2016. What a year! I've heard so many people (personally and in the media) say that this is one of the worst years in recent memory. And, while 2016 has undoubtedly been a chaotic one (particularly from a social/political POV), I don't want to blanket-statement it with "worst year ever." Like many others, I'm happy to welcome in 2017, but I also have some fond memories from the past year, both personally (watching my daughter grow into this amazing little person) and professionally (I can't tell you how many times I've come out of a coaching session feeling energized and inspired by my clients).
After 12+ years of running my business, it’s clear that when more than three people email me the same article within a 24-hour period, I'm most likely going to be inspired to blog about it and share it with my audience as quickly as possible. That was just the case this past weekend when a number of people forwarded me a piece from the New York Times by actress America Ferrera, where she recounts her long struggle with her Inner Critic. The moment I read it, I knew I had to share it immediately!
Now that the holiday season is officially upon us, I wanted to take some time and "gift" you with three things that I've been really excited to share — a mix of inspiration, practical advice, and advocacy that I hope will bring a little something extra to you over the next month and beyond. So, without further ado...
INTERVIEW WITH FANTASTIC BEASTS' DAN FOGLER
Disclaimer: For those of you who don't know, Dan Fogler is my brother-in-law (he's married to my sister, Jodie). And while I've always been a huge fan and champion of his (both as a person and as an incredibly gifted artist), I'm just beyond thrilled that his latest role (as Jacob in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them) is one that will bring his one-of-a-kind talents to a worldwide audience.
Let's just start with the obvious: It's been a tumultuous week. Over the past six months (at the very least), the tension surrounding the presidential election grew increasingly worse on a daily basis until it seemed as if it had reached an untenable peak last Tuesday. Shockingly, things only got worse from there.
Confession: This election wrecked me. I felt as if the foundation of all my ideals as an American, a woman, and a mother came under assault in ways that I'd never imagined. In the aftermath, I've felt deep sadness, frustration, anger, and fear (particularly when it comes to thinking of the results in the context of my 4-year-old daughter, Zoe). Regardless of which side of the coin you fall on, the general mood of the country seems to be one of confusion regarding our future.
1) YOU’LL GET TOOLS FOR LIVING BETTER.
Plain and simple, you will get tools from your coach on how to bring more of the "Real You" into your life and career. We're talking about tools that include how to:
• Break through to the next level of your career
• Have a difficult conversation
• Prepare for a huge audition
• Get you in the right mindset for the big job interview
• Transition out of a current field or...
• Transition back into the business if you have been out for a while.
The 2016 Summer Olympics just wrapped up on Sunday and this year's games brought us many things: Excitement, inspiration, irritation (there may have been more articles written about NBC's coverage than about the actual Olympians!), and even some controversy (ahem...swimmers...). One thing that remains a constant throughout every Olympiad is the sense of awe that overcomes you when watching the world's most gifted athletes — they seem almost superhuman in their feats. But, the truth is that, beyond their natural talents, the one thing that pushes Olympic athletes to the top is their drive. They want it more than anyone else and are willing to do what it takes to become the best in the world.
In this day and age, we have the ability to share our thoughts and creative endeavors with a vast number of people and receive their input almost instantly. It's one of the benefits of technology that links us together with whomever we choose, whenever we choose to do so. And while it's great to get a wide variety of responses to whatever you're putting out there within a short period of time, there often tends to be a lack of depth and serious thought behind this process. "Easy come, easy go," as they say.
It’s here. Summer, glorious summer. I think it must be ingrained in us from having summer vacation for at least the first 18 years of our lives, but we generally have a natural tendency to check-out during this time of year. Auto-pilot season, as it were. Now, I’m all for having an extended period of time where we relax a bit more and take up a leisurely pace of life. In fact, it’s probably essential for self-care. But, there’s a difference between relaxing and completely disengaging. If life is going spectacularly for you and you can afford to drop out of it all for months at a time, then by all means — you do you (honestly, who wouldn’t love that luxury??). For everyone else, summer should really be about balance. Chill out, but keep an eye on the horizon.
I want to discuss the difference between setting a goal for something you want vs. setting a goal based on something that you’ve already been working toward. You know, even once we settle on a goal, it’s quite common to question whether it’s the best goal to be focusing on right now, especially if we have other things happening in our lives and careers. I remember a very specific example of coaching someone through this in one of my previous Path classes — Chris, who was setting a goal for his acting career. Chris had booked a handful of national commercials and he came to the Path Course ready to focus on booking jobs in tv and film, as well as commercials. When creating his one year goal, he was questioning whether or not there should be a part of his goal focused on booking more commercials. After I coached him in class, it became clear to Chris that focusing on commercials did not belong in his goal for this upcoming year. How did he know that this part of his goal was not goal-worthy?
Not so long ago, a client of mine had seen a TED Talk by a writer and career coach named Emilie Wapnick and compelled me to check it out because it was so connected to what we do at Capes Coaching. Whenever I get this kind of recommendation, I always put it on my Action List, knowing that I'll eventually get to it...usually. But, then a curious thing happened — another client suggested the same thing. And then another client. And another. It was like one of those situations where friends of yours keep telling you that you HAVE to meet some other friend of theirs because everyone thinks that the two of you would really hit it off. So, of course, I watched Emilie's Wapnick's TED Talk...and I got what all the fuss was about.
While most people know Jesse Tyler Ferguson from his Emmy-nominated role on the hit ABC sitcom Modern Family, theater fans have been aware of his many talents and dynamic range long before his tv career took off. I worked with Jesse when he did the off Broadway musical Newyorkers at Manhattan Theatre Club, andour paths also criss-crossed a lot in the early days of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, before it went to Broadway and became the phenomenon that it was. So it was with great pleasure that I was able to connect with Jesse a few years back and interview him for our Artists In Action program (along with some other fantastic artists that you may recognize). Since Jesse is back on Broadway in Fully Committed — where he plays 40(!!) different characters over the course of the one-man-show’s 90 minutes — this seemed like the perfect time to share his interview with those who haven’t heard it.
Let’s get something clear, I spent the first 30 years of my life unable to tell you one simple fact about Women’s College Basketball, much less the UCONN Huskies. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t even know they existed. The most I knew about this particular world of sports was that it was on a random channel like ESPN2, 3 or 23, and if it was a rainy Saturday afternoon and I happened to be home, bored out of my mind and flipping channels because there was nothing else to watch, I might have noticed some girls on a court and thought, “That’s cool,” and then continued on until I stumbled upon the second half of a romantic comedy — like 50 First Dates or Sleepless in Seattle — that I would happily re-watch for the 68th time while intermittently dozing on the couch. You get my point. Although I’m sure it’s great for those who care about it, women’s basketball is just not my jam. Or, rather it WAS not my jam (grrrr...I hate that I’m even admitting it in writing).
Can art heal the world? It's a question that's been asked numerous times throughout modern history, particularly when society has faced large-scale tragedies and struggles. Whatever the answer, it's clear that art can act as a salve, a unifier, and a provocateur during tumultuous times. In an emotional sense, it's as powerful as any force on this planet, and one that is desperately needed in these modern times. With that in mind, two creative legends — Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock — recently responded to this question put to them by Nest HQ: Given the current state of the world, how can the next generation of artists respond? Their response, composed as an open letter, is insightful, gracious, and inspiring.
We all know the cliché: Hollywood is a soulless mecca of slick opportunists, corporate vampires, and vapid artists — a place where people speak a morally questionable language consisting of either half-truths or downright lies. And to the average American, this stereotype likely extends beyond the borders of Hollywood to any corner of the entertainment industry. As The X-Files bluntly put it: "Trust no one."
Every once in a while I stumble upon something that strikes a deeply resonant chord within me and my gut reaction is, "I can't wait to share this!" And this is exactly the reaction I had when I watched Shonda Rhimes' recent TED Talk, the gist of which is this: What happens when The Hum stops?
To get a good idea of what The Hum is, you should definitely watch the video, but in a nutshell, it's that feeling you get when everything feels right...when you're in sync with life... when you're in the zone. For Rhimes, it was that underlying sensation she felt when she was in the midst of the chaotic whirlwind that was her work — multiple shows in production, crews and executives in the hundreds relying on her, tens-of-millions of expectant audience members...you get the idea. It all made her feel alive. Her work was The Hum, and The Hum was her. Everything was perfect. Until The Hum stopped. She lost the love...the fun...the excitement. This is how she puts it: "What do you do when the thing you do, the work you love, starts to taste like dust?"