The Best Way to Market Yourself

Guys. Warm weather is almost here. I’m excited. I listened to some of the Red Sox spring training game versus the Twins last night and got even more excited. (Oh, and Joe Castiglione is one of my favorite people ever.)

What I’m not excited about is getting to talk to people on the streets of Chicago…holding clipboards.

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“Good morning, sir! I see that you’re busy, but can you stop and talk to me for fifteen minutes about animal rights?” (…pretend I’m holding a clipboard)

Photo credit: Stu Grieve

As the weather warms up, sidewalks of Chicago turn into live commercials. People working for Red Cross, Green Peace, and other organizations will approach us, try to give us a pitch, and then ask us for money. As far as I can tell, a lot of these companies are working for a good cause. Still though, I’ve never been a big fan of this approach.

But why? Why do I despise it when these people approach me? I’m well aware these clipboard  people are just trying to make a living. I’ve also worked more than my share of customer service jobs that I’ve disliked. I always try to be extra nice to those on the clock. So what makes this one so much different?

Here’s why: I’ve been getting more into health and fitness lately.

[Guys in the back start grumbling that this has nothing to do with clipboard people.]

Hear me out. I love it because it keeps me fit and active. It also ties into other things I love – like acting. Believe it or not, many health and fitness coaches go through a similar marketing technique when it comes to reaching out to others. They both use the method of “Service, not sales.” (This is also something that Dallas Travers teaches us, so we know it’s legit.)

What does this mean?

I’ll use auditioning as an example. Many actors go into the audition room thinking, “How can I sell myself so that I get the part?” By using the “service, not sales” technique, we don’t need to do this. Instead, we can try thinking, “This director needs to cast an actor. How can I be of service so that I might help with this?”

[Guys in the back start grumbling that they’re not actors]

Fine. I’ll use a different example.

Think of going in for any old job interview. The company that’s hiring needs someone to help them with their company due to a vacancy. You’re offering to be of service by filling that spot for them. Yes, you’re doing this so you can have a job and support yourself. But is that what you’re going to say in the interview?

“Hello ma’am! I understand that this company has goals and deadlines, but I’m really just concerned about generating income so that I can pay for rent and Netflix. Do you think your company has room for me?”

Um….no. They definitely won’t have room for you.

Back to clipboard people. The companies that bring them on need money. While they’re certainly spreading the word, they’re doing so through sales. Not service. They want money from us while – as far as I know – aren’t offering anything in return. Not only do they want our money, but they want us to drop what we’re doing in order to stay and chat with them.

Sorry, Red Cross. But I’d rather just donate blood.

Disclaimer: Tony has only donated blood once in high school. It was terrifying and he hasn’t done so since. Really he should be paying these clipboard people money, rather than talking like he donates blood all the time. 

Ever have someone tell you that you “can’t” do something?

I met a guy last night who told me “singing was his passion.” Despite this, he was too scared to go after it as a profession. It made me realize just how many people don’t go after what they want. In my experience, there are two big reasons for this. One is that they’re like the guy-from-last-night who was too scared to do something bold. Then there are people who are ready to take action, but are convinced by others not to. Unfortunately, it’s often because people say it will be “too hard” or it “won’t work.”

So, I have a question for you: Is this you?

Have you ignored your passions or stopped doing something you loved because someone told you that you can’t do it?

You can do whatever the hell it is you want to do. It might take a long time with a lot of hard work. But you can make it work.

A lot of people like to go down the route of reason, as opposed to the other route of hard work and failure. You can’t really blame them. We’re taught to be successful, not to fail. What we don’t realize (and I talked about this last week) is that failure is a good thing. It usually teaches us something, which leads us to our eventual successes.

Here are some of my favorite ways to get on track when it comes to those difficult goals:

1) Remove or spend less time with people who doubt you. If you’re surrounded by negativity, it’s going to make you negative too. Continuing to listen to people who doubt you is going to make you doubt yourself.

2) Spend more time around inspiring people. Same thing works the other way around. If you’re around people who inspire you, it’s going to have an impact. Seeing them take risks will make you want to do the same. Figure out who those people are in your life right now. Then call them and invite them out for coffee.

[Waits for phone to start ringing]

That’s okay. I’m free tomorrow too.

3) Spend time doing personal development. I believe this one is a MUST for anyone pursuing a career in the arts. Your confidence will skyrocket. You’ll pick up small ways you can make changes for the better, while getting rid of those pesky, negative habits. Oh, and you’ll find you stop doubting yourself.

While I certainly hope that reading this has gotten you pumped up and inspired, I understand that it might not. In fact, it’s perfectly acceptable to read this and think, “This is just your opinion. Are there really others who follow this same mentality?”

[Guys in the back murmur in agreement]

I thought this might be the case. Lucky for you, I have a few friends who are pretty damn inspiring…

1) Katelyn Collins

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Photo credit: David Noles

Katelyn is my dear friend and “partner for life” from Salem State University. She made the move to NYC to pursue acting almost immediately after graduation. In addition to her theatrical talents, she started making her own protein bars. In fact, she’s on a mission to start her own company! You can follow along Route 6 Protein Bar on facebook. Not only are they delicious (I’ve tried two), they’re made from natural sources and raw ingredients. In other words, not the garbage you get from convenience stores.

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Photo credit: https://www.facebook.com/Route6ProteinBar

2) Nicole Beachaine

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Photo credit: https://www.facebook.com/woodsybug

Another dear friend from Salem State University. A talented artist who loves to think outside the box. For example, she decided to start making art from guitars. GUITARS.

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Photo credit: https://www.facebook.com/woodsybug

3) Courtney Rioux

ImagePhoto credit: http://courtneyriouxcoaching.com/about-me/

Anyone who reads my blog on a regular basis is no stranger to Courtney’s name. But when you’re working with a life coach who is also a Chicago actor, fitness enthusiast, and has received training from Tony Robbins and Dallas Travers, it’s hard not to share her talents!

Courtney is a life coach for actors. Her work involves positivity, goal setting, and personal development. I didn’t think having a personal development coach was necessary, especially with an actor’s budget. But I took advantage of one of her free clarity sessions (she offers four a month). The session went so well that I joined her accountability group later that day.

Oh, and remember how I mentioned being around inspiring people will inspire you? Her husband Scott just quit his job and started his own business. That’s two inspiring people, right there.

You’ll notice everyone here is pursuing a path that’s uncommon, making it much harder to achieve their goals. But they didn’t let the difficulty get in their way, and they’re certainly not listening to those doubters mentioned earlier. That’s pretty damn inspiring if you ask me.

What are some goals you’re holding back on that you can start pursuing? Is there a way to remove yourself from doubters and spend more time with people who will cheer you on during?

Find a way and then make it happen.

It’s a Good Thing to Have Life Problems

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Does life ever give you too many problems? 

 

Have I ever mentioned that I tend to stress? [Guys in the back agree loudly] Yeahhh, I stress out. Like, a lot. Want to see my current list of things stressing me out? [Guys in the back protest loudly] Excellent! Here it is:

-Work

-Not making enough progress on non-acting projects

-Not making enough progress on acting goals

-Signing up for healthcare

-Managing new expenses (See “Signing up for Healthcare”)

-Other stressful things that that will come up after I post this, because, let’s be honest, there are always more stressful things coming up.

Recently I was having a conversation with a large group of people in my head (you know, like normal people do). I was giving advice to these people on having problems and being stressed. But I told them not to worry. “It’s a good thing when you have a lot of problems. That means you’re on the right track!”

….Um….what?

What the hell was that? Why would I say that to them? Can you imagine if these people were, like, real people?

Then I had a thought: What if I’m right? If I’m right, then it’s okay that all these problems are constantly coming up. Between this new thought about being right, combined with not actually knowing why I was right, you can understand how I had a lot on my plate this week.

Quick tangent: Does anyone post on facebook about things they’re grateful for? We’re so eager to post about the things we don’t like. It’s nice when you have friends who constantly are posting about positives.

This is why I love being friends with Ali, who is constantly doing this. She posted a gem the other day that really got me thinking: “I am so grateful for some of my past hurts because they are ways I can help people who are going through them, currently.”

First off all, thank you Ali for trying to make facebook a better place. I can’t tell you how many friends I have who always are complaining.

*Loud grunt from the back*

Peter! Sorry, I keep forgetting you’re here.

Second, this confirmed my “What if I’m right?” theory. There’s this awesome Dallas Travers video that I always watch. She tells us to “seek failure.” I’ve been forgetting to seek it out myself. I can’t tell you how much failure I’ve had over the past couple of months. Since I wasn’t “looking for it,” I wasn’t able to appreciate it. Not only will I be able to share these failures with others who are later going through them, but I’m going to learn from them and become a better person.

How awesome is that?

What are some areas in your life where you can start seeking failure?

 

Looking for the “other” positives

Let’s play a game.

*Guys in the back cheer!*

…not a drinking game.

*Guys in the back file for the exits*

Think about a time you were really excited for something. You thought about all the things you were going to gain from this. You couldn’t wait to get started.

Then it started. It didn’t go as well as you hoped. In fact, it ended up being a pretty big letdown. You didn’t gain all those things you thought you were going to. You may not have liked the people you were surrounded by. Now, all that excitement has turned into disappointment. All you can think about is how much time you wasted.  

Go ahead and pick a time where this happened. Got at least one? Good.

Now I want you to think about the positives that came out of this situation. Even if you didn’t gain those specific things you thought you were going to. Did you gain at least something good?

We often gain something positive in a place we don’t expect to. It might be hard to pick up on these positives. The trick is you need to actively be looking for them. If you’re focusing on the negatives, such as “all that time you wasted,” then all you’re going to find are negatives.  

I’ll give an actor example: Ever done a show that you weren’t proud of? The director was disorganized, the show didn’t sell as well as you hoped, or maybe – heaven forbid – the show turned out to be a complete disaster. You were embarrassed to tell your friends, and couldn’t wait for it to end.

For every “bad” show that I’ve done, I can think of at least one positive that I gained from it. One of the first shows I did in Chicago was not one to brag about. Simply bringing up the name of the theatre usually gets a chuckle if you bring it up in a room full of actors. While it certainly doesn’t add any value to my resume, I’m glad I did the show. I made several connections, which led to a show I ended up doing a couple years later. And wouldn’t you know, that led to connections for another show. I thought about this recently and couldn’t believe how much value that silly show added to my theatre career.

Ever move somewhere to pursue something specific, only to end up pursuing something else? (We’re talking about finding a different passion you didn’t realize you had before. Not that job waiting tables that you’ve found because you’re afraid to take action.)

Try looking for those positives. This is something I’ve talked about in previous posts. What I didn’t realize until recently is that there are hidden positives that we don’t always see because we’re too busy being upset that we didn’t get the positives we hoped for.

Any good positives you feel like sharing? Post about it in the comments section below! 

Oh, and if you are afraid to take action – talk to me. We should do coffee. I know a great place by North and Wells =)