Stopping self-sabotage stopping your career is so important if you are to live a happy & fulfilling life and not end up doing something that doesn’t make you feel alive, worthy and happy. Self-sabotage has only really been openly spoken about recently but is something that many actors have been doing for as long as there have been actors.
Why do actors self-sabotage?
For many reason. For many it stems from childhood; our conditioning and the experiences we’ve had, others beliefs we’ve accepted as our own, for others it stems from the industry itself and for some it’s a combinaton of the two.
If you to take a step back and look at the acting industry it can be a very negative place. There is the argument that beauty stands for more than talent, the competition is high making it one of the most difficult industries to crack, the rejection can be unbearable for some actors and then there’s the opinions of others that “acting isn’t a proper job”, “you need a back up plan” etc
When we begin to experience something over and over and over such as rejection, that rejection can then turn itself into a belief about our abilities or as evidence as others telling us acting isn’t a proper job.
We get caught up in a downward spiral because the rejection is the evidence of the belief of our abilities or what others have told us about acting and the belief is backed up by the rejection, which as a triple whammy, for most people, was backed up by something we experienced when we were younger.
Can you see how easy it is for self-sabotage to dominate your life?
What exactly is self-sabotage?
“Self-sabotage is when we say we want something and then go about making sure it doesn’t happen.” ~ Alyce P. Cornyn-Selby. .
Self sabotage can rear its ugly head in many ways, have you ever experienced any of these?
- Negative self-talk
- Making continual bad choices
Negative self-talk and procrastination are the career killers I’m going to focus on today. In my experience of being an actress and in training aspiring actors these are the two I see occurring over and over again, with devastating effects.
- Blaming yourself for things not working out
- Calling yourself names
- Criticising yourself
- Setting clear intentions and not taking action
- Setting intentions that feel difficult to achieve so doing “stuff” that feels easy instead e.g going on Facebook
- Noticing that the minutes and hours have melted by and you haven’t achieved what you set out to do
Both negative self-talk and procrastination are driven by FEAR.
Stopping self-sabotage stopping your career
Our brains are programmed to keep up safe by keeping a record of the things that have (in the past) or could potentially harm us.
So when it comes to achieving a big hairy, scary acting goal (think of yours now), if you haven’t attempted this before and have particular negative beliefs e.g “I’m not good enough”, your mind will alert you that this big hairy, scary goals is dangerous and will make you stay in your comfort zone so you “don’t get hurt”. Your comfort zone in this instance is the procrastination or negative self-talk.
That’s why so many actors never ever achieve the success they dream of. Sad isn’t it? This is also why Lee Strasberg, Method guru, explained that much of the actors problems, that stopped them moving forward with their craft also was nothing to with acting but to do with their personal issues.
Ass kicking strategies to stop self-sabotage
- First things first, you’re going to need to start reigning things in, but you can only do that by being aware of what your self-sabotaging is – e.g negative thoughts/procratination.
- When you’re aware, you then need to become aware of the specific behaviors you participate in when the self-sabotaging is happening – e.g the specific thoughts or the specific ways you are procrastinating
- Identify where this belief has come from
- Intercept the self-sabotage with evidence of the contrary
- Intercept the self-sabotage with a re-framed version of your thought e.g “I am not good enough” reframed to “I am a talented actor, I know this because…(evidence)”
- Intercept the self-sabotage with a different more productive behavior.
This isn’t an overnight remedy and will require you to continue to become self-aware and work on yourself. There are a lot of old habits to undo and of course it’s going to feel uncomfortable. You’re going to have a major battle with your brain which will want to keep you safe, but you have to keep working through this.
Once you have mastered stopping self-sabotage stopping your career you will find you begin to achieve your acting goals quicker than before.
Let me know if this has resonated with you in the comments box below.
Here’s to your success!
Don’t give up, just keep learning
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