It’s Okay To Be Scared As Long As You’re Excited

Young actors have often flooded my Instagram dm’s with the very same question “I’m struggling with confidence or feeling like I’m not going to make it, how do I overcome it?” I don’t have one answer for you, as this is something we all struggle with. I can however, tell you how I deal with self-esteem issues & get back on track when I’m doubting myself.

Sondheim once said “It’s okay to be scared as long as you’re excited.” Ever since I read that, I can’t get it out of my head. Not only because Into The Woods is one of my favourite shows, but it’s such a beautiful sentence. When I’m overly nervous for an audition, I remind myself that being nervous & being excited is the same chemical reaction. Did you guys know that? So when we’re psyching ourselves out, it’s totally a mentality thing! The next time you’re freaking out for an important audition try to take 3 deep breaths and say “I’m really excited to show them what I got!” instead of focusing on your nerves & sweaty palms. Switch up your perspective. Because you are excited about the potential of being in the show or booking a job.

Dealing with self-esteem issues is very common in this industry. I’ve auditioned for the same National Tour 9 times & still never booked it. At some point during those 9 times, I started doubting myself because I was so close, & it’s really hard not to take rejection personally. When I feel myself falling into a negative spiral with my confidence, I counter that with being productive. I take a voice lesson, an acting class, a coaching session or a dance class. This works for me because instead of dwelling in my defeated state, I am out there bettering myself & my craft. You will always grow as an artist when you take class, because you’re stepping out of your comfort zone & learning new information. This really helps me get back into the zone of being ready to fight for myself again.

To those who think “I’m not going to make it” – why do you think that? Most people who have confided in me via Instagram dm’s with that very sentence are usually very young. So here is my advice to you when you’re thinking that: Why are you thinking that when you haven’t even begun your training/career? How would you know you’re not going to make it before you even try it? Why are you already setting yourself up to fail? & most importantly, have you learned about the self-fulfilling prophecy? The self-fulfilling prophecy is a psychological phenomenon that something will come true if you think it will. I really believe that there is a strong relationship between belief & behaviour. In a way, it’s very similar to the law of attraction. With the self-fulfilling prophecy – if you think “I’m going to have a bad day,” you’re most likely going to have a bad day because you’re then going to find every reason to prove yourself right & attribute anything that goes wrong to your prediction that “you knew you were going to have a bad day.” Same thing for if you keep thinking you’re never going to make it. You really might not make it simply because you’re telling yourself you won’t.

The mind is a very powerful thing. Again, I strongly believe in the law of attraction. If you give out positive vibes & think positive thoughts, you will get that positive energy back. Not all the time (because life will throw curveballs at you regardless), but you know you’re trying your best. I’m going to tell you something about my experience with the law of attraction. 

Junior year of college, I suddenly felt the urge to walk outside of my room & tell all my roommates that “I could Swing Miss Saigon.” That was it. It was just a gut feeling that I felt that night. My roommates all looked at me with smiles on their faces & agreed. That was the end of the conversation. I had nothing more to say. I just wanted to share with them my thoughts. I also had a tagline in college, where I would say to everyone “See you on Broadway” in a very playful way. I wasn’t being arrogant or egotistic, & of course I meant it as joke. But there was no self-doubt at all. I really believed that I would see them on Broadway. & 2 years later… believe it or not, I booked Miss Saigon, my first Broadway show & as a Swing. I didn’t even know I was being considered for a Swing until I got the call from my agent. So there you have it. The law of attraction is a real thing.

Another thing I will say is that I think it’s important to re-define your definition of success. For some, it’s to become famous. For others, it’s to have a lot of money. For me, it’s to keep working & exploring my artistry in different aspects of the industry. Fame & money is nice, of course. But Hollywood or Broadway is not the end all be all. Focus on the art. Focus on your work. Focus on developing your character. That way, your goal is not materialistic & instead, it’s rooted with passion. So when you’re going through phases of constant rejection, you’ll have a very valid reason to remind yourself why you’re doing this in the first place. Money & fame are by-products of your journey as an artist. Focus on your journey.

It’s normal to doubt yourself, but it’s unproductive to anticipate failure. You need to set yourself up for success for the best possible results. Because only when you believe in yourself, you’ll be motivated to achieve your goals. You’ll want to take that dance class, you’ll want to wake up to audition in the morning, you’ll want to book that job. Focus on your training first & foremost. Be productive when you’re feeling down. Or treat yourself to a nice spa to relax & get yourself in a headspace full of self-love. Whatever you need to get yourself back on track.

& always remember, it’s okay to be scared as long as you’re excited.

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