It's been a little while since we've thrown the spotlight on one of our favorite artists in action, so I'm excited to kick off September by doing just that. First, a disclaimer: we at Capes Coaching absolutely love this blog post's featured artist: Cynthia Silver. Cynthia is something of a renaissance woman; she's an actress, writer, director, solo performer, a teacher at the Atlantic Theater Company Acting School, and a "Mompreneur". She is proof-positive that it's possible to have a successful career in the arts while also raising a child. Cynthia is currently an ensemble member of Partial Comfort Productions, and her one woman show, Bridezilla Strikes Back!, has garnered critical and audience acclaim in New York City. Let's turn it over to her and see how she's done it all.
1. When you first started working with Capes Coaching, what were your goals?
Wow, Betsy. I’ve had to dig through many old date books to figure out just when exactly we started working together. I am SHOCKED to see it’s been, at least, SIX YEARS (probably seven) and over four since I took The Path Class. It really is true what Gretchen Rubin says in The Happiness Project: The days are long, but the years are short.
It’s pretty safe to say that when we first started working together, I was all over the place. Okay, I was a mess. I was totally overwhelmed by all the successes it appeared everyone around me was having, while my career was at a stand still. I was frustrated by all the hard work I had done that seemingly had little to no effect. And, I was really beginning to wonder if it was because I wasn’t talented enough to be a contender. I was consumed by fear & doubt when I set foot into Capes Coaching for the first time.
2. What have you accomplished since then?
A lot of really great stuff has happened professionally and, looking at my Seasonal Goals from the The Path Class, it’s pretty remarkable how much I’ve accomplished: An LA production of my solo show, co-star & dayplayer roles on TV & indie films, marketing tools including a reel & website that reflect the kind of actor I am and want to be, and much more. But, I gotta say, I’m most proud of the personal accomplishments.
First & foremost, I’ve given myself permission to S-L-O-W. D-O-W-N. and work at my OWN pace. There’s this perception that we must work at breakneck speed and get “there” NOW. Of course, it is important to have goals and to be striving for them. But, as you’ve reminded me countless times, the map is not the terrain. We can’t get from A to Z without all that’s in between. And, we NEED those steps in between. We need experience, and we need the knowledge we gain from those experiences.
I’ve also become a lot more tolerant of the mistakes I’ve made and continue to make. When I first started working with Capes, I was really impatient and angry at myself for all the time I seemingly wasted by putting my eggs in baskets that proved later to be the wrong ones. In retrospect, had I listened to my gut a heck of a lot sooner, I may have spent less time second-guessing myself and more time taking action. But, the lessons that I have gleaned from those mistakes are invaluable. I can’t imagine how else I would have learned them. The more I overcome, the more wisdom I gain. With knowledge, comes empowerment. And, empowerment is undeniable.
And last, but certainly not least, as part of my Path Class One Year Goal, I said that by June 9, 2009, I would be expecting my first child.
Sadie Roy Silver was born June 23, 2009.
3. What has been your biggest career challenge and how did you overcome it?
The feeling that I’m not doing enough. The Path Class has helped with this twofold: On the practical side, tools like The Status Report and Weekly Essentials keep me focused and guarantee that I am aimed in the direction I wish to be headed. And, now that I’m a mom and my attention can get easily derailed, it has become imperative I carry a small notebook at ALL times so as I think of things like errands that need to get accomplished, things I need to pick up at the store, an email that needs to get written (case in point!), shows I want to see, ideas for a potential future endeavor, etc., I can be assured that by writing it down it will, at some point, get addressed.
On a more spiritual/emotional side, my work in Path Class trained me to practice gratitude, embrace process, and appreciate the journey with much more consistency. Of course, there are still moments when I get caught up in being impatient & comparative, indulging in time-sucks, and ruminating on things that ultimately are not within my control. But, those moments are fewer and further between. For the most part, my days are filled with moments of true appreciation that I am exactly where I belong and that all that I have set in motion, all that I have accomplished, and all the seeds I have planted are moving me in exactly the direction I am meant to be traveling, speaking on my behalf when I am not in the room, and are growing in their proper time, respectively. Like a fine wine, I just can’t help but get better and better with age.
4. What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting out?
Dear Cynthia, You are already living the dream. Love, Cynthia
5. What are you currently working on?
My dear friend Maggie Kiley once told me something that William H. Macy told her: Always have three projects going. He was specifically talking to Maggie, who is a film director, about film projects. But, I’ve continued to use it as a rule of thumb, as it applies to my own life & career.
In between auditioning, mothering, and teaching at the Atlantic Theater Company, I'm in rehearsals for TEN, Partial Comfort Productions' Short Play Festival in celebration of ten seasons of Partial Comfort. It's an evening of 10 original short plays, directed by 10 directors, featuring 10 Partial Comfort ensemble members for 10 nights, running September 18th - 29th. I'm thrilled to be acting in plays by Laura Marks and Thomas Bradshaw, directed by Mia Rovegno and Tamara Fisch, respectively. For more show & ticket info, go to www.PartialComfort.org.
I am also starting a business! When I had my daughter three years ago, I went on “maternity leave” from acting, teaching, moving & shaking, and immersed myself in new motherhood for the first year (give or take) of her life. Of course, you can take the girl out of the creative, but you can’t take the creative out of the girl and, before I new it, I was drawing sketches of baby items that I felt belonged on the market, but couldn’t find myself. Since all the products are geared toward the on-the-go parent, I’ve named the brand Baby in Tow™ and I’m happy to report that my first product has (finally!) just gone into the first phase of manufacturing. I’m looking at launching online sometime this fall. Stay tuned at BabyinTow.com!
And, speaking of baby (who would insist that I tell you that she is NOT a baby anymore. “I’m a BIG girl now, Mom.”), my third fall project is…potty training. Her. Not me. Enough said.
6. Anything else you feel like sharing?
I’m very excited for your impending and Jodie’s recent embarkation into motherhood. It’s only a matter of time before you develop a Mom’s Path Class and I will be first in line to enroll.