Keeping Your Spirits Up In Troubled Waters
If you’re a writer, director, composer, performer, producer—you’re an entrepreneur in the most challenging business of all—
The so-called business of self-expression known as “show business.”
But believe it or not, show business is not about you—it’s about your audience. That’s why I tell my clients—and myself—to take the WORK, not YOURSELF, seriously.
RULES FOR SUCCESS
1) Toughen up. It’s the ultimate school you’ve enrolled in, because the rules are always changing and you’re making them. If it wasn’t tough everybody would be doing it.
2) Because it’s a Recession, toughen up even more. The good news is that everyone is feeling it. Only the toughest will survive. What could be more exhilarating?
3) Persist. Endure. Continue. Shaw wrote “Pygmalion” in his old age. Henry Miller didn’t start until his late forties. Dune was rejected 36 times!
4) Dream Big—there are fewer people at the highest altitudes.
5) Redefine your inner circle: Associate with positive people. Stop associating with negative people. Be ruthless about this. Life is too short.
6) Stay off everyone’s “Life is too short” list.
7) Place no deadlines on your career.
8) Follow your instincts.
9) Don’t depend on luck or timing.
10) Take responsibility. No magic thinking. “I never get personally involved in my own affairs”—an actress once told me. Wrong approach!
11) Take charge of your own thinking. You can’t fail at being you so long as you focus and communicate it clearly.
12) Let go of the wrong kind of control. Even the most successful people can’t control everything. Arthur C. Clarke said, “The mark of intelligence is not to resent the invevitable.”
13) Figure out what you really want and start living as though you already have it. Form follows function. A client had gotten her wish: she’d been hired as a staff writer, but she was miserable. She’d forgotten to wish to be a staff writer on an intelligent series—now she was paying for her oversight.
14) Congratulate yourself and celebrate. “Let’s drink a toast to folly & to dreams—they are the only reasonable things.”—Paul Loup-Sulitzer
RULES FOR CONTINUATION
1) Keep moving forward despite your moods. “Never despair, but, even if you despair, work on in despair.”—Edmund Burke. Or as Ray Bradbury said: “Start doing more. It’ll get rid of all those moods you’re having.”
2) When things get tough, take a vacation. Don’t confuse fatigue with depression. No deadlines on your career.
3) The difficulty you are experiencing is normal--and necessary. Tom Hanks’ character to Madonna’s, in “A League of Their Own”: “Of course it’s hard. If it weren’t hard everyone would be doing it. The hard part is the great part.”
4) You’re the one who chose this life. You can do it.
5) Don’t doubt yourself. Lack of self-confidence never goes away. Those who succeed ask as though they don’t have it.
6) Face your fear. Make it your ally. Anxiety is a good sign. Remember what the Cajuns say: “If you ain’t scared, you aint’ doin’ anyting woithwhile.”
7) Try just “coasting” for awhile. Live in the present as much as you can. “If worse comes to worse, I’m happy now.”
8) Exercise—walk—travel—vacation--> regain your perspective.
[revised notes from keynote to South Florida Bar Association, South Beach]