It’s hard, I get it. There is so much to do and only so many hours to do it. If you are an actor you probably wake up early, kiss your significant other, walk the dog, hit the gym, eat, memorize something, meditate, go to an audition, see a bud for lunch, rehearse with a scene partner for class, have a bite for dinner, head to your jobby job, count your tips and go to bed only to wake up the next morning wondering what you can do to get off the hamster wheel. But, you’re too overworked to step back and assess so you do the same thing the next day and get the same results. This sucks, right?
I totally get it. I spent years spinning my wheels. I was working, sure, but it’s hard to see the roadmap when you’re focused on your feet on the trail. Most type A personalities (and actors in general) don’t give themselves the breathing room to see the bigger picture. That’s a shame because it’s ultimately the bigger picture that needs more attention if you expect things to go differently for you.
When I talk about big picture I mean this; what do you want your life to be like? Where do you live? What do you spend your time on? Who is in your circle of influence? What does your body look like? How productive are you? How much money do you make?
We could talk goals for days but that’s not what I want to focus on. I want to focus on FOCUS. Energy flows where focus goes. If one area of your life is out of whack, it’s time to focus on it until it gets back in place or it evolves into something you’re proud of.
Let’s look at some areas of your life that may be out of balance and some of the things you can do to change the current state of things;
Your Body– Your body is not just a place for your brain to reside. It is the instrument with which you do your work. You only get one and if you mess this one up, it’s going to be a rough road for you. You need sleep so get it. You need exercise so get it. You need clean, healthy food so get it. I’ll dive more into some of these specifics in a separate article. But, for now, take care of your body and it will take care of you. Also, realize that your body is what we as producers see when we are judging whether or not you are right for a role. If you have a large body and that is your type then keep it large and healthy. If your body is skinny then keep it skinny and healthy. The only ideal body shape is the one that is right for you and your casting.
I CHALLENGE YOU: FOCUS on one area of your body that you want to change this month. Set a goal, make a plan, grab an accountability buddy and get to work. I’m focusing on my arm strength. Right now I can comfortably do 15 pull ups. I want to be able to do 25 pullups. So, everyday I am going to do at least 10-20 pullups on top of my regular workouts. We’ll see how many I can do in 30 days. What part of your body are you going to FOCUS on this month?
Your Mind-Remember when you were young, before your smartphone was attached to your arm? Those were the days when our brains were totally at our disposal. Nowadays, we are so distracted by the dings and dongs of our smartphones that we’re on social media more than we are actually social. Mental space is something that should be closely guarded from the constant input of the internet age. Calming the mind can free up extra mental horsepower for difficult tasks and create more well being in your life. It’s time to FOCUS on getting our peace of mind back.
I CHALLENGE YOU: FOCUS on 10 minutes of meditation a day. Don’t think of meditation as some woo woo, new age, hippie dippy crap. It’s a scientifically proven exercise to calm the monkey mind, lower cortisol levels, and bring more joy into your life. Use an app like Headspace or Calm to get started. These apps will move you through a guided meditation and take the guess work out of clearing your mind of the rubbish that gets in the way of your productivity.
Your Relationships-Relationships, especially in a city like L.A. can be challenging to cultivate and keep. I’ve gone through more friends here than anywhere else. Some people hide their ulterior motives underneath a coy smile and only reveal their true selves later in the relationship. But, that’s their issue not yours. You have to move on after being burned by a friend and you can’t stop moving forward in your life. Experiences like that make you grateful for the great relationships you’ve had. In fact now might be a good time to go back and revisit past relationships you enjoyed that have fallen by the wayside. Did you loose touch with someone you cared about? Reach back out and tell them you are thinking about them. You may never recapture your former glory but just telling someone you are thinking about them could make their day.
I CHALLENGE YOU: FOCUS on 5 friends from your past you’ve lost touch with. Go on Facebook or wherever you can connect with them and reach out. Try, “Hey ___________, I know we haven’t talked in a while but you popped into my mind this afternoon. How’s it going?” I guarantee that person will reach back out to you. You may decide you want to cultivate the friendship or you may not. It’s really up to you. Reach out to five forgotten friends this month. Let me know how it goes.
I’ve only put three challenge points in Part 1. Let’s try this out and see how it goes for the next 30 days before we get to part 2. Let me know what you choose to focus on in the comments below. We’ll keep each other accountable and support one another. Because, let’s be honest, change is not easy and we can use all of the help we can get.
Cheers to your success!
All my best, Marty Soole