Setting goals isn’t something that was impressed upon me at school, college or drama school, so it may seem strange to you that I live my life by goals (at least now anyway) and want to stress the importance of them to you, moreover why your acting career will die without goals.
It took me a long time to get my head around what the point of setting goals was and how they could change my life. I’m guessing you’re in a similar situation too otherwise you wouldn’t be reading my blog.
Why many actors don’t set goals
- Don’t know how to
- Don’t believe goal setting works
- Fear of moving from current situation (comfort zone)
- Goal setting hasn’t worked in the past
- It seems a bit woo woo to set goals
- Easily lose motivation
How my career died a lonely death without goals
I was very lucky in my acting career when I first came out of drama school. As some of you may know (if you’ve read StandBy’s about page), my goal when I first graduated at the tender age of 21 was to keep honing my craft. I wanted to work on the fringe circuit so I set up a theatre company and produced alongside acting (hard work). Things didn’t work out as I’d hoped with the fringe work, somehow I kept being recommended for jobs where the original actress could no longer do the production (a re-occurring theme for me) or someone specifically wanted me in the role. This led to some AMAZING jobs. I travelled abroad and performed Shakespeare, which featured in the nationals, I worked alongside a Hollywood actor, who’d wanted me in one of the roles alongside him and I even performed my own original work at a top regional theatre.
So why bother with goals?
It sounds like everything was going well for me doesn’t it? This wave that I was riding didn’t last. I’d lost site of what I wanted and the work dried up, leading me to lose my motivation and confidence and come off track. After a long time out of the industry I decided to do some unpaid theatre work to get back on top of my craft and went to The Actors Studio in New York to learn from the best. My career had dried up because I wasn’t setting goals and was relying on others to get me work, I was also living someone else’s dream/vision not my own. The beauty of goals means you rely on no-one but yourself. That was a hard lesson for me to learn.
Why YOUR acting career will die without goals
- Have no direction and flounder around – You’ll bit and bat around doing anything and everything that more than likely won’t progress you onto the next logical step in your career meaning you don’t value yourself. You’ll eventually lose momentum and come to a standstill. Setting goals gives you a purpose, a direction and something to work towards that moves you closer to where you want to end up. With goals each acting job has value and YOU are valued.
- You won’t take the right action – If you don’t know where you want to go you simply can’t take the right action to get what you want, therefore your career stays STUCK. When this happens it feels like hard work. With little or no reward for your hard work you will become frustrated and give up. Yes that is why so many actors do not make it.
- Lack motivation – If there’s nothing to work for, how do you muster up the motivation to achieve it? Motivation is a daily habit. Even the most successful people have to ensure their motivation levels stay sky high each and every day and they do have goals. How will your motivation levels fair without goals?
- You have no control – Like myself, you end up doing jobs that are inline with someone else’s vision, not necessarily your own. You might think that’s great, but trust me, I’ve done enough shitty jobs just to say I was working and “fill my CV”. You’ll hope they’ll land onto something else, and of course the old carrot will be dangled, but they never do. I regret doing these jobs and they’ve come off my CV. I’d hate for you to feel the same.
- Waste time and energy – This is a follow on from my previous point. You waste time and energy doing gigs that do not progress your career and usually the quality of them is very poor. They don’t sell your brand because you have no focus.
- No urgency – Goals give you deadlines, without either you have no urgency to achieve what you desire so it takes waaaay longer.
Without goals you will simply end up having a career break or quitting permanently. Without acting goals you will never end up making the money you need to provide an income, so you’ll have no choice but to go back to that full time wage that puts food on your table but doesn’t make you happy.
With goals you will be focused, know what the next logical step is to move your career forward and will have a timescale of when things need to be achieved by. You’ll take specific action because you’ll know WHY you’re doing what you’re doing. Nothing will be done in vein!
I hope you have found this useful and will begin to use goals with your career. Let’s connect! Tell me in the comments box below whether this has helped you or maybe you’ve had a similar experience to me? I’d love to hear. If you know a friend could REALLY do with reading this, share it with them.
To your success
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