To be totally frank, I’ve been having a really hard time staying motivated lately.
It has been a little over a year since I began my life as a full-time actor and while I’ve always been excited at the prospect of having my entire day to devote to performing, my expectations have come up a little short.
I always imagined that I would become a full-time actor because of some amazing gig that was awarded to me – like a Broadway show or a series regular on a TV show – and never imagined that it would come from the support of my amazing spouse, who gets that this is what I really need to do and is willing to support me while I go through all the awkward growing required to own such an awesome gift and responsibility.
I imagined somehow that complete freedom of my time would make it possible for me to go on more auditions (which it has) and book gigs like crazy (which is not exactly what things look like in my life right now). Not that this year has been a waste. For sure, I do feel that I’ve been growing as both an artist and a person.
And yet, I never imagined that I could feel so empty, uninspired and unmotivated. I still love to perform and act, but the type A energy that drove me while I was running a fitness business on the side has vacated my body, and while there is definitely part of me that wants me to beg for its return, I also realize that the space that has been created when I have laid these behavioral patterns aside is actually essential in helping me get to the next place.
This feeling that “nothing is happening” in spite of me taking action, decreases my desire to take more action, and that lack of action creates frustration. It is an endless cycle.
Over the past few weeks, my adventures into producing have taken me much farther away from performing than I could have imagined or hoped, and that coupled with my drive to “push myself” to make things happen before the end of 2014 has end up resulting in near paralysis. So much to do … So far behind … So difficult to find the focus to get started.
So I was thinking about my plans for this blog and I ended up on The Daily Love, one of my favorites, and Mastin’s post on How I Stay Motivated called to me. It took extremely strong focus for me to watch until the end (one of the hazards of being listless is a ridiculously short attention span), but I’m glad I did because what I took away from his post was that taking risks every day is essential to staying motivated.
And I had stopped taking real risks for myself to the point where I don’t even know what it means to take risks in my work as an actor anymore. In my musical theatre classes, we are asked to come up with a risk we will reach for and meet each week. I’ve found myself having no idea what that risk will be. It’s almost as if I’ve closed myself off completely to my emotions so I don’t have to feel the very risks that are so essential for me to make as an actor. My emotional well feels dry …
While I’m not sure quite how to end this drought, I do know that I can only be helped by identifying and acting on more risks in my daily life.
After watching Mastin’s video, I identified 5 things I’m afraid of so that I can start taking risks that matter:
1) Seeking out an agent for legit and commercial work
2) Being really vulnerable on my blog about my growth and challenges as an artist
3) Being unable to get back into the shape I was in 10 years ago which will limit my career options
4) Feeling like actors who have more experience than me will never see me as their equals
5) Fearing that I will never be able to finish any of the projects that I have started in the last year
My first step? I’ll be reaching out to a couple of actors I know who have amazing careers and ask them to have a cup of coffee with me to discuss process. Check back in here next Monday to hear how they responded to my requests and what I learned.
Do you ever feel unmotivated with your dreams and desires? What do you do to move out of the funk and back into action? I’d love to hear your advice and about your experiences with this in the comments below. I’ll feature the best responses in a future blog post.