I’d be willing to bet that you’ve had the thought (at least once or twice), “I should be further along in my acting career by now.”
It’s pretty normal for actors to have this thought. After all, most of us have gone out of our way to fulfill our life dreams. We leave our hometown to carve out a little space for ourselves in INSERT BIG CITY HERE much to the astonishment of our family members. Maybe they support us, if we’re lucky.
We took the big risks. We followed our dreams! And in life, doesn’t big risk yield big rewards? It worked for Tina Fey so it should work for me, too, right?
So when the day comes that you turn around and look at all the work behind you and then look at the road ahead of you and realize that there’s no discernible path that leads directly to an Oscar, you may hear yourself thinking it...
“I should be further along in my acting career by now.”
Instead of Fighting Reality, Flow with It
When any of us fights reality the result is pain. It hurts to point the finger at ourselves internally and think things like, “What’s wrong with me? How come I’m not doing better? Am I too fat/skinny/ugly/old/untalented?”
Many of us think that we have to suffer in order to motivate ourselves though life. Some people think that if they stop to appreciate, enjoy and celebrate where they are, they’ll never be motivated to move up or move on.
When you sit with that question for a moment, is it true?
I don’t think so, not for a second! The ability to recognize where we are in our careers, embrace that space, and then move forward with love and gratitude is a much more powerful choice than the alternative. That’s how we flow with reality instead of fight it.
And by the way, when we allow ourselves to flow with reality, that’s when amazing things start to happen.
Remember, an Acting Career Often isn’t Linear
Sometimes I look at doctors or lawyers and I admittedly feel a little jealous. Think about it: someone who wants to be a doctor has a plan laid out for her. She goes the pre-med track in college, then med school, then maybe she’ll continue schooling for a specialty, then she does a residency, and keeps working along this track until she has her own practice and retires at 65.
Not easy, but simple. A doctor can follow the path others have forged before her and she’ll find success.
In the world of acting... that path doesn’t really exist! There’s no step-by-step guide. In fact, one of my friends recently took a commercial class where the teacher told her, “First, get good at commercials. Then you can audition for co-stars, guest stars and recurring. And once you nail that, you can think about auditioning for film.”
Yikes! That is simply not true! In the real world of professional acting, you could be a principal character in a play today, an extra on a commercial next week and a day player in a series three months from now.
Get what I’m saying?
There’s no surefire way to “become an actor.” And the funny thing is, many of my clients who moan that they haven’t “made it” yet are already doing the thing that they love the most: acting.
Today, I encourage you to take a look at your life. What are your daily actions? Do you get to do creative things that you love, with people you admire? Where are you on your journey?
There very well may be an Oscar in your future and you would never know it, looking at your life situation right now. We just cannot know the future, but we can be grateful for the present.
So, my actor friends, I invite you to take a deep breath. Your journey is unique and it’s just that – a journey, to be enjoyed and savored. Go out there and savor it!
Check out My Big Year to join other actors in the midst of their journeys, learning to change their WHOLE perspective and celebrate the present.
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.