Too talented to ignore

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Last week’s blog post was about ignoring the advice “It can’t be done.”  And I firmly believe that you can create whatever opportunity you envision (even if no one else is on board with that vision).
But there’s something that I didn’t mention last week that is critical to your success.

You have to be excellent.

You must be willing to do the hard work required to make it happen.

This point was brought up during last week’s talk on the World Acting Summit, of which I was honored to be asked to participate.  During a talk between Paul Barry, Angela Peters, Steve Trister and myself, this topic was raised:

Can an actor do it all?  Can s/he create opportunities for to play roles that no one else is on board with?

The simple answer is YES.  Of course, absolutely yes.

But the full answer includes this critical ingredient:

The willingness to put in the work.

Yesterday I was reading The Hollywood Reporter’s recent article about Kevin Spacey.  What a unique and interesting career path he has created!  From New York theatre, to leading unconventional leading roles, to the artistic director of London’s Old Vic theatre, to a ground-breaking original series deal with Netflix.

Spacey does his own thing.

The article mentions the difficulty he had crossing over into leading man roles.  Sam Mendes had to fight the studio in order to cast Spacey in the title role of American Beauty.  The studio felt he was a supporting actor, not a star.  But Sam Mendes fought to cast Kevin Spacey.


According to the article, “Spacey simply was too talented and too driven for Hollywood to ignore.”

Too talented and too driven.

You can be driven.  You can be talented.  But each of these attributes will only take you so far.  When you combine both, you become unstoppable.

excellenceSo, to fully flesh out last week’s rallying call to carve your own path, let me impart this next piece of advice on your path to success:

In everything you do, be excellent.

Don’t half-ass it or make excuses.  Don’t offer any less than your best.

You may fall flat on your face.  You might not get the results you want the first time around.

Get up, dust off, and give your best to everything you do.

That includes every part of your life.  Even the day job you secretly hate, or the day to day errands you wish you could pawn off on somebody else.

One of my business coaches, Suzanne Evans, always says, “How you do anything is how you do everything.”

Bring excellence to every endeavor (not just the ones you like).

Be so incredibly good at whatever it is you do, that it simply cannot be ignored.

In case you missed it – the World Acting Summit continues for the rest of this week.  It is packed with excellent expert advice for actors (and it’s free!).  Check it out here.

Leave a comment.

Have you brought your A-game to mundane situations and had it pay off in unexpected ways?

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Natasha Younge April 8, 2014 at 3:01 pm

I love this idea of excellence as an action, a state of being. I think the challenge comes when you do fall flat on your face – more than a few times. How does one continue to foster that attitude of excellence in the face of apparent adversity?


emily April 9, 2014 at 12:18 am

Someone once told me it’s “Win or LEARN” – so when you fall on your face, learn from it.


Cindy April 8, 2014 at 3:52 pm

Hi Emily,
Thank you I needed to hear all this. Especially since I was just sick with the Flu and had all sorts of doubting thoughts running through my head.
But this put a spur in my butt and got me revved up and ready to go again.
Have a wonderful week.


emily April 9, 2014 at 12:21 am

Go Cindy Go!


Richard Allan Jones April 8, 2014 at 5:54 pm

Bill & Ted had the same advice…”Be Excellent.” Since most of us don’t get that many opportunities to shine, the desire to be excellent is what puts pressure on the actor trying to get that gig…and can cause excellence to slide into survival. Still if acting is what you have to do, then we soldier on and continue to strive for excellence every time.


emily April 9, 2014 at 12:20 am

I think there is something to be said for incorporating an attitude of excellence in everything, not just acting. Every moment in life is an opportunity to shine.


Greg Paul April 12, 2014 at 2:12 am

Suzanne has it right.
Commit fully. Give it your all. First time. Every time.
Surprise yourself. Switch it up and do the opposite if it feels right.
The worst that can happen is that you’ll be told,
(or it will be painfully obvious), that it’s not the direction they were going in.
Any real artist will understand the risk involved in your choice and respect it.
Innovate if possible. Think outside the box.
Completely learn the rules so that you’ll know how to break them creatively.
I live by a different paradigm. Ready, Fire, Aim.
Just get started. You can adjust along the way. It’s about getting going.
The momentum will continue to build if you stick with it. Stay the course.
If you believe it and do the excellent work you’re capable of, others will be
inspired and want to do the same. Before long, you’ve got people.
Wiling to continue what you’ve started.
Continued success,


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