Success comes unexpectedly when you are in your zone.
That being said, that’s a huge idea – being in your zone. You have stumbled into an opportunity where your contribution makes a difference. You are now received as a viable artist who is special and important to a project.
There are many perks that come with success that may trick you into an alternate reality – a fantasy – a dream you’ve had of what success will mean, and how everything will change for you… even you will change.
Wait! Even YOU will change? Think about that…
A fantasy is a lot like Disneyland – you get to visit, but you don’t move into the magic castle – and even if you did, it wouldn’t be a fantasy anymore, because the realness of you would eventually show up.
I have noticed that more often than not, people change with the blessing of success. It really doesn’t matter where you are in your career for this to happen. You could have just gotten your first agent or breakthrough role and the “change” happens. You could have just gotten an acting award and the change happens or doesn’t…
The trick of that is… if you find yourself becoming a little less interested in others, a bit more self-important, unhappiness is beckoning near. This is how you lose the experience of success.
So how did that “zone” experience really happen? You must remember what got you there in the first place – your availability of receiving the opportunity of contributing and making a difference and the person you were when it happened.
And if you change, if you close your heart to feed a fantasy, you negate the road you’ve taken and therefore you change your path.
The universe has a way of balancing. This gravitational reality is evident in every actor and entrepreneur I’ve encountered. Years ago when I was an actor living in Hollywood I remember running into many a celebrity that was either on their way up or on their way down and I observed that the “change” is strange. Because those that changed on their way up, also changed again on their way down, as they were humbled by their own broken fantasy.
I remember my own successes and I remember that momentum made me feel important, valued, favored in the world, and somehow acknowledged that I was meant to be here. Thankfully I had dear friends around me that shook me by the shoulders when I exhibited behavior that meant I was changing. Ever since then, when I observe one of my actors changing with success, I attempt to do the same.
True success is not changing because of it.
It’s remaining who you are in spite of it.
When I was a freshman at UCLA, Carol Burnett visited us. She was at the pinnacle of her career. I remember running into her in the bathroom and her joking “yes I pee too,” and how humble and down to earth she was. She has been a life example for me of someone who did not let success change her.
Life throws curves, we only have each other.
In the end, it isn’t whether or not the world shows to us our importance, it’s really whether or not we find importance with each other.
Each of us is unique and each encounter we have in life can support our values as artists. Who we are, is how we are in the world. I’ve learned to remind myself: I must keep my heart open and remain empathic, even when events don’t go as planed, life throws curves and evidence in the world proves otherwise. And if I change, may I change for the better, may I evolve as an artist.
Everyone is on a path. The question remains, which path are you on?
If we truly are artists we must live by our principles. I know this is true. And then by continuing to ground ourselves in why we are here, to make a difference in the world, can keep us constant and consistent with who we are. This is how we become more real, more present… to aim to fill the world with love keeps our faith in our art alive, and that, in and of itself… is success.