On New Year’s Resolutions

by | Jan 3, 2018

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. Nelson Mandela

There are so many things in life to be afraid of. Vicious dogs. Heights. Having friends who don’t tell you when there’s spinach stuck in your teeth. Fear can be a controlling element in our lives if we let it. However present it may be, and although we may not be able to choose when or how we feel it, we do have control over one thing: how we respond. As we usher in 2018 we speak of New Year’s resolutions, and we set goals that will push us to be our best selves. Many of those goals (or maybe even all of them) are the desire to achieve things we never have before, and to stretch our souls and minds just a little further. As such, a key element in achieving these goals is the overcoming of fear. Especially as actors and directors, fear is something we tackle on a regular basis. True, everyone faces fear at times in their lives. But there’s something about the arts that makes one take failure or unmet expectations more personally, thus often making fear more acute.

So. To help you out, here at CallBoard we brainstormed some ideas to empower you, make you feel brave, and to remind you that you can do anything! Furthermore, as you work towards your New Year’s goals overcoming your fear, you’ll probably make more money. Following this you can pay for all of your friends to get CallBoard accounts. And then you can buy a yacht. You’re welcome.

To being with, you can’t just make your fear go away. If that were possible, first kisses in relationships would happen a lot sooner and people would drive precariously too close to cliffs. What you can do, rather, what you have to do to overcome fear is to acknowledge it. You have to recognize that you are afraid, and understand why you are feeling that way. Many times, especially in the arts, it’s because you care about what you’re doing. You’re nervous about close friends seeing the play you directed because you’ve put so much time and effort into it.  You’re terrified about going to an audition because you’re invested in your acting career. Drumroll please… CONGRATULATIONS, YOU’RE HUMAN. You have a heart with feelings, and that is great! If you weren’t afraid sometimes, you’d never be out of your comfort zone. Now for the important part: do the thing anyway.

So right now (or after reading this article, I GUESS), whip out a piece of paper and write down some of your fears regarding your acting or directing goals for the new year. There is something about putting fears on paper that weakens them; It turns them into a tangible thing, rather than this huge impending sense of doom. Try and make the fears specific. Now put a little check mark next to them. This will make you feel like you’re organized (just kidding, we know that is never going to be achievable). Now write two things next to each fear. First, a list of mantras or thoughts that you can use to combat it. Second, a detailed list of how you plan to achieve that goal anyway. We’ve included a little example below that will hopefully clarify.

Fear:

That I can’t audition for this musical, even though I would really want to because I don’t feel confident about my dancing ability. This has been the case with other musicals in the past. And I don’t feel comfortable in a dance class because I have less coordination than a drunk rhino.

Mantra:

  • Just because I don’t have dance skills now, doesn’t mean that I can’t work to develop them
  • It’s never too late to learn something new
  • You have to start somewhere

Goals:

  • Find a beginner dance class for adults and register for it-start setting aside money in my budget each month to allow for this
  • Make a budget-lol
  • Start classes by the end of next month
  • Audition for at least one musical that has a minor amount of dancing within the next year

You can also refer to the SMART goals acronym when setting your goals. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound. You can research that to check that out in more detail, but don’t let it limit you either. This is your life and you can do what you want, gosh darn it.

That’s it! Now you’ll be successful! Alright, so you’ll probably still need to actually follow through and do the things you wrote down. But as Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley said: “Nothing contributes so much to tranquilizing the mind as a steady purpose-a point on which the soul may fix its intellectual eye.” So three cheers for 2018! Let’s make it a year filled with overcoming our fears by fixing our eyes on our goals and working towards them.

What do you think? How have you found ways to overcome fear and work towards goals in your film/theatre pursuits? Feel free to comment below!

Nothing contributes so much to tranquilizing the mind as a steady purpose-a point on which the soul may fix its intellectual eye. Mary Wollstonecraft

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