How to Let Go

Are you finding yourself disappointed and let down time after time by the people around you?
Are you feeling completely frustrated and stuck with the lack of progress?

Aren’t they supposed to be helping you?

When you deal with so much disappointment, I imagine it’s really easy to believe,
I’ll just do it myself!

And that can feel super overwhelming with all you need to do in your career and life.

Ultimately, I imagine you end up feeling very lonely. I know I did.

I can remember feeling like I had to do all the legwork in my career, because my agent just wasn’t booking the work I wanted.  I was constantly on her, and it was exhausting.  When I would book a show or commercial, it was really because of the work and relationships I had built on my own without her.

But I desperately wanted to up-level.  I wanted to be seen for TV, and get seen by casting directors I didn’t know for larger projects.

That part I couldn’t do on my own.

I kept hoping the relationship would change and thought if I worked even harder, maybe it would change. Maybe if I visited the office ONE more time, or sent ONE more email, or followed up AGAIN, she would magically get me the auditions I really wanted and everything would change.

She would finally be the agent I wanted her to be.

Have you ever felt that?

So, what do you do when the people who are supposed to be helping you advance in your career are not actually making a difference?

Is it you?
Is it them?

What is actually going on, and how can you turn the situation around?

One of my private clients, Diane, came to me after leaving a career she loved.  It was a messy ending, and one that left her doubting herself deeply.  After taking some time to heal, she realized she wanted to be a coach and a published writer, so she started working with me.

While she was in transition in her career, she had a side hustle working in a hardware store, and all began well, as she has a great love of tools and hardware, but things soured very quickly due to dealing with one of her colleagues, Sean.

Sean was deeply disrespectful to my client, Diane. He had a never-ending supply of sexist remarks and seemed to go out his way to sabotage any ounce of teamwork in the store.

Diane was beside herself.  She wanted to continue working there, but was finding it harder every day to show up because Sean was so difficult to be around. Diane deeply wanted to work WITH him, to find a way to create a team environment at the store, but every attempt was shot back with sarcasm.

Sean took over Diane’s mind.  It was affecting her more important work of building her business and working on her writing.

The hardware store job was supposed to be helping her move forward, but the situation with Sean engulfed her mind, and took all her focus. She didn’t know how to let go of the situation and move on.  Why was he making her so crazy?

She was exhausted and discouraged.

So, I gave her this prayer:

Just like me, you are seeking some happiness in your life.
Just like me, you are trying to avoid suffering in your life.
Just like me. you have known sadness.
Just like me, you want to be loved.
Just like me, you were once an innocent child.
Just like me, you are a spirit on a journey.

A prayer of empathy.

And something shifted.

When she began to look at Sean through an empathetic lens, she actually saw he was suffering, and she realized that a lot of his anger was also in her.

Sean was actually a mirror for Diane.

And when she had a mirror held up for what was actually alive in HER, it allowed her to release him from being the place to take out her anger.  Diane actually was able to understand and take responsibility for what SHE needed in the workplace, instead of feeling like she had to FIX Sean to make it happen.

Clearly, Sean was suffering.

But, Diane couldn’t control that or change that.  What this awoke in her was what she COULD do.

So, Diane started to create strong boundaries at work. She didn’t get caught up or involved in Sean’s anger and attempts to goad her on.  Diane stood up for herself, and created another side gig that fulfilled her even more and paid better.  She left the hardware store on HER terms, not because Sean drove her to it.

And within a year, she was published for the first time.

I came to the same place of acceptance with my agent.  I realized she was doing the best she could, and she was consistent.  She was never going to be the super agent I wanted or imagined her to be.  And it was when I released her, I was able to place my attention where it needed to be, and I ended up working with a Broadway director doing a show I loved.

New opportunities came because I was taking ownership of my life, and making the decision to have a support system and team that was just as excited about my work as I was.

HUGE difference.

There was no convincing, just beautiful support and growth.

So, take stock.

Who in your life and career are you expecting different results from?
Are they showing up consistently?
Have you tried everything to make them better and nothing changed?

Perhaps there is a lesson here.

One of the biggest places we struggle in our human journey is letting go.

But,what if the way to let go is through seeing what you have in common?
What if the way to let go is simply compassion?

We can then release this person to have their own journey, and in releasing them, you will open up the energy to bring in incredible managers, agents, bookers, and collaborators who do the work, are trustworthy, and have your best interest at heart.

Actress Judtih Light recently spoke of what an enormous impact her manager had on her career.  She credits him for her incredible success, Tony Awards, and Emmys. 

Support is out there for you, and it happens when you are in a healthy relationship where both parties are in agreement and are on the same page.

It happens when you let go of what is holding you back, and open to the new.

Just like me.
We have so much more in common than differences.

And that is your ticket to freedom.

Photography: Caitlin Cannon Photography

Care Taking

Do you feel frustrated that you are doing everything you CAN for your career and you are just not where you want to be?

Do you feel like your To Do’s to be a successful Artist have taken over your life?

I mean, what is the deal?

You are posting on social media.
You are putting yourself and your work out there.
You are doing ALL the things you are supposed to….and yet, you feel stuck, spinning in circles.

I imagine that is incredibly frustrating!

Watching your peers step into their success can be difficult when you know your talent is just as good.

So, what is the difference?
Why are you stuck and they are moving?

This was a question I had running on a LOOP in my head for years when I was a performer, and what stopped it really surprised me.

I’ve always been highly disciplined.  Growing up in a military household definitely set the bar high, and I was determined to meet it.

So, I practiced my violin every morning, did my classwork, was valedictorian, and placed very high value on
completing tasks, and having order in my life.

After all, that was what I was taught to do.

I remember when I was in my career, and had a running To Do list.  As I’ve always enjoyed cursing like a sailor, I decided to call it the F***ing To Do List.  It made me laugh, and also motivated me.

Get it DONE!
That was the mantra.

So, I did, and I did…..and I did, but I hit a ceiling in my career and couldn’t figure out why all my hard work was not landing me my Broadway show.

I was at first annoyed, and then angry, and eventually devastated.  I started to believe it wouldn’t happen, and even worse, that something was wrong with me.

And then my whole life fell apart, and for the first time in my life, I actually LOOKED at my life, and instead of it being through a lens of judgement and “what is WRONG with you?” it was through a lens of compassion and curiosity.

There was wisdom to be had here…..and I was ready to truly learn.

When I first found Zen and did their Intro to Zen Training weekend, part of the weekend was called Care Taking Practice.  During this 90 minutes, we were put in a group, and given a task.  This task was to be done in silence so you could just be present to it, and was some form of “taking care” of the monastery and their programs.

Taking Care.

I was assigned to helping with the Prison program and organizing correspondence to the inmates who were mailing back and forth with the monastics.

Tasks completed with care. 

I dived into training with Non Violent Communication,  a process for supporting partnership and resolving conflict within people, relationships and society. The teacher, Thom Bond was telling the story of recognizing the reason he kept his home so clean and neat was it actually met needs for self care.

As soon as I heard this, it went through me.

I looked around my little apartment in Queens and saw the order I had created.  For so much of my life, I had labeled myself as OCD, or been called that by others, or called myself controlling. But what if this was actually self care?

What if how I was in my life with discipline was actually care taking?

That day, I went into my F***ing To Do list and changed the name. 
I changed it to Care Taking.

And from there, I was able to create this successful business and rebuild my life. I was able to go Full Time, because I wasn’t being so hard on myself, and was actually clear WHY this work mattered to me.

Nothing was wrong with me….I was actually coming into contact with my heart and my desires.

And now I could actually take CARE of them, not punish myself.

Does this sound familiar?

How do you speak to yourself?
What have you labeled yourself?

True sustainable growth happens through support and love.

I imagine you can think of a teacher who really tore you down.  While there may have been some short term growth out of anger or fear, ultimately I imagine you stopped using them, because it just felt awful to be belittled so much.

Tearing someone down just damages them, and the same is true for self talk.

We all have different processes for our work, and really it is about finding what works for  YOU.

And then taking CARE of this process.
Taking CARE of you so that you can show up FOR the process, for your Art, and for your beautiful life.

Practice is essential for development of our craft AND we can approach this practice and building the business of our passions from a place of care.

Energy is everything.  I can look back at my younger self with so much love, and know she was doing the best she could, but truthfully, she was being waaayyyy too hard on herself and the taskmaster was running the show.

Now, it’s the care-taker, and what a difference.

So, what needs CARE in your career?
What needs CARE In your heart so that you can show up for your career?

Create systems that work in your career not because you should but because it will take CARE of the work that matters most.

Whenever you are in doubt, love is the answer.  Every time. You are a shining light and deserve your own love and affection. 

Care for your life, and watch it grow.

Photography: Caitlin Cannon Photography