There are 2 important questions you need to ask yourself:
1) How happy are you right now?
Do you know that everything you want is because you think you’ll be happier once you have it. Every role, every possession, every relationship, every award, every accolade.
2) How much fun are you having on your journey as an actor?
Many actors who are unhappy today say they’ll just be happy when they “are on a series, book the job, or make a million dollars,” yet we’ve seen so many examples of actors with tons of success who are still miserable.
Happiness is an inside job. You don’t have to wait for your circumstances to change to find joy, but instead try changing where you are focusing your attention.
“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” –Dr. Wayne Dyer
Here are 7 habits to becoming the happiest actor you know:
Keep in mind that the definition of a habit is: A recurrent, often unconscious pattern of behavior that is acquired through frequent repetition. In other words, it’s all about taking consistent action from your new perspective!!
1. Celebrate Your Victories: All Of Them
Do you find yourself minimizing your achievements? Saying things like, “It was just a callback,” “It’s only a commercial,” “It’s just a co-star,” etc.? Belittling your victories will slowly diminish your self-confidence. Try instead to embrace each step along the way.
Take Action Now: Write down every victory you’ve experienced since you began acting: finding an apartment, getting a callback, booking a job, all of it. The list should be long if you are giving yourself credit for all the baby steps you have taken. By shifting your focus and celebrating what you have achieved, you’ll begin to feel good again. And since like attracts like, feeling good about even the smallest achievement will help you attract bigger ones.
2. Write Down Your Goals
A university study found that only 3 percent of students had written down their goals. Twenty years later, the same 3 percent were wealthier than the other 97 percent combined. So why doesn’t everyone do this? Most people don’t know what they want.
Take Action Now: Make a list of what kind of characters you’d like to play, in what kind of projects, and with whom you’d like to work?. Doing this exercise will help you easily figure out if you want to shoot an action film in Australia, do a single-camera comedy, or appear in a Shakespeare play. Getting clear on what you want — and then taking action, of course — helps you move forward and attract people, places, and events to you that will line up with your goals.
3. Visualize Your Success
Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.” It is also widely known that athletes who visualize their results before a competition have a higher rate of success than those who don’t. You can do this too.
Take Action Now: Spend five minutes a day visualizing yourself as the actor you want to be. Play a mini-movie in your head of the perfect day as if all your dreams came true. Use all five senses to create a very clear picture. As you spend more time feeling excited about your visualization, you send out a signal that you are ready to receive more of whatever it is that you are giving your attention to. Live in the virtual reality of your dream. Enjoy it, expect it, act on it, and watch it manifest. (Visualize AND take consistent action!)
4. Take 100% Responsibility
Take a close look at everything that is bothering you about your career. You might say, “My agent never sends me out; he must not believe in me.” Dig deeper, and ask if you believe in yourself. Taking 100% responsibility for your career is the only way to change it.
Take Action Now: Make a list of each thing that is bothering you. Now, go back to that list, and next to each item write one thing you are grateful for. Sometimes it’s hard to find things to be grateful for with circumstances or people that aren’t bringing you joy, but when you take full responsibility for everything in your life you begin to own your power and no longer feel like a victim. For example, if you can’t find anything to like about your agent, you could be grateful for the clarity in knowing what you want in your next agent relationship.
5. Take Inspired Action
“By thought the thing you want is brought to you. By action you receive it,” said author Wallace Wattles in 1910. Even during a slow time, when it seems like “nothing is going on,” there is always something you can do for your career. What inspires you?
Take Action Now: You could take a new class, or update your demo reel, and be ready when things get busy again. If you’ve already done that, then find a way to challenge yourself outside your comfort zone. Write a one-person show, try stand-up comedy, or create and shoot your own web series. Make a list of five actions you feel inspired to take today to further your career. Start with the first one. The secret to getting ahead is getting started. Find a like-minded friend you can confide in, and be accountable to each other to take action on your goals each week.
6. Discover All Your Passions
What brings you the most joy? What did you love to do when you were a kid? Are there any untapped skills lying dormant within you because you told yourself you weren’t good enough? It’s time to say YES to your dreams.
Take Action Now: Eliminate fears or doubts by writing out the following statement: “If I knew I couldn’t fail, I would…” Complete the statement with everything that comes to mind. Circle one thing that excites you and take action, whether it’s planting a garden, learning to trapeze or going to cooking class. What makes you interesting is the life you are living on your way to becoming the best actor you can be. Besides, doing something you are passionate about may even take you down an exciting road you never imagined.
How are you giving back to the world? In a society in which gaining material possessions and status still leaves people feeling empty, I’ve learned that it is in the giving freely of ourselves that we feel fulfilled and rewarded. How can you give of your time, talents, and support?
Take Action Now: Why not help another actor on an audition or volunteer to mentor fifth-graders to write screenplays? (That was one of the most rewarding things I did last year. Check out www.youngstorytellers.com. Not sure how to volunteer? Go to www.volunteermatch.org, and you can search by area of interest, anywhere in the country. Giving back will expand your thought process to include people other than yourself and get your focus on listening rather than talking — which ultimately makes you a better actor!
Here’s to creating new habits that will bring you happiness and help you create a career + life that inspires you! Leave a comment below + let me know what you are going to do to have more fun along the way.~Wendy Braun