Ups and downs...and ups

As many of you know, this is the first week that Capes Coaching is venturing over to the West Coast and planting our flag in the L.A. soil (or, sand, since we hope to get some beach time in!). I can't tell you how excited I am for this — it's been a goal of ours for many years now. Since we were already going to be in California, we thought it would be the perfect time to take a family trip to San Diego beforehand and, much to my surprise, the timing turned out to be even more perfect than I'd imagined. Natalie GoldAs it happened, one of my very first (and favorite) coaching clients, Natalie Gold, was starring in the current run of Henry Wishcamper's Engaging Shaw at the Old Globe Theatre, and I can't tell you what a complete joy it was to see her performing on one of the most acclaimed theatre stages in the country. Add this to her recent turn as Jake Gyllenhaal's sister in last year's Love and Other Drugs and a recurring role on AMC's critically acclaimed show Rubicon, and it was easy to see that Natalie had a lot to be proud of. Of course, having coached her from the beginning, I knew that it wasn't always an easy road, but she had certainly earned the success that she's currently enjoying.

I first met Natalie in 2002 when I was working in the casting office at the Public Theater for Shakespeare in the Park. We cast her as a non-equity actor (of which they only allowed 2 or 3 in each production) and I remember the excitement in her voice when I called and offered her the role -- it was a big deal. Later, when we began coaching together, I remember sitting in the coaching room with someone who understood that it was going to take a lot of hard work and dedication to get to where she ultimately wanted to go. And I can tell you from first-hand experience that Natalie did the work and stayed the course even when the course wasn't always going her way. She set clearly defined goals for herself, honestly assessed her disappointments, didn't rest on her successes, and always brought a sense of authenticity and integrity to her work.

AMC's Rubicon

Anyone who has coached with me or has done the Artists In Action program knows that I am a staunch advocate for bringing your true self to the way you run your business. Nowhere is this as crucial as it is when it comes to networking, because your relationships will rise or fall based on whether or not people perceive you as being genuine -- someone they want to build a relationship with. Let me tell you, Natalie Gold is the real deal and, believe me, she's got the fans in this industry to prove it -- casting directors, writers, agents, producers, directors -- you name it, they're fans. She's brought that authenticity since day one, and I've seen her career climb steadily over the past decade as a result. Some years haven't climbed as rapidly as she would've like, I'm sure, but she's consistently reached the goals she set for herself…and continues to do so.

After I saw her last week, she said that it's been "Up and down. Up and down," but that she recognizes her accomplishments and has moved in the direction she wants to move in. Even more heartening, she revealed the invaluable role that our coaching together has played (and continues to play) in her career. Previously, she expressed to me, "I came to Capes Coaching at the height of my frustration with my career. You allowed me to turn my angst into motivation and my fear into courage." I can't tell you how gratifying it was to hear that, because, in a way, Natalie's growth as an actress has coincided with my growth as a coach. I will never forget the time she called to tell me that she booked her first national commercial…and then her first Law & Order…and then her first Broadway play. Now, she's with one of the top agencies and transitioning from stage to screen beautifully, and along the way she's continued to challenge herself and managed to maintain balance and grace in her life. I can't wait to see what's next!