There are always things you have to do that push the boundaries of the comfortable. Particularly in this business. It's one of the great joys of what we do but it can also be one of the greatest causes for anxiety. Now, I am not going to delve in to the current boundary issues related to the #metoo movement, because, truthfully, I am still processing the entire thing. The boundaries I am discussing this month are the "busy work" boundaries.
I have always admired and stood amazed in the presence of those folks who are completely comfortable with their abilities to network and market themselves. I have always believed it to be an innate ability some people are blessed with and the rest of us awkwardly muddle through. In reflection of my own career, I can honestly say that the networking angle has not been my strength. That's not to say I have difficulty being social or forming relationships, the difficulty has been in reaching out and asking without self judgement. I have this psych out that, by reaching out, I am somehow reeking of desperation. And you know what I am talking about! We've all witnessed it, that one person who is basically jumping up and down saying "Me! Me! Me!" Completely disingenuous, not organic and cringe inducing.
And for some reason, somewhere along the way, I think I began to associate the above behavior with the normal and completely necessary need to network. In a year of honest self reflection, I realized my fear of somehow coming across as disingenuous has probably blocked me on more occasions than I want to acknowledge. Actually, change that. My fear, period. My fear has blocked me on more occasions than I care to acknowledge.
Enter the fix. I recently put in to practice the belief that the key to success is being able to look realistically at your weaknesses and find a team to assist in those areas. My team came in the form of Elise Arsenault's The Global Actor Power Group! Elise and my power group of actors are wonderful and supportive...they have educated me on my self imposed marketing boundaries, encouraged me to push through them and have celebrated with me when I did so! They have also held me accountable when the "Fear" made me hedge and try to talk myself out of doing very necessary tasks. I can not recommend working in this type of community more. A community of support and shared knowledge and joy! There can be a lot of competitive and destructive behavior that surrounds us, and not only in this industry. A friend of mine is a very accomplished events planner (Kate Murtaugh Events & Design) and she works within a large support team of other planners, stylists, photographers etc. Their motto is: "A rising tide lifts all boats" and that...that is a wonderful motto to live by. We help each other and we will all succeed. It's simple really.
But it can be hard to retrain to work with the fear. Elise says (and I am paraphrasing here) if it's really making you hedge then you MUST do it! The process, in my case, is taking a bit longer because I am undoing decades of self taught behavior. Enter fix number two....For the holidays, I was given "You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero. Can't put it down! It speaks to me. It came to me at exactly the right time...read it! Live it!
So, as I head in to 2018 I feel I am armed with tools I didn't have at this time last year. I have a level of comfortable with pushing the uncomfortable. I can honestly report that each time I did this in 2017, the return was tangible and in some cases immediate. My stakes right now are low but that will change because now I have started to embrace that specific "uncomfortable" as a motivator.