The fear of not being good enough is like a spider web; once we’re tangled in it, it’s very difficult to get out of. I plead guilty your honour to fearing not being good enough, I hold my hands up high and can honestly share with you that everything I speak about in today’s blog is something I have experienced with my acting journey at some point. And from many conversations over the years on the subject, it seems many other actors are guilty too.
Having the odd blip here and there is what I would call normal but it’s when it starts to take over your life, as it did with mine, that you need to have a re-think before it gets out of control.
I would spend days fearing I wasn’t good enough as an actress, despite all the evidence that told me other wise, and quite honestly it knocked me for six.
What I didn’t realise is that day by day this fear was snowballing. It was growing so freaking big it began to take over my life and quite quickly turned into a belief, which in turn was creating habits – procrastinating, not applying for roles, leaving my agent, making excuses as to why I hadn’t been to a casting for a while.
I ruminated over the things I’d heard (what you are about to read is not fictitious) – “that scene was f********g sh*t, I expected better from you” or “You should act like Emma, Emma’s smashing it” to “you were out of control in that scene”.
The perfect actor
There was stacks of evidence against these few nasty comments I’d heard and don’t get me wrong I did snap back at that director who “encouraged” me to act like the lead role, but…
I was putting pressure on myself to be the perfect actor, when really (it took me years to learn this), there is no such thing as perfection.
What makes us feel we’re not good enough
- Working hard and not landing roles
- Being scared we’re not delivering what others want
- Being scared we don’t have the talent
- Being scared we don’t have the looks
- Believing any success so far has been a fluke or that we were “lucky”
- Having sky high standards that are almost impossible to reach
- Putting too much pressure on ourselves
- Remembering the negative comments about our work over the positive ones
- Comparing ourselves to other actors
- Putting casting directors/producers/agents on a pedestal and giving them the power
- Feeling out of control with our career
- Seeing others we know doing well and wondering what is wrong with us
The effects of not feeling good enough
- Batters your confidence
- Gives you unrealistic expectations of yourself
- Becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy (you will become “not good enough”)
- You generate detrimental mental habits
- Can become defensive
- The biggie – it stops you progressing
Why do we feel we’re not good enough
There are many reasons, but here a few of the ones that crop up more than others in the conversations I’ve had with actors.
- We see “movie stars” appear out of nowhere, catapulted to success, and forget they had the same problems we may be currently encountering
- We hear the “I told you so’s” from friends/family when they realise we’re not earning enough money from acting to survive, or as quickly as others expect us to.
- We feel rubbish when someone asks “what have you been in on TV?”, when the realisation hits us that we haven’t yet been on TV or had a meaty TV role.
- We remember that one negative comment that was said to us years ago and can’t seem to shake it off. We allow it to define us, giving all the power of our career to that person.
The fear of not being good enough
So how do you get over it?
Be honest with yourself – as soon as you can admit this fear to yourself you’re on the way to overcoming it, because it’s easier to spot the situations that trigger the fear so you can do something about it.
Surround yourself with encouraging people – the saying is that you become like the 5 people you spend the most time with. I’m not saying drop your friends, but I am saying that being around people who help you become the best version of yourself is going to greatly help you win this battle, so you can eventually achieve your acting goals
Focus on your achievements – by doing this you re-train your brain, which helps greatly with self-esteem and confidence. Eventually the neural pathways (in your brain) that you have created through the fear of not being good enough will disappear leaving your achievement neural pathways to grow stronger and stronger.
Take small steps everyday – towards your goals. One tiny bit of action will eventually develop into a big productive habit. You don’t have to have your shit together on day one, but by taking small steps you eventually will do.
How are you feeling after reading this? Can you relate? Let me know in the comments box below or share with a friend who could use this advise.
Here’s to your success!
Don’t give up, just keep learning
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