I used to be an actor.
There was this time when I was about 16 and I was going for this role, a main part for three years to permanent role on a soapy we have in Australia called Home And Away. And up until that point, I’d done some ads and some guest appearances, some speaking parts and stuff, but nothing like this. There were a lot of people going for this job. Now, I got to the fourth or fifth audition… it was the last round and it was between me and one other guy. I went in there and I completely stuffed it. I was a nervous wreck. I went in there, I was fumbling around, I couldn’t smile properly. It was all jittery. My face was doing some weird things I can tell you that much.
Anyway, I didn’t get the part. And this really dented my confidence because I’ve been trying to get a permanent gig, something more established. This rejection really hurt me and it really affected me.
All the other auditions I went to after that were just really bad. It really hurt my confidence I thought of giving it up and not doing it. No more rejection in auditions… I’m not good enough, I’m never going to make it.
But I spoke to this mentor of mine named James and he helped me understand and put things in perspective. After our conversation I started applying what he told me, which I’ll share with you in a second. I ended up getting a lot more permanent jobs.
I got a permanent parts on shows. I did a few TV series with a regular role.
I went on and did a movie with the Olsen twins, where I played a main part as Ashley Olson’s boyfriend. Our Lips Are Sealed the movie’s called. I then got a lot more stuff on the back of this.
This mentor taught me three important things cultivated more confidence and ensured I kept taking action.
The first is applying the lens of learning.
Looking at this pivotal moment in my acting career I used that to get better, to put more effort into the roles, to practise more, to look at it through the lens of “I’m learning and growing”. Build the confidence in that process of acquiring the knowledge vs shutting down and allowing this “failure” to deter me from taking more action and being my best.
The second is to be more in the moment, to be more engaged in the moment and be more present.
Get out of my head and be present. Practicing how to be present. Even around the house during the day, practicing things like – if you’re washing your hands, try and be present in that moment. If you’re listening in on a conversation, try and be present and hear what they’re saying rather than thinking, Oh, shit, what I’m going to say?
Because for me, I was too focused on what I had to say, how they were looking at me rather than just letting it flow and being in the moment.
And the third is just practice and prepare.
This goes for anything – the more you practice, the more you prepare the easier it is. In my auditions, I would practice and practice and practice so I didn’t have to think about it was second nature. I could just bang it out on the spot without even second-guessing it just flows out.
This enabled me to create that presence that gave me more confidence because I wasn’t going to forget my lines off stuff up or do something wrong. I was just focusing on my performance in the moment.
In summary, the three things you want to apply
A lens of learning. So you’ve got the growth mindset, be confident in the process versus how you go in the performance on and just keep acquiring that knowledge.
Secondly, practice being mindful, practice being engaged. So throughout your day, when you’re doing things, try and be present.
And the third part is practice and preparation. When required, like if you’ve got a job interview, then you prepare and you practice that thing. So it’s second nature. So when you go in there, you’re not thinking about what you’re going to be saying. You’re just flowing.