Earlier this year I was cast as Ma Joad in the world premiere of Swarm Cell (which is inspired by the Grapes of Wrath). The show opened at the end of January and ran for five weeks at The Greenway Arts Theater in Los Angeles. Working on the play, written by Gabriel Rivas Gomez and directed by Robert Castro, was artistically fulfilling as was sharing the stage with the 8 powerful and beautiful actors (Maritxell Carrero, Raquel McPeek, Bianca Lemaire, Caro Zeller, Cheryl Ann Gottselig, Sheresade Poblet, Tania Camargo, and Mariana Montes).
It is always a goal of mine to be cast in roles where my disability cerebral palsy (which mildly effects my speech and gait) is incidental to the character or storyline and I have been grateful for the numerous opportunities that I’ve had including my portrayal of Ma Joad.
The role is also significant for me because of how it manifested. I read the breakdown for Ma Joad on Actors Access, (a casting website for actors) felt an immediate connection and submitted. I also took it one step further by researching the producer/casting director Jason Bruffy. I found his website where he shared his commitment to diversity casting. I sent Jason an e-mail, told him of my appreciation for his commitment to casting diversely, and requested an opportunity to be called in for an audition, sharing what I thought I could bring to the role. When I went to the audition, he acknowledged receiving it. The rest I am happy to say is history.
I view taking steps to write a “request letter” (as I have nicknamed it) to a casting director, director or producer requesting for an opportunity to be called in for a role as an another form of an audition. It is one way I have learned to be more pro-active in my career and it is has lead to some very positive audition call-ins and castings.
Writing my request letters does not come without fears and doubt, I always have them but facing the fear and taking a deep breath and doing it anyway has always been my preferred choice.
There are many times when I don’t hear back and it is always disappointing but, I don’t view not getting a response to a “request letter” any differently from not booking an audition. Disappointments are just a part of both my life and artistic journeys.
It is never about if I don’t book a role or don’t hear a response. It is about when I do. That’s the joy for me. I send audition request letters without any guarantee of the outcome, just the confidence of feeling that I have something to offer and bring to the role. Once I hit send everything else is out of my hands and accepting the unknown is also part of my life and my artistic journeys.
The truth is, the only way to guarantee that something won’t work, is to never try. So I will continue to write “request letters” to casting directors, directors, and producers for roles when I feel that “connection“ as I did with Ma Joad, because I know if I face my fears, take a deep breath and do it anyway there is a definite guarantee the answer could be YES!!
ABOUT THIS GUEST: Diana Elizabeth Jordan (SAG-AFTRA/AE) has literally been fighting adversity since the day she was born when her Drs’ had to work on her for 45 minutes before she started breathing on her own. Diagnosed with cerebral palsy (which mildly affects her speech and gait), Diana grew up determined not to let adversity stop her from pursuing her dreams. She is an award winning actor, storyteller-speaker, expressive arts facilitator, and creative entrepreneur. Diana also runs her Edu-Tainment production company The Rainbow Butterfly Café (creating “Artistic Treats” to nourish the mind, heart and soul). www.rainbowbutterflycafe.com
Finding my purpose would not have been possible without writing a book—without journals and letters that allowed me to retrace the steps, find the clues to purpose, and consciously figure out how I arrived where I am today. The understanding that we don’t figure out this thing called life until we make the decision to examine it does not start until you write. When you write, the clues appear before you as your life unfolds one page at a time. You start to understand what event led to the next event, how your feelings changed through these experiences, and how life became “more.”
Writing a book gave birth to a new me: one with more clarity and focus about what led me to the place I am at now, a conscious choice to follow my heart, trust my intuition, and live authentically. At the time, I had no idea that it was the book that had changed my life. Which came first to find purpose in my life—the subject of the book or the book itself? It was the book that gave me my direction.
When you live a life on purpose, the whole world suddenly lights up because it’s not just about you anymore. Is that what opens up the world of love? You hear so much about “being of service,” but are we designed as humans to only function as part of the whole if we actually ARE part of the whole?
If I had found this purpose during my travels, would the colours have been brighter, the memories clearer, the feelings deeper, the experiences richer? Would I have remembered any of what happened during my travels without photos, journals, and letters? Why did I have such a weak vision of those experiences? Why does it feel I am reading about someone else when I read my journals? Did this really happen to me? Am I the only person to circumnavigate the world and not remember very much about it because I wasn’t actually “awake” the whole time?
Writing a book about your journey so far will bring you to life, wake you up, allow you to retrace your steps and the clues of your life, and open up your heart—if you are willing to be vulnerable.
My purpose is to help the world wake up by suggesting you revisit your life and follow the clues to find your purpose through writing your story. It will be a hard, vulnerable journey, but as you become the observer in your life, the clues will lead to your purpose. I often wonder how my own experiences of traveling around the world would have been different with my eyes wide open.
ABOUT THIS GUEST: Julie Salisbury is the Founder of Influence Publishing and the author of Around the World in Seven Years: One Woman’s Life-Changing Journey. Salisbury inspires women to share their life story. She offers a four week webinar and live 3 day workshop to help you write and publish your book as well as a 1 day How to get a TED talk live workshop. Find more info at www.inspireabook.com and listen to the free educational resources to help you get started. Email Founder@influencepublishing.com to claim your 30 min complimentary consultation by mentioning this article.
Fear is rather an insidious and slippery type of energy that slides in and out of our lives like a bad memory, I’d say like a bad romance, but that was already taken. I’m not the only expert on fear, however, I am an expert enough to know navigating your fears empowers you to navigate your life from adversaries you may be facing to become victorious. My expertise comes from the hard school of knocks where I was knocked down more times than most and without failing, I’ve always pick myself back up. I grew up in a small town entrenched in poverty, tragedies and traumas. Despite my life’s circumstances, I’ve risen up to the top of my field and what I want for you is to have the freedom to be able to choose if you want to make more money or have more freedom to do what you desire while experiencing true lasting joy – the kind that others cannot take from you. Fear plays a huge factor in your ability to become successful or not and it will create more of life’s adversaries for you if you allow it to get out of control. To be able to navigate your life’s adversaries, you have to face what personal flavor your fear is disguising itself as.
To begin with, look at things that automatically trigger a fear response in you. Do you get fearful speaking in front of groups? Or maybe you fear how others will react to your emails or social media posts. Then start to notice that same feeling in other areas that you don’t really consider fear. This is where it can get tricky because something common like overwhelm or procrastination is a form of fear in disguise. Whatever flavor of fear you are experiencing know that you can become victorious.
Secondly, once start to ask yourself what triggers your fear responses and begin writing them down. When you write something down, it seems to become smaller. This is especially the case of fear.
Third, be curious and inquisitive about where did that fear come from and ask yourself what is the worse that could happen? Followed by asking yourself, what is the best that could happen? This tip starts to allow you to make friends with fear because in reality fear really is only there to protect you from getting hurt. It’s not as bad as so many would make you believe.
Fourth, now that you are starting to make friends with fear and you are having a better understanding with the two questions you are asking about it in tip three. Decide that you are going to start making small steps towards lessening the grip fear has on you. You do this by choosing to do something that triggers a fear response and then state to your fear it’s going to be okay, I know you are scared, but we are going to do this anyway. Then do what you set out to do.
Fifth, after you’ve started to do a few things that trigger your fear and you’ve made friends with fear then document both tangible and intangible results. Some results that are tangible is that you were able to acquire the item you wanted, or perhaps your goal was to make more money so you conquered your fear to make the sales calls that you felt dreaded prior. Some of the intangible items could be you have more confidence and feel more at easy. You may be experiencing less frustrations and you are starting to look forward to moving through more fears so you will be able to start being more empowered.
These tips will help you get out of your own way faster so that you will be able to choose to design your life rather than by default. You will be able to start making the impact on your own personal world like you desire. These will lead you to manifesting more money, more freedom and more joy in your life.
ABOUT THIS GUEST: Luci McMonagle grew up in a poverty stricken life filled with tragedy and she finally took a stand to reclaim her own personal power. Despite all odds Luci has risen to become a top influencer as an Abundance Breakthrough Coach and Speaker while creating her life by design. Luci empowers creative women entrepreneurs how to become victorious over adverse life circumstances to one that is fueled with personal empowerment. Bottom line is women gain more Money, More Freedom and More Joy in her life. Today Luci will tell you her top 3 tips on how to triumph in your life. www.lucimcmonagle.com
Most of us spend a great deal of our time working. When we’re not working, we oftentimes consistently put others’ needs and agendas before our own. Sound familiar?
If we don’t make a conscious effort to replenish, we can head for burnout pretty quickly. Burnout can have a ripple effect, impacting our personal lives, health, relationships and overall quality of life.
Those of us who have experienced burnout know that it is no joke. Some signs of burnout include concentration problems, fatigue, anxiety and becoming disengaged with work. Interestingly, some healthcare professionals often misdiagnose persons who present with symptoms of burnout, often treating them for depression, which can have overlapping symptoms.
Around 2004, I was at a point in my life in which I was burned out and I ultimately realized that I was actually creating a good bit of my own stress and overwhelm. Here’s what I learned from that experience.
1. If I don’t fill up my own (proverbial) cup, I will not have anything left to give anyone else. I have to make a conscious effort to take time for myself. While this will look different for everyone, for me it includes downtime, unplugging, meditating, reading a book, getting a massage, and doing something that feels nourishing to my soul.
2. I have to say “no” (or “not now”) and create boundaries. Aw, yes, this is something that I continue to learn. Here’s the thing though. We all have choices. If we already have a lot on our plates (that we’ve put on), we don’t have to say yes to every request that comes our way. If we honor and respect our own time, others will do the same. For me, this meant not answering work email at night and on weekends. This is clearly a situation of “we teach people how to treat us.” If our work does not require us to be on-call, usually situations are not true emergencies and can wait until the next morning.
3. I’m a big fan of getting to the root cause, and I had to learn to pay attention to what drains me in order to do less of those things. For me, this means giving myself a break from electronics, and at certain times, turn off distractions. When we respond to every ding that comes from email, Facebook or text, we’ll never get any of our own work done, and ultimately cause ourselves more stress and overwhelm.
Of course the theme here is self-care. I saw the downward spiral in myself, and I continue to see it in my work with clients today. We get in our routines and run ourselves ragged until we get sick. Let’s promise ourselves to prevent this from happening and step away from our chronic “busy-ness.”
What’s one thing you can do today to reduce your stress?
ABOUT THIS GUEST: Nancie Vito is a coach and consultant who helps people who feel burned out to reduce stress, find fulfillment and boost happiness. In 2009 she founded Flourish, where she has inspired those who feel stuck (perhaps in a soul-crushing job) or burned out to take steps towards what they truly want. With an interest in mindset, mindfulness and motivation, she is grateful that her background in public health and mental health led her to this path. To take a burnout quiz or to get updates on her upcoming programs, visit her at nancievito.com.
10 December 2013, my last official day as an employee. It was time to say goodbye, my new life was about to start. Yes, I finally allowed myself to build something different and find “my purpose”.
That day was a huge milestone as you can imagine. That day I also received one of the most powerful pieces of advice I ever got. “Sya, now that you are going for something new, take some time and reflect on yourself, take a real look at the mirror and be honest with yourself. What is it about yourself that is helping you moving forward and what is it about yourself that is preventing you to grow?” The words of that colleague resonated instantly within. I felt I needed to keep this in mind and really do it.
I didn’t know how these questions would actually impact my life. How they would inspire me to embrace my flaws and become a better version of myself. What is it you are currently doing that is holding you back? How can you turn this around?
Here are three tips that will help you reflect on these questions.
1. Look at your current life
Sometimes we do not want to look at things the way they are. This can make us feel uncomfortable, so we prefer to act as if this is not a big deal or worse, as if there is nothing wrong. If you want things to change the first step is to really understand there is something to be changed. This could be something about life, work, or even ourselves. Take the time to really state where you are in your journey.
2. Look at your fears
It is very important to take the time to define them and name them. You will not be able to fully grow unless you face your fears. The very first step is to acknowledging them. Again, when we push things away they will come back to you sooner or later in different forms. I like to say “Make fear your best friend.” Let them inspire and help you expand!
3. Look at your behavior
Are your habits empowering or disempowering you? Sometimes we don’t realize that this plays a major role in the life we create for ourselves. What if, what you need to change isn’t what you think you see, but how you relate to it. I do believe we are all perfectly flawed. It is not about blaming ourselves for things that are happening, but really creating a positive movement towards the future. This starts by simply taking a look at your life. Maybe all you need is that little change in your behavior that you can implement right away in order to see things shift in no time.
These tips have allowed me to grow in so many ways before I knew how my life would actually change. I am sharing that same piece of advice I had received a few years back with you now, so you can keep spreading the words. Take a real look, and remember: be real and be kind!
ABOUT THIS GUEST: Sya is a mindset and a personal brand strategist for ambitious women. She helps passionate entrepreneurs find their zone of genius, raise their charisma level and attract the best opportunities. Get ready to step into your ultimate confident self. Her goal: make you spend less time on the “sales-floor” and more time doing what you love. highimpactcharisma.com
In 2014, I pulled out my bicycle and started riding for the first time in 20 years. Why? My husband was an avid cyclist and we decided to book two bike trips on our upcoming trip to Prague, Vienna and Budapest. This would be a challenge for me.
The first few weeks out were really tough. I couldn’t go very far and my backside didn’t take kindly to sitting on that torturous seat. Day by day, it slowly improved until I was riding a full 20K each time out. The summer was beautiful this year and over the next four months of preparation I began to truly enjoy the feeling of flying down the road.
There were also unexpected benefits. I was writing my first book at the time – struggling with debilitating self-doubt. I learned at those tough moments to jump up, grab my bike and head off for an hour. By the time I was back at the computer, not only had the stress been washed out of my system, but the words I was seeking seemed to sort themselves out while I was riding. All I had to do was sit down and capture them on the computer.
There was a life lesson to be had as well, but it took a little longer to realize.
One struggle I had when riding was when I had to go between posts. The closer I came, the more I slowed. Panic would set in. Every time I would swerve crazily and almost hit them. When I mentioned it to my husband he offered the perfect advice. “Don’t focus on the posts. Focus on something ahead.” It sounded way too simple, but I was in for a surprise.
I still remember the next time I was riding and thought perhaps I would give it a try. There was a tree a few hundred feet past the posts, so I just looked at it intently. I sailed right between the those scary barriers at full speed without a care in the world. MIRACULOUS! It was only later I came to realize it also applied to life.
We often get so distracted by what we perceive as barriers to our goals that we spend all our energy embracing why we can’t possibly succeed. If this is where are you, just for one day give yourself permission to let go of the doubts and negativity around you. Look ahead without distraction at the wide open door of possibility just waiting for you to walk through.
I do my best to live one day at a time, step at a time, one moment at a time – being fully present and focused. But when it comes to my dreams and goals, I take the long view and don’t worry about what comes between this moment and reaching them. I ride towards them full speed without a care, my blood pumping and the wind in my face.
ABOUT THIS GUEST: Marilyn R. Wilson began her career as a writer in an unusual way, by answering a Craigslist Ad. It was while conducting her first interview the world shifted – she had found her passion. Since 2006, she has interviewed over 150 people from as far away as South Africa, worked as an editor, co-owned a magazine and published her first book. Over time, the wisdom shared in these interviews have had a profound effect. The biggest surprise? We are all exactly who we are meant to be. Those quirks everyone tries to get us to change are actually our unique talents! www.marilynrwilson.com