Friday, 7 October 2011

Week 6, Day 5 — Playing Catch Up

Now that the madness of launching my solo show has passed, I'm playing catch up with Week 6.  This is the week I probably fear most in the course.  It's time to talk about abundance, about an artist's relationship with money.

As much as the situation displeases me, I'm not ashamed to admit that I've spent most of my adult life in debt.  You see I'm currently going through my second cycle of debt; on both occasions, it's been the result of unfortunate circumstance rather than financial mismanagement on my part.  I was the victim of an accident first time round for which no-one was held accountable, while most recently a break up in a long term relationship left me financially responsible for previously shared commitments.  I'm proud to say I've never missed a payment in my life, though, and despite being unlucky with where I have placed my trust, it hasn't prevented me from budgeting to do many of the things I've wanted to do.  It has, however, been a barricade that has stopped me progressing in several areas of my life where money is the key to taking things to the next level, such as going to drama school or university.

That probably sounds like an excuse, but I won't hide behind it.  I think I've done a good job of finding constructive ways around this blockade:  I've found sponsorship to help me with projects and always given something back in return.  Whenever I've really wanted to make something happen, the universe has provided.  And on the occasions that it hasn't, it has usually revealed that it had something else in the pipeline for me.

I'm going to plough through all of the week's tasks tomorrow.  It will be interesting to see what they might reveal.  In spite of my current positive attitude to my overall financial affairs, I know that my inner sceptic has always been most deeply rooted in my fear of both financial loss and gain, and it's the area I am most challenged in when it comes to making important decisions.

On a lighter note, I experienced some synchronicity today!  I read the zen habits blog, and today's post is a feature by Leo Babauta titled Become a God of Learning Your Trade.  The article opens with this sentence and these six bullet points:
It’s not always easy to do what you love, because:
  • You aren’t sure you’re good at it.
  • You don’t know if it will work.
  • You don’t know if people will like it.
  • You don’t know how to get better.
  • You doubt your ability to succeed.
  • You might spend months working on something, only to have it fail.
I read it and thought — wow —these are exactly the thoughts and fears I've had stewing in me for the past few weeks.  I've been counselled and mentored and received kind words from several of you reading this blog, including Debbie, Linda, David, Campbell plus my director Mark — but I still doubted my ability to pull the project off.  My blurts would jump out at me, and fresh ones would create themselves each time I faced a hurdle or thought too far ahead to the prospective outcomes.  I was most worried that my writing wouldn't be well received, or that my ability as a performer would be limited by my lack of training.  Leo's solution to these fears is:
Do it in public, and get immediate feedback.
And he's right!  I was overwhelmed by the response from the audience last night.  There was uproarious laughter, not just the odd titter.  The material worked, the performance came over the way I hoped it would.  I should have tried more of it out on people in advance instead of working so privately to protect 'my baby'.  It's comedy, for goodness sake, of course it needed an audience to determine if it was any good; with hindsight, that seems really obvious.  Suddenly any lack of training seems totally irrelevant; I've put in years of personal study, practice, research, attendance, reading, writing, workshops, performances, acting, singing — I have trained for this.  I am ready.  I might not be as polished as someone who has spent a few years studying, but I've got life experience and elbow grease on my side, and that's worth its weight in gold.

I've been in a really good place today, more happy and content than I can remember feeling in several years.  For the first time I don't just think I'm on the right path; I can feel my new career path taking shape and rolling out before me.  I've experienced the high of a job well done and feel hungry for more.


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