"It will be hard to explain your first milestones to friends and family back home. They are waiting to see you on TV or on the big screen. It is hard to explain how a 2nd callback for a job you didn’t land was the highlight of your month and a very valid reason to celebrate. I didn’t get the job. I didn’t get a callback. But I conquered my rambling, fear-driven brain and went balls out on the audition anyway. That was a huge milestone for me – but hard to explain at Christmas."
~Jenna Fischer of "The Office"
Jenna Fischer, who plays Pam, is so authentic when it comes to speaking the truth to what it means to be an actor in Los Angeles. I love her quote above, where she talks about how difficult it is to define success on your own terms, not to mention terms that your well-meaning loved ones will understand and appreciate. The example she uses has happened to me quite often: I go to an audition I feel like I don't have the guts to do, I muster the courage to give it my best, and walk away feeling a deep sense of joy. This joy stays with me for awhile, but later when I'm telling someone about my victory, hoping that they recognize it and celebrate alongside me, all they can ask is "But did you get the part?" It can be really disheartening.
In my Christmas cards this year, I've been writing "I hope you savor the small moments of the season". Well, creative friends, this post is a year-round card to all of you, wishing that you savor the small moments of whatever it is that you do. An audition that made you want to run away that you went to anyway, writing a few hundred words of a short story when you felt stuck, or taking a chance on a song at karaoke night.
Please, please, please stop in the moment and enjoy the victory, however small it might seem. Don't shrug something you did off just because someone else can't see the worth in it. It's important to get in this habit. If we don't establish this practice for ourselves, we will find ourselves relying endlessly on the approval of others. Nothing will ever be enough. And going down that road where "nothing is enough" only leads to frustration and desperation. Let's stop hustling and start savoring.
Find the full article of Jenna Fischer's advice to actors here!