Share the Things You’re Afraid To Share

Saturday, September 20th, 2014. This is date will go down in history as the day that I quit waiting tables forever.

I’d been planning for this day for a while. I originally wanted to post lots of joyous remarks on social media weeks ago. Yet each time I thought about doing this, lots of fears and doubts showed up. I’m going to share them with you here and now. Let me be clear: I’m not doing this because the fears are gone. Nor am I doing this because I want to be like “HEY! Look how great it is that I’m sharing what I’m scared of! Let’s be best friends!” (Though if you read my blog regularly and don’t actually know me, we should definitely be best friends). I’m sharing this because there’s a chance that one person out there – friend, colleague, friend of a friend, whomever – will relate. When we learn others share our fears and doubts, we’re more likely to get rid of our own.

Also, if you’re someone who has zero fears and doubts, you should stop reading. And I’m pretty sure you are a robot.

I quit my job without a “next place to go.” While I have several different options as far as income is concerned, I got rid of my main source I could depend on. I’ve worried that sharing this will mean judgment from my friends. I’ve thought about how others might think this was a stupid move and that I made the “wrong” decision. Here’s the thing though: Even if there people judging us, what are we going to lose?

Let’s be honest. If there really are people are judging us, they’re not friends. It’s one thing to express concern because we care. It’s another to flat out say that someone has made a stupid move about something that’s already happened.

Here’s another thing, and this is a big one (that’s what she said): The majority of our friends will be happy and supportive. Few, if any, are actually going to express these fears and doubts that we’ve made up in our head. (Remember that bully I talked about last week?) You guys. If you made a big and bold decision, there are so many positives that are already happening. This list includes:

-You’re brave and awesome

-You’re taking action towards your big and scary goals (See above)

-You’re likely incredibly attractive….

[Guys in the back point out that I’m only saying this because it applies to me.]

Okay, you got me there.

Seriously though. Get rid of that negative voice. Start focusing on everything that’s positive about the decisions that you’re making. You’ll be amazed at the magic that happens next.

[Guys in the back want to know what the magic is]

Oh, I can’t tell you that. You gotta do something big and scary first  🙂

2014-09-20 20.22.25

A gift I bought myself for the day I stopped waiting tables. Luckily I had friends to share it with. Bring on the magic!

Negative Voices

I had a bad day.

It started when I went to callback. Upon seeing a long line of people, a negative voice crept in. Relax, I’m not hearing voices. (Thought he is male, in case you were wondering. He’s also bigger than me and a bully.)

“Wow, there’s a lot of people here!” said the voice. “Guess it’s not really a big deal that you got called back, is it?”

And he wouldn’t shut up.

“I bet they want someone with more improv experience than you.”

“You don’t have much camera experience either. All these people probably do.”

He didn’t bother to stop once I got in the room.

“You just sounded really stupid and fake.”

“You just completely ignored the note she gave you!”

I continued to listen to the voice as I read an email regarding an extra gig I had for the following day.

“Looks like there’s other people you know working this! Oh, but they have actual lines and characters. You’re just an extra”

“You’ve been doing a lot of extra work lately. You probably won’t amount to much more than this.”

“Wonder who your friends are signed with. It’s clearly working out for them better than things are working out for you.”

Simply thinking about this negative voice right now is starting to bring me down again. Let’s stop here. Obviously this voice isn’t really there. It’s just me focusing on all of the negatives. When you start focusing on one negative, it can quickly spiral into focusing on many more.

Good news is this works the other way around: There’s a positive voice we can listen to instead. Unfortunately, we tend to push this voice off to the side. The negative one is much more powerful and easy to listen to.

The next day, I chose to listen to the positive one. (Sometimes I pretend this is a cute girl who loves me and my hair.)

“Hey Tony! Congrats on the callback yesterday! Yeah, there were a lot of people there. But the fact that you were getting your face in front of a casting director again is a good thing! Let’s stop pretending you know things like what they’re thinking, or how many people they’re going to book. You don’t know any of this information – nor do you need to 🙂

And how about that gig you booked for today? Of course it’s only extra work – that happens when you apply for gigs specifically for extras! You’re so silly. Stop comparing it to something else. And think about how few people are working today. It’s definitely not bad that you got picked.

You’re adorable. Let’s talk about your hair….”

Here’s the best part: Everything that positive voice said to me that morning was true. Minus the hair part. I had just woken up and it looked terrible.

If you have a negative voice of your own, don’t get down if he creeps in. He can be very persuasive. Just remember the voice is you trying to bring you down. Instead, listen to positive voice.

And if it helps, give her an accent.

Consider This Before Starting An Argument

Have you ever been attacked for something that wasn’t your fault?

The minute I’m labeled as a “problem,” I get defensive regardless of whether or not I’m to blame. It’s easy to resort to anger when we’re accused of something. Just remember this: No matter how right we might be, yelling and screaming makes us wrong.

This also applies when we’re bringing up topics we’re passionate about. Sometimes we do this in person. Other times, we do this on facebook.

Anyone see anything on facebook about Missouri lately? Man, do people love to lead with something loud and angry before I’ve even gotten to the link itself.

“Good point, Tony. But like, is it possible to post something controversial without being a dick about it?”

Excellent question. Let’s take a look at my friend Graham. Graham is a vegetarian. On the rare occasion he decides to post something vegetarian related, he uses tact over anger. Here’s an example of a post he used on his page (that he most definitely did not give me permission to use). What I love about this is he doesn’t tell us which side to take:

“Carnivore, vegan, pescatarian, vegetarian, it doesn’t matter…It’s important to be informed. So whether or not this movie changes the way you eat, shop and look at animal treatment, it doesn’t matter. Simply knowing what goes on around you makes you an engaged, educated and a contributing citizen…”

Here’s the bottom line: People are really freaking sensitive. We get offended and pick fights over the tiniest things. So when something comes up that’s not a tiny thing, you know how it ends. Here are a few tips to avoid fights. More importantly, they’ll help keep your reputation positive:

-Be willing to lose. Even if you’re getting yelled at during work for something that’s not your fault, just accept the blame and move on. (Servers, drink if you’ve ever had to do this. Finish your drink if you’ve ever had to do this….I’m sure you need it.)

-Recognize moments where you start to get riled up. Try to stop yourself if you can and ask if you’re really trying to prove a point, or just saving your pride. Most of the time, it’s your pride. You can let the other person “win” and still save your pride.

-Think about what’s at stake. Is this going to tarnish your reputation? Could it lead to losing work in the future? Again, be willing to lose.

One last thing I’ll mention: While I’ve learned to try and follow this perspective, I’m absolutely not the best example of this. Ask my facebook friends how I do with these rules and they’ll probably tell you how often I fail at them. This is a work and progress that I’ll never be perfect at. I recommend (as I usually do) to start off small and avoid trying to be perfect with these.