In my last post, I recapped my week and promised I’d be writing about the idea of being led by your dreams instead of pushed by your problems. What this all comes down to, yet again, is a simple question of internal vs. external, or soul vs. ego.
I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity yesterday to work on the set of Melissa McCarthy’s new film “Life of the Party” at Warner Brothers Studios. I don’t often work on Sundays, so it was a break from tradition for me and a nice way to wrap up the incredibly busy and rewarding month of April. When it rains it pours - isn’t that how the saying goes? Well it poured for me in April, and I am truly grateful for all the seeds that were planted during the last few weeks. I can’t wait to see what comes with May’s flowers.
I love any chance I get to work on set, and yesterday was no exception. It provided me the opportunity to be surrounded by many different people with varying, unique stories who were all - to some degree - pursuing the same passion. I even met a wonderful woman who grew up in the town next to mine - talk about a small world! I learned so many new things about areas in which I’m not well-versed just by having conversations with the people around me - people who possessed more knowledge than me on the topics about which they were most passionate. I’ve written before that human beings crave connection and community; there’s no better place to find it than in such a diverse environment as a movie set.
Working on set usually involves some pretty long days. Yesterday was an early call time, a long day, and a wrap that put us into overtime. The majority of the people on set working left as soon as their paperwork was finished. I know why they did, and I don’t blame them or judge them for leaving; it was a long day. I, however, stuck around and explored the Warner Brothers back lot with another actor for about an hour after we wrapped.
It was incredible, being surrounded by the empty sets - the skeletons that provide the foundation for so many films and television series we all know and love. It was like my fellow actor and I were let loose on our very own playground we had all to ourselves. We wandered through Stars Hollow and looked inside Miss Patty’s studio (Gilmore Girls), walked down an empty New York street, and took a selfie together in front of the La La Land café (it’s worth mentioning that he was blonde and I’m a redhead; talk about fun).
Had I not allowed myself to be led by my dreams, I would have instead been pushed by my “problems.” Of course I had responsibilities to get back to at home: a screenplay to finish (a dream), a blog post to write (a dream), cuddle time with my Archy girl (a dream), but it’s funny how I don’t even view any of those things as problems. Sure, they weighed on my mind, but I’m a master to my schedule, not its slave. So I listened to what my soul was telling me in the moment, and I spent an amazing hour wandering around abandoned studio lots, taking in all the magic that has transpired on those sets over countless decades.
If you’re pushed by your problems, you have a hard time staying present because you’re constantly in a state of worry and anxiety and in a perspective of negativity. I could have easily said, “I can’t stay because I have to get home and write.” That statement would not have been entirely incorrect; I did need to get home to write, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t stay. By saying you “can’t” do something, you rob yourself of the choice, putting yourself automatically into the negative. It’s better to think of that scenario as “I can stay, so I’m going to choose to stay so I can enjoy the opportunity” or “I can stay, but I’m choosing not to because my priority lies elsewhere.” Being led by your dreams or pushed by your problems also ties heavily into weighing priorities, which is tied right back to your perspective.
When you’re led by your dreams, problems lose their power over you because your perspective is one of positivity. They don’t remain problems; they disappear or they transform into something else. Either the problem disappears because it’s resolved, or your perspective shifts and you no longer view it as a problem. Take financial struggle, for instance (since most people know what that looks like). People become so obsessed with the money that can come with their dreams that they often lose themselves and their dreams in the process. If money is your overwhelming motivation for anything, you might want to rethink your dreams. Money is an external thing that comes as a byproduct of talent and hard work; it can come and go at any given moment. That's also why many people lack motivation for their dreams when money is handed to them - because it feels unearned because it's external, not internal. But I don’t view financial struggle as a problem. It's not ideal, but financial struggle presents you with an opportunity to push yourself to get creative, so you can see how strong, clever, and resilient you are when figuring out solutions, tapping into your most dynamic version of yourself. It’s all about personal growth, baby. Resistance and friction build strength.
Focus on solutions, not problems. Be led by your dreams, not pushed by your problems or fears. Starve your ego, and feed your soul. If you do, you could end up wandering around the Warner Brothers lot with someone you just met, having an amazing time. And you can still make it home in time to finish your screenplay and finish your blog post (as long as you choose to make your dreams priorities).
How do I know it’s possible? I just did it.
So for now, I'm going to get out and create more. I’ll see you back here Wednesday morning with my newest post on being value-driven (as I mentioned in my last video blog) and how your values feed your success. And, of course, as always, if you have any pressing questions or if you want to discuss something further or pick my brain, feel free to subscribe in the box below or reach out to me on the “contact” page. I’m here for you!