Most actors know what it’s like to experience a roller coaster of highs and lows in their acting career, and depending on what kind of feedback you get from the industry, one moment you might feel on top of the world, and the next like you don’t deserve success and will never have it.
The word “success” means something different for everyone, but getting down to the roots of it, it’s whatever supports your happiness and fulfillment. One thing we’re learning about success is that no matter what’s showing up in our outside world, the dynamics that occur in each of our interior worlds is ultimately the creator of our human experience, and therefore our sustained success or continued failure.
Our interior world will also affect the way the outside world shows up for us. For example, if you’re critical, impatient, and unkind to yourself, you’ll wear it all over you like a suit and the people around you will respond accordingly. You’ll grate on others as you grate on yourself. You’ll inspire the same criticism from others as you bring to your own ears. No level of skill, marketing, materials, or representation is going to make you successful if you’re at war with yourself. It certainly won’t bring you happiness and fulfillment. However if you’re supportive, friendly, and encouraging to yourself, you’ll create an inner confidence that allows you to walk into any room and give others that same level of confidence in you. You become someone others want to know more about; they want to be around you.
Your success is defined by the relationship you have with yourself, and love is the ultimate ingredient.
“Love? You mean self-love? Isn’t loving yourself arrogant and egotistical?” you might ask. What’s interesting is that the ego is as far away from love as we can get. The ego is fear—fear of not being seen, not being enough, screwing up, being left behind, and not mattering. And when we’re in our egos, we very often compensate with vanity, defense, bravado, entitlement, and arrogance. Or we go the other way and feel that old familiar doubt, insecurity, disgust, criticism and impatience with ourselves. Most often it’s an unpredictable pendulum swing between the two. The point is, neither end of that pendulum swing is love, and both sabotage our ultimate success in every area of life.
Applying self-love toward your success takes a commitment to be different than you’ve been before. It means acting as kindly to yourself as you would to a beloved friend. It means changing out that critical voice inside with one that’s realistic and encouraging. It means dedicating yourself to healing your wounds, getting to know who you really want to be, and showing up every day accordingly. It means building trust in yourself by taking actions in favor of your long-term good, not your short-term impulses. It also means letting go of the things that hold you back, harm you, and distract you, and sometimes even setting firm boundaries to keep them out.
What’s also great about self-love is that, unlike egoism, it moves outward in collaborative, generous, and caring ways toward others, including directors, producers, casting directors, fellow actors, friends, and loved ones all get to benefit as well.
If you want success in your acting career—and in your life as a whole—you have to have to start with the foundation of it all, and that’s you. Then, as that old Tina Turner song asks, “What’s love got to do with it?” Let’s remember together that the answer is “Everything.”
Justina Vail, PCC CHt, 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."
Vail coaches actors all over the world via Skype and in person. For info about private coaching packages as well as Actors Life Coaching seminars and workshops visit www.actorslifecoaching.com.