This time of year is always interesting.
Almost every commercial is selling the worst version of us a magic way out.
If we’ve got ten pounds to lose, there’s a gym membership, an at-home program, a mail-order diet, something available so we can put our faith in something outside ourselves as we try to get away from what we don’t like.
Pick up a women’s magazine and reconcile the ads for all the aspirational whatnots against the articles that tell us ten ways we can finally be better at something… but “better at something” isn’t how they package it. They actually frame it in a way that sells us being LESS ASHAMED of the parts of ourselves that aren’t so great.
And then they cram between those ads and those how-to blurbs the overly airbrushed photos of people whose looks are now entirely unattainable — even by THEM on their best day. Technology has manipulated images into a reality that’s very definitely not real.
Of course, it’s not just the issue of body image that leans into this disempowerment. Showbiz does it too. It’s the latest “Top Ten Ways Not to Get Dropped by Your Agent after Pilot Season” listicle in Backstage. It’s the random advice from anonymous jayholes on the internet… stuff that never quite felt right in your gut, but you figure, “Hey, maybe they know best. I’ll try that…” once again. It’s the use of FOMO in marketing anything. Always with an emphasis on how time is running out.
No one needs to remind you that time is passing. Duh. It’s always doing that.
When we buy into the idea that something is wrong with our instincts, when we hand over the keys to “how this works” when the THIS we’re talking about is *us*, and when we outsource our power in any kind of way, we’ve become a part of the big business that is self-doubt.
The reason self-doubt is such big business is because we’ll spend a LOT of money, time, and energy to stop it.
Ah… but they’ll only ever sell us the ability to stop it to a point. Because if we end up stopping self-doubt ALL THE WAY, guess what we don’t need anymore: Their fix!
So, deeply enmeshed in their marketing for “all it is that you need to feel better about who you are” is an insipid thread of how you should never *really* feel great about who you are. Y’know… believe in yourself but only so much that you can get your ass off the couch, make it to work, and have enough money in the bank to afford whatever it is they’re selling NEXT (because there’s always a next).
Helping you topple the grip the culture of disempowerment tries to have on you is my work sometimes.
It’s actually the part of my work about which I’m proudest, really. Sure, I love helping you land a meeting with your dream agent. I adore hearing from you when you’ve cracked through to a new tier. It sends me right over the moon with glee when you thank me as you hold up something gold and shiny! No doubt!
But when I get word that you’re feeling more confident about your journey — a journey that lasts a lifetime — that’s so damn cool. I’d imagine it’s like my friend Steph Gaudreau feels when a client tells her they’re no longer sugar-addicted or on the yo-yo cycle of dieting that kills the metabolism. They’re just comfy in their own skin. Period.
And I say “just” in that “just comfy in their own skin” bit as if it’s a small thing. Holy crap, y’all. It’s everything.
BTW, Steph’s the one to credit for the “outsourcing our power” line above. When she said that during one of our livestreaming collaborations, I sat up straight and said, “Yes! Why DO we do that so much?!?”
Truth is, we do it because it’s easier to doubt ourselves — and trust everyone else to tell us what it is we need to do — than to believe we have the ability to sit in a place of infinite awareness of exactly what it is we need to tap into for our best and highest good at any given time.
Yeah, that amount of power — shining brightly from within — feels disconcerting when we’re bombarded daily with messages of not being enough.
(Spoiler alert: You ARE enough. We all are.)
This is why the work I do is to help you confirm anything you want to gut check. You rarely are walking around clueless needing a freakin’ drawn-from-the-ground-up gameplan — yet you sometimes seek those out the same way I’ll seriously consider buying a kitchen appliance on an infomercial at 4am. I mean… it really does slice through ANYTHING! C’mon!
But we know that one-size-fits-all designs aren’t meant for all the variables in a creative career. We’re unique. Our journeys therefore will be too.
So here’s the question I want you to ask yourself — actually, two questions. One: “Am I outsourcing my power?” (Are you behaving as if some “guru” has all the answers and you are clueless? Then choosing what to do not based on your alignment with a thing but instead based on their marketing savvy?) Two: “Am I making this business decision from a place of fear?”
That last one is especially important because FEAR rarely drives smart business decisions. It makes us sign up for classes we don’t enjoy or through which we are not growing, it makes us reshoot headshots for the gabilliondyith time, it makes us engage in all manner of actor busy work without really knowing why (because everyone else is doing it is a popular reason), and it distracts us from the REAL work that could make a difference in where we find ourselves this time next year.
It’s not buying the treadmill climbing thing with the snooty-accented trainer-robot prompting you to want more for yourself. It’s not letting Marie Osmond feed you protein shakes while showing off photos of people before and after losing baby weight. It’s definitely not letting what others *do* dictate that you override the feeling you have in your gut that IT’S OKAY to not have an agent for a while. That these headshots are FINE. That putting up that funny little clip on YouTube could be fun (and turn out awesome)!
That YOU are enough.
Need to hear me say this at you a bit? Check the Bonnie Gillespie events calendar for my next livestream! I love empowering you with information that can make a difference for you! And I love seeing how you make the most out of your storytelling gifts! 🙂 Makes me swoon, baby.
Exciting announcements about changes to our beloved SMFA Ninjas Facebook group comin’ your way. Yup… we’ve reached a point of growth that’s gonna require we try out a new format for a bit. Stay tuned! It’s bittersweet, this growth thing… but I actually just typed BETTERSWEET first, and now I realize that’s what it truly is.
Change, growth, moving to the next tier… all of it. It’s just BETTERSWEET. And anything that’s bitter? Oh, that’s so last-tier. 😉
All my ninja love,