8 Life Lessons I Learned After Dropping Everything & Pursuing My Dreams

It seems to be a law of nature, inflexible and inexorable, that those who will not risk cannot win. ~ John Paul Jones Click To Tweet

It took me a long time to finally bite the bullet and leave the restaurant industry to pursue the entertainment industry full time. After several years of smiling while some jerk complains about his food, it was time I said “yes” to my dreams and “no” to my fear. A friend of mine was hired as a 1st Assistant Director for an indie feature film and last minute their production manager quit. He asked me if I could fill in — mind you, I’ve never been a PM before, but I’ve produced a few small projects so I had an idea of what the job entailed. The old me would have been scared and not have even considered saying yes; but I realized I have not gotten anywhere because I hadn’t acted on opportunities that presented themselves in front of me. I finally took action and reached out to the producer and that started my retirement from serving tables. I’ve learned a lot since. Here are the top 8.

 1. Learn Your Habits

You wouldn’t think you’d have to study yourself like you’re a lab rat, but when your livelihood is on the line, you need to start treating yourself like an investment. The more productive you are, the higher your chance of getting ahead. You need to work smart, not hard. It’s very important you don’t fall back into bad habits and yes, negative thoughts are bad habits too. I used to see an opportunity and not act on it because I was too scared, or thought I wasn’t good enough, but now, after studying myself, I know that was the old me. I still struggle with going against my instincts and forcing myself into uncomfortable situations but that’s where the good stuff is. You’re the competition for your company just as much as you are the leader, so study yourself and plan your best attack.

 2. Take Care Of Yourself

Most of us take our health for granted when it’s the most important part of our lives. After working at a restaurant, I always ate the food where I was working which didn’t treat me right. Now, I have to schedule in meals that I’ve prepared ahead of time to make sure I’m on budget (and I know exactly what’s in my diet). Exercise is sooooooooooooo important because not only does it reduce stress (which you will be full of, don’t kid yourself), but it boosts creativity. You need to be strong physically and emotionally to balance yourself. Exercise also gives you a sense of accomplishment. The more you have moments of pride than of failure, you start becoming the person you know deep down you are.

 3. Yes, You’re Going To Turn Into That Person

We all know the type. The person that gets really excited about something and doesn’t ever shut up about it and must tell the whole world how awesome it is. You know the type, that vegan friend that goes on and on while you’re starring at your half eaten cheeseburger and you know deep down she’s probably right but it’s so delicious — yep. You will become that friend that does that hard thing no one will understand and they may find you very annoying. Go ahead, be excited, but also know that you might be the only excited person in the room– and that’s okay. Just be cool about it and it won’t be a problem. You’ll still have other things to discuss so spread out your conversations and keep some things to yourself. It sounds bad to hear (or read) but you want to keep out negativity and sometimes keeping things to yourself can make you feel more powerful and in control than hearing what the nay-sayers have to say.

4. Find Your Support Team

I’ve been very fortunate to have a strong support team in my family, friends and my boyfriend who is on the exact same journey as I am. It’s very challenging and a mind-f*ck going through something this scary and exciting. You can’t go through it alone, it takes a team to get to the top. I’m lucky to have the people in my life cheering me on, but some people have to find their support group. Whatever you’re aspiring to accomplish, there are other people out there you can turn to who know exactly what you’re going through and will push you when you need it and you will push them when they’re in need. I have actor friends who I turn to for inspiration and I have friends in the arts who turn to me. We all need that encouragement because the amount of “no’s” we hear everyday can be too much sometimes.

 5. Get Tunnel Vision

It’s hard finding a good groove when you’re unsure of where to start. Things start going my way once I get “tunnel vision” and everything gets clear and quiet. You do not stop until you hit your goal. How do you get tunnel vision? You create new habits. There’s an amazing book I highly recommend by Charles Duhigg called, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. How you create a habit is with cravings and rewards. The reward is feeling good about yourself– and how do you do that? You become your word. Do the things you say you’re going to do, accomplish them, and you will get your reward. By doing this, you start to crave work. It almost becomes an addiction because you feel antsy when you haven’t finished the work you set out to do and you won’t feel good unless you get it done. This also helps with your self confidence and depression because any negative thoughts you have feel so wrong to you that you immediately want to do something good for yourself to get rid of them and feel good again.

 6. Don’t Do Anything With Selfish Intentions

I’ve learned that if you’re acting from a selfish, desperate place, it is only pain that will come your way– lots of it. When you move towards your dream with the intention of helping others along the way, people will do the same for you. Everything is about building relationships. As an actress, I’m building a relationship with casting directors, producers, directors and other actors to make them look good. That is my number one job. I became a comedian because I wanted to make people laugh and think about things differently. Everything is all about the karma points you’re collecting and you never know when those points will be cashed in.

 7. You Will Never Know Everything, So Keep Learning

Being a smart-ass or know-it-all is insane because even if you are the most experienced person, you will never know everything. Read what’s going on in your world and strive to be the best. The more you learn, the more you are prepared for that opportunity that will knock on your door.

8. Do Or Do Not. There Is No Try.

Yoda rocks.