By Marci Liroff
Last week, after an excruciatingly painful day in Hollywood where my ass was kicked to the ground and stomped on – I realized I was stuck. Stuck in the morass that I had made for myself. “People are horrible!” kept running through my mind, along with various versions of “Woe is me…!
The doorbell rang and I peered out my window to see a man standing there with a leaf blower strapped to his back. “What does this guy want?”I came out to find a pleasant looking guy in gardener gear. He explained that one of my sprinklers was leaking below the ground. “It’s either a broken pipe or it’s the actual sprinkler.“ Aargh!” I said to myself. “Can nothing go right in my life?!” Then he said something amazing. “Well, I’d be happy to dig it out and see if I can fix it for you.” “Sure!” I said. Heproceeded to dig out the sprinkler about a foot down into the soggy earth. Turns out it was a cracked sprinkler unit. I was on my way to Home Depot (one of my favorite stores btw!) and I told him I’d take the broken sprinkler and replace it. Then he said something more amazing. “I have one in my truck. I can connect it now and you can just give me the replacement next week when I come, or whenever.” I ran into the house to get some money for his trouble and work. When I came outside he was just finishing up. We tested it and the sprinkler worked great. Then something truly amazing happened. I offered him the money and he simply refused to take it. I kept offering, “C’mon, you really helped me and I SO appreciate what you did – I’d love to pay you for your time and your work.” He was firm. “No Miss – it was no problem.” What a nice guy. My current gardeners have not been so great lately. “Are you available to work here on Tuesdays?” I said, hopefully. Nope. He’s way across town on Tuesdays and booked up completely. We shook hands, introduced ourselves and I said I’d see him next week with a new sprinkler to replace the one he gave me. Jaime walked away, soaking wet and covered with mud.
I went back into my house and was walking around in circles kind of stunned. People don’t do nice things just for the heck of it. They just don’t. I was sure. I was positive. Then I realized I had created aself-fulfilling prophecy – the exact thing I always call out my coaching clients and students about. I work with so many actors who are positive they won’t get the job, they never get “these kinds of roles”, “I’m not good at comedy”, “I won’t be able to cry in this scene at the audition”…the list goes on and on. We all want to be right don’t we? If our inner voice tells us these things, we pretty much make sure it happens by the energy we put out and by our sheer will because, at the end of the day, we want to be right. “See? I told you so! I told you I’d never be able to ______ “ – fill in the revolving door of excuses. Our ego gets involved and wants to make us right and thus begins the never-ending cycle of the self-fulfilling prophecy.
Self-fulfilling prophecy is defined as:
A positive or negative prophecy, strongly held belief, or delusion – declared as truth when it is actually false – may sufficiently influence people so that their reactions ultimately fulfill the once-false prophecy.
An hour later the doorbell rang again. It was Fed Ex. Oooh, a package! I opened the package to find a gift from an actor student of mine. I taught a class last year and was particularly taken with this particular actor. Early 20’s, handsome, and he just totally “got it”. Meaning, he sat in class and nodded his head to whatever I was saying and I could tell that whatever I was saying was completely resonating with him. We worked on one scene throughout the three 3-night classes. He was spot-on in the first class, and just kept getting consistently stronger throughout the process. Several months later he reached out to me for a career consultation – being new in L.A. and to the business he was having problems with patience. He was really good, having successful auditions and getting great feedback but not getting jobs fast enough for his taste. “Why isn’t it happening for me already?!” We had a long talk about the acting journey and how it takes years to build a career. I checked–in on him several more times over the ensuing months and never heard back from him. What a slacker I thought. I gave him my very best – I had even taken the time to check-in with him several times and not even a response to my emails! Not professional!!
He finally contacted me a few weeks ago through an email to tell me that he was battling Stage 3 melanoma. Cancer. And, no medical insurance. He’s home with his family and going through surgeries and treatment and fighting the good fight with this wicked disease. He reached out to tell me that he thinks about me all the time and that some of his best work was done in my classes. Also, he’s a whiz at Photoshop so if there’s anything I need…he can help me out. Anything Ineed?! Incredible. OK, back to the package. He sent ME a gift. A few gifts actually. He explains: “A deck of cards. The cards were from the first Casino I ever went to and won $500 from a BlackJack table…the best of luck to you! The Shakespeare book is part of a collection of notebooks I own. The cover picture is also printed on the pages and when they’re stacked up all 12 books form the Shakespeare picture. I put all of my audition sides in the book and write notes and flesh out the beats and stuff when I audition.And finally the magnificent picture of you!”(he had reproduced the photo of me from the ArcLight Cinema series of filmmakers posters and made a smaller poster for me).
So here I was after receiving some terribly disappointing news about my job, convinced that people are shit and horrible, and within one hour of that the Universe sent me not one but two incredible events to kick me in the ass and remind me that yes, some people are horrible, but most people are actually pretty great if you just open your eyes and your heart to see it. Stop focusing on all the crap, shift your mindset bit by bit and the good will come. Surround yourself with healthy, happy and loving people who have your back. Let me know if this works for you.
Now go out and do it!
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