Imagine you’re in a hot air balloon that’s losing altitude. As the ground gets closer, you realize the only way to slow your descent is to lighten your load by throwing off the things on board that are weighing you down. You have to choose what stays and what goes or you won’t get where you’re going.
Likewise, actors must “throw off” thoughts and habits that keep them from reaching their career goals. Acting issues are often life issues. Here are 10 things to consider tossing overboard on your way to acting success!
1. The need to please. Seeking approval from others is a way of seeking attention. Don’t give up your power. Trying to please weakens your self-confidence and keeps you from being your authentic self—two things a working actor cannot be without.
2. Limiting beliefs. Life is limitless. We impose limits on ourselves by choosing what is, and isn’t, possible. Want to perform on Broadway? Be a series regular? If you don’t believe you can, you won’t. Learn which beliefs limit your possibilities and “throw ’em off!”
3. Negative thinking. There are many kinds of negative thoughts. There are should statements: “This business should be fair. I’m good so I should be working”; mind-reading statements: “I can tell the auditors don’t like me because of the way they behave”; and straight-up pessimism: “This business is too hard. There’s too much competition. I work hard but I can’t get anywhere.”
Your thoughts influence the world around you. Negative thinking is an obstacle to growth. An acting career is a long game. Be patient, keep working, adapt, and stay positive!
4. Procrastination. Don’t fall for this suave agent of self-sabotage who’s trying to keep you from accomplishing your goals. The hard part of any task is starting it! Make a schedule and set specific times to do research, submissions, work out, work on your audition material, etc., and stick to it! Opportunities rarely create themselves.
5. Worrying. Fear of the unknown and uncertainty about the future can make us think that things won’t work out. Worry creates stress and accomplishes nothing. The best way to rise above it at auditions, performances, meetings, or industry events is by being prepared.
6. Bitterness. No one likes a bitter actor. Instead of taking responsibility and taking steps to create more positive circumstances, they blame “the business” for the place they occupy in the food chain. We all create our own reality. What you put out comes back to you.
7. Self-criticism. Don’t allow constructive criticism to become self-defeating messages like, “I blew that audition. I’m not pretty enough to be on TV anyway!” Be a kind and responsible parent to yourself. Remember, mistakes are how we learn and everyone makes them. Thomas Edison failed 10,000 times before he finally invented electric light and changed the world.
8. Habits that don’t help you. Identify the things you do that distract you from getting things done. If your habit is to play video games and socialize on Facebook all night, cut back. Use some of that time to develop other, more productive habits that will help you grow as a person and an artist.
9. Believing you are a product of your past. Believing the future can only be as good as our past limits our view of what is possible and keeps us stuck where we are. The fact you’re not a great actor now does not mean you can’t become one. Your future is what you make it!
10. Watching the clock. For some, time can be a big source of stress. Many goal-oriented actors feel like they need a 30-hour day to get it all done. Scheduling time to completely kick back is the key to managing your time and stress. Time spent blissfully unaware of the clock is true recreation allowing you to regroup, refresh, and ultimately, be more productive.
If you believe in your success and replace negative thoughts with positive effort, you’ll create the lift you need to take your career as high as the sky will allow!
Like this advice? Check out more from our Backstage Experts!