A month of unemployment, nice to meet you.
For anyone unaware (although I’ve basically been shouting it from the rooftops), I left my full time, “day job” four weeks ago. And for anyone else unaware, the past 2.5 years I worked as an office manager for a firm that was very supportive and flexible of my acting pursuits. Honestly, it would be tough to find a better set-up, but my time to leave had come.
So, as I’ve left an occupation that took up 11 hours of my day (with commutes), I now have a wealth of time and space to explore, create, connect, and let’s be honest, just take care of basic life necessities like grocery shopping.
It’s been great. I’ve been keeping busy meeting up with friends, industry colleagues, and most importantly, my dog. I’ve also been keeping busy with a LOT of thinking (spoiler alert: having a lot of time to yourself means having A LOT OF TIME WITH YOURSELF). As someone who is so introverted at times I feel it will kill me, and as someone who struggles with severe anxiety, being left with nothing but your chaos of thoughts is not always the greatest thing in the world. Just trust me on that.
With the thinking and the coffee dates and the podcast listening and the TV watching and the focus on my career, I’ve mostly been thinking about one thing in particular: confidence.
It’s something I have struggled with since birth (cue middle child syndrome, cue military brat attending ten different schools, cue broken home). Lack of confidence has certainly gone hand in hand with said introverted personality and anxiety to make a really beautiful mash-up of hot mess.
Of course, I’ve learned to cope. I’ve gone on blind friend dates – and survived. I’ve had jobs where my main duty was to speak to people all day – and often hated it less than the paycheck I received. I’ve gone to auditions with people I’ve never met in a poorly-lit, cold room to lay my heart on the table – and booked roles. But it is still a struggle every day.
I often think about what makes people successful. Amongst the billions of people on this earth, only a small percentage find true success in their creative dreams. But what is it? Their talent? Their looks? Their relationships. Yes, partly. But if I were to draw one common denominator, it would be this: they don’t care what other people think.
To be revolutionary, to stand out, to have someone place their bets on you over anyone else, it has to be because you are bringing something different to the table. And if you care what everyone else thinks, you are going to bring the same thing everyone else brings to the table.
I’m not saying you have to reinvent the wheel. What I am saying is you have to be confident in yourself – before anyone else can be. You have to be unafraid to speak your truth regardless of how you may be perceived. You have to know your worth. You have to bring yourself to the table. Because you are the only thing that will stand out.
So, this next month of unemployment, I am going to work on revealing who I am. Not the smiling facade I present to people I don’t know. Not the superficial layer I think others want to see. But who I am. It’s pretty dang great, and I’m going to have the confidence to not only think that, but to say it.
Deep breaths. Sharing my truth. Here I am.