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How to Stay Motivated Towards Success in 2016

By Megan McDermott

As the new year approaches, it’s typical to look back on the past year and evaluate what you’ve accomplished as an actor. Well…..has this thought crossed your mind?

“Gosh, I’ve been working so hard, submitting for everything on Actors Access and Backstage, going to every EPA, and doing as many CD workshops and Agents showcases as possible, and I have so little to show for all my hard work!”

It can be so frustrating when you’re working your tail off to get a gig and nothing pans out. Then you get overwhelmed and exhausted and crash and burn for a few months… sound familiar?

These are all symptoms of the “wide and thin” approach to pursuing your dream acting career. This strategy, or the lack thereof, is super overwhelming, and never as successful as a “deep and narrow” focus on a specific career goal!

That’s right, focusing in on fewer goals (1-3 per year) and making them super specific and targeted ensures a higher success rate in your achievements. It also cultivates a better quality of life. This goal strategy lets you know exactly what efforts to spend your energy on and when you can let go a little and just enjoy life. After all, isn’t a deep understanding of human experience that creates the richest and most fascinating actors?

Okay, I know. It’s scary to commit to only 1-3 career goals for a year! It requires you to really prioritize, make decisions, and commit to your choices. How do you decide? What if you miss out on something else? What if you are wrong? The solution to this fear and indecision is to choose goals that are centered in your greatest passions as an artist.  As soon as you do, you will be motivated to take targeted action steps. What are your passion roles onstage? What films do you love? Which directors are you dying to work with? What will get you out of bed to that open call even after working a late bartending shift the night before? This is where to start when setting your goals.

Let’s define a few of the elements that create a great “narrow and deep” focused goal:

1.  Passion: Are you more interested in being on stage or behind the camera? Do voiceovers really excite you? Episodic TV or Indie Film? And what genres? Classical theatre? Musicals? Comedy or Drama? It’s good to focus on the work you most enjoy doing! Being in touch with the work that impassions you is not limiting, it is grounding.

2. Specificity: This is your best friend. Don’t just say I want to do indie film. Clarify what types of films you want to do? In what style? Which directors’ work do you absolutely love and feel your talents are completely aligned with? What types of roles do you really want to want to play in these films? You can always articulate your goal with “in a role like….” or “in a film like…” to help you start to really visualize yourself achieving that dream role.

3. Measurable: When crafting your goal you want to be specific with the “due date” or when you plan to accomplish it by – in this case, 1 year.  That way you can track your action steps along a timeline so you stay organized and motivated. Measurability also allows you to recognize your successes and evaluate your progress. This way you can see when and where you need to make shifts and changes in your life in order to prioritize and better support achieving your goal. Measurability lets you better recognize those smaller, but extremely significant baby step accomplishments that we often fail to give ourselves credit for, but that are all building leading us to our overall goal success. You will gain confidence from your progress along the way.

Defining and committing to a few specific goals that are centered in you passions will inspire you and keep you motivated and focused. It will aos empower you to say NO to some of the things that aren’t going to move you towards your true dream. Your confidence will be boosted by the many “mini” successes that all link together and give evidence to the inevitable achievement of your big vision goal.

To learn about the rest of the steps towards successful goal setting and if you need help articulating your career goals for the year and setting up an actionable plan to achieve them, contact me for a 20-minute free consultation! I’d love to help you make your acting dreams your professional reality!




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