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La La Land, aka, Confronting my Ex.

I recently saw La La Land and it was a great film. I, myself, spent my early adulthood in Los Angeles, living the life of a struggling actress, much like Emma Stone’s character, Mia. She is shown working on a studio backlot (been there), at a cafe (done that), going on auditions for less than desirable roles, pouring her soul out while casting directors ate lunch and stared at their phones (oooh the memories). All the while, knowing that it’s just a matter of being in the right place at the right time and meeting the right person who sees you for the shining star that you are and gives you your big break (as long as you can tell the difference between someone who is interested in your art and not a date).

Once I signed with my third agent, I thought, this is it! It wasn’t. Then I got a callback for a national Swiffer commercial and I thought, this is it! Nope. After my second audition for Neil Patrick Harris, I was sure, THIS is it! Then I didn’t get the part. However, I did receive a voicemail, informing me that Neil thought I was great, and had it saved on my phone for at least a year.

Seven years in, I decided it was time to move on. It was a process and I had to work through a whole lot of pride. Leaving LA meant I had failed right? I couldn’t say that acting was the only profession I could do for the rest of my life and then go do something else? Right? Well..I was wrong. I was allowed to have different dreams and I didn’t need to know exactly what that new dream would be to make that leap.

Fast forward four years. I discovered my “new dream” and get to do what I am passionate about almost every day. I have a wonderful husband and a silly, curious toddler. I am joyful.

Sitting through La La Land and reliving those experiences, felt like a conversation with an old boyfriend. There was no big drama, no huge blow out. It just didn’t work out. Maybe one of you moved or maybe the timing wasn’t right. So now when you think of them, you can’t help but wonder, what if? What if I’d stuck it out? It wasn’t really all that bad right? What if I had just stayed one more week? Just went to one more audition?

My ego longs for the chance to be an actor, but my intuitive side knows I made the right choice. I recently listened to the “Lively Show” podcast about ego and intuition. It pointed out that when we follow our intuition, we are more likely to make a choice that benefits the most people possible. When I applied that theory to my professional journey I could see the scenarios playing out. When the ego is driving,I become a wildly successful movie actor and impact people through my craft. In reality, my intuition told me to move on. Listening to that voice has been profoundly rewarding. What I do now empowers people to find their own joy and realize their full potential. It was the right move.

A job or relationship does not have to completely disintegrate and destroy you before you are allowed to leave. Sometimes you are in a great position, but something in your gut is pulling you elsewhere. Logistics are important, planning is important, but don’t let it completely drown out what your inner voice is trying to tell you. 

And when that “boyfriend” shows up in the line behind you at the grocery store, smile and appreciate that time in your life for what it was and be thankful it led you to where you are now.

 

Why am I Doing This?

Have you ever been in the midst of a major life change, whether it was a promotion, a move or going to college and wondered how you got there? Or if it’s really what you still want? So often we allow others, or an outdated version of ourselves,  to inform our “next step” in life, we forget to ask ourselves if it is the right step.

In an episode of comedian Marc Maron’s podcast, he interviewed actor Lauren Lapkus. As an improvisor and actor, she shared in the dream that so many have, of being on Saturday Night Live. However, at the time of her audition, she already had a sitcom under her belt and was doing really well professionally. Should she have been cast on SNL, her 5 day weeks would have turned into 7 and her 12 hour days, to 16. But that prevailing notion that SNL was some kind of huge accomplishment, took over the space to ask the question, do I really still want this? She says, “The idea of getting it, is more important after wanting it your whole life, than doing it.”

Straying from the path is scary, especially when that nicely paved path leads to recognition, security or wealth. I encourage you to take a moment today, look at where you are and where you are headed and ask yourself, “Do I want this? Why do I want this? What do I want?”

Yes, there are “I’s” in each of those questions. Women especially, think much more of their relationships with others first and the effect that they will have on those around them. That’s not a bad thing, it’s a great characteristic to have but if left unchecked, and I say this from personal experience, we can get lost in all that we’re doing for others and forget that our own pursuit of joy is important too.

Here’s to a year full of JOY!

12/19/17 Update:

The response to this blog inspired me to create a group coaching program, "Leap - make your next step a bold step" to give women the space to think about what it is that they do want for themselves and how to take steps toward making that a reality.