As an artist, life can often be, well, chaotic. And a disorganized, chaotic lifestyle is not only stressful and imbalanced, it’s not conducive to building a thriving and successful lifestyle. As an actor, living intentionally and effectively is a challenge that requires many things to work together. This means at the core of effective living is planning and management, two necessary skills that are often overlooked.
Empowered living is something that, over time, you learn to graft into. It becomes what you do and eventually who you are. Once you truly commit to the planning of becoming successful, it’ll lead you to actually becoming successful, which means you’ll then have to plan how to manage this new successful way of living. This is why it’s important to understand that planning and management will not just be skills you master and put away—they’ll be necessary for the rest of your life, regardless of what you do for your livelihood.
Do you think that retirement is when you don’t have to plan anymore? Think again! Even in retirement, you’ll have to manage everything you built for yourself earlier in life. Does retirement seem far off? Maybe. But it’s important to remember that effective living is a full-picture process. You must envision the full picture of your life! Think of your life as a three-act-story, like a screenplay, with a beginning, middle, and a final act, each of which requires its own unique planning and management strategies.
Now, I can fully understand that all of this may sound undesirable to you. After all, retirement, aging, planning, and management aren’t exactly the sexiest topics for an article intended to inspire and educate actors. However, there’s really no way around it. The end happens to everyone and planning is always taking place—you’re either not participating, which makes you a poor planner, or you choose to develop power planning skills, which will result in you living a fully empowered life.
If you’re convinced and you’re ready to start planning, here are three key applications to focus on this year.
Keep records! What you record (measure), you can change. The things you can change will allow for maximum growth potential. If you’re not already doing so, record everything you’re presently working on. No matter what it is—visualization, goal planning, time management, better health, fitness, and nutrition—it can all be tracked and measured. So record it! You can use any device that makes you feel comfortable and/or empowered, whether it’s an advanced piece of software or a good old-fashioned notebook. Just get in the habit of keeping a record of everything.
As mentioned, there are people who plan their life effectively and there are those who plan disastrously. Regardless of the category you presently find yourself in, it’s never too late to change your trajectory—you just need the right tools at your disposal:
Attitude: Don’t think of planning as a chore. Just because power-planning may be unfamiliar doesn’t mean you should have a casual attitude or an “off” mindset about it. If you properly prepare yourself mentally and allow yourself to get excited about the positive change effective planning will bring, it won’t be a chore for you, it’ll be a pleasure. Planning can actually become electric and energizing because you’ll begin to realize that you’ll be taking an active role in designing your own life the way you want it to be.
Systemize: Find the tools that work for you. Some people like actual hard copy planners. There are advanced scheduling tools that have pages dedicated to organizing everything from daily/weekly/monthly goals, to hourly activity breakdowns and even include room for diary entries. There are others that are much simpler and only have monthly and weekly calendar breakdowns. Then there are people who prefer all their planning to be meticulously controlled from various apps on their smartphone and synced to their computers. No one system is better than another. You have to find the one that works for you and your lifestyle. It has to make sense for you and it has to be sustainable. If you haven’t already done so, find your system and start planning!
Time: You have to make the time to sit down and plan. Put an alert in your phone. Wake up 30 minutes earlier, watch one less Netflix episode, do whatever it takes to carve the time out. Time won’t naturally do it for you. As funny as it sounds, you have to plan to plan.
Consistency: Empowered living isn’t for the weak and meek. You have to be tenacious, aggressive, and relentless about making this happen for yourself. Failure will naturally happen; success you must strive for.
Right now, you’re right where you are this very moment because, at some point, somewhere in your earlier days, a much younger version of you had a vision. You might not have thought about it too much at the time and it might not have even been very clear. In fact, your vision for yourself was more than likely a random set of completely unintentional thoughts. You weren’t working on a vision statement or a vision board, you just had thoughts. But if you’ve decided to make some positive changes in your life, you’ll have to become more proactive with governing your thoughts because they have a direct effect on where your life winds up and ultimately who you will become. It’s exciting to see evidence that you can make things happen for yourself. But, once again, it takes effort. Here are two things you can do to begin manifesting your vision:
Vision Statement: Having a vision is key! Without one, you’ll end up a statistic. Your personal vision statement is a proclamation of faith for you, to you, and to the world that this is who you are and this is where you plan on going. It tells everyone, “This is what I see, this is what I’m desiring, and this is what I’m manifesting.” Sure, it’s only a snapshot of you and your life, but in that snapshot, is your life!
Vision Board: Another useful tool for adjusting your thoughts is a vision board. Pictures are powerful; they have the ability to help us shape the way we think by positively reinforcing and reminding us about the goals we’ve set. You can create one on Pinterest or poster paper. You can cut pictures from a magazine or paint it yourself. It’s entirely up to you! Just make sure you’re intentional about everything you put on it and that you keep it somewhere you can see it frequently. It does you no good if you hide your vision away. Still not sure it’s for you? What film of any significance begins shooting before creating the storyboard? See it, then achieve it!
These power principles are proven and have been used by professionals for centuries. They’re amazingly powerful and created for those who actually want to change and desire to do greater things with their lives. They’re for artists who realize they’re in business and are able to change and improve things around them, including any dysfunctional artistic chaos.
Clay Banks is a former Fortune 500 Business & Life Empowerment Coach, a motivational speaker, and consultant. He owns and is head coach at Clay Banks Productions & Studio International (CBSI) where he offers ongoing on-camera acting classes. He’s presently a recurring master coach at SAG-AFTRA headquarters, as well as a regular guest MasterClass auditioning coach with the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Hollywood. If you would like to participate in the Pathway to Empowerment Series taught at CBSI between January and March, you can apply for classes HERE.
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