|Lucky Rabbit - Has all 4 feet|
How Big A Factor Is Luck in Acting Success?I drew my inspiration from an article that appeared this week in Backstage, "3 Ways To Improve Your Luck as an Actor," By David Dean Bottrell. I love what he had to say, and suggest you read his piece. But here is another view from a business perspective.
Never underestimate what the grand kids are picking up in a room full of adults. I can distinctly remember bridge nights at my Grandparent's house. At some point in the evening, someone would invariable comment on my Poppy's "luck." And while I'm not sure whether his reply was forthcoming at that very moment or not, I did know his philosophy. You make your own luck.
You see, he was lucky at bridge and poker because he counted cards and studied the game. He was a national doubles champion in bowling because he was "lucky" enough to practice and learn to depend on his muscle memory. He was lucky in love, parenting, and business.
This in no way should suggest that we are not all subject to the vagaries of chance. Lightening struck my factory. You don't have to tell me.
On the other hand, we who are in pursuit of success in any field might be too quick to check our pocket for the rabbit's foot, point to our a fellow actor's luck, or grouse over our bad luck in the market (I own Apple at $550, and the only reason it is $400 right now is because I own it).
How can we make our own luck. Here are 9 ways to "almost" guarantee a luckier future:
- Hard work. Poppy is speaking to us all through the grave. Part two of his philosophy: The harder I work the luckier I get. He would undoubtedly have agreed that he had some advantages in life. He was reasonably athletic, reasonably attractive, reasonably charming, and reasonably smart. Getting lucky in the gene pool is helpful, no doubt. But don't you know folks who are really athletic, really attractive, really charming, and really smart who are barely making it through life or worse. Success in acting requires extremely hard work and long hours. More than anything, that might change your luck
- Do the hard things. This is different than working hard. I can certainly tell you of 14 hour days in my business life when all I did was stuff I liked doing. I don't like making cold calls. I don't like confrontation (with employees, suppliers, partners, investors). I don't like doing long projects with a lot of detail. There's a really long list of things I don't like to do that need doing. Doing those things more would have made me luckier in business. What hard things do you put off or never do that might help you succeed?
- Do things really well. My Poppy once bowled 19 strikes in a row. You don't do that because you got up on the right side of the bed. There is an entire industry built around the idea that you need to do something 10,000 times to become an expert. Preparation, practice, concentration during execution will all improve luck.
- Stick your neck out. I believe that the meek will inherit the earth. But that Biblical wisdom is often misinterpreted. There was nothing timid about Jesus, Peter, Paul, or any of those who led the early church. You can't sell anything that you don't offer to a potential buyer. And you are unlikely to get lucky sitting around waiting for the phone to ring after putting your name on Craig's List. Be bold. Be different. Be visible. You luck will change.
- Don't be stupid. I'm hoping that my Grand kids will remember me for this mantra. It comes from a series I call Randy's Math Rules. If the answer makes no sense, rethink or rework. It is a really great way to check your math answers. This applies to so much of life, including our acting business life. Did you create a resume' that isn't industry standard? Rethink and rework. Are you chasing an idea or trying to sell a persona or type that doesn't add up. Rethink and rework. Do you have partners, associates, coaches, or methods that are subtracting from your luck. Subtract them.
- Make things happen. You are the only person who can determine your destiny. Take responsibility and get into proactive mode. Is business slow? Don't blame Obama. And don't blame Bush either. Don't blame anybody. Change something, add something, subtract something, do a new headshot, create a reel, hit the road, do a crazy stunt, start calling people.
- Help others to succeed. Your luck will definitely improve if you have helped other people to improve their lives. Be a mentor, encourager, guide, door opener, motivator, and champion of your spouse, kids, employees, friends, and associates. It isn't necessarily about the Karma. It is a part of the natural order of things.
- Give back. You contributions of time, talent, and treasure to your neighborhood, community, industry, church, or association will change your luck in many ways. It will build your skill sets, your network, your confidence, and a vault full of appreciation that may be very helpful when you have an unlucky streak.
- Live with Integrity. One more from my Poppy. He literally wrote the book on bidding practices for the Mason Contractors Assoc. Your reputation of honesty and professionalism in the acting business is a critical component of your luck.