If you’re trying to serve everyone, you’re serving no one.
When I was a student studying to attain my Bachelor’s degree, I was managing to perform in MainStage productions while balancing productions outside of school, two part-time jobs, and a full class load. How? I have no idea. What I do know, is this extremely busy time in my life did me a strong disservice and I’m slowly unpacking this now.
I once had a well-intentioned college professor who swore by the mantra “if you’re not someone else is.” I loved my fine arts musical theatre program. I received plenty of opportunities to perform and hone my skills. I was given harsh criticism, kind praise, and tough love when I needed it. I’m so proud to be a graduate of their program because it allowed me to enter into the chaos of auditioning fully prepared, fully motivated, and ready to book a job.
That’s the good news.
The bad news is that this mentality set me up for burnout, exhaustion, and years of self-doubt and negative toxic self-talk. If I missed an audition, I was terrified that that was my big break and I was missing it. I would beat myself up constantly for missing out on something because I had to work or was sick. I was living in fear that I wasn’t doing enough or being seen by enough people, going in for jobs that I didn’t really want and knew wouldn’t fulfill me or create a pathway for the kind of career I have felt destined for since I was a little girl. This mentality teaches that your legacy and your career are based on a single moment… and it’s not.
There is something to be said for strategically preparing for specific auditions. Choosing specific ones to really prepare for and make sure you get just right ensures your success rate, rather than getting seen at everything and barely being present in anything. If you’re going in for everything, you’re going in for nothing. Here’s why.
There is no way that you can give 100% to four auditions in one day, peak performance flawless audition, and still be a human being. Rest is productive. Self care is productive. You are your product, and you are your top priority. You are not lazy, you are specific. You are not high maintenance, you are practical.
If you’re not willing to value your own time and preparation, no one else will.
To be clear, this is not an excuse to slack off, but a motivation to get specific. Be honest with yourself about what you’re blowing off, personal and professional.