I’ve noticed another bit of Actor Funk going around lately. I probably should track this stuff and see if it’s seasonal, or if it trends with the economic climate. Does it have something to do with the Santa Anas? Or is it because it’s getting close to the holidays? Are we closing in on the end of the year without having accomplished many of the year’s goals? What is it that has you fine folks who otherwise thrive in the creative environment — despite its ups and downs — a little more blue than usual? I wonder.
Well, when I feel the need to take to my bed for more hours than usual, when I want to curl up in a little ball and rock back and forth, listening to sad songs on my iPod, I think of five little words: “Why are you in it?” (Get it? “Y.R.U.N. It?”) I find that getting refocused on what it is that got me into this in the first place can be a great way to get recharged about the work it takes, on harder days.
So, why are you in it? What is it that drives you?
Some actors use negativity to drive them. (This is the “I’ll show them” road to success.) I don’t like this one, but if it works for you, have at it! But be sure it actually works for you. If it’s just a way you fire yourself up, only to crash back down into the headspace of “the world is out to get me” afterwards, consider using something other than negativity as your source of inspiration.
Other actors use positivity to drive them. (This is the “the world is conspiring for my success” mantra.) I love this one, because I really do believe — even if we have folks out there who don’t root for us — that there are more people excited for us to succeed than there are those who hope we fail. Besides, even if it’s not always true, it feels better to believe. I heard the word “pronoia” coined for this: Believing the world is conspiring for your success. Love it!
Some actors are driven by “stuff.” (They want the fame, the fortune, the love they think will come from being successful.) This one is dangerous, because fame, fortune, and love (especially the conditional kind of love that comes with fame and fortune) are fleeting. They’re unpredictable as they come and go. And using them as the motivating factor in success is sets us up to see rewards in “stuff” rather than in the journey itself.
My favorite of all motivators is the one that comes from where most of us started, as artists.
Why did we play make-believe? Why did we dress up and put on shows for our families and friends? Why did we sing into our hairbrushes or accept Academy Awards made of shampoo bottles? Why did we make up songs and stories and then share them with anyone? Why do we still?
Because we are storytellers. We love the sharing of the ride. We love going on the ride and helping others go on it too. We enjoy that we — more than others on this planet — have the ability to tell stories and move people with our words and our actions and our expressions. It feels good to do this. And this is my favorite of the answers to: Y.R.U.N. It?
So why the silly acronym? Because sometimes — especially when things are tough for more than a moment at a time — we need easy ways to remind ourselves to get back into the “feel good place” that we know exists for us on this path. “Y.R.U.N. It?” can go on a Post-It Note on your desk. It can be written in lipstick on your mirror. It can be your password for your social networking accounts. It’s a quick, easy reminder to stay focused on the WHY, rather than worrying about the HOW.
Because the HOW of how your success will come is not up to you. The things that you do in service of that goal? Those are yours to control. The reactions you have to the ups and downs along the way? Those are yours to have. And the reminder about why you’re in this “fight” (when it feels like a fight, which it needn’t, if you reframe it sometimes) to begin with? That’s yours to remember.
And remember the best in everyone. That even the agent, the producer, the casting director, the exec, the person you’re feeling some stress about at any moment, is — at their heart’s center — a storyteller too. We all chose this life because it allows us to tell stories, to share our stories with the world. And when things are low, when times are tough, seeing that common thread among us can remind us all that we are “in it” for many reasons (sure — to win, to succeed, to make money, to find love, to prove someone wrong, to prove someone right — whatever), most commonly to share stories. And what happy children that makes us all!
Originally published by Actors Access at http://more.showfax.com/columns/avoice/archives/001089.html. Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.