How Barre Class Reset My Self-Talk

I think we can all agree there’s not enough time in a day.

So in an effort to “add more time” to my own day, I decided to get up at an hour earlier, at 5:45,  to exercise. I know, I know, 5:45 a.m. is NOT that early...and especially since I spent 18 years getting up at 3:45am when I worked in the bond market. But, times change (no pun intended).

In the first few minutes of my 6:30 barre class, when I couldn’t sustain a plank for a full minute, I got frustrated and started berating myself for not being as strong as I should be or letting the early morning get to me.  My mind said, “You’re better than this.”

And then my heart said,  “Hey! I woke up at 5 freaking 45 to be here.  Isn’t that kinda awesome? And even if I only get 80% of the benefit, isn’t that better than not working out at all?

And slowly, my mindset shifted.  And while I still didn’t feel as strong as I normally do, I felt pretty dang proud of myself for being there at all.

That’s just a teeny example of the much bigger problem – that our society is hard-wired to devote more time to overcoming our deficiencies than it is to focus on what’s right with us.  We don’t take time to honor our natural strengths and the things we’re already doing well (like having the discipline to show up at bar class in the first place).   

Focusing on what’s right with us can be tricky because we’re taught from a young age it’s more  important to strengthen our weaknesses.

To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with managing our weaknesses, but what about recognizing and working even harder to develop our strengths and the things we already do well?  Can you imagine how powerful it’d be if we obsessed over those, too?

That’s where mindset comes in and gives us a giant affirmational high five. Like the sunny corner spot in your favorite all day cafe.

For us actors, a positive mindset is critical.

Dajuan Johnson of Think Bigger Coaching says it perfectly: "...It's all about your THOUGHTS. The daily loop that's playing over and over in your head. They're your thoughts, why not choose BETTER ones!”

Exactly.

This acting path is not for the faint of heart. We all have those friends and family members who constantly “remind” us how hard it is to be an actor, and “you should think about going to grad school like cousin Phillip.”  

Ugh.

We act because we love it. For us, it’s worth doing despite all of the logical reasons we “shouldn’t”.   

But I’ll be honest. A positive mindset boost every now and then really helps...especially after tons of auditions with no bookings.  Or callbacks...Or avails...or pins.

And that’s why we make mantras for ourselves. To change our mindset, or to keep our mindset focused where we need it to be. If a certain mindset is the goal. A mantra is the way you coax and tempt yourself into getting there.

But I have a secret.

In addition to mantras, I use something I call a Power Statement.

Power Statements take mantras a step further because they’re designed to focus on what’s right with us – the unique strengths that not only set us apart from other actors, but also help us succeed.  

A Power Statement can remind us who we really are, and why we can overcome whatever hurdle we’re facing.

Let me show you this concept in action.

Let’s say you’re in the waiting room for an audition.  But as soon as they call your name, it’s like an out of  body experience. Call it fear or excitement, but your nerves are on fire. You’ve prepared your butt off, but you desperately need to ground yourself.  

Normally, you might say a mantra like, “I’m prepared and I’m ready. I’ve got this.”  

Awesome.  I used one for years that was simply, “Let’s Play.” to remind myself to have fun.

But there’s one more thing you can do.

You can create and say a Power Statement that you’ve crafted based on your unique and natural talents.  

Power Statement Formula                                                              

Word(s) that describes me + Core Quality + Magnetic Impact (how I’ll achieve my Intention)

Let’s break it down with an example:

INTENTION (what I want):  

To nail the audition. To be grounded in the room.

CORE QUALITY:

Responsibility. To me, this means I am someone who follows through and does what I say I’m going to do.

WORD(S) THAT DESCRIBE ME (AS IT RELATES TO THAT CORE QUALITY):

Committed, Prepared, Reliable, Positive, Problem Solver

MAGNETIC IMPACT: (How the combination of words that describe me + my core quality serves me):

The combination gives me confidence because I know I’ve prepared my butt off.

POWER STATEMENT:

“I am grounded and present because I know I’ve done all of the work necessary to nail this audition. I’m fully prepared. I’m committed to my choices and in the way I’ve chosen to embody the character. I’ve got this."           

Can you see how different and well, powerful, a Power Statement can be? You’re not just telling yourself how you want to feel. You’re telling yourself real facts based on your existing core qualities.

But here’s the problem.

Most actors can’t articulate who they really are at their core.

Knowing your core qualities is critical because, in addition to making Power Statements, it also means you can also align yourself with your character in a whole new way;  It means you’ll have the freedom to feel how your character feels (read more about how to do this in my recent blog post called, Got an Audition? Put A Jake On It.)

To me, that’s extraordinary acting – when I can’t tell where the actor ends and the character begins. And it’s why I started The Magnetic Actor Method; I want to help actors identify their unique qualities so they can use them to cut through the noise, get out of their own way in the audition room and become the character, not just play them. 

To give you a quick-start jam session on what The Magnetic Actor Method is all about,  I’ve designed a freebie called the Magnetic Actor Method Action Guide;  It’ll get you started on identifying those core qualities for yourself.    

A strong and consistent mindset practice, combined with the ability to create Power Statements, is like trading a chocolate morsel for the whole dang bar.  

Why wouldn’t you?

Now get out there and be magnetic at your next audition, tomorrow’s early morning barre class, and everywhere in between!  

p.s. If you haven't already, come join me in the Magnetic Actor Method Facebook Group. I'll be doing mini trainings each week and you can also connect with other like-minded actors!

 

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This post was originally posted by DaJuan Johnson of Think Bigger Coaching.  DaJuan is a working actor who is currently shooting his fourth season as recurring character, Officer Rondell Pierce, in Amazon’s “Bosch”. He’s also a Certified Life Coach and acting teacher who provides other actors with inspiration, self-awareness, and tools to make their professional and personal goals a reality, including his 4 Pillars of Acting checklist, which you can grab here