Remember your why

If you read my blog post, “The power of being naive”,  several weeks back, then you know that I went to the University of Michigan and that I’m pretty much obsessed with it.  #goblue.

I wish the Wolverines had won the NCAA tournament, but I was still blown away by the way the team played.

It was incredible.

But that's not what impressed me.

But what I loved the most, was how the coach, John Beilein, responded to a reporter’s question after their loss for the title.  His words speak volumes about him as a coach and mentor for those young men. He said:

“...I would love to win a national championship for those guys and the University of Michigan...For me, this is why I coach, to be in that locker room right now with these kids, to have this opportunity to tell them, ‘This is life. This is a great part of life’. And all of the sudden – in the blink of an eye –you have this great sadness. Your season is over... but in the long run, there is a lot of joy."

Coach Beilein’s post-game pep talk was to remind them to see through the loss and remember the unbridled joy they felt after winning the previous weekend, and the 13 games before that.

Beilein knows, as you know, that the team’s loss doesn’t diminish their incredible talent.  And it most certainly doesn’t diminish them as people.

But of course, they’ll still take it hard.

You know this feeling.

It’s like how you feel when you work your ass off in acting class every week, build relationships with casting, sit in 2-hour traffic for a 5-minute audition....and don’t book it.

But you also know that rejection, a.k.a. not booking, is just a part of this business.   

You have to accept it, but it doesn’t mean you have to love it. Because you probably have your own measure of success.

For basketball players, it may be their stats and whether or not they win championships. For you, it may be the quality of your resume and how much you book.   

But that's exactly where the problem is.  

Most actors I coach value their self-worth on whether or not they book the job, but as you know, your chance in booking any job is 1 in a lot;  That means there's a LOT of very unhappy and discouraged actors running around.   

But guess what?

Saoirse Ronan didn’t book the role of Scarlet Witch in Avengers. And Tom Cruise didn’t book the role of Tony Stark in Iron Man.  

I know it’s not *exactly* that same as what you’re going through, but what if you just flipped the script on rejection and not booking?

What if, for each time you’re "rejected", you still celebrate the fact that you got in that room to audition in the first place?

That’s a win.

Think about how many umpzillion thumbnails a CD has to scroll through on Actor’s Access to choose the actors who get to audition for each role.

You got chosen. You got seen.

That’s a win.   

What if you look at each audition, not as a chance to book, but as a chance to hone your audition prep process and your listening skills?

That’s a win, too.  What better place to work out your process than in the room.

So then, when you walk out of that room knowing that you prepped your ass off and did your job?  It’s a big, fat, beautiful win, no matter how you slice it.  

Because you’re doing it. You’re going for it.  You’re taking chances.

So flood your thoughts with all the times you felt like you weren’t even acting.  

Or that time you got to learn from a master.  Or when you collaborated with friends on a project. Or when one sensational blooper in a self-tape made you laugh so hard you peed your pants a little.  Or when you were so in the moment, time seemed to stand still.

Remember all of those times.  Remember why you’re doing this in the first place.

Remember the joy.