I’ve been thinking about a late-night street corner conversation that I had with an actor friend. He shared that he dreads going home for the holidays…
“What do I say to my family and friends who aren’t in the biz about how it’s going for me? How do I explain that I’m not making my living as an actor yet?”
I hear you. I often feel like this when people ask me about my projects.
Do they really want to hear the truth? Do they really want to hear that it’s really freakin’ hard and that I question my talents and skills, and many times want to give up on my dream? And, that I can’t imagine doing anything else at all?
Over the years I’ve learned how to face up to my truths.
To speak what’s real for me.
The more I say what I want to achieve, the closer it seems to come.
I find that when I embrace my own vulnerability, people always show me compassion and, if I let them, they help pick up my spirits so that I can keep fighting the good fight.
But when I front about how perfect it’s going, I walk away feeling even more pain or sadness or disappointment. So I gladly choose vulnerability and openness.
Here is another perspective to consider when in the midst of these holiday (or any day!) conversations about your awesome life.
Let’s transform the sometimes anxiety-ridden family and old friends gathering into a positive and meaningful moment for you…and them.
1. Your friends and family ask because they actually want to know.
People who love you really want to know how you are doing. They actually care about your trials and tribulations. They are showing their support by asking. Sure, some people are skeptical about your methods. But the truth is that they are curious about your life because they get to step outside of their own for a moment. Your lifestyle may be foreign to them, but I guarantee that there is at least one little thing they admire about your choices and are dying to know more about. (As I’m sure there is one thing you admire about their life choices.)
2. Share your journey.
I’ve mentioned before about seeing the struggle as part of your progress.
Unfortunately, most of these celebrity outlets only share the success stories and barely ever highlight the struggling unknown artist in a deep and engaging way. (But that’s why I love Marc Maron’s podcast, which actually goes behind the scenes of the journey!)
Generally, we’re sold the idea that struggle is something nobody wants to talk about, so no wonder we try to keep it a secret. But this is part of your journey as an artist (and a human being!). These trials and tribulations are what will determine how you “make it.” Accept the trials as part of your journey, and when your loved ones ask you about your career, tell them that like any other career, this one has a struggle too. Talk about it with them and acknowledge the struggle so that when the successes come they can celebrate those triumphs (great and small) with you and know exactly what it took to “make it.”
3. Your life doesn’t have to look like any other life out there that you’ve ever seen.
You can be your own role model. I find that when we engage in what we love doing, we figure out how to do it. We start to make decisions about where to spend money and time that maybe our friends or family can’t quite understand. Perhaps, they’ve gotten through their life in entirely different ways. Made different choices and compromises. Perhaps ones that you can’t understand.
We just can’t follow each other’s road maps because we are all so individual—we value different things and at different points in our lives. So when you’re in that conversation with someone who thinks and acts differently, trust your own path and trust you will keep figuring it out. That’s what they are doing too.
I’m really looking forward to all that we will discover about ourselves in the next years ahead.
There are many more holidays ahead—let’s embrace this season with sharing our moments of triumphs with our friends or family.
Here’s a holiday conversation I would love to hear from YOU!
Think now, think hard and deeply, what are the top 3 things that you can celebrate that you achieved this year?
I’d love to hear about any of your professional or personal successes this year. Share below and let’s build our community of triumphant actors!
Much holiday love to all,