Posts

How Jealousy Prevents Us From Getting What We Want

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:

  1. “There is a limited amount of success. If you are successful, I can’t be.”
  2. “If you are successful, it means that I’m not good enough.”
  3. “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.

Do you have to be the funniest?

Do You Have to Be The Funniest ON YOUR TEAM?

I have recently discovered a flaw of mine that is impacting my improvising — and not in a good way.

Since I started improvising, I have always strived to be “the best improviser.” You might think that would be a good thing, but in fact, it’s done nothing but fill me with doubt and self-hatred. To me, being the best improviser always meant being the funniest person on stage, and I always think if I’m not the funniest, then I have failed.

Of course, this started way before I got into improv. Growing up, I had two brothers who were good athletes and popular, and two sisters who were good students and popular. Me, I was 300 pounds and ate way too many Little Debbie Snack Cakes and watched way too many re-runs of Dick Van Dyke and The Andy Griffith Show. Obviously, not popular. And even though I was enormous, I was invisible.

The only way I could compete with my siblings for my parents’ attention was to develop a lighting-quick sense of humor. By the age of 12, I had cemented my role in the family as the “funny one,” and this is where I got all my validation. As I got older, into my teens, being funny became my identity. It gave me self-worth, and no one in my family was equipped enough to challenge me for the role.

All that changed when I took for my first improv class when I was a somewhat-depressed, fat 19 year old. Suddenly, I was surrounded by funny people, and though it was the first time in my life I felt I had found my tribe, I also felt threatened.

I was like that boy who was the star quarterback at a tiny high school of 300 students in a rural farming town in Illinois who goes to play football at Michigan State. Sure, he’s excited to be playing in The Big Ten, but he realizes he’s no longer the star.

So from my first class on, I have been striving to be the funniest — to get back to the top of the mountain I came from in my family. I cannot tell you how many shows I’ve done over the years where I am not only counting the laughs I am getting but the ones my teammates are getting, too. This accounting system of self-hate is what I use to determine if I have a good show or not. And on top of it, I tell myself that this is just a device to motive me, when it’s just the opposite.

After years and years comparing myself to my teammates, it has never helped me — NEVER. It’s like playing blackjack in Vegas: You think the odds are in your favor, but at the end of the night, the house still has all your money.

All that comparing myself to others does is bring me down and make me feel less than.

Yet, I can’t stop comparing myself to others and trying to be the “best.” It’s too ingrained. I am sharing this with you because I am hoping that you will have some experience in the “got-to-be-the-funniest” department. Maybe you suffer from it, too, and maybe you have had some relief from it. If so, I would love it if you’d be willing to share. I could use the help.