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Dispelling the “You’re Gonna Make It” Myth

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Last month, I made my trip out west from Chicago, and I decided to drive instead of fly. A huge part of this was because I need my car in LA, and I didn’t want to have to pay to ship all of my belongings. The added bonus, however, was that I got to drive through some beautiful scenery along the way. I couldn’t think of a time where I would make a special trip to Utah, for instance, but driving through and witnessing the vibrant orange rock formations set in front of the bright blue sky was worth the experience in it of itself.

 

On my drive, I kept thinking about how much I would be missing if I decided to fly straight to California. We live in a world full of deadlines, and for the first time in a very long time, this was a week where no one needed me for anything. I was 100% jobless, homeless, and agentless. No one would be calling, emailing, or texting, telling me to be anywhere or to do anything. And while this state is not one I want to live in for long, it was a very new and welcomed experience.

 

Because I was in between two lives, where all soon-to-come responsibilities were waiting for me, I was encouraged to slow down a bit. I pulled over to the side of the road several times to take pictures or just smell the air. One morning in Colorado, I started my trip at about 5:00, and about fifteen minutes into the trip, I pulled over, got out of the car, and took it all in. It was a bit chilly, and mountains were all around me. I can’t explain why, but the experience made me emotional. I didn’t take my phone out this time to snap a picture. Instead, I sat in the silence. It was a beautiful moment, and one I don’t experience enough.

 

I can’t stress enough how much I would have missed if I flew to California, or if I drove straight through without stopping to enjoy these little moments. Yes, there is a time to work, a time to rush, a time to fly. But for me, this was not one of those moments. In the span of a few days, I saw cornfields in Iowa, tornado weather and torrential downpours in Kansas, some snow and sleet in the mountains of Colorado, beautiful rock formations in Utah, and the deserts of Arizona. I wouldn’t give up that experience for anything.

 

Enjoying and finding the presence in the path you’re on, whatever your path may be, is quintessential to living a happy and healthy life.

 

How many times has someone ever talked to you about “making it”? Maybe this is a phrase you’ve even used yourself. Every time I hear “If you wanna make it in this town . . .” or “He’s never gonna make it,” I want to ask, what is “it”? When people say these things, what exactly do they mean? In our industry, does “making it” mean booking your first speaking role on a TV show? Is that when you’ve made it? Or maybe it means getting to the point where you don’t need a survival job. Have those people made it? What if it’s winning an Oscar? Then, I guess, most people will never make it, right?

 

Here’s the thing. I would venture to say most people that have booked a speaking role on a TV show, that don’t have a survival job anymore, or that have won an Oscar, still want more.

 

When asked about his experiences on Arrested Development, actor Tony Hale explained, “There was so much expectation because it’s all I ever wanted. Then when I got it, it didn’t satisfy me the way I [expected it to].” Tony is a fantastic and extremely successful actor that most would save has “made it,” so what’s the problem?

 

Don’t get me wrong. Setting our sights on something we want is a very healthy thing, and I guarantee Tony was grateful for the experience Arrested Development brought him. It’s good to set goals and to want good things for ourselves. But we have to realize that these things we want, these goals we set for ourselves, if and when reached, will not give us complete and utter satisfaction.

 

I had the pleasure of sitting in on a Q&A with Tony in Chicago. He touched on this exact same sentiment. He explained how easy it is to get disappointed when we reach our goals. When we think we’ve “made it.” Moreover, Tony explained the importance of staying present and taking life one day at a time.

 

If we wait for the day we’ve “made it,” we’ll wake up one day and wonder what happened to our lives.

 

This business is not a sprint. It’s a full on marathon. 

 

So let’s treat it as such! Yes, let’s have “we’ve made it” goals, and let’s celebrate our accomplishments along the way, but let’s also remember the importance of being present.

 

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Your turn! What do you do to stay present? Tweet me @ericfeltes, or Facebook me!