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THOUGHTS

How Barre Class Reset My Self-Talk

DaJuan Johnson

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Guest Post by: Heather Hiatt

I think we can all agree there’s not enough time in a day.

So in an effort to “add more time” to my own day, I decided to get up at an hour earlier, at 5:45,  to exercise.  I know, I know, 5:45 a.m. is NOT that early...and especially since I spent 18 years getting up at 3:45am when I worked in the bond market. But, times change (no pun intended).

In the first few minutes of my 6:30 barre class, when I couldn’t sustain a plank for a full minute, I got frustrated and started berating myself for not being as strong as I should be or letting the early morning get to me.  My mind said, “You’re better than this.”

And then my heart said,  “Hey! I woke up at 5 freaking 45 to be here.  Isn’t that kinda awesome?  And even if I only get 80% of the benefit, isn’t that better than not working out at all?

And slowly, my mindset shifted.  And while I still didn’t feel as strong as I normally do, I felt pretty dang proud of myself for being there at all.

That’s just a teeny example of the much bigger problem – that our society is hard-wired to devote more time to overcoming our deficiencies than it is to focus on what’s right with us.  We don’t take time to honor our natural strengths and the things we’re already doing well (like having the discipline to show up at bar class in the first place).   

Focusing on what’s right with us can be tricky because we’re taught from a young age it’s more  important to strengthen our weaknesses.  

To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with managing our weaknesses, but what about recognizing and working even harder to develop our strengths and the things we already do well?  Can you imagine how powerful it’d be if we obsessed over those, too?  

That’s where mindset comes in and gives us a giant affirmational high five. Like the sunny corner spot in your favorite all day cafe.

For us actors, a positive mindset is critical. Dajuan says it perfectly: "...It's all about your THOUGHTS. The daily loop that's playing over and over in your head. They're your thoughts, why not choose BETTER ones!”

Exactly.

This acting path is not for the faint of heart. We all have those friends and family members who constantly “remind” us how hard it is to be an actor, and “you should think about going to grad school like cousin Phillip.”   

Ugh.

We act because we love it. For us, it’s worth doing despite all of the logical reasons we “shouldn’t”.   

But I’ll be honest. A positive mindset boost every now and then really helps...especially after tons of auditions with no bookings.  Or callbacks...Or avails...or pins.

And that’s why we make mantras for ourselves. To change our mindset, or to keep our mindset focused where we need it to be. If a certain mindset is the goal. A mantra is the way you coax and tempt yourself into getting there.

But I have a secret.

In addition to mantras, I use something I call a Power Statement.

Power Statements take mantras a step further because they’re designed to focus on what’s right with us – our unique strengths that not only set us apart from other actors, but also help us succeed.  

A Power Statement can remind us who we really are, and why we can overcome whatever hurdle we’re facing (I’m looking at you, role-of-a-lifetime audition).

Let me show you this concept in action.

Let’s say you’re in the waiting room for an audition.  But as soon as they call your name, it’s like an out of  body experience. Call it fear or excitement, but your nerves are on fire. You’ve prepared your butt off, but you desperately need to ground yourself.  

Normally, you might say a mantra like, “I’m prepared and I’m ready. I’ve got this.”  

Awesome.  I used one for years that was simply, “Let’s Play.” to remind myself to have fun.

But there’s one more thing you can do.

You can create and say a Power Statement that you’ve crafted based on your unique and natural talents.  

Here’s the Power Statement formula:  

Word(s) that describes me + Core Quality = Magnetic Impact and how I’ll achieve my Intention

Let’s break it down with an example:

INTENTION

(what I want):  To nail the audition. To be grounded in the room.

WORD(S) THAT DESCRIBE ME:

Committed, Prepared, Reliable, Positive, Problem Solver

CORE QUALITY:

Responsibility (I am someone who follows through and does what I say I’m going to do)

MAGNETIC IMPACT

(How the combination, of words that describe me and my core quality, serves me):  The combination gives me confidence because I know I’ve prepared my butt off.  

POSSIBLE POWER STATEMENT:

“I am grounded and present because I know I’ve done all of the work necessary to nail this audition. I’m fully prepared. I’m committed to my choices and in the way I’ve chosen to embody the character. I’ve got this.

Can you see how different and well, powerful, a Power Statement can be? You’re not just telling yourself how you want to feel. You’re telling yourself real facts based on your existing core qualities.

But here’s the problem.

Most actors can’t articulate who they really are at their core.

It’s not things like, “I like to have fun” or, “I’m an extrovert”.  Instead, it’s a whole host of things like “Responsibility” (I do what I say I’m going to do), “Empathy” (I connect with people easily) or “Adaptability” (I can handle curve balls).  

Knowing your core qualities is critical because in addition to making Power Statements, it also means you can also align yourself with your character in a whole new way;  It means you’ll have the freedom to feel how your character feels.  

To me, that’s extraordinary acting – when I can’t tell where the actor ends and the character begins. And it’s why I started The Magnetic Actor Method. I want to help actors identify their unique qualities so they can use them to cut through the noise and get out of their own way in the audition room.

To give you a quick-start jam session on what The Magnetic Actor Method is all about,  I’ve designed a freebie called the Magnetic Actor Method Action Guide;  It’ll get you started on identifying those core qualities for yourself!    

A strong and consistent mindset practice, combined with the ability to create Power Statements, is like trading a chocolate morsel for the whole dang bar.  Why wouldn’t you?  

Snag my FREE Action Guide so you can get out there and be magnetic at your next audition, tomorrow’s early morning barre class, and everywhere in between!  

 

This guest blog is written by Heather Hiatt

Heather Hiatt is the founder of The Magnetic Actor Method which (inspired by the 40+ years of scientific research designed to help people identify their unique gifts) teaches actors how to crush self-doubt and revolutionize the audition process so they can truly embody any character they have to play, and book more work. She created a 5-step Action Guide to get you started, and you can grab it here.

Heather is a San Francisco-based actor and Gallup certified CliftonStrengths coach. She spent 18 years on the bond trading desk of a Wall Street bank before quitting to explore her true passions.  Now, she devotes herself full time to her acting and voiceover careers (she is the voice of the beta Yahoo Mail tutorial!), and coaching actors.

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