When The World Feels Like It's Going to Shit

When The World Feels Like It's Going to Shit

“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable... Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Take advantage of these Chicago Artist's Discounts!

Take advantage of these Chicago Artist's Discounts!

Did you know?!

Many places have an artist’s discount, but don’t advertise it on their site. Any time you’re buying something big or taking a class, it never hurts to ask if they have a discount for artists.
Here’s some places I love that give a discount to artists in Chicago:

How One Actor Handles Anxiety

How One Actor Handles Anxiety

And I need to preface, I am seriously not a complainer.  On the contrary, I’m super positive.  But this summer has been really challenging.  Thankfully I have spent the last year and a half, working an acting method that has been helping me be a real human.  So between that, Brené Brown, and past talk therapy, I feel like I have some tools.

How to be a Savings Ninja

How to be a Savings Ninja

My friend Darci calls me a ninja when it comes to getting a discount. Really, I’m just not afraid of looking “cheap,” and I want to save as much money as possible. She told me to write a how-to blog. Here are some of my best ninja-saving tips:

Should I take time off or power through?

Should I take time off or power through?

“These two threads that run through our life—one pulling us into the world to achieve and make things happen, the other pulling us back from the world to nourish and replenish ourselves—can seem at odds, but in fact they reinforce each other.” 
― Arianna Huffington

Fix It In Post - Part 1: Bad Day On-Set

Fix It In Post - Part 1: Bad Day On-Set

A couple of months ago, I felt like I had a day from Hell on set! The director barely gave me the time of day. I wasn’t able to get my lines out in the time and space that he wanted. He wasn’t talking directly to me, but to me through others.

Other actors on set were joking with me, hugging me, letting me know it was all good. The crew was doing what they could to help me.

But, I still left defeated.

I cried to friends on the way home. They met me with chocolate cake and wine in hand. They told me, “Everything would be okay. I would get asked back to set. It probably wasn’t as bad as I thought it was.” They were telling me everything that I would tell any one of my friends in the same situation.

I had a sadness hangover the next day. I don’t know if it was from the sugar or the crying, but I felt sick.

Have you ever had a day like that? 

When it comes to days like that, there are both physical and mental things I do to help get through it.

Don't Quit Before The Miracle

Don't Quit Before The Miracle

There is a saying I’ve heard that goes: “Don’t quit before the miracle.” But when you’re in the arts and creating shows, how do you know how long you have to wait?

I have been doing the podcast Improv Nerd for over five years. I’ve had some really big name guests. I’ve toured with the show all across the country at improv festivals and theaters. But the audiences have always been unpredictable. Sometimes we’ve had as few as two wayward improv students, and sometimes we’ve had some really nice crowds of about 80 people.

They’ve never been huge. Until last Sunday.

What's Your Happiness routine?

What's Your Happiness routine?

Ever have a day or week when you feel totally lost? Sometimes, we get too busy or life throws us a curveball, and we start to feel anxiety, self-doubt, or just plain dazed. We may feel like we don't have a connection to the sense of who we are.

Not feeling centered makes it hard to find positivity or motivation, two things that are key to walking our path and reaching our goals. So, how can we get ourselves re-aligned when our thought train has run off the tracks? Here are three ways to do a quick re-set in those moments of uncertainty:

Is the JOY Missing In Your Passion?

Is the JOY Missing In Your Passion?

On our free monthly coaching call, my friend, a stage manager, shared how she was craving stability and steadier income and planned to quit the business. Can you relate? She made up her mind to work a few more shows and be done. And what did she discover? Her interactions on the job were smoother, and talks with producers about potential projects were lighthearted and easier. She was finding joy again in that business she was ready to quit.

What Lara Croft Can Teach You About Your Career

What Lara Croft Can Teach You About Your Career

This week’s post is a joint article from Monica Ryan, an artist who is part of the My Big Year mentoring group, and me. During one of our recent calls, we talked about risk-taking and what it really means to step outside your comfort zone. She has some great points, so read on and enjoy!

 

5 Life-Changing Reads for Artists

5 Life-Changing Reads for Artists

Let's face it. We aren't born to be 100% confident, energetic, and instant masters at what we do. We know we have to take care of our physical bodies by eating right, working out, getting sleep, etc etc but we don't really talk about how we need to take care of our mental and emotional selves.

The more you learn about yourself, the more you'll be able to understand your quirks, strengths, and capacity for dealing with life, and it's so important to work on our mindset every single day.

A Year-End Review to Kick Off 2017!

A Year-End Review to Kick Off 2017!

Happy New Year!

Almost! 2016 is ending soon. Taking a few days to review your year is one of the best ways to set the stage for growth in 2017. It allows you to acknowledge where you’ve come from and gain a clearer outlook for the year ahead. I now look forward to doing this review each year! Here’s how to do one for yourself.

Things Are Going Too Well...When Will the Other Shoe Drop?

Things Are Going Too Well...When Will the Other Shoe Drop?

Ever had a period in your life where things were going so well that you were constantly wondering when it was all going to fall apart?

Gay Hendricks talks about this in his book, The BIG Leap [LINK: CR’s Amazon book link page]. We all tend to think there’s a limited amount of success, love and abundance we can have - that we “deserve”.

In these self-imposed limitations, once we reach our glass ceiling (that is, once we’ve reached the pinnacle of how much wonderful-ness we’re “allowed” to have), we begin to sabotage ourselves.

Or at least wonder when the next crappy thing will happen.

Can anyone say, “Hello, Ego”?

Being Put on Hold Is a Good Thing!

Being Put on Hold Is a Good Thing!

GUEST POST BY: CLAIRE SIMON

Often times after a long day of auditions, I get to grab a quick second to check Facebook, and undoubtedly I’ll see a few postings by actors who’d commented on their audition that day. There are always comments about how well it went or conversely maybe they are contemplating poking their eye out after a really crumby one.

5 Ways to Enjoy the Holidays Even When Your Family Is Challenging

Mom keeps hinting that it’s time to get engaged. Auntie Margie asks when you’ll finally get a “real job.” Uncle Phil is already drunk and making weird comments about the neighbor’s Yule log. 

Sigh. The holidays. Sure, the cozy winter weather is awesome and you can’t really make an argument against candy canes (well, unless you’re a dentist, maybe), but spending extensive time with family can be really darn stressful. 

This year when you start feeling anxious during the holidays, try one of these five techniques to keep you calm, centered and present – even when Cousin Bobby tries to shave the dog (again!). 

1. Take a Time Out. Maybe the last time you were forced to go sit in a corner by yourself was when you were five, but as it turns out, spending a few minutes by yourself can be super helpful, especially when things feel overwhelming! Find a space where you can be alone (even if it’s the bathroom) and take a few calming breathes before Grandpa Marshall asks you to pull his finger for the third time. 

2. Light Candles. No, not so that you can burn down your stepdad’s garage – light scented candles to create a peaceful environment for yourself. Mmm, smell that yummy incense? Feel yourself relaxing as you inhale the sweet aroma. 

3. Play Relaxing Music. Warning: holiday tunes may or may not be relaxing to you at this time. Let yourself get carried away into music that soothes you and slows your heart rate. 

4. Go Outside. Yay snow! Sledding, snow angels and snowball fights are all exactly what the doctor ordered! No snow in your area? The holidays are a great time to take a hike and clear your mind. Unless you’re in the Caribbean, chances are you’ll be in for some crisp December air – and nothing is more mind-clearing than being in the outdoors.

5. Repeat a Mantra. One of my favorites is, “I love and accept my family as they are right now.” One of our greatest sources of stress is trying to make other people be, do or think a certain way. That’s hard, especially since ultimately, we really can’t control others. When you’re open to accepting them exactly as they are, you’ll eliminate a lot of stress for yourself. Click To Tweet

This year, I hope that you’re spending some wonderful time with people that you love (even if they’re nuts!). Take some time to yourself to reflect on what a wonderful year it has been so far. You’re on the right track, fellow artist, and I applaud you for being so true to yourself and your passion. 

Courtney Rioux, The Whole Artist coaches actors and other creative talent who feel stuck in their career and want more out of life. She's here to help you shift your mindset from stuck and unhappy to empowered and joyful — all while making it feel fun and easy. It’s like therapy without the therapy.

 

Important vs. Urgent: Are You Prioritizing the Right Things in Your Acting Career?

Important vs. Urgent: Are You Prioritizing the Right Things in Your Acting Career?

We’ve all had “those days” where it seems like there are a million urgent strings pulling on you.

Your spouse forgot their wallet so you have to drop everything and take it to the office. Somehow a bill slipped through the cracks and you have to spend 45 minutes on the phone with the cable company. A coworker at your J-O-B got sick so you have to fill in for her at the last minute.

Oh, and let’s not forget about the email trap: questions coming in from others who need your guidance, small details on projects that must be taken care of, etc.

Yes, we’ve all been there – and of course, those things are important to take care of. But what if you spent all day, every day at the whim of those minute, “urgent” tasks?

Supercharge Your Performance In Stressful Situations

Supercharge Your Performance In Stressful Situations

When studying the brain and neurogenesis, scientists are discovering that there is no one magic bullet for improving your mental performance and physical health. Changing your diet is not going to have the same impact if you aren’t also meditating and exercising. Meditation alone is not as effective if you aren’t eating enough good fat. Point of the story: Brain health is best attained by approaching it from all angles.

I think this is particularly relevant when it comes to supercharging your performance in stressful situations. There are a lot of wellness practices that can help, and if I am honest, I think meditation is generally the best. But when you need an extra boost in a high-stakes situation, the strongest strategy is what I call the “Power Trio:”

When You're Not Quite There Yet - Negotiating the "Middle Ground" of Acting

When You're Not Quite There Yet - Negotiating the "Middle Ground" of Acting

Guest blog by Rhonda Musak, acting coach

Eek! The middle ground. That place that is no longer the beginning, but it certainly doesn't match the vision you held for yourself before you took the very first step forward. Back there, right around the first step, everything seemed so shiny and possible. The dream you recall was mammoth, but you felt energized and invigorated by it and everyone around you was cheering you on.

Power Pose Challenge - Starts Today!

Check out Amy Cuddy's TED Talk on why a 2-minute power pose will make your audition better. Here's me doing my power pose last week at O'Connor Casting!

Your challenge if you choose to accept it:

  1. Before an audition, stand in a 2 minute power pose.
  2. Take a picture
  3. Post to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram with these hashtags: #auditionchallenge #thewholeartist AND tag me!     

Starting today, September 19, at the end of each week, 1 winner will be randomly selected to win a free hour of coaching! Don't forget to tag me in your posts!

Actor Social Media Presence: What Actually Works?

Actor Social Media Presence: What Actually Works?

Not too long ago, actor Michael Kostroff was generous enough to do a Q+A call with a group of actors from the My Big Year program, and it was so incredibly insightful that I just have to share some of what we covered on the blog this week.