My name is Laura Taylor. I am a musical theatre performer, positive psychology practitioner, and the founder of Acting Strengths. My mission is to help artists cultivate resilience and thrive in difficult and rewarding business.
Like many of you, I am an actor who auditions for employment in a field that I am passionate about – a field with extremely high competition and limited work opportunities. In fact, a long-term career in theatre requires the personal motivation to engage in a near constant search for work. And as if that wasn’t challenging enough – we have to AUDITION.
Auditions are a tricky animal psychologically. When we don’t have them, we want them. Yet, when we have them, it is easy to feel nervous, frustrated, overwhelmed…
This is partially because diligent preparation for an audition and successful execution of our material in the room do not guarantee an offer to work. Due to high levels of competition, it is not enough to have the necessary skills for a particular job. We must also fit the production’s artistic vision – something we, as actors, have no control over.
So, how can we THRIVE as artists in the difficult and rewarding business we have chosen?
We can choose our MINDSET and cultivate RESILIENCE by using our personal STRENGTHS.
Most actors see auditions as a means to an end. Simply the hoop we must jump through to garner work. This allows the outcome (over which we have little personal control) to define our success, and sometimes, our feeling of self-worth as an artist.
Danger!!! Mindset directly impacts well-being, and if our metric for success is booking the job, you will inevitably wind up disappointed time and time again.
Good News! If we change how we THINK about auditions then we can THRIVE as artists despite a difficult reality.
Lead with your strengths!
What do I mean?
Did you know that our brains adapted to weigh negative information more heavily than positive information? In the field of psychology, this is known as the negativity bias. While it was incredibly helpful to the survival our species in the world of the saber-toothed tiger, in today’s world, it creates a psychological imbalance. Most of the time we are so busy looking at how to improve our weaknesses that we forget to acknowledge and capitalize on our strengths! When was the last time you set a goal to improve on or engage in something that comes naturally and you are already good at? How lucky we are to live in a time where very little actually threatens our survival! This relative sense of security gives us the luxury to dig in and learn how to increase our well-being, so that we can stop surviving and learn to thrive!!!
A strengths-based mindset is incredibly beneficial in the audition process. Learn to positively stand out from the crowd by getting clarity on what it is that you do well. What is your unique combination of personal strengths? Once you know, lead with your strengths in the audition room. Not only can it guide your preparation and focus your attention on a place that generates authentic energy and motivation – you will enjoy the process!
Show up with your best self. Be authentic. It’s attractive! We are drawn to people who are comfortable in their own skin. This type of attraction holds true in life, in romance, and – you guessed it – in the audition room!
We all know that desperation is unattractive, but did you know that it arises most frequently when we attach to outcomes? Focus your attention on the PROCESS of auditioning. Your time in the audition room is an opportunity to perform, engage, listen, react, be curious, and play. What do you love most about performing? How can you engage in that process and capitalize on your strengths in an audition?
So, I challenge you to engage in the process. Lead with your strengths and you will begin to cultivate the resilience to THRIVE!