and that means that in a few hours I head into stepmom mode so y’all stay awesome and we’ll catch up again soon!
Wishing you many producer-brain epiphanies and worry-free moments in between!