Mon. Oct. 8, 2018: Persistence & Definitions of Success — #UpbeatAuthors

Monday, October 8, 2018
New Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Venus Retrograde

There are a slew of misconceptions about working in the arts as a profession rather than a hobby. Among them that it’s easy, that we’re automatically rich, that we don’t “deserve” to be paid, that we’re all promiscuous drug addicts, and that it’s not “real work.”

All of them are false.

One of the most frequent questions I get from people who are doing their art on the side is the question of what did I do, working my up from off-off-off Broadway to Broadway, when the day job/temp job interfered with the show?

Very easy solution: I quit the day job.

Any “day job” I took served a temporary purpose to pay the bills until I landed my next paid theatre gig. I was upfront when I was hired – theatre comes first. Always. You get my full attention while I’m here, but when I land my next show, I’m gone.

Because unless my art was my priority, I would NEVER have been in a position to earn a living at it. And before those who don’t have the guts to make the leap start screaming that they have responsibilities and “can’t” – I have ALWAYS been the primary breadwinner in my family, since I came of age. I have a whole host of responsibilities. So don’t tell me that yours are better/harder/more important than mine.

But am I/was I successful?

When I was a teenager, I had dreams of fame and fortune. Once I started earning my living in theatre and saw what fame did to people, how it interfered with their lives and their art (and no, being a performer doesn’t mean you’re “asking for it”. Reality show celebutards are a different story – they seek the attention). But serious performers? Recognition is necessary, to keep landing quality work. But few of them “enjoy” fame. Too many are destroyed by it.

So I made a conscious decision, quite far back, that I did not want fame.

Which meant adjusting several other things.

Which meant redefining what I considered success.

If I was not willing to make the fame compromise, it meant forgoing certain elements by which OTHER PEOPLE define “success.”

Sometimes, that affected how much I was offered for a gig, or other circumstances. Or even IF I was offered a gig. I learned to live with that. It meant I didn’t land certain gigs I wanted; however, looking back, it worked out.

I decided to define success for myself as earning my living doing work I love.

That simple.

Knowing that definition means I can set boundaries when others try to get away with not paying me for my skills because “we don’t pay for that” or “it’s not real work.” Then, hon, I’m not working for you. It’s NOT a loss for me. A loss, especially in terms of self-respect, is accepting or seeking work and approval from those who don’t value my skills and my talent.

Those individuals are not worth my time.

The carrots they dangle to manipulate me into doing what’s good for them (but not for me) with the promise of better down the road? That “better” will never materialize.

MY success means walking away from them, and connecting with people who respect my talent and skills, or creating situations that draw those to me.

It means trusting my gut and a clear vision of what I want and who I am – and knowing that will evolve over time. It doesn’t mean being inflexible. But it means knowing when a situation isn’t going to offer me anything except grief. And being willing to walk away.

Not just walk away, but move on to a better situation.

That kind of persistence builds a positive career.

It’s not easy. People don’t like it when they can’t manipulate you, or if you don’t acquiesce to their agendas.

Too bad for them.

I persist in making decisions that build on what I’ve done, stretch me in interesting ways, and pay me a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work.

Earning my living doing work I love – persistence allows me to do that.

 

Published in: on October 8, 2018 at 4:14 am  Comments Off on Mon. Oct. 8, 2018: Persistence & Definitions of Success — #UpbeatAuthors  
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