One of my favorite motivational quotations is known by many and comes from American transcendentalist author and poet Henry David Thoreau. It reads:
“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost;
that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”
What I find inspiring about these words is the inherent notion that dreams and goals need not remain ethereal things, but that their existences can be affirmed by making concerted efforts and taking practical steps towards realizing them. These past few months, I’ve been taking time to evaluate where I am currently in my career, where I would like to be, what I would like to be doing and, more broadly, who I am as an individual and who I would like to become. I’ve been engaging in a few activities as I move through this liminal phase to help define and achieve the required foundations:
- Coordinating one-on-one meetings with colleagues with strengths in various media to learn more about how they work as independent performers in the acting and musical performance communities.
- Reviewing the “arrows” in my “audition quiver” and assessing if there are glaring omissions or ways in which my skill set could be made stronger.
- Submitting myself for consideration for projects and jobs for which I might not otherwise have submitted in the past.
- Utilizing mind mapping and brainstorming as vehicles to guide and define immediate and longer-term goals.
- Creating lists of specific targets and checking off items as each is achieved.
- Ensuring my own materials, office and rehearsal spaces, and means of operations are conducive to ease-of-use and efficiency.
Perhaps most importantly, I’m consciously working to put myself and my welfare first, which is not a tact I’ve traditionally taken. It is my nature to work sympathetically with others and sincerely put aiding them in attaining project completion, happiness and success first, with the subconscious belief that they will then reciprocate, repaying me in-kind. Sadly, this is almost never the case and it has taken me until this point in my life to learn this lesson: No matter how generous one is with others, no one will help one but oneself.
And so, I’m on a construction adventure of sorts; one in which I’m learning to lay the path to the castle I see in my mind and my future.