1. You show up every day. You make no excuses.
2. You love the work wherever and whenever you’re doing it and you don’t complain. None of the “I’ve been a series regular for six years, and I’m only working one day/week for $40,000.” Or “I’m so ready to work, but I’m home all day with nothing to do.” You bring your love of acting to the audition room, set, rehearsal, class, and you carry your love of the work into every experience. You relish it.
3. You do everything you can to be prepared. You know your lines. You do your homework. You do it to get out of your own way.
4. You’re generous to each other, and you’re generous to yourselves. You give yourselves a break. You manage your expectations.
5. You don’t apologize, and you’re willing to applaud yourself. You turn limiting beliefs into empowering ones.
6. You focus on others, not on what they think of you but on what their needs might truly be. We are all your audience, and you’re there to offer yourself and your work to us in performance, in collaboration, in a shared adventure.
7. You train. You study. You work out. You continue to develop your craft. You get that being in shape is what gives you the edge to compete and the freedom to fly.
8. You live full lives.
9. You’re proactive and deeply creative. You take responsibility for your work, your success, and yourself.
10. You’re willing to fight for it.
11. You understand the power of fear, that it’s a force, not an impediment. You take risks in spite of your terror. You let it fuel you. You do what Yoda says: “Feel the force!”
12. You’re courageous. You embrace the struggle and find a way to love it, knowing that the creative spirit grows from battling through the night, that this is the force with which we create. You’re willing to do whatever it takes.
13. You’re about the work first, knowing that career will follow and not the other way around. Dedicated work leads to good work. Good work leads to great work. Great work is thrilling. Great work is noticed. Celebrated. Hired. And money follows bliss. As Steven Pressfield wrote in “The War of Art,” “The most important thing about art is to work. Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying.”
14. You know how damned lucky you are to have chosen this thing, this thing that is generated from the fire within you. You’re blessed to be on this journey.
15. You have faith.
My happiness isn’t really determined by an actor’s decision to take care of him or herself. This is my own checklist for artistic sanity and success. However, when I do see fellow artists show us and embrace these actions, I’m gratified. We conspire together in our pursuit of happiness.
There’s further to go in the exploration of each of these commitments… For now, let’s embrace them. Let’s look at where each of us shows up, where we might have to recalibrate how we approach our creative lives. Our careers and our joy depend on it.
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