As the end of 2018 creeps closer, it’s natural to reflect on your career successes (and less-than-successes) from the past year. As an actor, there’s a chance your career may not have gone the way you wanted it to. And that’s ok. What’s important here is to focus on what you have accomplished up to this point.
One of the most important truths we have to embrace as actors is that this vocation we’ve chosen is not a sprint; it’s a marathon that features bursts of energy, stoppages, doubts, and perseverance.
If we can manage to stay the course and follow our hearts, we’ll find such treasure on our acting journey. As long as you know that giving up is not an option, you will be just fine.
Getting reflective at the dawn of 2019, it’s hard to believe I’ve been an actor for 13 years. I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. I’ve quit, only to come back full circle when I realized there was no way I could give up on something that brings me so much joy. Forget fame, money, power, and recognition—it’s about the joy and creative expression of connecting to the material and impacting humanity.
If you find yourself doubting your chosen career with January on the horizon, consider these 10 reasons you should keep going.
1. You love acting.
Acting is a relationship: You get out what you put in. Trouble is, sometimes the fruits of your labor can take years to come. But they will come because of the love you have for the craft. You realize, ultimately, that you’re in it for the love first and foremost. And anything you love in a purely dedicated way will eventually love you back.
2. You’ve got nothing but time.
I’m seeing more and more performers not succeed until middle age. This is absolutely astonishing to witness because it proves one thing to everyone who pursues the craft: we’ve got nothing but time. Some of us get lucky and catch a break at 20 but who cares when it happens? Just know it will be one of the greatest moments of your life when it does happen. You can act until you die so there’s no need to be in a hurry.
3. You positively impact other performers.
Because you have one more year of the craft under your belt, you’ll become a leader for every newbie who decides to make 2019 the year they become an actor. You have so many jewels of wisdom to share with others; I guarantee there’s a performer who definitely needs to hear it.
4. Your desire.
The energy you give will always be matched. It’s astonishing to think how efficient the universe is when we commit to being our best, doing our best, and giving our best as actors. For this, you will be rewarded in one form or another, at one point or another. Remain patient, open and accepting of all that has happened and will happen in your career.
5. You’re so close.
Too many actors have put in years of work only to walk away right before they reach the peak. This career is like hiking Mt. Everest. Refuse to quit when you lose your breath or are feeling frozen or stuck. Stop, take a moment, regroup, and keep moving toward the summit. Who cares how long it takes, just keep the belief that you will make it.
6. You learn something new every day.
Every year, I learn something as an actor that no teacher could have taught me. When you commit to something unwaveringly, it gives you treasurable insights that will move your career forward. As a performer, this is so important because one minor shift could be the difference between 10 booked roles and one. Keep your mind open for what the craft wants to offer as a reward for your commitment.
7. You can’t imagine doing anything else.
In 2006, I quit acting because I wasn’t getting the results I desired. Looking back, I realize I just didn’t give it enough time. I was in a hurry to succeed and it urged me into a bad decision. I got a desk job and was absolutely miserable. I felt dead inside until I asked myself what I really wanted to do. Acting! That moment reignited my passion and helped me discover a new love for performing. You get one shot at this; give it your all, trust the process, and enjoy the journey.
8. You are one of a kind.
The world hasn’t seen a performer like you yet, one who can do all the special things that you can do. The acting world needs you to show that everyone can succeed in this craft by being themselves. It’s honest and it’s the truth. There’s something unique about your ability, even if you may not know it yet.
9. Your “losses” make you stronger.
Look back on this year and think of every audition you didn’t book. What did you learn from each that made you a better performer? Every role you don’t book adds motivation to the next one. For every job you miss by inches, you gain an appreciation for how far you’ve come. There’s no such thing as losses in this industry, only opportunities. They’re all created to make you a more well-rounded actor.
10. It brings you joy, pure and simple.
I teach my clients all the time to follow the “joy trail,” not the paper trail; it will lead you to inner bliss and outer reward. Joy will also give you the energy and enthusiasm to go after your dream every single day. It puts you in a position to truly understand that quitting was never an option because your heart needs this to be fulfilled. Don’t deny that urge no matter how tough it gets, how upsetting, or how many obstacles you encounter. You owe that joy to your heart.
An acting career is like a script that’s being written. Each year is another scene within the story that tells the truth of who we really are and what we truly love. One way or another, 2019 will be your year!