Tony Papajohn asked:
Act as if something is true long enough and someday it will be reality. And if Shakespeareâ€™s observation that â€œAll the worldâ€™s a stageâ€ is true, we might expect to find some sound success advice from actors.
Hereâ€™s a gem that Katherine Hepburn gave to Anthony Hopkins in 1967. â€œDonâ€™t act, just speak the lines.â€
With apologies to Ms. Hepburn, letâ€™s rephrase this to read â€œWhen you are performing, donâ€™t fill your mind with the techniques of acting. Trust your talent and speak the words of the character.â€ This is like saying â€œWhen the time comes to do something, clear your mind and just do it.â€
This sage advice rings true for any endeavor. Donâ€™t think about what you are doing while you are doing it.
Do all your thinking before â€œshow time.â€ When the curtain rises on your particular stage, let your creative mind function with all its resources instantly available. That wonâ€™t happen if you are thinking about what to do and how to do it. And it really wonâ€™t happen if you are thinking about how not to do it wrong!
This is like dancing while thinking about how to dance. The mind misfires all over the dance floor and the result is not exactly graceful.
Instead, Hepburnâ€™s advice implies that the best actors prepare and then perform without thinking about acting. I especially like to use this metaphor when working with someone who is â€œon stage.â€ And â€œon stageâ€ might mean anyone selling, giving a speech, or any other situation that entails persuasion.
So here is how to apply this advice to your performance on your corner of the worldâ€™s stage.
Prepare thoroughly. Whatever you do, learn the necessary background knowledge and â€œhow-toâ€ of your craft. Make these two elements second nature.
Before you walk out on to your â€œstage,â€ take a deep breath. Elevate your gaze as if looking at an imaginary spot just above a distant horizon.
Let your imagination form an image of a successful performance. Nod your head in the â€œyesâ€ gesture. Then walk on to your stage and perform.
Trust your preparation. Let your mind access these resources of knowledge and experience as needed. And speak your lines without another thought.
I also like to apply the acting metaphor to your role as â€œ_________ (insert your name), massive success story in the making.â€
Prepare for this role by using your imagination. In your mindâ€™s eye, practice what itâ€™s like to be the massive success of your dreams. Imagine the sights, sounds, sensations, and feelings of success.
And when you step out onto your stage, forget your preparation! Trust your mind to let you be your most successful self. This makes success happen because you empowered and transformed yourself with your preparation.
So you really donâ€™t have to â€œactâ€ like a success in the way an actor portrays a character.
In this respect, your job is much easier. You get to be your most successful self all the time.
This may not get you the Oscars of a Hepburn or a Hopkins. However, you will enjoy celebrity status at your bank.