A Moment With The Music Man

by Monica McCarthy on July 24, 2014

NYCsubway

Most of us, myself included, have fantasized what we would do if we suddenly found ourselves with a winning lottery ticket. We envision the vacations we would take, or the dream house we would purchase, or the philanthropy we would support. With that much money the world becomes our oyster! We don’t even have to choose one thing… we can have it all!

But have you ever wondered about the reverse scenario?

What would you do with your last ten dollars?

For some of us, this isn’t a rhetorical question.

There have been multiple times throughout my life, and in the past few years in particular, that I had $10 or less to my name. I don’t say this to garner pity or shock. I am grateful for everything I have and for everything that has happened to me. And I’m well aware that the majority of the world continues to live in poverty.

But I suspect that for the majority of the people reading this, getting down to your last $10 tomorrow is as likely as finding yourself waking up to $10 million. So this is brief look into the other side, so to speak.

More money usually leads to more choices. Studies show too many choices make us anxious. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating a life of poverty. In the words of Mae West:

I’ve been poor and I’ve been rich. Rich is better.

Watching your bank account dwindle is terrifying.But the experience of finally getting down to your bottom dollar is, in many ways, a freeing one. No longer are you burdened with options. There’s nothing to save for a rainy day because you’re already getting soaked in reality. An umbrella is useless in the eye of a hurricane. You become very, very aware of the immediacy of now.

Once, not terribly long ago, I didn’t have $10. I had exactly $1.

I’ll save the details of how that came to be and how I got out of that situation for another time. But I remember getting off the subway and hearing a lone saxophonist playing the blues. The melody reverberated throughout my being. In that moment I felt the connection of that man and the music and my situation. One should never underestimate the power of music and art to soothe the stricken soul. 

I gave the saxophonist my last dollar. He gave me a slight nod and a knowing look and continued playing as I walked up the stairs, out of the dark station, and into the sunshine.

Any other day, with any more money in my bank account, I wouldn’t have appreciated that moment or that music or that man.

But I do now.

And my life is richer for it.

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image: vishpool

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laura-simms

“I do miss acting and part of me will always identify as an actor…. But I feel at home in my work and in my own skin and that feels really good.”

This is part of the Act II series: Dialogues with Performing Artists who have found more freedom, control, and  purpose in their lives.
You can read the announcement page and get a sneak peak of some of the interviews here.
Get to know the why behind Act II here
To access our (free) Act II dialogues in full,  join us by clicking the badge below:

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Things have been quieter here the blog while I’ve been working behind the scenes on Cheshire Parlour, a community dedicated to the exploration of curiosity, kinship, and culture. A large part of that work includes researching the definition and importance of the meaningful.  In other words, not just expression, but meaningful expression. Not just experiences, but meaningful experiences. This explains why I’m extra excited that our latest Act II guest, Laura Simms of Create As Folk, has some very wise words to share on the topic of meaningful work.

The pursuit of purpose is innate to the human spirit, and particularly so for artists. It is in our DNA. Our work is our purpose. This is a huge reason why career transition can be so challenging. A career isn’t simply a paycheck, but our identity.

Fortunately, Laura gets it. An actor from Los Angeles with multiple television credits to her resume, Laura is now a career coach (and new momma!) based in Texas. Her life looks nothing like she thought it would just a few years ago. But it feels like the life of her dreams. Laura now has, as her website tagline reads, a career that feels like home.

So much of what Laura talks about resonates on a deeply personal level, including her own struggle with choosing between the highs that come with being an actor, with the lows she was experiencing on a daily basis driving around the city from audition to audition. She loved acting but discovered, as she says in the interview,  the reward was not worth the sacrifices. For Laura the biggest question she had to ask herself was how she wanted to feel when she went to bed at night.

I really wanted to feel at the end of the day, that what I did mattered.

Does that mean being an actor is a purposeless pursuit? Absolutely not! What matters is whether the life you’re living as an actor feels meaningful to you. Don’t worry about what other people think. That isn’t what you were put on this planet to do. Choose the path that offers you a sense of purpose, and the rest will follow.

There are so many words of wisdom from Laura in this interview, but perhaps none of them stand out to me more than this:

A lot of creative people get caught up in thinking that in order to do something meaningful they have to do something artistic… As creative as we are, we tend to pigeon hole ourselves when it comes to career change.

Yep. Laura had a good head on her shoulders while building a career that aligns with her heart. Even better, she shares with us how we can do that for ourselves.

Click the image below to access the Act II dialogues and to hear more of Laura’s story:

Act II Laura Simms

In this interview Laura shares:

  • The most damaging lie performing artists are told
  • Tips for navigating the existential angst of career change for artists
  • How to get hired in another field when your background is acting
  • The skills you didn’t even know you had

Resources:

Create As Folk

What To Do If You Don’t Have Enough Experience

Previous ACT II Dialogues:

Coaching Your Craft, Spotlight On: Jeannine Yoder

Finding Your Core, Spotlight On: Hilary Rushford

Mastering A Parallel Career, Spotlight On: Melissa Cassera

Taking Back Control, Spotlight On: Michael Parrish DuDell

Getting Out Of Your Head, Spotlight On: Matthew Corozine

Do Good While Making Art, Spotlight On: Nick Dalton

Taking Brave Steps, Spotlight On: Katie Rayle

Finding Your Uniquity, Spotlight On: Michelle Ward

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Act II Spotlight on: Jeannine Yoder, The Coaches’ Coach

by Monica McCarthy on June 18, 2014

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This is part of the Act II series: Dialogues with Performing Artists who have found more freedom, control, and  purpose in their lives.
You can read the announcement page and get a sneak peak of some of the interviews here.
Get to know the why behind Act II here
To access our (free) Act II dialogues in full,  join us by clicking the badge below:

sign-up-SMALL

While I was understudying on Broadway I spent much of my time backstage studying for my Holistic Health Coaching certification. Within a year of opening my coaching doors, I closed them because it was clear I had no idea how to create a thriving coaching business.

Since then, I’ve met numerous actors who have become coaches, all with varying degrees of success. The pivot from acting to coaching makes sense on a variety of levels: Both share the values of flexibility, creativity, purpose-driven work, etc. Unfortunately, there are also plenty of skills most actors aren’t aware they should cultivate when launching a coaching business. Finding clients and marketing can be as much of a struggle as pounding the pavement and auditioning!

But one woman is on a mission to change that. And she knows from whence she speaks because she was a musical theater actress who waited tables between gigs. Now she has a double six-figure business coaching coaches. Oh, and she’s back to performing, including a one-woman show this Friday!

Ladies and gents: Jeannine Yoder.

Jeannine’s favorite aspect of acting was creating characters. As she says in our interview:

Being on stage felt like a form of spiritual expression.

But life backstage was full of fear.

You’re a star one moment and then you’re back to pounding the pavement.

So Jeannine decided to take the leap and follow her other innate skill: coaching. Considering her celebrity crush growing up was Tony Robbins, the transition from creating characters to helping others create lives they loved, made perfect sense.

What I loved about acting was what coaching was: Getting to dig into people, who they are, their life story, what’s holding them back, how they overcome adversity.

And then came a NYTimes article featuring Jeannine’s coaching success story. This resulted in a flood of inquiries from other coaches seeking advice, and offered an opportunity to pivot from coaching to coaching coaches.

Just like acting, if you want to be successful you have to find your unique niche that you’re known for.

Choosing to do something besides acting was really hard, but Jeannine knew if she wanted to succeed she couldn’t try to build her acting career and her coaching career at the same time. Two years later, her business is solid enough (understatement) that she can take all the singing lessons she wants and put on her own show.

Click the image below to access the Act II dialogues and to hear more of Jeannine’s story:

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In this interview Jeannine shares:

  • The connection between performers and coaches
  • How our rejection training helps our business
  • Why training to be a coach will change how you value your work
  • Why less is more if you want to succeed

Resources:

Jeannine’s website (Including a free daily email prompt to develop a morning ritual)

Mentor Masterclass: Wanna be a coach? This is the place to learn how. Oh! And it’s ongoing so you can join anytime. (But now is better than later, right?)

Captivate! Jeannine’s 30th Birthday Party and Performance. I’ll be there and cheering!

Previous ACT II Dialogues:

Finding Your Core, Spotlight On: Hilary Rushford

Mastering A Parallel Career, Spotlight On: Melissa Cassera

Taking Back Control, Spotlight On: Michael Parrish DuDell

Getting Out Of Your Head, Spotlight On: Matthew Corozine

Do Good While Making Art, Spotlight On: Nick Dalton

Taking Brave Steps, Spotlight On: Katie Rayle

Finding Your Uniquity, Spotlight On: Michelle Ward

image: Danny Ghitis

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