When I was in high school, I decided I wanted to go into entertainment. My parents weren’t surprised, but my grandparents weren’t so sure.
My sweet, faithful, salt-of-the-earth grandparents felt that being an actor wasn’t a real career. “You could be a journalist or news anchor,” my grandpa offered, as somehow just being in front of a camera would do the trick.
You can’t blame them. Entertainment’s a weird, wacky place they don’t really understand. The world is full of crazy kids like me who terrify their families by choosing a field that rarely has a massive payout. But it makes us deliriously happy, so most of the time they cheer us on, come see our shows, and (hopefully) like them.
The entertainment world can be glamorous and sexy, but the reality is, that’s only like 1% of it. Most of it is incredibly hard work and long hours of mastering mind-boggling skills that “normal people” don’t even know are things you can learn. I once spent an entire term learning breath and vocal control, and another learning how to fight with huge wooden poles. Yeah, I’m pretty badass like that.
But underneath the theatre-themed wrapping paper were incredible life skills, and they were drilled into our very beings every hour of every day. These tools not only made us better performers, but they made us highly effective human beings, capable of overcoming anything in our path and achieving whatever we set our minds to.
You don’t have to be an actor to get your hands on these killer life skills, you just have to think like one. Here are 10 foundations from the world of entertainment – incorporate them into your life and you’ll stand out, beat the competition, and become the unstoppable woman you are meant to be.
#1. Nobody owes you anything.
There are a million people in the world who are talented, smart, and cool. No one owes you special treatment or a saved spot. You have to learn, work hard, take chances, and show up just like everyone else. A whiny, entitled attitude gets you skipped over, kicked out and ignored. A positive, hard-working, humble attitude makes you irresistible. Take your pick.
#2. Every moment is a chance to prove yourself.
“Resting on your laurels” is just another name for “dead.” If you’re not constantly growing, trying new things and making a positive contribution, you’re not helping yourself or anyone else. View every day as a chance to strut your best stuff, add value to your work and those around you, and never for one second let yourself be replaceable.
#3. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will.
It’s impossible to convince other people to believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself. No one wants to babysit you while you figure out if you’re good or not. If you’re not, get out of the game, but if you’ve got what it takes, own it like a rockstar.
If you’re confident in who you are and what you can do, consistently deliver and watch what happens. People gravitate towards the vibrantly confident, so strut your stuff and you’ll be on everyone’s A List.
#4. Do it right, no matter how much hard work it takes.
If you want to produce high quality work that will stand the test of time, you have to put in the hard work. Want the nice title and the big bucks (who doesn’t)? Roll up your sleeves and get dirty. Short cuts and shoddy workmanship always give themselves away eventually, so save yourself time, energy and embarrassment by doing it right, the first time.
#5. Have your $h!t together.
Nobody likes a time-waster, so if you’re gonna play, come ready to rock. Sloppy creations and last minute, thrown-together attempts reek of laziness, a lack of respect, and desperation. You’ll be laughed out of the room (and the job) faster than you can blink. Do your homework, prepare, and master your part.
#6. Fail big.
Don’t do something timidly or halfway because you’re afraid of failing. Failure is just another opportunity to get smarter, so no matter the outcome, the effort is worth it. A big fail means you worked hard, poured in all your passion, and went all in. Things done halfway aren’t worth doing, so don’t waste your time – commit to your goals and go after them.
Take risks and try new things. When you fail, fail gloriously and gracefully, and learn everything you can from the experience. You’ll be stronger, braver, and more powerful because of it.
#7. You’re never done learning.
I hate to break it to you, but you will never know everything. The day there’s nothing left for you to learn is the day you’re dead. Hopefully that won’t be soon.
Continued learning is essential to top performers, and they know it. These people learn, adapt and grow stronger with each day, building empires while quickly leaving know-it-alls in the dust. Don’t get caught resting on your laurels – build on them instead. Every day you have a chance to better yourself and grow, through someone you meet, something you read, or an experience you have.
Most people learn the minimum required, then plateau at “good enough,” never moving on. This is a death trap. The real movers and shakers know that knowledge is power, so continued learning is the ticket to success. Harness a learner’s mindset and a teachable attitude and you’ll be unstoppable.
#8. Community is everything.
You can’t do it alone. Surrounding yourself with people who work hard, build you up, and inspire you is crucial to your success. Keep a team-player attitude and stay humble. Don’t just look out for yourself. Every role is important, and when one person succeeds, so does everyone else. It takes a village, so nurture yours and bring people up with you. You’ll go a lot farther that you could ever go on your own.
#9. Shut up and take the note.
Screwing up is inevitable. It’s just part of life. At some point, you’re going to make a mistake and someone’s going to call you out on it. Instead of pointing fingers, arguing, or making excuses, own up to it. Take the critique and learn from it. Stay humble, open to feedback, and adapt. You’ll shoot ahead and people will want to work with you. Score.
#10. The show must go on.
Life will throw stuff at you, both good and bad. The average person gets derailed and defeated, but top performers don’t let anything knock them down. Adapt, be flexible, and keep moving forward. Curve balls won’t kill you if you don’t let them, they’ll just make the show more interesting.
That’s A Wrap
Despite the constant hard work, disappointment and rejection, actors push on, fearlessly unfazed because of these rock solid principles. That kind of tenacity is what builds unshakable people, genuine connections, and brings powerful visions to life.
You don’t have to be an actor to nab that power for yourself, so flash your best movie star smile, roll up your sleeves, and turn on your actor brain. Come on, you leading lady. Show ‘em what you’ve got!
Leading Lady Challenge: Pick one of these principles and practice it this week, then leave a comment below and tell me how it influenced your week. I can’t wait to hear from you!