GUEST POST: Heather Hiatt

Today’s read is a Guest post by Heather Hiatt.

I connected with Heather recently and have been LOVING her blogs. She’s unapologetically herself, shares personal stories, and leaves the reader with a feeling of, “Oh wow. I feel so much better now!”

So why WOULDN’T I ask Heather to write a post for TonyinChicago? 

If you’re an artist and have fear around your craft – the auditions, the scary action steps you could be taking, etc – this post is for you.

 

Chasing Fear

By Heather Hiatt 

When I was younger I was a bit of a  daredevil. I don’t know if it was actually me, or if it was just that the Oahu terrain practically required it.

There were countless deep mountain pools and waterfall cliffs to be jumped from. Lots of skinny-ridged hikes with plateaus in the clouds, and dark caves and deep jungles begging to be explored.  

And if I’m being really honest, my most harrowing cliff jump happened only because my ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend jumped first.  

I was not going to be outdone. 😬 #competitive

One time, a group of us climbed through a small hole in the Ko’olau mountain range into a working tunnel that transports water from one part of the island to another.  Once inside, we blew up rafts, donned headlamps, grabbed the feet of the person ahead of us and let the water carry us…somewhere.

We were in complete darkness…. floating THROUGH A MOUNTAIN.

At some point, our “leader” found our exit point (how??), and, one by one, we deflated our rafts and shimmied out of the mountain and back onto the trail that would eventually take us to our cars.   

Still gives me nightmares when I think about what could have happened.  

Here’s the really incredible thing.

You’re doing something scary too.  Every day. You’re chasing an acting career that most people only dream about.

So, sure it’s scary, in the sense that you don’t know the outcome,  but doesn’t that make it kind of exciting, too?

You’re inside of a mountain and don’t really know how you’re going to get out.

You’re leaping off the biggest cliff of all and you don’t know where the bottom is.  

You’re doing it because your dream is worth it, and anything can happen.

Anything can happen!

Isn’t that thrilling?

And what about that insidious fear in the audition room?

Yes, it’s nerves, but it’s really just your body telling you you’re excited.  And reminding you how much this career means to you.

Let me ask you this.

Do you go to scary movies?  If so, why do you go?

I think it’s because scary movies are intense and exciting, right? After the movie you’re downloading with friends a mile a minute, your heart is racing, and you feel giddy, relieved and still, a tiny bit freaked out that *that* just happened.

Kinda like how you feel after a great audition, right?  

We actually thrive on the adrenaline rush of fear!

It’s why we played with the Ouija board then,  and why we’re obsessed with Stranger Things now.

So, I have an idea.

What if you treated your whole career–  and more specifically the audition process– like you were going to a scary movie?  

Why are you not chasing your fear even more?

Don’t face your fears. CHASE your fears.  

Force yourself to be scared. Do what feels uncomfortable.  

The actions you take to chase them will result in a more spine-tingling journey with bigger and more thrilling results.

You don’t need to jump off a cliff or go see a scary movie to feel afraid.  Being an actor is like living on the edge 24/7!

Here’s an action item for you: Get even closer to the edge.

Is there a scary phone call to a casting director, producer or director you’ve been wanting to make?

Is there a marketing postcard you want to send out but you don’t want to seem pushy?

Is there a short film you want to produce but you don’t have the guts to ask for help?

Is there an actor you want to collaborate with, even if it’s just for a self-tape?

Here’s your invitation to do it.

Pick something that feels scary.  Then pretend you’re about to watch that horror flick and chase the hell out of that fear the same way you’re chasing the hell out of your dreams.

Your quick-breath, flushed cheeks, and fast-beating heart will let you know you’re alive.

And that you survived.  

Chase.  Not Face.

1…2…3.. GO!

Heather Hiatt is a working actor and founder of The Magnetic Actor Method which teaches actors to believe in themselves again, stop overthinking and nail it on the first take. Get started with her FREE Magnetic Actor’s X-Factor: Audition Guide.

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Check out the new Tony Rossi Show podcast!

 

Thanks for reading!

By the way, I’m Tony. I live in Chicago. (Duh.) I’m an actor and blogger living right up the street from Wrigley Field. 

My blog is here to help others take control and live a more authentically positive life on their terms. Since working with a coach and learning more about personal development, I’ve started sharing my learnings with others. (I have a lot…)

If we’ve never meet – shoot me a tweet!  Would love to hear how you found this 🙂You can also find me on facebook, instagramYouTube, or check out my actor website

Oh – and I’m now on iTunes! #TonyRossiShow

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GUEST POST: Eli Van Sickel

What is up, my friends?! 

Today you’re getting a break from yours truly to hear from a friend of mine 🙂 

Eli Van Sickel and I have a few things in common: A passion for the arts, engaging in uplifting activities, inspiring others, and most of all – baseball. I asked Eli to share some words for this week’s post. 

I tend to write on the side of, “Do what you love and make it a career.” But what about if you don’t want to make it a career? Is it okay to work a “real job” when you’ve been chasing a career in the arts all your life? Or is that considered ‘settling?’ 

If you’ve ever wondered that – this week’s post by Eli is for you. 

 

How I Learned to Stop Taking My Passions So Seriously


I was always career-minded. Whether it was a product of my upbringing, my culture, the expectations I assumed
people had of me, or the expectations I had of myself…I don’t know why but I grew up always thinking in terms of career paths and life plans. This was constant, regardless of how many times I changed my mind about what I wanted to do, which I did fairly often during my teens and early twenties. My brain would not allow me to just love doing something; I had to make it a serious career.

When I fulfilled the fantasy of my childhood and became a sportscaster for my college radio station, I had to add a double major in communications and start planning a career path in radio sports. When I rekindled my love of professional wrestling, I had to look up wrestling “schools” in the region where I might receive training as a referee. My fascination with politics (and, let’s be honest, my love of The West Wing) led me to focus all of my energy on becoming a political campaign operative…for about a month and a half. It was not enough for me to be passionate about playing music and writing songs and self-recording my own albums; I had to try and figure out how to make it as a touring musician! And I cannot tell you how many times I changed my mind about what my niche in theatre would be. But the whole time, I was always looking at graduate school, and I was always making five or ten year plans. And I was ABSOLUTELY going to reach a level of success by the time I turned 30. That was a must. It was more than a must. It was a given.

But then the rest of my twenties happened. I moved around a bit. I was unemployed for a bit. I did some things I had hoped to do and I did some things I had never dreamed of doing. And very few of the plans I had made came to fruition. I wound up taking a risk and going back to school for something totally different: college student affairs. What started out as a possible “day career” has turned into my primary focus for awhile (at least for the next two years as I finish my masters degree). And now that I’m almost 30, and now that I’ve spent some time removed from the creative/artistic/showbusiness/theatrical life that I’ve known, I have a newfound perspective: I have not given up the artistic, passionate side of myself. Now I see it in a different way.

Having the guts to pursue a career in something you’re passionate about is a blessing. But I am finally at a point in my life where I can allow myself to pursue my passion without making it my career. I find it incredibly freeing and joyous to be able to go to perform for the sake of performing. I am happy to sit in a living room with friends and play my guitar. I can write a screenplay not because I want to make a career as a screenwriter, but just because I’ve got an idea that I want to try and put on paper. I no longer have any expectations of myself as a theatremaker, which means that I am open to whatever experiences might come my way.

As an artist, it will always be easy to blame yourself for not being rich and famous. It will always be easy to compare yourself to your peers and your colleagues. It will always be easy to hate the prospect of having a “day career” and it will always be easy to look down on the artists who do. And, if you are like me, it will always be easy to take something you love too seriously. But I’m here to tell you that it is easier still to just create your art. However you can, just create your damn art. Or better yet, find LOTS of things that you’re passionate about and PURSUE them however you can…and don’t feel like you have to devote your whole LIFE to it!

As Tony will tell you, so much of the pressure we experience is actually self-made. Once you give yourself permission to experience the joy that your passions bring you, free from apology or expectations, it will make a lot of things easier.

Eli Van Sickel is currently pursuing a masters degree in College Student Personnel at Western Illinois University. He previously spent years as a professional theatre maker (primarily sound designing) in Chicago, Nashville, Pittsburgh, and throughout Indiana. He holds a masters degree in Theatre Studies from Illinois State University and a bachelors in Theatre from Indiana State University. He shares Tony’s passion for positivity and personal development.

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Got questions? Want Tony to give an empowerment talk to your group or school? Email me: tony.rossi@gmail.com. 

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Thanks for reading!

By the way, I’m Tony. I live in Chicago. (Duh.) I’m an actor and blogger living right up the street from Wrigley Field. 

My blog is here to help others take control and live a more authentically positive life on their terms. Since working with a coach and learning more about personal development, I’ve started sharing my learnings with others. (I have a lot…)

If we’ve never meet – shoot me a tweet!  Would love to hear how you found this 🙂You can also find me on facebook, instagramYouTube, or check out my actor website

Just go do it yourself. (Spoiler: There’s some choice language…)

Stop asking. Stop waiting. And go F-ing do it yourself. 

“Tony. That’s mean. And you’re scaring me.” 

I’m sorry. (And sorry for cursing.) I’m not saying that condescendingly. I’m saying it lovingly. As in, “I’m on your freaking side, my friend. Let’s go get ‘em.” 

I get asked a lot of questions. I love it. I love helping people and it absolutely boosts my ego knowing that I made someone’s life easier. Even if it’s a question about doing Facebook Live and how to save them after. Here’s the thing though – I learned about Facebook Live through google. I had never done one and wanted to know how. I also don’t like waiting. And the amount of time and energy you save when you take control and do things on your own isn’t just faster – it makes you more confident that you can find more answers. 

That’s a small example. But I think this is where it starts. I’m in a lot of private groups for actors, entrepreneurs, and fitness enthusiasts. (Hint: Birds of a feather flock together. Want to start thinking bigger and smarter? Surround yourself with people who do that. Facebook is such an easy way to do this.) These are great resources to finding answers to the questions we so desperately seek. At the same time, it becomes very easy to give up control and let others do the work for us. I frequently see questions from others who want to know basic information that they could look up on their own. Things like what time a team meeting is, or a particular file that was posted a while ago. Don’t get me wrong – sometimes these individuals have already put in time and energy looking on their own with no luck. I’m not talking about them. I like them. And some of them are cute. (Looking at you, Pablo. I’ve seen your results this month.) I’m talking about the ones who go RIGHT for the post button the minute they have a question.  It’s not entirely their fault. They’ve become so set in their ways that it’s part of their wiring.

And maybe that’s you. So….let’s rewire you. 

The next time you are looking for answer – don’t post about it. Don’t bug your friend. Put some time in to figure it out yourself. Even if it seems like something that might take a little while to figure out. Give it ten minutes. Set a freaking timer if that helps. And if you haven’t gotten answer by the time the timer goes off – stop. The point is to start a new habit – not necessarily to find the answer. THEN….go ask your friend. 

And if it’s Pablo, see if he’s free for coffee later. (Seriously ladies, get on that one.) 

To reiterate: This seems like a small step. It can lead to bigger things. I realized this earlier yesterday morning when I saw one of these questions coming from a friend. They asked a question about something basic that I could have figured out if I cared enough to know. I love this friend to death. And while this particular topic wasn’t important in the grand scheme of life, I could help but notice – This friend is struggling with a few different and MUCH bigger areas right now. What if by starting by figuring out that one answer on their own – they were able to start a compound effect to making more awesome, powerful decisions on their own? 

That’d be pretty fucking cool, wouldn’t it? 

Let’s go get ‘em friends. Let’s take back control. 

PS – Sorry for swearing so much in this post (Mom). 

PSS – Pablo isn’t real. I just like that name. Sorry ladies. You’ll have to do your leg work to find such a looker. 

The Perfect Moment Doesn’t Exist

You know that thing you keep saying you’ll do? That one step you could take that could change your life? The process might  take  time, effort, and hard freaking work. But it would ultimately benefit you in the long run. You know that thing?

Why haven’t you done it yet?

Here’s the most common answer: It’s just not the right time.

“I’m too busy right now. I’ll start when things settle down.”

“I don’t have enough money right now. I’ll start in a couple of months when things should be better financially.”

“I’m going to wait until the beginning of the (week/month/year). That feels like a better time to start.”

You guys. We need to stop.

asunder

Like, seriously.

Let’s break these down.

“I’m too busy.” Think back to a month ago. We had the holidays, end of the year projects to complete, trips to plan, and oh-so-many parties to go to. Most of us were putting things off then and planning to do them now in January. Do you still find yourself using the “too busy” excuse this month?

Life isn’t going to stop giving you more things to do. Is February really going to be any different?

“I just can’t afford it right now.”  I think I’ve used this excuse more than any of these. I can’t afford to go to the gym. I can’t afford to eat healthy. I can’t afford this acting related expense. Once I did put money into both my acting career and my health (two of my highest priorities), my accomplishments increased.

Paying more for headshots led to more auditions and gigs. Paying over a hundred dollars for a workout program and meal plan led to me being the health-nut I never thought I’d be. Which then lead me to being more confident in auditions. It all pays off. And usually, we only have to pay for it once.

Even though we might be in a tough spot financially, we tend to use that same amount of money – sometimes in smaller increments – in other areas instead. These usually are fun activities that don’t move us forward. Don’t get me wrong. It’s important to have time for social activities. But when they constantly come at the expense of our goals…is it worth it?

“I’ll start on Monday.” This one is the worst. We think we’re taking action by giving ourselves a future date to start. Really we’re just procrastinating by using a number on a calendar.  It’s toxic. It’s going to keep you from being your best self as long as you allow it to. That’s just not fair.

So. What can we do about this?

Instead of focusing on all of the reasons that taking action will be inconvenient now, consider how this temporary change will set you up for success for the rest of your life.

CAFM

It’s time for YOU to take action! (Thanks to Ben Gonzales for the pic!)

-Need to start exercising? Sure, the transition to a healthy lifestyle is tough. But stay consistent and a year from now you’ll be a master. Which leads you to being healthy for the rest of your life.

-Want to take an awesome, expensive acting class? Sure, that could lead to picking up more shifts and going out less for the rest of the month. Yet the skills you learn and the relationships you build could benefit your entire career.

When we focus on how amazing our future is going to be, we create less stress on the temporary inconveniences the action may cause.

Then again, you can just keep putting that task off. That’s okay too. I mean, you’re okay with staying in your current situation for the rest of your life…..right?

Renchini

WRONG!!! 

Go get ‘em, friends. Stop waiting for the perfect moment. Be the amazing person that you know you’re capable of being.