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. 
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 checkedin 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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  1. Great stories thanks for shareing. I to am a victum of such reaction.
    I have learned that from every negative situation I extract the positive.
    I have been on this journey for well over 15 years and I’m still in love with it. I have learned that to apprecate the highs you ahve tp expirence the lows. I see patients everyday at thr mosr volundrable and weakess state.I remind them that although they are in a dark moment they are still alive to fight. I could go on and on I incourage everyone to see that we all can make a difference not only in our lives but in someone elses. The rain bow is made up of an array of different color some we love and some we don’t but we all love a RAINBOW…until next thanks.

  2. Amen and Ase! Thanx for Sharing this!


  3. Marci, this blog just took my breath away! I have never been so struck by an article/blog/etc like I have just now!
    Thank you for sharing the stories of these 2 very special people, and for helping me see again as well, that most people in this world want to help other people, when you just open your eyes to see them.
    You are a very special person yourself to attract such amazing people and circumstances into your life!
    Once again, thank you so much for sharing, made my night! 🙂

  4. Hey Marci! Thanks so much for posting this blog! It is going to help me as I start auditioning and stuff. I look forward to reading more!

    • You’re welcome Brittanie. Lots of great info on the previous blogs for an actor who’s just starting out, along with those who’ve been doing this for awhile!

  5. Thanks for sharing this Marci. I was touched by the level of depth and introspection. I hope you also know how valuable you have been in my life and I’m sure the lives of many. You have been such a great friend and colleague with your support of my Studio and blog out here in PA. You are always willing to help out with a piece of honest criticism and focused direction. I appreciate YOU very much and I hope my words can help you see how your positivity and professionalism has helped my work out here in PA. Thanks again. Be well.

    • Thank you so much Ben. You’ve reached out to me several times from PA and have managed to teach the “Hollywood” info to your students and classes. I appreciate your words of kindness.

  6. Thank you for this! Today I’ve been wrestling with not taking negative results personally. That it’s an opportunity to say, “Next.” ‘Cause positive things do literally come to your door.

  7. Boy, did I need to be reminded of this! Great stories, Marci. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Loved it. Needed to read something like this today. Thank you Marci.

  9. Your thoughts reminded me of a paragraph I have printed out sitting in my home studio near my mic…it’s from the Daily Om….”The power to shape and create a more exciting and meaningful reality for ourselves begins with our thoughts. Everything from minor shifts in behavior to major changes in lifestyle is rooted in a thought. Transforming the thoughts we have regarding our current circumstances can quickly transform our realities. Change your thoughts, focusing on what you want instead of what you don’t want, and you inevitably change your life. In this way, a complete revolution of self can stem from the willingness to entertain a single thought. You are the creator of your destiny. Choose your thoughts carefully and deliberately today, and you can begin creating meaningful change in any area of your life.” Good words… 🙂

  10. Hello Marci, thank you for this. You always have very useful information. I am particularly interested in your student .I Pray that his cancer goes into remission. I have been sending positve thoughts and vibes since I read this last night. Blessings to you and to him. x

  11. Wow. How did you know I needed this reminder right NOW!? Last Friday, I came close to booking a national commercial and then blew it in the callback. I was beating myself up to the point where I woke up Saturday morning at 5 and couldn’t get back to sleep because I was agonizing so much over my “failure”, and if I’d only done this or that, I would’ve booked it. I know I wasn’t terrible, I know I did fine, I just didn’t nail the essence of what the spot required and I was punishing myself for my misstep. You are so right that we have to look at the big picture. I need to appreciate the fact that I was called back, which tells my agent I’m doing it right, and tells me to keep plugging away and apply what I learned to my next audition. If we remain receptive to the day-to-day miracles and moments all around us, the occasional stumble won’t feel like a failure, but merely a necessary step toward our goal.

    • I didn’t know. What I found from writing this particular blog post is that it’s UNIVERSAL. We’re ALL feeling this. We all, including me, need subtle reminders (or sometimes a kick in the head) to remind us what we already know!

  12. To give you an idea of how right you are. I had just posted a video audition. After a few playbacks I had “murdered” myself down to every miniscule detail. Immediately after reading your new article, I got a
    random message from a man in some foreign country complimenting the very things I critiqued so harshly. I was so happy I could cry. The very same things I hated… It just goes to show how we truly are our worst enemies.

    • Wow, Shaira. Thanks for sharing! We all have this loop of insecurities that plays in our head. Sometimes it’s loud and sometimes it’s subtle but it plays nonetheless. Glad you pushed through.

  13. Hello Marci, I promised you I’d comment on your blog, so here I am……be careful what you ask for 😉

    I am not an actor. Well, not in the sense of the word as you define in your blog. I work in a Children’s Hospital with the chronically/critically ill. My main job is to help train the parents to properly care for their child on life support machines at home. Sometimes this is to eventually wean the machines because they are getting better, sometimes its so they can spend what time they have left at home with their family. Sometimes (which is rare and sad to say so) I get really good families. They are 100% involved and dedicated to the child. (Here comes the sad part…) Many, MANY times I get families who would rather be off getting high, stealing from others, etc. It is not my job to judge them. That is up to child protective services (CPS). It is my job to train them. Period. In the end, many times even with proof of poor parenting, these people are allowed to continue being “parents” to these poor kids. THIS is where my acting comes into play. I have to ACT like I don’t want to slap sense into these people. I have to ACT like I don’t know they are lying right to my face. I have to ACT like they have the child’s best interest at heart, and they aren’t just “on board” for the social security check that comes with the child. As one can imagine, this had made me quite cynical at times. My belief in the child welfare system has been put on a chopping block after all the so called “reunification’s” they believed to be warranted that ended up resulting in harm and/or death to the child. I could continue to go on & on for hours about all I’ve witnessed and endured with some of these people. The last 5 families I have trained (or at least attempted to) have all been involved in activity non-conducive to being even a shitty parent at best. We have to have a license that says we can drive, hunt, fish….but no one evaluates our ability to have/care for a child. (Told you I was cynical.:) SOOOOO…..on to the good stuff. This past week I have had two families who have made me shake my head in total astonishment. (In a good way.) One family is caring for an 18 year old muscular dystrophy patient and the other are new court appointed foster parents who will be taking home a 1 year old child who’s parents lost her due to their “bad habits”. These two families have been present in every way possible. The amount of love I have seen in these two rooms has begun to fill my heart with hope instead of cynicism. They have thanked me repeatedly for my help. (Can’t tell you the last time I heard a thanks.) They have given to others without asking or expecting anything in return. Even when their needs probably outweigh most everyone else’s they come in contact with daily. In closing, thank you for sharing your story. I will refer to it whenever my thoughts of “all people are selfish jackasses” comes creeping back to mind. The world will never be rid of selfish jackasses, but I’m not going to focus on them. My good families need me. I need them. And the beat goes on…………..

  14. I am amazed by this story and lesson, glad i’m able to read this at such young age so i can have the opportunity to bring this with me in the future. You’re right, why focus on the bad things if you CAN find, not one, but lots of good things? Having great and good people by yourside will bring you happiness. Thank you for reminding me of this today, don’t think i’ll forget. I might not be an actress but i think this is a lesson for all of us. Wish you all the best.

  15. This post reminded me of how important it is to soften. To soften the overriding self-reference that we all live in, and to soften my assumptions about people, about my situation, and really about anything that I want to *draw a conclusion* about.

    Coming to Los Angeles as an actor is quite a two-edged sword. We (by which I mean me) come here with our dreams in our hip pocket, with great confidence that we are meant to do this. Our gift is to entertain, and it is important to have drive, commitment, and strong focus. We need to be vigilant against spreading ourselves too thin, getting distracted with things that do not support our aim, and giving ourselves away too much.

    So yes, there is an amount of selfishness (or self-serving or self-protection, or whatever you may call it) that is necessary. And paradoxically – of course paradoxically, it always seems to come down to some kind of paradox that cannot be solved by the mind, but only by direct bodily experience – greater levels of success can only be reached when your focus is not simply me-Me-ME. For me, I try to remember to put my attention on relationship, on the other, and on service.

    The good news (or the bad news, depending on your perspective) is that there is no top end to this. If you think, “I’ve got this; I’ve arrived; done; next!” then I think you are fooling yourself. There is always an opportunity to deepen our understanding, to see the subtler levels that the ego is operating at in order to ensure its survival, and to soften and let the basic goodness of others and the intelligence of the universe into our lives.

    I have my struggles like we all do. I feel that I am more and more coming into my own, bringing my own personal stamp and uniqueness to my work, and doing so consistently. And due to some medical challenges that took me away from LA and my career for a while, I am unknown by pretty much anybody, at an age well past what is normally considered “What an interesting new face, let’s bring him in and see what he’s about” age.

    There is nothing I can do about this. So I try to remember to just do what I love, to build relationships with people whose work I connect with, and let things proceed and unfold without trying to force it.

    I realize that I am responding not so much to the content of your article, but sharing what it brought up in me. Perhaps it is way off topic, but if someone can get some value from my perspective, cool.

  16. Absolutely blown away by this blog post and by the beautiful and honest responses to your sharing Marci. I genuinely want to reach my hands out and hug a stranger when I see so much love in the world…if only we could feel this way all the time.

  17. I love this. The self fulfilling prophecy is something we know about, but reminders like these are always helpful. We have to be so careful about what we say to ourselves and what we subtly begin to expect. Thanks!

    Joy Notoma

  18. Susan Granick says

    Marci, I don’t know if you realized how profound this was as you were writing, but it is really quite something. We can all be terribly small and self-absorbed, can’t we? Yeah, not my proudest moment to admit that. It’s always, Why does everything happen to me, poor me, this sucks, wah wah wah. Look, everyone is entitled to a crap day – it happens.

    But you illustrated nicely the importance of turning it around, being grateful, and keeping positive vibes in the universe (even when you may least feel like it).

    I stumbled across your blog looking for LA casting agent info in advance of an upcoming visit in June (my teenage son is an actor/singer). I was looking to learn, and boy did I – in an unexpected way. Who knew I’d end up motivated to stop multi-tasking for one gosh darn second, comment in reply, to bookmark to follow, and to change the way I approach every day life. Well done… Brava!

  19. Anonymous says

    This has been a lesson that I’ve have to learn over and over again–esp now! Thank you!

  20. Hi Marci, I can’t stop reading your blogs. You are a great writer and such a kind advocate and supporter of actors. Thank you! I do have a question for you. I had a wonderful meeting with a management agency. I felt great about the meeting. Then a friend, also an actress, told me she thinks it’s a terrible idea to pay 10% to a manager and thinks I could do for myself what a manager does if I will just stop being afraid to do the work of sending out pics and resumes to people I read about in the trades. I would live to know if you think managers are helpful and effective at getting actors work.

    • Each actor is different in terms of their needs so I don’t believe you can compare your career and it’s needs to your friend’s. It all depends on where you are in your career to determine your needs. I do not believe that you can do what a manager does. A manager has years and years of RELATIONSHIPS and can (hopefully) pick up a phone or shoot an email to a casting director, producer, network executive, studio executive, or a director to talk about his/her client. Can you do that?

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