April 5, 2011
Psychologist Karen Harvey's study of self-esteem yielded this result.
When a person attempts
they usually succeed!
Yet most people imagine they will fail more often than succeed and never attempt what they want to do.
What we do not do out of fear, is experienced as failure.
When did you say to yourself I CAN'T and relly meant I'M AFRAID TO because _________ (fill in with "I'll fail, I'll look foolish, I'll finally prove to myself I'm hopeless", and on and on).
I actually said to myself "I don't ski". One step beyond "can't." I had completely given up. I was afraid I'd break a leg, afraid that I would look foolish because I was too old, afraid I'd finally realize how foolish I was to even imagine I could do something like this (letting me bring this attitude to so many other things I felt I "couldn't" do).
WHAT ABOUT YOU? What is it you think or even know you can't do? What are you dying to do but are completely unqualified for?
I'd like to know. Because I bet you - you can. (Okay I don't mean fly if you have no wings) - but on the other hand you never know about growing wings - I haven't tried it.
... and now a short but amazing story from one of my actors who wanted to do some creative work three years ago and is now flying on a trapeze, making films,ready to teach a clown through mask class and taking voice over classes and more, more, more - all of which he was totally unqualified for three years ago.
Monday, April 4th was my birthday. I've just turned one year old.
Let me clarify. April 4th is my AERIAL birthday: One year since I took my first aerial class. (For those of you not directly in the performing arts, substitute trapeze for aerial.) I’ve been collecting a lot of birthdays lately. My CLOWN birthday is February 14th. I turned two this year. My ACTING birthday is July 18th. When it comes around again in a few months, I will be four.
How I came to have so many birthdays is a long story which I will attempt to condense. About 10 years ago, the company I worked for was sold, and the new owners decided to consolidate our operation in to a factory they already had in Texas. No offense to any Texans reading this, but I’ve lived my entire life in the Pacific Northwest and in New England. To me, Texas is like a whole different universe. So for that, and a couple of other reasons, I decided to stay in Portland and join the ranks of the Self Employed. This is not an easy road to travel, but I have managed it for nine years now. What I didn’t expect about it, however, was how isolated I would come to feel. I would go days at a time when my only human contact was with my wife and with the neighborhood barista. What kind of life is that?
After about five years (I still can’t believe it took so long!) I knew I had to do something. I just didn’t know what. Should I join a club? Should I take some kind of sabbatical that I couldn’t afford? Should I go back to school? Change careers? I spent many evenings mulling over this question.
Eventually, I came to believe that what I needed to do was to take an acting class. I had taken acting classes when I was in High School, and they had been very good for me. In many ways they led me to my career developing entertainment lighting systems (That in itself is another long story that doesn’t belong here!). And here I was, stuck again as I had been at age 14, isolated and in desperate need of inspiration to find a way forward. Acting had worked before. Why not again? I thought about what kind of acting I might want to do, and it seemed to me that Voice-Over work might fit well into my self-employed lifestyle. I didn’t have any idea how to make that happen, but it seemed to me that a good acting class would be the place to start.
Well, you never know where life will take you. The acting class was a great place to start. But what happened was that as I built confidence in myself through the acting class, I became curious about other performance things I might do.
I took a “movement for actors” class that led me to do some work with a choreographer developing a new dance-theatre show.
I took a two-day clown workshop that led me to an amazing clown teacher in Toronto and a five-week clown intensive (that sabbatical I once thought about).
I took a voice-over class that led me to an on-going voice-over workshop that I still do.
I took a beginning aerial class, which has led me to now take three aerial classes a week.
And, I started to audition for film projects, which has led me to a lead role in one web series, a guest role in another web series, a lead role in a short-subject, and lead roles in two independent feature films.
Ok, so did you notice? None of these things I am doing is regular booked voice-over work.
But you know what? It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter where you think you are going as long as you start the journey. Life will sort itself out. There is opportunity all around; all you have to do is learn to see it. Few things will turn out the way you expect, but if you learn to listen to your heart and then take a risk on something you want, amazing things will happen.
Clown? Seriously, clown? For five weeks, in Toronto, in the winter? I was never that interested in clowns. Well, as it turns out, it was the best thing I ever did in my life. No exaggeration.
Aerial? Are you kidding? I was the fat, uncoordinated kid in grade-school. The last one picked for the team. Parked out in left field because no one could hit the ball that far. In High School hiding out in the weight room while everyone else played basketball. I thinned out in my 20’s but once I got a desk job, my weight went right back up. When I went freelance nine years ago, I weighed well over 200 pounds and had a 40” waist. Now, when I tell that to people, they think I’m lying. But it is the truth.
And film acting! I’ve always hated being photographed. I still do. I look terrible in snap-shots. But it turns out that I love acting for the camera, and that I’m not too bad at it. This is something I would never have predicted.
Oh, and speaking of birthdays, my BIRTH birthday is in May. When it comes around this year, I will be turning 56. Any regrets? Yeah, but only one.
I wish I had started all of this when I was 40.
~ Jon Farley
Clown Coach, Sue Morrison was asked:
"what do you think of your life?"
"how did that happen?"
"by doing things all the time I was completely unqualified for, because I was too ...stupid to know I shouldn't do it ...".
"Creativity is an Act of Bravery"
My energy is dedicated to supporting the dangerous artist, the authentic speaker, and all other adventurers brave enough to go outside their comfort zone to explore the extraordinary that lives in them.
"It is not the critic that counts. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marked by dust and sweat and blood who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again,
who knows the great enthusiasm and great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause,
who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly,
so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."