As you know, jealousy and self-defeating attitudes are something that has plagued me for my entire improv career. For years, whenever someone else got something I wanted, I judged them for it, and whenever a new opportunity presented itself to me, I would immediately assume that I wasn’t good enough to get it. Oy.
Courtney Rioux, a life coach in Chicago who works exclusively with performers who want to become unstuck, is someone who truly understands the kind of negative self-talk that we improvisers and actors have that holds us back. So this week, I asked if she would be willing to write a guest blog about this, with some tips on how to start thinking more positively. Enjoy!
Okay, I admit it. I used to be insanely jealous of other actors and improvisers who were having more success than I was. I was unhappy with my career and I thought I should be further along than I was.
The funny thing is, the more I focused on what I didn’t have and comparing myself to others, the harder it became to allow new opportunities and growth to come into my life.
Ever been there? Are you there now? It sucks, doesn’t it?
When it comes to money or opportunities, a “lack” mindset can really keep you feeling like crap. Energetically, there’s no room for growth or success in that space.
Nowadays when I catch myself in a “lack” mindset, I stop and examine the thoughts that are running through my head. You wouldn’t believe the creative (and majorly unhelpful!) ideas that I would cling to — although you might be able to relate to some of them.
Check out some of the beliefs I caught myself thinking that kept me in a mindset of lack:
- “There is a limited amount of success. If you are successful, I can’t be.”
- “If you are successful, it means that I’m not good enough.”
- “I’m further behind than I should be in life, and you’re not.”
Yikes! It’s amazing how powerful those phrases become when left unchecked. We actually start to believe them, and behave accordingly. The good news is, even the simple fact that you’re reading this article speaks to your desire to move beyond those limiting thoughts (and you certainly can).
Tapping into Awareness and Truth
In Brene Brown’s new book, Rising Strong, she shares five little words that are the secret to awareness and truth. These five words will help your brain realize that even though you’re thinking destructive thoughts, they’re not Truth with a capital “T.” They’re simply thoughts that are running through your head.
Ready to learn those five little, amazing words?
“The story I’m telling is…”
If you just add the words, “The story I’m telling is…” before you say the beliefs that are keeping you unhappy and stuck, you can shift them later.
Here’s what it might look like in practice:
- The story that I’m telling is… you made that team and I didn’t and that means I am not funny enough and should just quit.
- The story that I’m telling is… you got a really good agent and now there won’t be space for me at that agency so I shouldn’t even bother trying.
- The story that I’m telling is… I should be on a TV show because every other improviser in Chicago is right now and I’m not, and that means I’m not where I should be.
When you add those five little magical words before your thoughts, you leave room for the truth. Those five magical words help remind you that there is a more empowering way to reframe your thoughts to help you succeed. Here are some ways to reframe your negative thoughts:
- The truth is… your success proves that there is a way for an improviser like me to do what I love. If you did made that improv team, I can too. There’s plenty of success to go around. There are plenty of other improv teams to join.
- The truth is… There are plenty of people with agents. Just because you’re with an agency doesn’t mean I can’t be. I have no idea what they’re looking for; I’m not a mind reader.
- The truth is… Not every single improviser is on TV in Chicago right not (even though it feels that way.) I’m exactly where I need to be; there is a perfect part for me that hasn’t even been written yet.
As humans we are awesome at making up meaning for everything that happens in life. What we could do better is making up more empowering meanings.
I dare you to try this today. As you move through your day, just notice when those limiting beliefs come up. Warning: Sometimes those buggers are hard to catch! When you do catch one, identify it as a story and turn it around.
I promise you’ll feel much better once you do.
What story are you telling right now? How can you transform it and find a more empowering truth in that story? Please share in the comments below!
Courtney Rioux, The Whole Artist, coaches performers who feel stuck in their career and want more out of life. She’s here to help you shift your mindset from stuck and unhappy to empowered and joyful — all while making it feel fun and easy. It’s like therapy without the therapy. Join her for a free call every month by signing up here.