You Doubting Yourself Is Big Business

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 live steaming 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? I sure do hope you’re all signed up for Thursday’s free SMFA Tune-Up call! Oh, and when you sign up, you’ll get word as soon as the SMFA Hot Sheets are updated right here so you can grab your latest show sheet in particular, as that’s the good stuff and you know I love putting that together for you… because 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 arsenal of data! ๐Ÿ™‚ Makes me swoon, baby.

Before I close off today’s BonBlast, if you’re in LA and you’ve been hoping to train with us IRL, looks like there’s ONE SLOT left in our SMFA Retreat on the 20th and I’m not gonna be emailing about it separately because with a whole bunch o’ you reading these emails but only one slot left, um, this is definitely better left as a PS buried over here. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Yes, I know the site says SOLD OUT. Because it was. But OMG, every year it seems we lose someone to Sundance. NOT complaining (and neither are they; they just come do the SMFA Retreat with us later in the year, NBD). So just go right ahead and we’ll get you homework tomorrow!

And everyone else, I’ll “see” you on Thursday’s call! (If you’re signed up, of course.)

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. ๐Ÿ˜‰

All my ninja love,


Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Wanna work with Bon? Start here. Thanks!

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12 Comments

  1. Dominic Ryan January 9, 2018 at 2:00 am

    This post couldn’t have come soon enough.
    I have been on Bonnie’s 11-Day free program and now I am on my 100=Day program, and things were going great. Really great, in fact. I felt like I had my mojo back, I was busy finding casting directors of shows/films I’d like to audition on, building my show bible, and doing lots of other things while feeling great about myself.
    I haven’t had any auditions yet, but it is still only January 8th.
    Then, Instagram, Twitter & Facebook reminded me that lots of other people were getting castings, some people were even getting more than one in a day. Then I had a down day yesterday, to the point where I even started looking for new headshots despite my current ones only being shot in May. Luckily my girlfriend is a very good word of reason and she often allows me to see things from a pragmatic point of view.

    It’s natural that we’re going to have down days, I know we are, I think I’m just scared that I’ll be in the hamster wheel for this year. But this email really helped, I’m not saying I’m feeling 100%, but it’s helping little by little. I am attending a casting workshop tomorrow, which I’m excited about, I also have new acting classes booked in from Saturday, and another casting workshop on Sunday. So hopefully I’ll take a way a lot of knowledge, I also feel really confident after class.
    Hopefully this dip is short lived. I know this is the long haul, but sometimes it’s hard to see when you’re in the middle.

    Reply
    1. Millie Jean January 9, 2018 at 9:04 am

      Dominic, DUDE, same here. I’m completed the winter GIG curriculum and am now on Day 20 for GIGFTNT. I feel confident and SO MUCH more professional knowing my clips are labeled, my resume shows how to cast me next – all that sweet, sweet stuff! Been working on my mindset and was feeling pretty light and groovy.

      But yeah. No auditions so far this new year.

      I started to wonder “What can I do to attract auditions?” I try to reframe things as a question to help create possibilities . . . But man. Those thoughts creep in: “What am I doing wrong?” “Why aren’t I getting called in?” Started to feel that actor gunk last week. Yuck!

      Really had me repeating, “I am enough,”

      I appreciate this article – ESPECIALLY NOW – haha It reminds me to keep on focusing on the real work. To submit and to let it go. It’s out of my control, why would I purposely make myself feel bad by stressing about it? ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Continue to lay down and build that strong foundation. Learn. Grow. And it’ll come. And that’s the best – when you’re not expecting it! ALWAYS. Keep believing we’re enough. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  2. Joshua Murphy January 9, 2018 at 4:09 am

    Thank you Bonnie! This so exciting yet daunting at the same time! I say, “she is right on!” Then the fear and doubt slowly trickles. Stopping the drip drip drip of fear, knowing I am the best plumber!

    Reply
  3. Casey Hunter January 9, 2018 at 7:26 am

    When delving into calisthenics, movement training, and martial arts I found that this mindset of not comparing myself to others, but only to my own progress day after day is what really propelled me forward. Applying this to my acting career has yielded the same results. I get excited and feel a renewed sense of discipline with every inch I move forward and YOU SHOULD TOO! Great article!

    Reply
  4. Jill Maglione January 9, 2018 at 8:30 am

    Love it, Bon! Oh, and BETTERsweet is a great word ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Reply
  5. Kelly Raymer January 9, 2018 at 10:03 am

    This is a huge energy boost to me and right after journaling and meditation with Abraham. Woweee!!!! Bookmarking this post just so I can read it over and over.

    Much love to all the #smfaninjas

    Reply
  6. Deborah Unger January 9, 2018 at 2:56 pm

    Hereโ€™s whatโ€™s bettersweet: trusting my own perceptions. I donโ€™t know when it happened, exactly, but it do know this: once I made a commitment to BONNIE, I discovered that I also had truly made a commitment to MYSELF. And as I realized I would be as upset about letting myself down as I would feel letting BONNIE down, I knew I had crossed the list into trusting myself. Itโ€™s something I didnโ€™t notice in a big way, or have a major epiphany about. I just saw something and immediately answered in my head โ€œthatโ€™s not gonna elevate me or he me anywhere new that I want to go.โ€ It is the best non-event of the past few months. Because the confidence wasnโ€™t there, and then another day I noticed it just was. Trust yourself. That is what Bonie has taught me โ€” and now just about the big stuff – because the small stuff led me to the big stuff. And it feels like home. ๐Ÿ™ƒ

    Reply
  7. Erin Zapcic January 12, 2018 at 3:04 pm

    Hey Dominic!

    So glad this resonated with you. If you liked this article from Bon, I’m sure you’ll get a lot out of this one as well: https://bonniegillespie.com/dip-management/

    Seems like this time of year has a tendency to test the best of us, after the New Year’s dust has settled. Keep on putting in the work, and be sure to leave time for SELF-CARE. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
  8. Erin Zapcic January 12, 2018 at 3:10 pm

    YES Joshua! Keep those drips at bay!

    Reply
  9. Erin Zapcic January 12, 2018 at 3:11 pm

    Great way to think about it, Casey! Every step forward is a step in the right direction, and no one’s on your journey but YOU. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Reply
  10. Erin Zapcic January 12, 2018 at 3:22 pm

    So glad you loved this, Kelly! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
  11. Erin Zapcic January 12, 2018 at 3:23 pm

    I love *everything* about this, Deb. You are awesome.

    Reply

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