SHARON MOIST is a former talent agent and author of ‘101 Tips For Actors’ who now works as a leading career consultant. I read a great article she wrote with some tips on getting out of our bouts of stagnance, and they’re much easier and simpler than you might expect!
“During her career as an agent, Sharon Moist saw thousands of actors shoot themselves in the foot, on a regular basis, through the choices they made and the actions they took while pursuing their careers. And, while they weren’t doing it on purpose, it happened because they didn’t have the information and the resources they needed to make better decisions and better choices.
I recently had a conversation with a potential client who talks a really good game.
The challenge with this person is that I’ve ‘been there and done that,’ so I’m very familiar with the ‘talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk’ syndrome. Up until two years ago, I could talk just about anyone under the table with all of my big plans. Unfortunately, all I did was talk. I never took action on anything. Just ask my former trainer; he’ll tell you just how true that statement really is!
Fortunately, that’s not the case anymore. Now I talk the talk AND walk the walk, and my life has changed 360 degrees because of it.
So what changed? Just one thing: I stopped talking and started walking. (i.e. I actually took the first step on something.)
Here’s an example of what I mean: When it came to exercise, I started working out at the gym for just 10 minutes at a time. (This area is definitely a challenge for me, as I’m not a big fan of exercising, but I’m getting there!) When it came to nutrition, I drank one extra glass of water a day. (Soda is my preferred beverage of choice!) When it came to getting my office organized, I set the timer for 10 minutes and worked on a pile of papers. (My assistant lives in Canada, so when it comes to keeping my office straight, it really is up to me!)
See how simple it was? The most important thing was to make each step I took small enough for me to succeed and feel like I had actually accomplished something. After that, momentum built on momentum, and the steps I took got a little bit larger each time, until I was no longer talking, but actually walking!
Now, let’s be honest: The exercise thing and the water thing are still a challenge for me, as I’d still rather sit on the couch reading a good book and drinking a can of soda, than working out, drinking a bottle of water. But, I’m working on it!
You see, I don’t think that most people who talk a good game intend to just talk. I really do believe that they want to accomplish the things they talk about. I know I did. I’ve also come to realize that the reason I wasn’t getting anywhere was two-fold: (1) I wanted to do everything perfectly and (2) If there was too much to do, I became completely overwhelmed and didn’t know where to start.
Finally, after many conversations with one of my own coaches, I realized that the perfection thing was never going to happen! And once I understood that, she helped me break things down into bite-size pieces, which gave me a place to start.
So what about you? Do you talk the talk or walk the walk?
If you discover that you’re doing more talking than walking, I would encourage you to take an hour or two and figure out exactly what’s holding you back from actively pursuing your goals.
Could it be fear? If so, you’ve heard what f.e.a.r. stands for, haven’t you? If not, here’s the definition: False Evidence Appearing Real. Remember, it’s very easy to let fear stop us in our tracks. However, until you know something for a fact, it might actually be nothing more than ‘false evidence appearing real.’
Is doubt getting in your way? If so, what exactly is it that you’re doubting? Your talent? Then maybe it’s time to get back in class and get your confidence back. Your headshots? Then think about giving yourself the gift of new pictures. Your demo reel? If it’s not a good representation of your work today, then don’t send it out right now, as I can promise you that hundreds of actors have gotten auditions and/or representation without a demo reel!
And if, for some reason, you can’t figure it out on your own, talk to your friends or even consider hiring a coach to help you.
Once you have the answers you need to break through your stuck spots, the sky is the limit on what you can achieve!”
– Now Casting, Actors Ink, Volume 6, #40