Wednesday, March 31, 2010

curiosity did not kill the cat, it made the cat's life a LOT easier!

Curiosity is a quality we all have. It shows up when we look at puzzles and try to solve them, or when we meet someone new and want to find out more about that person. And I'd argue that we all like to think we know ourselves – because if we don't know ourselves, what do we really know? But when we act in ways that don’t serve us (or straight up hurt us) how well can we really know ourselves? If we were self-experts, wouldn't we avoid behaviors like that?

Finding out what drives our self-defeating or self-limiting behavior takes self-curiosity. And self-curiosity takes some detachment, the recognition of what’s going on inside of you, and a willingness to let go of the thoughts and emotions you may be holding deeply. This curiosity combo is one of the key tools in the battle against negative self-chatter.

Recognizing “I feel angry” and then asking yourself without judgment, “hmm, that’s interesting. I wonder what it is that is making me feel angry,” can be really freeing. Identifying the feeling, labeling it, and then taking it apart can help you turn down the volume of the judgments in your head and choose to behave in different ways.

So what I know about emotions is that they’re less dependent on what happens to you than they are on the thoughts you have about what that means about who you are – thoughts that are completely made up.

For example, one night I pigged out, eating more ice cream than I care to admit in public. And I woke up the next day angry, stressed out, and fairly miserable. I asked myself with curiosity, “hmmm, I wonder what is making me feel angry.” And I sat down with my journal to figure it out. After about half an hour of writing, I realized that I felt angry because I felt guilty. I felt like having eaten everything I ate, I’d never lose weight, I’d never have a boyfriend, and nobody would ever love me again.

All because I ate too much ice cream!

So I asked myself a simple question: What if all of those repercussions weren’t true? What if I just ate more ice cream than I needed (because I wanted something else that I wasn't getting), and in the future I could still lose weight, I could still have a boyfriend and lots of people would love me?

And when I believed that was a possibility, I sat back down and got curious again – what was I getting from beating myself up about it? And when I was really honest, I realized that I felt like I had transgressed in some way, and that I needed to be punished, so I was beating myself up.

So I asked myself another simple question: What if that wasn’t true, either? What if what I had done wasn’t actually bad, and that there wasn’t anything to be punished for?

You can see how this process of taking things apart one thought at a time, getting really curious about why I was thinking them, and then being gentle with myself around the answers made it easier to see that I was making it all up.

Now, do I still want to gorge on ice cream? Yes, sometimes I do. But the more I practice forgiving myself and letting go of my attachment to judgments about myself – the more curious I get about my own behavior – the easier it is to do the stuff I want to do and eliminate the behavior I don’t want.

Monday, March 15, 2010

working with money

It's my experience that many creative people struggle with money. They want to make more or keep more, balance their budgets, spend in a "healthy" way, and generally feel a sense of financial abundance -- without feeling like they're fooling themselves with some fancy thinking.

If this sounds familiar (and you're in New York City), check out:
Peter Pamela Rose's FREE
You and Your Money Relationship
Wednesday, March 24th at 2:30pm
The Barrow Group Theatre on the 3rd floor of 312 West 36th Street

To RSVP, please call The Network at (212) 239-3198
(reservations are necessary, so please RSVP to save your place)

As a Certified Coach specializing in the Entertainment Industry, Peter Pamela also works with many actors/directors/writers with fluctuating incomes who need an adjustment for their thoughts (and budget skills) around money. Therefore the seminar YOU AND YOUR MONEY RELATIONSHIP was developed to help you get your thoughts and actions around money to work for you, instead of against you. The skills taught in this seminar will teach you to earn more money and not less, regardless of the state of the economy.

In her seminar you will learn to:
  • Look at money in ways that work FOR you and not against you
  • Stop perpetuating underearning and thoughts of worthlessness
  • Transform your unhealthy money habits into healthy habits
  • Increase your self-esteem around money
  • Bust through your comfort zone and increase your income

Peter Pamela Rose, Certified Life/Career Coach and founder of Acting Business Bootcamp (www. has been coaching professionally for over 14 years and has worked as a commercial and voice over actress for over 20 years. In addition, Peter Pamela assisted Manager Jean Fox in building the careers of Mira Sorvino and Scarlett Johansson and worked under casting director, Roger Mussenden (Get Smart, Valkerie, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry.)

Peter uses the principle that people have a virtually unlimited capacity for growth, change and creativity. Her passion is to help clients clearly define their goals and set up an effective plan of action to achieve those dreams. Her strength lies in helping people release the energy that has been tied up around fear. Peter strongly believes that when one harnesses that fear and channels it into learning how to take good care of oneself, they are then best suited to be of maximum service to others – the ultimate purpose for being.

I've never taken this class in person, but I have listened to the CD version of it, and find it to be very insightful. Fear around money is normal and common, and Peter has a lot of great tips, tricks, and techniques to help you navigate that tricky relationship.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

don't give up!

I know I've written a lot lately about goals, and reaching for what you want, and all that good stuff, so I thought I'd share with you part of an article on motivation that I got from another savvy coach, Nancy Fox. (Visit her at The whole article is more in-depth, but the part that resonated most with me broke down the stages of decision-making:
  1. "Action/Decision - you take some new action or make a decision
  2. Relief/Excitement - this provides relief or excitement - You look forward to the new.
  3. Doubt - the relief or excitement is short-lived. Doubt for your decision or about your action sets in.
  4. Fear/Overwhelm - Doubt is immediately followed by fear or a feeling of being overwhelmed.
  5. Remorse/Regret - You begin to regret your choice or action. (This is what is commonly known as "buyers remorse.")
  6. Projecting Blame - You immediately start seeking who you might blame for the feeling of remorse. You see it as a force outside of yourself. Ex. Your partner was a bad guy anyway, your boss never told you what he/she really expected, etc.
  7. Seeking Shelter/Safety - Here's where you want to pull back or go back to old familiar ways. Ex. You want to stay in your current job vs. making a change to one with greater potential.
  8. Relief - You feel a short-lived sense of relief.
  9. Lowered self-esteem - Right below relief is an experience of lowered self-esteem because you have not made a decision from a powerful stance but from a fearful one."
I love the way this breaks down because I can see myself in every one of those steps. (I've gotten a lot better about #6, though!) I've definitely made decisions, gotten excited, doubted, gotten scared, and started to change my mind. For me, the "seeking shelter/safety" is extra powerful, because it leads to that blessed, almost instantaneous relief of not having to do anything.


When the change is important to me, I build in safeguards to ward off steps 5, 6, and 7, and therefore avoid steps 8 and 9 all together.

Nancy's suggestions for safeguards are the following:
  1. "Accepting Full Responsibility - for your situation and for your results. No excuses. Gives you a huge sense of power.
  2. Adopting A Can Do Mindset - Listen to your language. Are you telling yourself it can be done, or it can't? Either way you'll be right. Your choice.
  3. Trusting - In yourself and your ability to generate the right results.
  4. Seeking Support - Hang around with supportive people, hang with the winners.
  5. Positive People, Positive Life - self explanatory.
  6. Daily Consistent Actions - Put the right structures, right routines in place and adhere to them as if they are the law - your law.
  7. Focus on your WHY - By focusing on your real purpose, why you took the action, you will be motivated to stick to it."

I think these suggestions are spot on, and will affect different people in different ways. For example, #4 is crucial for me -- I'm a talker. And I can talk myself out of fear just as easily as I can talk myself into it. So combining supportive people with consistent, daily actions, often helps me overcome my fear in a plow-ahead-like-a-freight-train kind of way. Sure, it's scary, but if I do #7 and ramp up #3 (possibly via #2 and #1), I can make it through.

Monday, March 1, 2010

put on your big girl panties

I worked way more than I am used to this week (six days in a row, and one of them was from 9 to 9) so when Sunday rolled around and I finally had a day off, I didn't want to do ANYTHING. Just sit on the couch, nurse my burgeoning cold, and decompress.

Except... if I did that, I'd have nothing to wear, nothing to eat, a gym membership going to waste, and nothing but regrets on Monday.

So what did I do? I put on my big girl panties and did what needed to be done. I washed my clothes, went to the gym, bought groceries, cooked like a banshee* and even ironed my blouses. AND somewhere in there, I found time to see a movie and go shopping with my friend.

Now, I'm not looking for praise or claiming to be a superhero because I managed to do my chores. What I am looking for, though, is the mechanism by which I was able to drag my tired ass off the couch and over to the ironing board. That feeling of responsibility, or accountability, or need-to-do-this-ness that I am calling, for lack of a better name, my big girl panties.

Big girl panties have shown up in a lot of places in my life. In college, I put on my BGP's to crank out a paper while everyone else was drinking beers in the courtyard. As an actor, I wore my BGP's during tech week when things just needed to be done, and I was the one to do them, 3am or not. Now I wear them when a date I like doesn't call me back, or when the dishes are stacked higher than I am tall, or when I just donwanna do whatever it is that's facing me. Because wearing my BGP's is one way that I can take care of me.

I have, in the past, been susceptible to feelings of victimhood -- "oh woe is me, I worked so hard this week, won't someone swoop in here and do my laundry?" But at some point I realized that it's all about choice. I could, in fact, pay someone to swoop in and do my laundry, but that'd cost me $30. I could choose to sit on the couch, zone out like a 'tater and not take care of myself, and then, when I want to eat, I'll have to choose between eating saltines and raisins or spending $20 on dinner. I could get my shirts ironed... for $1.50 apiece, two blocks away. (You get my point.)

Instead, I stepped up, threw on my big girl panties, and took care of myself. I gave myself the gift of doing things the way I like them, when I want them done, for free.

And, truth be told, when my blouses were all ironed and hung in the closet, my clothes were folded and put away, my food cooked (healthily), and my legs aching from the weight room, I felt good. I felt financially responsible, well-cared-for, and independent -- all qualities I value having in my life.

So look at your life. Where do you struggle with wanting or not wanting to do something? What are the payoffs for sitting on the couch (metaphorically or actually)? And what are the payoffs for getting up? Will what you're avoiding actually go away if you ignore it today? And will what you're doing instead actually make you feel better? If the answers to those are "yes," then this may not be the day for your big girl panties.

But I'd pack them anyway. Just in case.

*I'm not 100% sure banshees eat, let alone cook.