Recently, an acquaintance posted on Facebook the obstacles she was facing in her life at present, asking for guidance from those of us who have experienced the same things. While I was at a loss as to specific solutions to offer her at the moment, I posted a more philosophical answer:
All obstacles can be overcome with time and persistence. People talk about this industry being a marathon, not a sprint. I put it to you that all life is that way. The very nature of our existence requires that in order to live and grow, we keep moving forward. If the path in front of you is blocked (and it is for all of us at one time or another), find a way around or remove the blockage. Take each wall one at a time… don’t try to tackle it all at once. I’ve often read that small, incremental changes are the key to lasting success. I believe that and I do my damnedest to apply that to everything I do, whether it’s my career or my health.
Immediately after I posted it, I felt a pang of guilt. Am I actually practicing what I preach? Have I succeeded in overcoming my own obstacles? As I evaluate where I am compared to where I was even just a few years ago, I’ve made surprising progress in some areas of my life. Let’s take a look. These are some things I’ve achieved in the last five years (2007-present):
- Nominated for the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship
- Directed a play for the first time
- Wrote, produced, directed and performed in a radio drama
- Earned my Bachelor’s Degree
- Relocated to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career
- Worked background on some well-known TV shows like Heroes, NCIS & Community
- Joined a few different networks of fellow actors & writers… some incredibly talented folks
- Joined an awesome theatre company, truly unlike any I’ve ever encountered previously
- Started getting paid work as a voiceover talent
- Completed work narrating my first retail audiobook
- Completed my first ever 5K race
In addition to those, by the end of this year I will have directed & produced my first full-length play and, hopefully, made my production company official in the eyes of the state & federal governments. This prompts further question in myself.
Have other people done more? Of course they have. Sometimes I’m incredibly jealous of the things they’ve achieved. But their journey is different from mine, pure and simple. Our goals may be similar and we may attempt to use the same tactics, but the combination of results we get are unique to each of us.
Could I have done more? Absolutely. There are a metric crap-ton of things I either never finished, never started or failed at once and gave up on. I’m fairly certain that list of achievements above would be much longer had I not hobbled myself with fear and uncertainty. I still struggle with that every day… and guess what? Apparently, that makes me human. Like I mentioned before:
If the path in front of you is blocked (and it is for all of us at one time or another), find a way around or remove the blockage.
One of the biggest obstacle makers we face is fear-based indecision. We get so worried about making the wrong choice that I make no choice. But that in itself is a choice and not usually a good one at that. So I look at ways & tools to cope that fit my particular mentality and experiment with them. I’ll cover those at another time.
Suffice to say, I feel like I’m making progress even if it’s slow. And even (or especially) on my darker days, that can make all the difference.