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Thursday, July 19, 2018

Feel Adrift? Create Your Personal Mission.


I’ve worked with hundreds of actors as a career coach, and one similarity keeps popping up no matter how much experience, training, or passion each actor has. They all feel adrift in some way and need something to get them back on track and keep tethered.

The difficulty occurs when attentions are split between ones acting career and the family, friends, day jobs, health/wellness, and hobbies that are also calling their attention. It’s especially difficult when trying to figure out when and how to say, “No” when feeling overwhelmed.

I imagine more than a few of you are nodding your heads in recognition!

More often than not, the advice I give to actors in this situation is to: Create Your Personal Mission.

Your personal mission is an agreement you have with yourself that governs the kind of life you want to lead. Which activities will give your days meaning and which can you let go of? How do you know which projects to embrace and which to decline? And how can you balance all of the good things that come your way?

Creating a personal mission is similar to the missions created by non profit organizations. It’s a simple statement that outlines what matters to you, and it is the central theme that governs the things you do. The good news is that your personal mission has probably already been set - you just have to uncover it and bring it to the forefront.

I’ll give you an example from my life.

I took an afternoon and wrote down all of the things I did in my daily life - coaching actors, producing with an actor-driven ensemble, being a mediator in my family, being on the board of a singer’s open mic, being a connective resource for friends in need, and acting in professional theater (to name a few.) I then took a moment to write down all of the things that those activities had in common, and I split them into two categories: Things that give me energy, and things that take energy away. I then looked at what gave me energy and I started to see a pattern - this is the basis for what my personal mission ended up being.

I noticed that most everything that gave me energy involved empowerment, and it involved bringing people together. And everything related to “jobs” were artistic in nature, or creatively based. This helped me craft this mission:

My mission is to inspire and empower as many people as possible, and to live creatively with empathy and love.

Once I had my mission, I could create a plan around how I was going to achieve that mission in my daily life. Each time I am offered some sort of project I hold it up to my mission to see if it fits. Do I feel inspired and empowered? Do I get to create with empathy and love? And does the project allow the same for others? If my answer is no, this tells me that it might not be the right project for me.

This doesn’t mean that I can’t choose projects because of money or exposure. Far from it! In those cases I ask myself - how will more exposure or more money help me be more creative, inspired and empowered? (I’ll tell you, being able to pay rent easily is VERY empowering!) Again, you take what is being offered and hold it up to your mission, and that will help you to know what action to take.

And we can take that into the day to day things that aren’t project based. Each morning I wake up and ask myself, “What things can I do today that are in line with my mission?” And then I do those things, because... #motivation.

I would love to hear what your personal mission is - take some time today or tomorrow to create it and then leave it in the comments section. It would be wonderful to get to know you, and see how you might be able to inspire others! (See? That’s my mission at work again...)


Erin :)


Photo Credit: https://www.kuder.com


Have a comment or question? Leave it by clicking below!

Erin Cronican’s career as a professional actor and career coach has spanned the last 25 years in New York City, Los Angeles and San Diego. She has appeared in major feature films and on television, and has done national tours of plays and musicals. She has worked in the advertising & marketing departments of major corporations, film production companies, theater magazines, and non-profit acting organizations. She is the Founder/Coach of The Actors’ Enterprise, co-founder and Managing Director of The Seeing Place Theater, and writes an “Experts” column for Backstage. To learn more, check out www.TheActorsEnterprise.org and find her on Twitter @ErinCronican.

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