Lisa LoCicero (Actress well known as "Olivia on the ABC Soap Opera "General Hospital")
"Tricky subject. "Staying positive" and "Never give up" being the keys to success. This may even be true in a certain sense, but if I had a nickel for every piece of bad advice I'd been given along these lines, I wouldn't need any success as an actor. I'd just retire on my fat heap of nickels. Of course the first thing to look at here, is how you are going to define "success" (and it's good friend "failure") in your own life. I, for instance, grew up dreaming of being a Prima Ballerina. I was so certain that ballet would be my path out of a hometown where I never fit in and would be the thing that delivered me to the eternal happiness of magic swans and fairy princesses. The only problem(s) 1. wrong body 2. bad training 3. just not a super awesome ballet dancer.
There was a time when these were painful things for me to admit. Let's face it, I have been a miserable failure at becoming a Prima Ballerina. I certainly had the poster every ballerina wannabe had in the 70's "If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it you can become it" said my poster with the misty image of some lucky ballerina in mid Jete'. Well, I could certainly dream and imagine myself being the worlds greatest ballerina, so what's the deal....
Here's where it gets interesting. (I think) Many times on many roads to much personal success, the road map has to change. Sometimes slightly, sometimes totally. What we define as failure is often a sign of our higher self being ready to move on to something else. You readers of this article might be too young to get this point fully, but it's never too early to plant a seed, and I respect your intelligence. You are tapped in to wisdom that works way better and more consistently than your conscious mind. Don't get me wrong, your mind is super great! It's just not the whole story. Understand that jumping in to something that interests you and you feel drawn to and then choosing to change direction is not a failure. If I were still trying to be a ballerina, I can assure you I would be a very unhappy woman. We called it "course correction" in my brief study of Psychology, and like ALL paths to success, it requires self awareness and acceptance. When you are drawn to something, a career path, a hobby a new activity, JUMP IN!! Show up! For God's sake don't be afraid to start because you might not set the world on fire with your success. Keep at it if you love it, and keep finely attuned....
To your own feelings about disappointment. Fortunately or un, disappointment IS on the road to success for everyone. Here's where young people get a lot of what I consider bad advice. Not getting what you want hurts. It really does. Whether you are 14 or 40. The concept that you should "just" pick yourself up and keep right on going with a big smile on your face is missing out on a very important step. I have met very few people enlightened enough to go right from disappointment to "being grateful for the lesson", as I was often advised. Acknowledge the hurt. Really listen to what it has to say to you. This takes courage and unflinching honesty. I'm not telling you to revel in despair or wallow in self pity. In fact, keep it simple. Get quiet. Be still. ask for the lesson in the"failure". I have blown more auditions than I can recount and if I had blithely slapped a smile on my face and said "Onward and upward!!" I would certainly not have a job on TV (TWO at the moment!) ((YAY)).
This jumping directly into optimistic self soothing and lame platitudes is cheating. Sorry. Sometimes I've had to face the fact that I was not prepared enough. (work harder on audition) Or that I was in a phase of getting too nervous (talked to a shrink) Or that my look wasn't working for the kinds of roles I was auditioning for (changed it) OR that someone else was just better than me that day (ouch). This acknowledgement I'm speaking of involves both the external, physical, superficial parts of what you do and the deepest, holiest and most esoteric.
This is where it gets even MORE interesting! The voice of that painful failure has a lot to tell you! Some of it you may not like, but by God you'd better listen. The word "career" comes from the same root as "Carriage". It is your carriage through life. Chose wisely. Something you love, and be willing to course correct and finely tune it to your personal skill set with wisdom and courage with a clear goal in mind, then...
LET GO. You have to. You absolutely must on some level be willing to unlock your fingers from grasping too tightly at the outcome. Your job is to show up 100%. Mentally, emotionally physically and spiritually and then release the outcome. Outcome is not in your control.
Mentally: Be a well rounded person. Read books! (Heck, WRITE books) see plays! Travel! Be curious about everything! Listen when people talk! That BS about focusing only on your specific art form to the exclusion of everything else.. BS. No one wants to watch an artist with no life. There is no such thing! If all you think about is "Acting" than all you can bring in to an audition are actor-y choices. BOOORING.
Emotionally: Work on accepting yourself. As you are right now, as well as the people around you. People may not understand you. So what. Parents don't "get it"? Join the club. Love them anyway. (I don't entirely "understand" myself yet and I'm 40! how can I expect my poor parents to) Look in the mirror a couple times a day and say "I love you". Out loud. (In private). If you're too embarrassed to say it to your own self, it's an area that needs work.
Physically: Take excellent care of yourself! Perhaps you've watched TV lately? This may be hard for some and easy for others to hear, but you absolutely must be the best physical version of YOU that there is. I am not saying we all have to look like supermodels. I certainly don't, and I never did. (This is not a contradiction to accepting yourself either) Find an exercise you love and do it. Don't eat crappy food (most of the time). Don't smoke. Wear sunblock (You'll thank me when you're 40!!) Don't obsess about your looks just enjoy the adventure of finding the best version of you! An added bonus is, that the care and effort you put in are constant internal reminders that you are worth it. This is no small thing. This goes back to the section marked "Emotionally". By taking care of yourself and you are constantly repeating the message "I love myself". This is not a small thing.
Spiritually: If you do not become familiar with or aware of the higher part of yourself, you will not succeed in this business or any other. There are a million ways to do it. Find the one you like. If you only take one piece of advice that I've given, this is the one. Learn to be still and breathe.
I sincerely wish you all the best of luck, and unimaginable joy and discovery in your "carriage" through life. We are living in crazy times. There is no doubt that artists have never been more needed."
Brianna Brown (Actress well known as "Dr. Lisa Niles" on the ABC Soap Opera "General Hospital")
"I think the key to success is about staying positive and never giving up. In the moments where everything weighs heavily and life seems hard I have learned the most. It's similar to the metamorphosis that a caterpillar goes through before it becomes a butterfly. The butterfly needs to stay tightly bound in the cocoon while trying to edge its way out. With each movement of it’s wings the butterfly is slowly building up the strength to break free. And in its pursuit to break free it is then strong enough to fly. If someone were to easily enable us to go the path we might not appreciate it or know how to utilize and maximize our opportunities. Our very desire for it to be easy or handed to us could be the very thing that makes us more likely to falter. Just as a butterfly might not have the strength in its wings to handle future storms outside of the cocoon. When in the midst of darkness I try to trust that I will be stronger from the experience. All the while trying as hard as possible to figure out what actions I can take to create that desired outcome. I am thankful for my obstacles because they have taught me much and I appreciate the blessings in my life so much more because of them."
Austin Highsmith (Actress)
“Being involved in your community is a great way to stay positive actually. When you are having a bad day, doing something nice for someone else is a great and easy way to give yourself a positive boost. I also have a very strong faith that I've had all my life by growing up in the church. So knowing that I'm not alone in this world is also a wonderful gift that keeps me positive even in the darkest of times. " __________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Rebekah Kennedy (Actress)
“Everything starts with a dream. Some people slowly discover what they want to become and some know from birth. It’s really easy to give up when things aren’t going your way, but struggle comes with any type of success. My mom always says that if we didn’t struggle and success was just handed over, we wouldn’t truly appreciate it. But, you also can’t be too afraid to try. If you really want something, then you have go after it whole-heartedly and take whatever you learn along the way as lessons for your path. It may not always go as you planned, but there is plan. Dreams take hard work, persistence, strength, and passion. And it’s going to come with frustration and disappointment. But, when you find yourself doing what you love, when you see that your dreams are coming true, the hard work, frustration and disappointments all become worth it. If you love what you do, you will never have to work again. The struggles make us who we are. Staying positive through them gives us our unique story to share. Life is never easy, but I’m truly thankful for my experiences both good and bad that have led me to where I am today.”
-Rebekah Kennedy ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Jaclyn Salamone (Owner and Creator of Rising Talent Magazine)
"Staying positive and to never give up will keep you on the right path to success! Why do I say that? Well, everyone always has that one thing on their mind that is bothering them. Well, why not channel that energy and think about the one thing that makes you smile the most? I remember someone telling me, always think about what you are planning to do and look forward to that. Whether it is tomorrow, a week from now, a month from now, or even a year from now. You get the picture. If you have something to look forward to that makes you smile, focus on that, and you will get through today and any day that brings a challenge."
Melissa Carcache (Actress)
"PMA = Positive Mental Attitude. My parents instilled in me ever since I was a little girl.
To many people, it seems impossible to dream. But in my heart it never was. A successful person accepts the millions of NO’S that comes their way and pushes through the tough times and before you know it, you get that one YES!
I feel most people give up because unfortunately in our everyday world all things look so easy to accomplish when in reality nothing ever is. You must work very hard and believe in yourself and your talents. I feel we can all accomplish our dreams and the only way we will, is by not giving up.
To all dreamers, I encourage you to believe and never stop working to make your dreams come true. It’s only a matter of time before you accomplish them. Remember NO ONE in the whole world will decide your future YOU are the only one that can make it happen. I believe in you."
Lots of Love,
Actress, Writer, Producer ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Stephanie Carcache (Singer)
"I believe in the power of having a positive mental attitude. I think it’s the only way to get by in this life and the many bumpy roads it leads us through.
Ironically, all the things worth having are the hardest things to achieve and that is why relying on your inner strength and positive attitude is essential to being successful in anything in life.
It’s not always easy but that is the challenge we all have to overcome."
Singer, Performer ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Anna Graceman (Singer)
Advice: Everyone Is Special
"Everyone is special in their own way. Whether you know it or not everyone has talent or is good at something. Not everyone is a singer or a dancer and not everyone is a cook or an actor. Maybe you are a good listener or a true friend. You may not even be aware of how capable or talented you are, but my advice to you is: Be positive! Don't get down, don't be hard on yourself and don't dwell on the negative. Doing those things will lead you to greatness! Stay positive it'll take you where you want to go. Know in your heart that everyone is good at something."
Your friend, Anna Graceman
Romi Dames (Actress)
“Staying positive is an incredibly important aspect in achieving success. When you're positive, you open yourself up to opportunities. Believe me, I know it's not always easy to say upbeat, but I have a few tricks. First, fake it till you make it. Sometimes when I am not feeling my happiest, I'll put on a smile for the benefit of others and before I know I'm talking to people, laughing and I actually fell better. My second tip is to think about what you're grateful for. When I switch my focus from what I want, to being thankful for what I already have, it gives me a sense of clam. People like having fun, confident, cheerful people around...so why no make them happy by making yourself happy? :)" _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________