All of my December blogs have a crossover feel to them and touch on similar concepts and subjects because this is the annual time of reflection, projected change and the New Year…YOU. Certainly we all know the phrase; Pay it forward, and we know its intent. I’m going to offer this adjunct to the theme and suggest you begin to; Live it forward. With whom do you consort…and why? Over the years I’ve spent hours upon hours conversing with actors about game plans, strategies, time management, goals, tangible goals and always MOVING yourself forward…daily. In “Living it forward” you have to have true values and concrete philosophies about life, yourself, your family, your intimate relationships, your deep/trusted friendships…and your CAREER choices. We don’t commonly apply this phrase to our careers but in my opinion you should. At The Actors’ Network I created what were known as “Power Groups.” These were monthly professional meetings of 30 or fewer actors with a basic platform, scope and set of requirements for each meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to harness and help us all…learn from others, and move forward regularly as professionals. And to the point of this blog what happened often over the years were marriages, relationships, improv troupes and most of all artistic productions.
All of this spawned out of these little professional groups because of one simple factor: Common ground. To pay it forward is to have been given a gift and you pass it on, be it financial, educational, helpful, wisdom or anything else as a form of offering something that springs from a gift to you. The art of “Living it forward” is related to both the appreciation of those around you, the challenge of being surrounded by folks who push you…but most notably that you are in TOTAL control of both. No I don’t just mean be around, look to meet or only be nice to those “who can help you.” YUCK.
The place I’m coming from is related to yes, with whom you consort, but also why it is that you do and are you surrounding yourself with a community of people/actors (wherever you are) that are going to help you live forward. I wish I could say that I’ve only seen this in L.A., but unfortunately it is not true, as I’ve commonly seen artists (actors mostly) want to be around safety, comfort, no challenge, people who only tell them that they’re terrific and treat them with kid gloves in virtually every element of their lives and careers. This is NOT living it forward because you cannot move forward and you cannot help others live forward…if you’re constantly comfortable and unchallenged.
Living it forward is an attitude of passion, enthusiasm, proficiency and a quiet but firm belief that while you drum to your own beat, make your own path and are an individual…it is much more powerful to move towards that direction surrounded by individuals who share in that type of living it forward. Does this mean that you have to discard people? YES, it does, but it doesn’t mean that you have to be rude about it. People have discarded me over the years and I have discarded hundreds if not thousands in 25+ years in a place like Hollywood with all of the work I’ve done as well as being a national speaker and as the Founder of The Actors’ Network.
For many years now, and even more so in the last 5 years of my life, I’m very purposeful about WHO I bring into my life and I’m very clear on WHY someone remains in my life. No, again, it isn’t only about what they can or can’t do for me” as I’ve met and know many of those folks. It is about sincerity, ambition, passion, proficiency, efficiency, NO chaos, hating wasted time and effort and always recognizing that if you’re not risking or pushing yourself and scaring yourself a little then you are not ultimately living it forward for yourself and all those around you. Look to put yourself on this path, if you’re not fully there, and look up a few years from now. You’ll likely see a “whole new forward” on the horizon of your new life…and you’ll never wanna live any other way again.
Always on your side, @TheKevinE