How often have you set goals or resolutions that you never kept? How often have you attended a class, taken copious notes, yet never put what you learned into action afterward? Have you ever quietly committed to change a habit or behavior and then struggled to actually make the change?
It’s pretty tough to generate new results if you don’t continuously focus on the change you want to bring about. Resolutions often don’t work because you set the goal, write it down and then forget about it. That’s also what happens with binders full of notes. Quiet personal promises rarely come to fruition because they don’t have room to grow. They’re just a secret you keep to yourself.
Your career is a lot like a precious and exotic plant. Let’s pretend you’ve got a one-of-a-kind orchid that’s so beautiful it takes your breath away. Now, you don’t know a lot about orchids, but you do know that they’re fragile and that they require special care and attention. Fearing that your orchid will not survive in the hands of your roommate, your girlfriend, your mom who’s in town for the week, or anyone else for that matter, you decide that the only way to keep your orchid intact is to lock it in the cupboard. At least in the cupboard, nobody can get his or her grubby hands on your precious plant! Two weeks later, you remember your orchid and race to the cupboard door. When you open it up, you sadly find the wilted and dry remains of a once beautiful piece of perfection.
Why then do you lock your dreams away, protecting them from the very elements they need to blossom? Your future is just like that precious orchid. It needs exposure to sunlight to grow into its fullest potential. It needs water for hydration, healthy soil for nourishment, fresh air, and room to expand. Let’s face it, sometimes your own mother’s advice may feel like a hurricane or a nasty bug infestation. Perhaps a fellow actor’s negativity may suck the air out of the room. Maybe so-called industry experts will scorch you with their insight on the hardships of Hollywood. It’s your job to expose yourself to all of these elements and pay special attention to just how much sunlight, water and wind your little orchid can take. At times, it may be difficult or discouraging, but without these things, your dreams will surely die. Don’t keep your goals to yourself. Just like that precious flower, your career deserves to thrive in an expansive environment.
Embrace the power of making your goals public. Go out there and share your plan, talk to people, collect insight and gather support. Your job in this business, above and beyond everything else, is to become known. Nobody gains notoriety by sitting quietly at home watching Law and Order reruns.
I am not suggesting that you run around town expressing your desires to everyone you meet on the street. Instead, I urge you to think about your goals often, so that your future vision automatically becomes a part of what you talk about and how you operate every single day. You must become comfortable enough with who you are today and where you’re heading tomorrow that you can authentically speak about this journey in any circumstance.
You must be willing to express your desires, share your action plan, and celebrate your successes, free of expectation. Regardless of how others will perceive you or receive your goals, your dreams deserve the opportunity to thrive by being exposed to the elements. I have no doubt that you will encounter many nay-sayers and crazy-makers on your journey to acting success, but you’ll also meet your future collaborators, mentors, and supporters. Trust me, it’s much easier to generate the results you desire with the help of a team rather than trying to do it solo.
What you say is what you get. If you don’t say anything, you’ll get nothing. If you sheepishly talk about your acting career only in safe environments after much poking and prodding, expect your goals to be reached just some of the time and only in safe environments. So how willing are you to talk about the career you’re creating? How willing are you to share your goals with the people in your life? How willing are you to watch your future bloom right before your eyes?