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Yes’s and No’s (Part 1): “NO”ing your passion


by Chris McGahan

The entertainment industry is a business of “No’s” and “Not Yets.”  Until it’s not, you know?

When I was younger, I was terrified of going after the things I wanted. A “no” from a director about a part I really wanted (or a girl I was really into!!) seemed like it was the end of the world. That “no” was going to stop my heart cold, as surely as any heart attack would. And I knew, deep in my soul, that if I didn't get this part or didn’t make the cut for final callbacks, that it was a sign that I was destined to never, ever, ever, EVER work again, and I should just give it all up and *gulp* get a REAL job.

And yet, here I still am, despite countless rejections, despite countless heartbreaks, despite countless almosts. And I know it’s not just me that feels that pressure: I meet artists every day who have also reached their limit with not getting that yes. Who are bitter and burnt out. Who have reached that point where their identity is so wrapped up in the wins they get, that a series of losses damages the very of their being.

Because those rejections can start to feel like they are pointed you as a person, and are a measure of your worthiness, when they are anything but!

So how do you stay positive in front of all those negatives?


First and foremost. Enough said. There are a thousand reasons you may not get cast in a role- and very few of them have to do with talent or preparedness.

Let go of the factors you cannot control about an audition.

You were too tall, too short, too blonde, too ginger, looked too much like someone the casting director broke up with recently… and none of these are things you can control, right? Right.

So, give yourself permission to shake off those factors that are entirely outside of your control. Spending your days beating yourself up for having the wrong eye color, or having fingers that are half an inch longer than they were looking for is a one-way ticket to Depression-Town. (Which, as the name implies, is a very unpleasant place to be.)

Take charge of the factors you CAN control about an audition.

“But Chris,” you may be asking, “I know this was my fault- I blew the sides! My chemistry was off! I was thirty minutes late to the callback!” Well, that sucks. But you know what? There are things you CAN do about that for next time! Those are the easy to fix things. Those are the things that are in your control, and worth working on. Make sure you set aside time to study your lines (and actually do it!) Schedule more driving time in! Go back to your acting 101 lessons and really listen to the person across from you. Did you have questions you didn’t ask about the plot, because you didn’t want to seem dumb? Ask those questions! You’re gonna seem a whole lot dumber if you make choices that are wrong because you didn’t ask... Right? Right.

Examine your Passion.

Last, although certainly not least, check in with yourself and your passions. Are you burnt out on this because of the “No’s”? Or because it’s not where you want to be in the first place? If you HATE doing commercials and are only in the room because your agent told you that you should be doing them, you will always be standing in your own way. So take some time and look deep within yourself. Maybe your energy and investment are better spent in other avenues. What are those avenues? I don’t know - it’s different for everyone. So, be honest with yourself about what you want, and what you can do to get there.

So follow these four key principles and all the “No’s” won’t feel so bad. After all, every no is one step closer to a yes.


 Lost sight of your Passion or Big Picture? I totally get it, and I can help. Sign up HERE for a free 20 minute coaching consultation and we’ll hash out next steps to get you motivated, get you control, and accelerated toward the career you want.

**Part 2 of this is about working the Yes. Check back in for that soon!



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