If your journey as an actor has felt rocky and unclear, you’re not alone. Most of the actors who come to me for coaching share that experience. In the thirty years I’ve been in the film business - eleven of them coaching and consulting actors - I’ve discovered some crucial steps needed for the journey to be successful. Here are three simple ways to create a clearer path to success in 2013.
1. Get clear about where you’re going. One common factor among actors is having little more than a vague sense of what they want. There’s a lovely, hazy dream floating on the horizon about being “successful,” but not a lot of real results happen that way. What’s required is a strong, clear vision of the future. A first step is to ask what kind of career you actually want. Do you want a multi-camera television, independent film, stage, soap, commercial, or other career? And what would that mean for your life? Where would you live? Who would you be around? What would your bank account contain? What would your working hours be? What car would you be driving? What would your relationships be like? What would you believe about yourself and the world? Your dream is uniquely yours to create, and just as you create your character’s lives and inner workings, you owe it to yourself to spend some thought and energy on your own. A great way to do this is to write a detailed story about your life two or three years from now, told in the present tense, and made as ideal as possible.
2. Give your path its edges. If your path has no edges, you’ll find yourself standing in a big open space with no direction. The “edges” of your path separate out what belongs on it and what doesn’t. They’re boundary lines. Setting those parameters require that you ask yourself what people, places, behaviors, relationships, habits, beliefs, and agreements keep you in the direction you want to go and what distracts, diverts, or sabotages that goal. Whatever you say “yes” and “no” to in life will determine what your path is like and where it heads, so be intentional about each and every choice you make. I suggest writing a list of what’s in your life now, and decide which ones need to go because they’re holding you back, and which ones serve your journey. Those are the ones that deserve your attention and gratitude.
3. Surround yourself with legitimate support. Whether it’s coaches, mentors, or teachers, fill your life with those who support and inspire you, and make sure they’re qualified to do so. It doesn’t matter if it’s in-person, or via books, CDs, or teleseminars, the industry is full of untrained and inexperienced “snake oil salesmen” promising to get you an agent or bring you that big movie career. If you’re going to hire a coach of any kind, for example, make sure they’re qualified. Your acting coach needs to have a real history of success with their students, and your career or life coach must have experience, training, and proper certifications to be a legitimate resource to you. Anyone can give advice, and often that’s just uninformed opinion. With your future at stake, surround yourself with experts who serve your path to its highest potential. And make sure you’re listening to that most important voice of all—the voice of your own deepest instincts and wisdom— because that will always steer you in the right direction.
Justina Vail is a life coach, master NLP practitioner, hypnotherapist, speaker, award-winning author, and award-winning actor. She is owner of Actors Life Coaching and author of the award-winning new book “How to be a Happy Actor in a Challenging Business: A Guide to Thriving Through it All."
Justina Vail is currently offering her popular weekly simulcast Actors Life Lessons for $1 for the first month. For more info about Actors Life Coaching teleseminars, workshops, and private coaching packages visit www.actorslifecoaching.com.