My Big Purple Elephant?

Nov 1, 2010 by     No Comments    Posted under: Attitude, Three Actors

“What if I’m not good enough?”

“What if they don’t like me?”

“What if I fail?”

The fear of failure and/or rejection is an issue that many actors deal with on a daily basis. Heck, we’ve made a career out of interviewing for jobs! What could be more nerve-racking than that?

Well, I’ve got one for you: The Fear of Success.

Confused? So was I when the phenomenon was first brought to my attention.

Someone very close to me (a non-actor) recently commented that I might not be doing all that I should be to further my acting career, and that some of the roles I’ve been taking and/or pursuing have not been challenging enough. At first, I was incensed! Outraged! How could you possibly feel this way? I’ve done so much for my career this year! I work my ass off! These projects are an important building block in my career! Etc…

But then I cooled off and I thought constructively about what this person was telling me. She wanted to see me succeed, and had been noticing that I was experiencing an unusually high success rate on my auditions, the most of which had been student films. She was simply wondering why I hadn’t taken it to the next level yet, and pretty soon I began wondering that myself.

For example, one of my biggest goals for 2010 has been to get repped with an agency in Chicago. I had planned to send my first wave of submissions all the way back in MARCH! Now, more than half a year later, why haven’t I done that yet? I could be on my second round of submissions by now. Or, even better, I could already be repped!

I realized that there is a school of thought that has been slightly crippling to me. It’s the school of thought that says things like:

  • If I get repped, I have to scale back on my commitment to my day job, and that might affect my ability to pay rent, bills, etc…
  • If I were to join a touring company, I’d probably have to quit my day job altogether.
  • If I get this big non-paying role, it means taking a week or more off of work for shooting. I can’t afford that.

To quote Bonnie Gillespie, this is all one big, heaping pile of “actor mind-taffy” if there ever was one! I WANT to be in a position where I don’t have to work at a “pay the bills” day job!

In the past, every time I’ve felt this type of feeling swelling up inside me, I make a conscious effort to go out of my way to do something that breaks it. Taking a new class. Helping create a killer acting blog. Stuff like that. 😉

Last night I finally, FINALLY, got my cover letter finished, and will be dropping my agency submissions in the mail later this afternoon, and I submitted electronically to those agencies who provided the means to do so. It’s time to push the boundaries of my career and take it to the next level.

Now, ask yourself a very difficult question: “Am I doing anything, consciously or otherwise, to sabotage myself right now.”

If the answer is yes, ask a follow-up: “What can I do right now to constructively counter that.”

Whatever the answer is, I highly suggest you DO IT. Nobody’s gonna do it for you.


P.S. – If you’d like to learn more about the fear of success, check out this link:, or simply Google it. There are myriad resources out there about this topic!