31 August, 2011

On doing what you love for a living...

1. Ask Yourself What You Want
Be specific. Figuring out exactly what you want will help you focus on where you need to go. Write it down. What are your deepest dreams? Take them seriously and they will lead to what you really want.

Create intent in your life to manifest your dreams in the physical world. Defining an Unlimited Life Plan (one that expresses all your wildest dreams) is one of the most valuable things you can do. Start with a personal philosophy and mission statement. Make a list of two columns. Label the first "OBJECTIVES" and the second "ACTIONS." Example:

OBJECTIVES: create an identity in my industry

ACTIONS: write an article for a magazine

When you truly commit to your goal, the money will appear.

2. Believe that you CAN
If you follow one piece of advice on your path let it be this: replace "What if I'm not cut out for this?" with "YES. I. CAN." Most successful people have this quality ingrained in them, but anyone can learn. Get "can't" out of your vocabulary. (It may sound cheesy but get it out—fo' reals.) Stay away from people who say "You can't make a living doing that...." (there will be MANY. And they may be people you really love. They may not ever truly understand. It's okay.) Respond with "ah ah ah! I do not have 'can't' in my vocabulary therefore I am going to repeat this mantra instead. "There are people out there who need my services!"
Now say it again.
Possibly again.
This time with feeling.

3. Research
Find people who are already making a living doing what you want to do. read about them, make them into a model for your career and your life. Connect with those people—most successful people are very happy to talk to those starting out on their same path (what do you think I am doing here on this blog, eh?). Also, read any book you can about triumph over adversity; it will help you through those days when you question your choices. Create a support network of people in your field. Try to meet with them regularly; it will help you feel "normal."

4. Pretend You Already ARE Who You Want to Be
And you will become it! No one starts off in any field feeling über confident and powerful. It takes time to build and grow. Sometimes it feels like you're not moving at all. That's okay. There will be other times when you feel like you're faking it. ("What if someone figures me out? Sees through me?") That's okay. There will be days when you are giving more than you think you have to give and feel that no one "sees" you or appreciates it. That's okay too. In fact, it is all okay.

5. Ignore...
Those who tell you it can't be done.
Those who have tried and bitterly given up.
Those who think you are nuts to throw away security and convention.
Those who bully you (including yourself).
The crazy vampire voice in your head that says you aren't enough.

Most people yearn to do what they love for a living, but many believe they can't handle the risks or responsibilities. For some of those people, that might all be true. Frightened people will impose their own fears on you. (They will do it for a variety of reasons). You might need to let go of friends who don't understand what you're trying to do.  Surround yourself with people who support your new choices. Let everyone know how happy your work makes you.

6. Prioritize
Make your work a priority. Your work and your life are not separate entities. You need to have energy to build a career. We have been taught that we must work full-time to maintain a certain lifestyle. Let go of this belief and consider alternatives. Subsidize your income with part-time or contract work. Scale down your living expenses. Ask for help when you need it! There is someone out there right now who can help you. Take a look at the books in the business section.

7. Feel the Fear!
I've talked to many people who have worked for years doing what they love and they still have fear! (I literally had lunch with an octogenarian Broadway legend today who is convinced he will never work again and that the whole world is about to figure out he was a joke the whole time...) I was amazed to find that success sometimes brings more fear-- the fear of living up to the expectations and reputation of previous successes. If the fear is always there, well hell: you might as well learn to manage it instead of trying to get rid of it. Use it. Allow it. Allow it to fuel, not cripple, you.

8. Reinvent Yourself
You are not defined by your current situation. You can start fresh at any given time. After failures (I prefer to call them lessons), get back on your feet and start again. Remember the Japanese proverb "fall down seven times, stand up eight." Writers will be rejected. Illustrators will send out work they hate. Freelancers will have dry periods. Designers will have quotes rejected. Actors will lose a job to someone for trivial reasons. There is always an ebb and flow to success, money, fame, and creative energy. Dust yourself off: Fall down seven times, stand up eight.

Look. The circumstances will never be perfect. You will never have "enough" money saved. Your portfolio will never be "ready." You may never have the perfect space, credits, equipment, head-shots, training. These are self-limiting beliefs created by our inner critic. Convince yourself that you will not have the time if you don't make it now.

Don't make a big production of it. Use what you've got. Ernest Hemingway wrote on napkins. Keith Haring painted subway stations. You have everything in your possession rightthissecond to start moving toward your goals. When you take a small step in the direction of your dream, the universe often takes several more for you.

10. Let Go
Don't worry about your talent or capability. It is not yours to judge, and it will grow and change over time. Do not ask, "Why am I doing this?" or  "Is this right?" Freaking out about what you "should" be doing does not move you forward. ENJOY THE PROCESS. Starting can be the most overwhelming part, but it is also exciting and full of possibilities. Change can be intimidating, unfamiliar, terrifying, and downright uncomfortable. Your life is too rich, and you are too powerful to have anything less than what you truly deserve. You have a responsibility to do what you love every day, to become your most authentic, powerful Self, to share your passion with the rest of the world, and to live up to the spirit that is in you.

The universe it waiting...


  1. that's really good, you have inspired me.... thanks

  2. Thank you for this. I came across it this late night at a time when I really need it. My transfer auditions are soon, so many thoughts are in my head.

  3. Thanks so much (again) for your moving advice. You inspire this 55 year old (btw: writing that down makes it seem really old) on my journey. Best.

  4. Thank you so much for this. I have it bookmarked and every time I have a fight with my mom about college or my career choice, I look at it and I feel instantly better. Thank you so much. <3

  5. You are a constant inspiration to be more, do better, and dream bigger.

  6. Awesome! Thank you for this!

  7. girl. you are an inspiration. thanks for your light! :)

  8. These are great ideas, just looking at things positively and using a little make believe can really take you places!



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