Did you ever have a goal or dream you were passionate about and committed to? You felt it was right, so you were all in. Then, for one reason or another, you stopped. You stopped working towards that dream. Now that time has passed, have you ever reflected and asked yourself why you stopped pursuing? Maybe there is a lesson or two for us from that as we pursue our next dream.
Three Times I Never Made It and Why
First, here’s what I learned when I reflected on why I never made it as an actor. I guess how you define make it is important. Back in the 90’s I was an actor in Boston and did a national commercial for Konika.
I also did an industrial video for CVS and was in a few B Movies that never made it to the big screen.
This is a pic from behind the scenes of a movie, Apocalypse Bop, where I played a young, partying Marine. As part of my role I had to drink alcohol through a gas mask and vomit all over the main characters. I had the time of my life, and it was literally a dream come true. Honestly, there was something about being on a movie set that had me on all the time, and I was at my funniest. I had so much fun, and my career was building. So, why didn’t I make it as an actor?
I was horrible at memorizing scripts. Bit parts were a blast and easy. Long dialogue, for me, was almost impossible. If I remembered the words, I did not deliver them well. Why? Because I was in my head. That is the same thing I teach about speaking: If you are in your head, your emotions are dead.
I took two trips to Hollywood to find a place and move there, but I realized quickly that I could not see myself going from audition to audition as a career. As a sideline in Boston, I could deal with it. As a full-time career, though, no thank you. I also realized that though I loved entertaining and wisecracking with people on set, I lived for the reaction from real people. You don’t get that while filming movies. I just didn’t want that bad enough. That is why I didn’t make it as an actor, even though I did some acting and enjoyed it.
#1 I Just Didn’t Want It That Bad
I also never made it in the stand-up comedy world. The positions in the stand-up world are opener, middle act, headliner, national act, and household name. In my opinion, to make it as a comedian you had to be at least an in-demand headliner. I never made it that far. I was a weak middle act at best. Why? After a while, the grind, combined with the five nights a week, literally drained my soul. It can be fun being in a comedy club for a 90-minute show. When you are there all the time it becomes part of you, and it was not who I was.
It took me a long time to realize I just wasn’t cut out to make it as a headliner comedian. I’m cool with that. I might have been able to do that if I had stuck with it for another ten years, but I just didn’t want to. It was not who I was. Many people can thrive in that atmosphere. I have good friends whom I love and admire and for whom it is their world. It works for them, but I was a fish out of water. Who I was and the way I was raised didn’t fit in that picture. It dawned on me, as I was doing both standup and speaking at the same time, that I loved the ha-has, but I lived for the ahas. I was much more suited for teaching and inspiring than I was for making people laugh at a comedy club. I’m so glad that I went through that experience and wouldn’t change a thing, but that’s why I never made is as a headliner comedian.
So, #2 It’s Just Not Who I Am
Finally, you may not know this about me, but I was into selling real estate 14 years ago when I lived in Oklahoma. My girlfriend, Jodi, had started selling real estate as a part-time investor. We then decided to do it together as a hobby. We went to seminars together and learned from the best. It was cool and fun.
In fact, we bought a $3000 course together to learn how to flip houses. It was exciting. The world of real estate was unlimited. The income potential was huge. We followed the course step-by-step. We did all the due diligence and sent out letters and made phone calls. About six months later we flipped our first house! Yes! We got our money back and bought a big flat screen TV in celebration.
Then I stopped. We had proved that the process worked, and I had learned first-hand that I hated the process. It was not fun. It was a lot of work, and I just didn’t like the process enough to work for the big bucks. I believe that to make it in any business or to achieve any dream, you have to love the process or the end result so much that you will repeat it and learn again and again. Jodi did a few more homes, but other than supporting her, I had had enough. I proved I could do it and realized I didn’t want to put in the effort to get good enough to make it.
#3 I Didn’t Love the Process
It’s okay to let go of a dream even though it is also sad. What it does is open the door to pursuing another dream. You have to love the process, know who you are, and want it badly enough to jump the hurdles required to get there. It’s cool, too, if you enjoy your dream enough to do it as a hobby. It’s a choice. Learn from each of your experiences and remember to find what you love. Find a way to love the process, and it’s much more likely you will make it. Click To Tweet