Yes, you are studying, taking classes, auditioning, submitting for auditions, creating opportunities, hustling and working hard on craft and building repertoire and all the things...
what about your head?
How are you responding to you in the business and the business in general?
Is it healthy? Is it getting in your way? Is it debilitating you? Is it aligning with your vision of what you do, and how you do it?
Who do you talk with about the head game of the business of show and you in that business?
All important questions. So, how clear are your answers, and simply, how are those answers serving you?
The business is...well, a business. It is not a warm and fuzzy. It is often fickle. That doesn't mean there aren't people within the business that will champion you and believe in you. There are. Some days those people can challenge the bear and champion you further, and sometimes, the bear of the business eats their feet! They are part of the business, but not of the business, and are just as vulnerable as you are to its passive-aggressive nature!
The cooler you can respond to the business, the less you will allow it into your artistic and creative space and allow it to cloud your reason for doing what you do, and being who you are.
Now, in saying that, do what you need to work through your process, but recognize it as a process and learning how to get through it faster and faster so you aren't wasting time and energy and mental health on things beyond your control is CRUCIAL.
I am a reactionary by nature. That switch can flip in an instant, and what I have learned is to allow that reaction to happen quickly - on AND off. I am not going to pretend I don't get angry, passionate, frustrated and pissed off. If I let it linger, it festers and then combusts and hurts no one but me. So, I allow that switch to flip - I react in a safe place - and then I release it, so I am not carrying it! Yes that takes focus and thought and help, but it can be done!
In the business of show, there are simply too many people trying to work than there are spots. We have chosen a business where there are few jobs and the percentage that works regularly enough in one stream to make a good living is in single digits. Dry spells, dry years, dry segments, dry decades are the norm, not the occasional occurrence. And then you have to make sure your head and your heart can deal with it in a healthy way, so when the door appears to a job, you can simply walk through and claim it!
What makes me angry, and breaks my heart, is to watch someone who is potentially a fine artist not commit to themselves during the dry times, and then when a door is revealed, they aren't ready to walk through - in any way. Or they try to and simply can't sustain it. So if you are in a dry spell, GET READY!
Invest in YOU. Not in the business. That rabbit hole is unforgiving and relentless. When you find yourself getting lost, re-direct your energy back into what you DO.
Claim your passion in your craft and your artistry and your life.
Claim your cool and your detachment as you deal with the business.
The business will say: it's nothing personal. It means that. You have to treat it the same way: cool detachment.
Create new behaviors. If you find yourself going down the same rabbit hole after every disappointment, or possible rejection, or PERCEIVED rejection, or dismissal, start to create new thought processes. Just knowing you go into that spiral, reveals you are making it about you - and it's not about you, it's about the business. The business is NOT personal. Learn to detach quickly.
Get some professional help. I mean it. We all need some at any given point in our lives. If you are going to not just survive, but thrive in your LIFE, getting some professional and objective help and tangible tools to build your psychological and emotional stamina is not just a good idea, it's CRUCIAL!
Investing in your emotional health and well-being is just as important as investing in your craft. In fact, as an artist, they are crucial for each other.
Invest in healthy and supportive relationships, not in the mind games or nurturing your neurosis ones.
Expose the vampires. You know the ones. Why are they still hanging on? What's the payoff for you? Cut them off! Your life force belongs to YOU.
Take time to realize and claim your worth as a human being and as an artist. Do it every day. I mean it. Nobody decides that but you. Nobody can take that from you, unless you give them permission.
Breathe. DO YOU.
Ask questions. Listen to the responses. Make decisions as to what is fair, what is not, and what you choose to invest in. Everybody has an opinion. You don't have to take it on as your own, if you don't want to.
The business is a giant puzzle. You fit in there somewhere, just not everywhere, every time. If you dwell on where you aren't fitting and try to make it happen, you might miss that opportunity to move into another space and be invited in! And, yes, sometimes you have to wait. How you CHOOSE to wait, is up to you.
If your head is right, if your craft is ready, if you believe in what you do and who you are, can't you FEEL that success in just taking a breath?
Inhale the warmth and the passion. Exhale the cool and detachment. Both can co-exist without driving us mad, if we recognize the common denominator: YOU.
Get your head right.
Get your craft ready.
Susan Eichhorn Young covers all things voice—strong and sophisticated singing and speaking.
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