24 April, 2015

Ask Al: Recovering from your 'not-so-best' moments

Dear Al,

I just had the most embarrassing audition, and I'm having a tough time recovering / moving forward. It was so bad that they asked me to come back and do something else,  then I came back it was even worse than the first time…! I felt genuinely humiliated and don't know how to get out of this funk.


Dear Funky,

Okay first just remember you are going to be okay! Maybe not in an hour, maybe not in a couple of days even. But someday and soon this day will be a learning moment and nothing more.

Sometimes we have a LOT going on in our lives.
Sometimes we are distracted and have every right to be.

But sometimes we spend weeks on end on the sofa, unable to lift our limbs, watching Daytime TV, and cleaning corners with a Q-tip LIKEABOSS; our interests only in padding feebly from room to room, napping, procedural crime-drama marathons, and shoveling pre-packaged food into our drooling gobs…

…Oh dear.

We all have an ‘off’ day or two.
We must be kind to ourselves and try not to torpedo into “I’m-a-failure" mode because of a bad day no matter how bad it FELT.

So! Here’s how to turn your not-so-proud moments into AWESOME-PIE.

When we get to that [hermit-bathrobe] place, we must do the following:

     1.) Stop talking. 

     2.) Look within—not outside—for the answers.

By spending time in silence, reconnecting with what I like to call your “Highest Self,” (i.e, the version of you that is your most compassionate, wise, understanding and non-judgemental) and maybe even having a chat with your good ol’ pal The Almighty Universe, you remind yourself that every single thing you need is within you. Worrying, doubting, forcing, obsessively planning, dramatizing, tensing up, bracing yourself, overworking….all this does is cut you off from what is naturally trying to reach you.

When we tend to that which is within, we allow the desires that we perceive to be outside of ourselves to manifest in the real world.

Basically: When you spend some time in silence, you emerge feeling like you can bend a bridge in half.

Then, when you emerge from Silent-ville, surround yourself in treasured friends who are smart, fun, and the good kind of tough-on-you, who are also ambitious about their own lives, high-vibration-y, creative smarty-pantses. Being around that energy will inspire you to take care of business, YOUR business to be specific. (Meaning: you don’t want someone to sit down in the muck with you who is also a muck-monster. You want a fellow kick-assasaurus.) For, you see, one must truly roll up their sleeves and reach deep into the plasma of their own ass-kickery… in order to…ya know, kick some…ass.

Cuz listen: rejection and sucking at things you are normally good at?
It sucks.
And boy oh boy, it always will—
     from crappy auditions
to horrible dates,
     from breaking bones while doing a workout DVD
to accidentally hurting a friend,
     from I-thought-I-knew-how-this-electrical-circuit-breaker-worked-BEFORE-that-fire
to I-killed-another-plant...
…All of the above, by the way, I have done—and I still consider myself to be awesome in general.

And while I totally understand that it is embarrassing and awful to feel like you did poorly in front of people that really matter to you, it isn't the end of the universe.
You didn't end up in prison
or get humiliated by the mass media
or tank for Steven Spielberg…
    and you know what?
Even if you did do any of those things— it wouldn’t be the end of the universe either.
Because of  little thing called the power of perspective.

You had a bad audition
     and you will have dozens of other chances to do good work
     because you're a PERSON and allowed to have moments like this.
We’re not slicing brains or fixing Syria.
It’s professional pretend.

But on a grander scheme: people are not perfect and perfectionism is a very real form of self-sabotage directly linked to personal shame. If we can recognize and make peace with our shame, we can accept that perfectionism isn’t a realistic, attainable or healthy goal and incorporate our less-than-awesome moments with our glorious ones and recognize that they are all part of our over-all awesome selves.

But that said: it stinks.
This is your life’s work and you had a bad day.
But it is NOT  the end of the world.
It is an opportunity to grow.

I really really promise.

I know this because I both
     sang on the Grammys...
and set fire to my ceiling.

So lick your wounds, get back in that practice room, pick yourself up and keep going.
We can't nail it every single time. I've bombed more auditions than I can count.
And I'm still alive and have self respect.
…Maaaaybe not self-respect about keeping plants alive— but certainly in general. 



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