Our inner critic rears its ugly head at the most inopportune moments—auditions, opening nights, first days on set—and reflects our own self-doubt and fear. It’s that little voice that says, “That was terrible. You’re not good enough. You’re a failure.”
But you have another voice you can choose to listen to: Your inner director.
You are the director of your own career. You set the scene. You call the shots. To ensure your journey unfolds at the highest level possible, you first need to understand how to direct yourself through your daily life and career obstacles with kindness, clarity, and flexibility.
Here are two quick tips to help you get started.
1. Kill ’em with kindness. The best directors are sensitive to the creative process and their actors’ choices and feelings. When an actor misses the mark or doesn’t completely embody the project’s vision, the director doesn’t publicly berate them or judge them or shout that they failed. They simply offer adjustments and move on to the next take.
So why wouldn’t you treat yourself the same way?
When you feel your inner critic attacking your performance, turn up the volume on your own inner director. Stay away from negative talk and identify what didn’t work with an objective eye. Then focus on the positives you want to enhance for next time. Staying positive helps you direct your energy in a strategic and effective way.
2. Refocus your lens. When he was inventing the light bulb, Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.” Failure and success are just concepts you create whenever you apply a particular value to an action or an event. You control what that value is.
When a director on set isn’t getting the shot they want, they will adjust the camera angle, move the props around, or talk with their cast. You too need to be willing to see things differently.
When you shift your idea of success from uncontrollable exterior outcomes—like whether you book a role or land an agent meeting—to tangible experiences like having a great audition, making a scary phone call, or finishing a screenplay, you reinforce your confidence which leads to better actions and more positive results.
Woody Allen said, “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” It would be a lonely and confusing set if the director just checked out so don’t allow your inner critic take charge of your career. You have to be willing to show up for yourself and approach difficult or less-than-perfect situations with a positive and objective eye. Stay open to making adjustments to your actions, and you’ll be on your way to seeing different and better results—maybe even award-winning ones.
Dallas Travers teaches the career and life skills often left out of traditional training programs. Her book, "The Tao of Show Business," garnered five awards including first prizes at The Hollywood Book Festival, the London Festival, and the National Indie Excellence Award. Through her workshops, Dallas helps thousands of actors increase their auditions, produce their own projects, secure representation, and book roles in film, television, and on Broadway. She is a certified life coach and entrepreneur with over a decade of experience implementing marketing and mindset strategies that work.
For more information about working with Dallas, visit www.dallastravers.com.