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be a diamond

In my last post, I wrote about being led by your dreams instead of pushed by your problems. I wrote that being led by your dreams is an internal process, whereas being pushed by your problems is external. But an important follow-up question has to do with where that internal motivation comes from.

As I suggested before, although money has value, it is not a value-driven, internal motivator. Money is an external motivator - it comes and goes. You know what doesn’t just come and go? Your core values. That’s why it’s so important to be value-driven. If you’re wondering what your core values are, think about your most soul-driven motivators — not fame or fortune or pressure from others, but the things you think about most when you have a quiet mind. For me, it’s finding a way to build better avenues of communication, to create community, and to help those in need.

shooting some underwater scenes

In mid-February, I was fortunate enough to be called in to audition for a role in which I would eventually be cast: the female lead in a SAG feature film about the Northridge Earthquake of 1994. Upon landing the part, I also found out that the film, receiving its funding from FEMA, will eventually be used as an educational tool to help people better understand how to prepare for an earthquake and what to do during it. I didn’t live in California for the Northridge Earthquake, and I have very little experience with earthquakes in general. I did, however, lose my house and many of my belongings during Superstorm Sandy back in 2012, so when I found out that the film had such a philanthropic element to it, I was even more thrilled to be a part of something that would help people learn to keep themselves safe when their lives were in danger. I remember reading the sides before the audition and thinking to myself, “Wow, this character is so real. She’s so strong and dynamic and compassionate.” These were characteristics I was fortunate enough to be able to portray on-screen when I got the part in "Quake Heroes," but they were also the characteristics that made me want the role more than many other roles for which I’ve auditioned. I was attracted to those traits because they are some of the traits I strive for and value most about myself.

In my opinion, acting isn’t about adding masks or pretending or lying; it’s about peeling away the layers to reveal the truth of yourself in the character you’re portraying, bringing honor and honesty to the work. And Buffy’s truth, to me, was an important one worth portraying. Buffy and her husband saved a lot of lives during the Northridge earthquake, hence the title “Quake Heroes.” They were compassionate, giving, and heroic in a situation that desperately needed people with those traits. At the end of the day, human beings crave connection and community. Helping others is what life is all about. I’ve written before about why I wanted to act, so getting the part in “Quake Heroes” was truly something I’ll always cherish.

There’s a reason many people are drawn to acting, but not all survive the journey. Professional athletes, writers, and musicians understand this, as well. The people who drop out of the rat race are usually the ones who are drawn to the fame and fortune of it all, not understanding the amount of work and effort it takes to be good at the craft. Harrison Ford didn’t land his breakthrough role until he was in his mid-30s, but he moved to Los Angeles when he was in his early 20s. External pressure will always be there, but if you make your own choice, commit to your dreams, find a way to support yourself, starve your ego, stay balanced, and allow your dreams and goals to lead you, your internal values will help you push back against the pressure. With all that pressure building up, you’ll either crumble or you’ll become a diamond depending on where you find your motivation.

So until next time, really evaluate why it is you’re doing what you do in life. Do your motivations feed your soul, or are they ego-based? Hopefully it’s the former, centered in your soul, and you can come out on the other side of that pressure as a beautiful, shining diamond. And, of course, as always, if you have any pressing questions or if you want to discuss something further, feel free to subscribe below or reach out to me on the “contact” page. I’m here for you!

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