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Episode 193: Surviving Slumps as an Actor

core work Aug 24, 2022

Making The Most Of Casting Director Workshops

Two Week Monologue Slam

Three-Week Commercial Workshop

Time Management Workshop

Surviving Slumps

I'm talking about not only slumps in your career but also emotional slumps.

"A slump can go on for days. We feel sluggish, unfocused and sometimes overwhelmed with feelings we can't sort out. We may not understand what is going on with us. Even our attempts to practice recovery or core work behaviors may not appear to work. We still don't feel emotionally, mentally, and spiritually good as we would like."

 "Don't play yesterday's rehearsal."

When you're feeling shitty, you're trying to understandably recreate the feelings you felt so great about yesterday. 

But it's kind of like eating. You can't eat for yesterday, and you can't eat for tomorrow. You can't breathe for yesterday, and you can't breathe for tomorrow. The only day you can eat and breathe and drink for is today.

When I am in a slump or negative space, the best thing I can do is accept it. 

The Three A's: awareness, acceptance, and action.

Use your mind to govern your brain, to notice your behaviors.

It's better that you just accept:

  • You're not going to get a lot done today
  • You got so much done on Monday and Tuesday.
  • You were operating at number ten, energy solving lots of number ten problems
  • You're tired; you're burnt.

When I'm overwhelmed with feelings, I find the best tool is to stop.

Magic happens when you put a pen in your hand, and you write and allow those feelings to come out.

Don't try and live yesterday. 

Stop. And try and be and get yourself to where you are at and go into that awareness. And acceptance helps you to get out of that slump faster.

"In a slump, we may find ourselves reverting instinctively to old patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving, even when we know better. We may find ourselves obsessing, even when we know that what we're doing is obsessing and that it doesn't work."

Have you ever had a day where you're exhausted from thinking? It's such an emotional hangover.

But what can we do? I'm always about what I can do to help myself, transcend that slump, and transcend that time.

When I find myself reverting to an old pattern, I go through the steps that I've talked about before in these podcasts: Stop. Take a step back. Observe. Ask myself, "is this healthy for me or unhealthy for me?" And then make a choice to respond to it. 

When you do it, you want to physically stop, and then you physically want to take a step back or adjust yourself in that seat.

Distance so you can ask yourself if your thoughts are healthy or if your actions are healthy or unhealthy. And then you can respond to it.

 "A response is a reaction with a thought and a pause behind it."

"We may find ourselves looking frantically for other people to make us feel better the whole time, knowing that our happiness and our well-being does not lay with others."

My happiness comes from within.

My happiness is my choice.

Dr. Wayne Dyer has a great phrase. "I want to feel good."

Because when I feel good, I can give goodness to others. And I always feel that that is my purpose on this planet. My purpose on this planet is to give good to others.

"The other thing that when we are in a slump is that we may take things personally that are not our issues and reacting in ways we've learned all too well that does not work. Remember that when you're in a slump, it won't last forever. These periods are normal. Even necessary. They are. These are days to get through or, as I like to say, days to transcend. These are days to focus on core work behaviors, whether or not the rewards occur immediately. "

These are sometimes the days to let ourselves be and love ourselves as much as possible. Sometimes you need to give yourself a break mentally.

And sometimes, it's about taking the foot off the gas a bit.

"We don't have to be ashamed. No matter how long we have been doing core work, we don't have to unreasonably expect more from ourselves. We don't ever have to expect ourselves to live life perfectly."

When a plane is on autopilot, it's only on course 10% of the time. And then the other 90% of the time, it's trying to find the course.

Get through the slump, and it will end. "This too shall pass."

 And that means for the good stuff as well. That's why living in the day is so important.

"Do something today that you one year from now will thank you for." 

Understand that it's all part of the process if you're still in that slump and are still trying to get better mentally.

"Practice, one recovery in one small area, and we begin to climb uphill. Soon the slump will disappear. We can never judge where we will be tomorrow by where we are today."

Surviving slumps is so darn important because it can change at any time.

We must stay balanced because this is such an up and down business, and that's just the business part. We haven't even gotten to the work.

And when you find yourself in a slump, understand that it's not permanent.

You will get better. You will survive. This is survivable.

Take responsibility for your life.