No, seriously. Did I get your back up? I must admit I wanted to get your attention. Hopefully, I have piqued your curiosity.
What distinguishes you from other people? What about you is unique? How would you describe your personality? OK, no more questions. I think by now you may have a feeling for the direction I’m taking.
I taught an “Acting for Film” class at USC for over 20 years. In the first class I would ask each person, when they go in to audition, what were they selling? For instance, were they selling, “the girl next door,” “the sex siren,” “the handsome leading man,” “the nerdy guy?” Most of them did not have an answer. Their homework? Next week come in with an answer. I asked them to stand in front of a mirror and describe what they saw. What was their type? What qualities or characteristics made them distinctive? I also asked them to talk to three of their friends and to ask their friends to answer the same questions about them and bring their responses back to class.
It not just actors who need to know the answers to these questions – everyone should have the answers! In the corporate world how are you being perceived? When people talk about you (and they do) what are they saying? If you are an entrepreneur, out there selling your product, on your own, how do you get them to buy if you don’t know what your personality is selling?
In order to succeed, it is essential that your feet be planted firmly in the foundation of self-knowledge.
How do we deepen our knowledge of self? You can start by doing the same exercises I gave to my kids at USC. Look in that mirror and be honest with yourself. What do you see? Are you upbeat, outgoing, friendly? Or, do you see unhappiness, discomfort, and reserve?
Who are you? What do you love? What do you believe in? What is your type? If I were going to cast you in a movie what part would you be playing? If you were to describe yourself as a color what color would you be? If you’re having trouble answering these questions, get some help. Ask your friends, family, people that you trust. We need reinforcement from others and this is a good way to get the ball rolling if you’re having trouble opening up to yourself. Be kind to yourself. If there is one message that many of us seem to revel in it’s, “I’m not…” or “I’m just…” We need to honor ourselves and who we are.
Look in the mirror – what would you like to honor about yourself today? Tell yourself, “I honor this _____ (fill in the words) about me today.” Feel where that lives in your body; feel it inside. This is important. Take in the words and the meaning. Let it become one part of what makes you so special, just for today.
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