1. A clear focus
As a proactive, creative, multihyphenate artist, you likely have multiple interests, multiple talents, and therefore multiple opportunities. These blessings, although wonderful, can also make you feel overwhelmed, pulling you in a million directions at once. Despite having lists of goals, if your energy is too scattered and your time spread too thin, you will not be able to generate the momentum needed to boost your career to the next level.
Creating a list of goals is vastly different from a) defining a clear focus that is centered on what you are most passionate about achieving and b) designing your life to feed that focus. With a focus, your life and career immediately feel more cohesive and manageable.
The following is an example of a sentence I help all my clients complete. This one was created with an actor who wants to eventually work in big-budget feature films but who, at the moment, needs to quit her stifling day job:
"The Big Dream I am passionate about achieving is to be acknowledged for my acting talents worldwide, and, to get there, the next significant shift I am focused on making is to create more ways to earn a profit from my creative talents-and I will make sure everything in my life (activities, relationships, mindset, appearance, expenditures, etc.) feeds that specific focus."
When the going gets tedious, your focus is there to help you view your career from a big-picture perspective. Plus, you can use your focus to decisively evaluate opportunities that come your way by asking, "How well will this new opportunity feed my focus?"
2. A strategic plan of action
Having a plan of action isn't enough. The plan needs to be strategic in order for you to maximize each effort and produce more results from less work. Too many diligent actors are doing many of the right things in the "wrong" order. It's amazing what happens when you begin executing a plan in which one step builds toward the next, one campaign builds toward the next, and one year builds toward the next.
3. Available resources
Building anything of significance requires time, energy, and money. Although you might believe that your progress is stalled because you need more of those resources, in reality you may simply need to better leverage the resources you already have. An important piece of the leveraging process is identifying the activities, relationships, mindsets, and financial expenditures that are draining your time, energy, and money, and then plugging those leaks.
4. A strong source of accountability
Nothing of significance is ever built alone. One of the quickest ways to burn out is to attempt to be your own source of accountability. It's too easy to break promises you make to yourself. If you want to accomplish something big or something outside your comfort zone, you will need to find at least one person you genuinely respect who will hold your feet to the fire.
5. Consistent extension
Unless you are genuinely not suited for the acting profession, the reason you are not getting enough work is because not enough of the right people know you exist. If someone does not know who you are or what you have to offer, how can he or she help you or hire you? Along with honing your talents and developing your technique, your job is to consistently extend yourself (meet people!) and your artistry (entertain people!) out into the world again and again and again.