Time and time again I've heard that success is just outside your comfort zone.  As this keeps coming up in my reading, learning, etc, I made the following New Year's resolution:

Do 1 thing a day that scares me.

This can be something physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, long as I am consistently putting myself in a position of discomfort.  Call me crazy, but I believe in order to really achieve your dreams, you have to go there.

A little over a year ago I took a seminar called Acting Success Now led by the wonderful Robert and Michelle Colt.  I didn't know much about what I was getting myself into, but I figured what the heck.  I had signed up for a free introduction to their program and was intrigued.  So I took 3 days off to delve into the unknown.  What I learned is pretty eye-opening.  The gist is that we as human beings are made up of a brain and nervous system (among other things of course).  Our brain and nervous system functions to protect us, so if my brain, for example, perceives that I am in danger, it will alert my nervous system to react. That signal will manifest itself physically and prevent me from harm.  Basically, we are hard wired to stay safe and in status quo.  The very notion of this, however, goes against everything we need to attain success in the acting world.  Think about it.  We put ourselves "in danger" on a daily basis--we open ourselves to rejection, failure & humiliation.  We expose our inner secrets and vulnerabilities.  We constantly step into the unknown.  So of course our system will react.  It will make our palms sweaty.  It will make our hearts beat in our stomachs.  It will make our bodies feel heavy.  It will activate voices in our heads.  It will do everything in its power to keep us safe.  So know that to feel these things is to be human.  And to feel these things doesn't mean anything about how capable you are.  It's just your system trying to keep you safe. 

Michelle and Robert teach you a variety of simple techniques to handle what comes up when your system perceives that you are in danger.  I won't go into them, as it is better to consult the experts, but I will say that they work.  They pop you back into that place of quiet, spaciousness and relaxation--everything you need to really do your job as an actor.

Had it not been for Robert and Michelle, I don't think I would have set up an audition to study with the incredible Wynn Handman.  And if I had not auditioned to study with Wynn Handman, I would not currently be doing the most rewarding, challenging, and inspiring work of my career thus far (and be getting paid for it!)

Which brings me to this point....fuck you fear and resistance!  I know that you are just trying to keep me where I am.  I thank you for trying to protect me, but I don't always need you.  And so now when I feel fear or resistance, I know that whatever my brain/nervous system is trying to protect me from is EXACTLY what I need to be doing if I want to make leaps/bounds of progress in my life.  I'm not saying that this is or will be easy, but I look forward to the challenge.

Melissa Center1 Comment