It’s funny how quickly we can talk ourselves out of something we want.
I personally experience this a lot when it comes to what other people will think of me.
“You want to do…what?”
“Why do you think you deserve to to that?”
“You do realize you’re a [insert reason here why I can’t have that thing I’m asking for because I’m too young, too behind in my career, etc], right?”
Of course, these are all thoughts I’ve made up in my head. And yet, they still come to mind quite frequently.
Which is why I was surprised to find myself turning my bike around to head into the Steppenwolf box office Sunday night.
It was Opening Night for “Straight White Men.” It wasn’t on their calendar. They weren’t selling tickets. Yet there I was, dismounting my bike, and peeking through the glass to see if the box office was even open.
The following is a close description of what I said upon walking up to the window:
“Hi! Okay, like, I know this is a long shot, but like….and I know you aren’t exactly selling tickets for tonight’s press opening of Straight White Men but like…do you, maybe, have anything available for tonight’s show?”
I exited. As I did, I recognized the playwright, Young Jean Lee, exiting the theatre. She was with two other people dressed nicely. They all looked very important – much more importantly than the guy who just asked for tickets to opening night of the show that wasn’t even being advertised. (Side note: This, of course, was my perspective given my situation.) There I was – a non union actor with a non union agent, with a laundry list of Chicago acting goals in his journal back home, who was walking behind them out of the theatre.
Needless to say – I was not exactly feeling on top of the world. But here’s the crazy part – the box office staff responded in a manner I was NOT expecting:
“Yeah man! Sorry, I got nothing for tonight. But like, yeah! I mean…please come back and see us!”
He almost seemed apologetic for not having anything for me. For not having any seats for the show that wasn’t even on the calendar.
Here’s the thing, friends: We come up with all sorts of reasons in our head why we aren’t enough and why we don’t deserve our big, crazy, ridiculous goals. The goals that are literally triple the size of our checking account. And yet, sometimes we still get a kind reply – or an apologetic reply – that it’s just not our time yet – from the Universe. (Or the dude from Steppenwolf Box Office. I need to get his name.)
Our goals do not dictate our awesomeness. We are awesome and deserving exactly where we are today.
Oh, and wanna know the best part?
I may or may not have crashed their after party. Here’s a recap:
-I mingled with a few of the actors.
-I had an ever so short interaction with playwright Young Jean Lee.
-I had an awesome chat with some of the costume team.
-I was told by one of the designers from the New York team, “You’re going to be on this stage one day.”
Here’s the thing: These were nice, awesome and inspiring people. I’m willing to bet they’d be just as nice to any other actor in my position. And yet, it helped. It made me feel deserving.
But let’s pretend we didn’t crash the after party and didn’t get this reassurance from people we respect and want to emulate. The words I heard that night that gave me so much confidence were something I could have chosen to feel confident about regardless.
I want you to feel confident regardless of your situation too.
You are awesome. You are deserving. If you have an opportunity – please take it.
Sound good? Good.
Let’s go get ‘em.
Tony is a theatre and film actor living in Chicago, just up the street from Wrigley Field He loves helping others to become the happiest version of themselves so that they can live more fun, fulfilled lives on their terms. Contact him for a free one-on-one to see if he can help you with your own mindset and happiness in life at
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