It makes sense when people tell you that you need to have “thick skin” to make it in Hollywood. As an actor, you spend the majority of your time auditioning, where the chances of you booking a role are pretty much one in a million. You walk into a room with several people who look just like you, read a few lines, and then leave. Most of the time I walk out feeling like I just spent way too much time in traffic and unsure of what just happened. It’s difficult to get your personality and voice across to casting directors, and at the end of the day, if you don’t fit the idea they have in their mind, it’s unlikely you’ll book the role.
Because of the limitations that auditioning put on me, I began to pursue stand-up comedy and writing, in addition to creating digital content. It might sound like a lot, but all four things flow well together and have allowed me to pursue creative avenues without waiting on just the approval of a few casting directors. Although these other three paths aren’t as necessarily as difficult as auditioning, I quickly discovered that they too require a great deal of fortitude and mental strength – especially because at the end of the day, you can’t force anyone to love anything “creative” that you put out there.
I quickly realized I had gone from just an actor to an entrepreneur. The work that I put in was a direct correlation to the results I would see, and at the end of the day, I was the only one who could really push me to keep going. And, just like anything you do that requires you to be your own boss, it’s really difficult to keep going and motivate yourself if you’re feeling down or discouraged. There’s been several occasions where I’ve felt like quitting, or settling for a 9-5 job and abandoning entertainment altogether, but a small voice in the back of my head encouraged me to keep going.
Regardless of if you’re an actor, a writer, the owner of a small business, brand, etc., it’s necessary to try your hardest to stay positive, refuse to quit, and remember why you started. It’s not an easy road, but if you don’t quit, it’s impossible to fail. Here are a few things that have helped me stay motivated during the several trials and tribulations I’ve faced as my own boss:
Set Short-Term Goals
I used to only focus on the big picture. That’s okay, but I would easily get discouraged if I wasn’t able to hit really large, unrealistic goals. Make sure you make a plan for each day and each week.
Surround Yourself With A Support System
I have a few friends and family members who I always call and reach out to when I feel down. Sometimes I think they believe in me more than I believe in myself. Any time I’m in a rut, I reach out to them and immediately feel better.
Take A Damn Break
I tend to operate at 100 MPH all the time. I have anxiety so I constantly feel like my mind is in overdrive. Recently I’ve discovered how important it is to take some time to just chill the f*ck out and re-set everything. Burning yourself out isn’t going to keep you creative or motivated.
Get Physically Active
I always played sports growing up, so transitioning to working out in a gym has been a difficult transition for me. There’s days where I feel really lazy and don’t want to do anything. I’ve noticed though that even if I work out for 25-30 minutes, I feel a lot more relaxed and my mind settles down, allowing me to be more creative and think more clearly.
Remind Yourself Why You Wanted This in The First Place
There’s a reason you’re in the position you’re in. You saw something you wanted and you decided to pursue it. Just remember what was the motivating factor that set you on this journey. For me, I’ve always loved comedy. Whenever I start to doubt why I started, I go back and watch two of my favorite comedic movies. They not only make me laugh, but bring me back to the place I was in when I whole-heartedly believed I could pursue what some viewed as an impossible dream.
Keep going, you got this!
(Story by Contributing Editor, Megan Nager)