Practicing Gratitude This New Year Could Be the Key to Your Success

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Photo Source: Spencer Alexander

I have decided to start the new year with my very first gratitude journal. There’s a lot of negative energy in this business, and my therapist claims that focusing on the positives will make me a better agent. I’m all about self-improvement, so I’m going to force myself to see the good that’s out there. 

Here are my first three entries:

1. Thank you to all my lovely clients who refuse to believe deadlines are a thing. I understand the due dates for your self-tapes are an infringement on your creative process, so I’m going to be a lot looser about this sort of thing. I’m sure that will work out just fine.

2. Thank you, headshot photographer, for using the same lighting setup you’ve used for years, the one that washes out everyone’s skin and removes all traces of life from an actor’s eyes. I appreciate your efforts, misguided as they may be. And a double portion of thanks for continuing to take your pictures outside, where you have no real control over the lighting.

3. Almost every TV show requires proof of vaccination before they hire an actor. So I want to thank the clients who lied about their status until the last possible moment, which forced me to pass on several offers. Your ability to ignore reality has made a deep impression on me. I must remember to ask how you sleep at night. 

Hang on, let’s stop for a second. It looks like I took a wrong turn into Sarcasm City—sorry about that! Let me try again.

Here are my first three (revised) entries:

1. I am very grateful to Mr. Eric Yuan, the man who created Zoom. Thanks to his brilliance, I can take meetings with actors from all over the world without having my Skype account crash like the Hindenburg. This affordable service has already helped me earn a lot of money from new clients I never would’ve met otherwise.  

2. Thank you to all the nonbinary actors who have gone out of their way to educate me about the proper use of pronouns. I’m Joe Ignorant about this stuff, and I’m playing a lot of much-needed catch-up. Those actors used a gentle voice and a sense of humor to help make me a more woke dude.

3. I complain incessantly about the casting directors who say no to my pitches, but you know what? All those negative responses have made the positive ones more special. So from now on, I’m going to show gratitude for every yes, and I’m going to let every no slide right past me. (We would all do best to follow suit in this unforgiving industry.)   

All right, that feels much better. Starting a gratitude journal might be the smartest move I’ve made in quite some time! I suggest you make a resolution to acknowledge every success you had this past year—no success is too small. Every single one pushed you further along the path that leads to accomplishing your goals and finding the success you seek. As journalist Mignon McLaughlin once said: “Every day of our lives, we are on the verge of making those slight changes that would make all the difference.”

Happy New Year! 

This story originally appeared in the Dec. 30 issue of Backstage Magazine. Subscribe here.

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Secret Agent Man
Secret Agent Man is a Los Angeles–based talent agent and our resident tell-all columnist. Writing anonymously, he dishes out the candid and honest industry insight all actors need to hear.
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