Advice and How-To's Especially for ACTORS!

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Thursday, June 28, 2018

Your "To Don't" List

Good news - you’ve decided to be an actor! You’ve started an independent business where your art is your product and you are your art. You’re living the dream and making things happen, weathering the ups and downs with optimism and drive. Your motto is “YES I CAN” and you wear it proudly.

Never mind the uncertainty of the business. Never mind the exhaustion of pounding the pavement. You’ve got your to-do list and you’re going to stay motivated to the very end. Right?

But there’s something missing. Because there’s one little word that needs to be present in your career in order for you to get everything you want.

That word is NO.

In our quest for optimism we forget that it’s important to say no to things that are harmful to our spirit. We’re convinced that until we have the career we want, we have to say yes to everything. So I’m here to encourage you to learn how to say NO by creating your very own “TO DON’T” list.

Everyone’s TO DON’T list should be individualized to address the concerns in your particular business. In other words, no two people will have a TO DON’T list that’s the same. I highly recommend writing it in the 1st person so that it feels personal and immediate. To get you started, here are some of my favorite TO DON’Ts that make a huge difference in my career.


Be too hard on myself.
Compare myself to others.
Forget to do at least one thing for my business each day.
Ignore self-care.
Let someone else define my type for me.
Let someone else define success for me.


Say yes to everything.
Worry about what others think.
Compromise myself.
Underestimate myself.
Take on projects that I know won’t be good for me.
Let anyone else define my worth.

Once your list is written, put it somewhere visible and read it every day before you start your workload. When you have a tough decision to make, look at the list and see if either choice falls on it. Remember that the list can grow and change as your career grows and changes. I’d suggest revisiting the list twice a year to see if there’s anything to add or take away.

I’m curious to hear what items you would add to your TO DON’T list. Leave a comment here and let me know what TO DON’Ts you’re taking on for your career, and then check back in and give me an update!

Did you like this advice? Great news! I’ve debuted my brand new DIY Course “Mastering the Art of Relationships” which includes video and worksheets designed to help you dive deeply into your communications to make networking easy, painless, and fun. Sign up for the course here:

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 and find her on Twitter @ErinCronican.

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