Do I HAVE to?

by emily on May 13, 2012

LA was an amazing trip. I was so sad to leave. I met some awesome new people, connected with old people (old friends), and had the pleasure of hosting a kick ass workshop with some pretty cool actors.

At the workshop (with the amazing Jenna Edwards, who stepped it up a notch with her wise words and strategies) we did what’s called a “hot seat.” Where each person was in the proverbial hot seat, stating in front of the group their specific goal(s), current obstacle(s) and what they needed help with.

Get in the hot seat!

I love me some hot seat action because it helps me get to the heart of what you’re struggling with – in your own words. Plus, what’s great about the in person work with a group is that the person in the hot seat not only gets a strategy from me, but the creative support, suggestions and resources of the whole group. I’ve got some good tools up my sleeve, but I certainly don’t know everything, and the hot seat format is a great way for everyone to be introduced to new contacts, tools, and connections.

(Can you believe I don’t actually know everything?  I know me neither, written with great sarcasm).

A recurring theme that came up at the workshop was the issue of choosing a goal because you think you “have to.” More than one actor had feature film goals. And yet they were told by other industry professionals, “You have to book tv credits first or they won’t look at you.” So the actors were putting their time, energy, money and effort into these tv goals. But it was exhausting. Not only was the tv stuff not happening, they were running out of steam.  These actors didn’t care all that much about booking tv work.  And it was distracting them from what they really wanted – to go for film work.

So the question is, do they really have to book tv credits before they can focus on their film goals?

Girlfriend, please.

If I want to get to San Francisco, why the eff would I program my gps for Florida?

In the entertainment industry, as in life, there is no “have to.”  There is no “one way” to get things done, and the truth of the matter is, no one has all the answers.  What works for one person isn’t guaranteed to work for you, and the worst piece of advice to be handed is “that’s just the way it’s done.”

If you know what you want, you should go directly for it. Don’t waste time taking the slow boat because someone else told you that you have to. You don’t HAVE to do anything. And you certainly don’t have to take on goals that belong to someone else. When we talked about this at the workshop, the relief in the room was palpable. There was a weight lifted, faces softened, and possibility returned.

You can go for what you want, and there is no one who knows better than you do what your path is meant to be. When you align with what your heart wants and take action on a persistent basis, the universe will bring you the connections, resources and open the doors you need to make it happen. I’m not saying it’s easy. I’m not saying there won’t be obstacles, challenges, set backs or disappointment.  Because there will be.

What I am saying is that when you follow your heart, you have the will and the tenacity to overcome these temporary road blocks.  When you take on a goal that was never yours to begin with and shit gets hard, you will lose the will to continue on that path.

It takes just as much energy to go after something you don’t really want as it does to go for what is in your heart. And when you’re listening to your heart, you tend to create a lot more magic just by virtue of taking acting in the direction that speaks to you. You can book film work without an agent. It’s really not that hard. Get on twitter, follow some indie filmmakers, build relationships with them and take note of when they’re casting. Boom. You’re in. Do you think an indie filmmaker gives a shit about your tv credits? They don’t.

Whatever your goals may be, don’t waste time on the scenic route.  Go direct. Follow your heart. Invest in what YOU want. Respectfully listen to the advice of others, and then choose according to what speaks to YOU. Just because someone tells you to do something, doesn’t mean that you have to. It’s your life, your dreams, and you are 100% responsible for your results.

There’s power in that if you accept the responsibility. The power to choose. The power to take action. The power to design the life YOU want the way you want it.  And that, my friends, is the only way to truly live.

Leave a comment.

Have you taken on a goal that doesn’t really belong to you?  What do you REALLY want to be doing?  Name one thing you can do (even if it scares you, even if you’re not sure you’re “allowed”) that can take you directly toward what you want.  Talk to me below.


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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

paul May 14, 2012 at 6:09 pm



Rebecca Morris May 14, 2012 at 8:20 pm

Amen, sister!


Shaun Nac May 15, 2012 at 5:12 am

So true. do whatever it takes to et where u want to get to because if you do everything people say Tina Fey would have never been a star


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