Audition Season & The Oregon Trail

February 25, 2020

I finally finished reading A Beautiful Constraint, and this thought stuck out to me:


“The person most affected by [a] constraint will not always be the person best placed to see the possibility in it. Hence the importance of external groups…who aren’t directly impacted by the constraints themselves, and come with different skills, able to see the possibility as well as the constraint, even in some of the most challenging circumstances.”


Simply put: We’re not good at finding new paths and/or new possibilities when obstacles are in our own way. We must rely on others to help us see what we can’t.


Audition Season feels like The Oregon Trail. It’s the end of February: There are 41 miles to go before our next Trading Post, Sally just died of Cholera, and we’re running low on Bison meat. If we can only see the despair and the doom, we will surely die before we get there. And, if we can choose to see that we have ONLY 41 miles to go, Sally is now resting in peace, AND we still have 288 lbs of meat, we can confidently ration supplies to get as many members of our Pioneer Party there on time and in one piece.


If it currently “looks like doom” AKA “you can’t get seen for anything”, “no one is taking your submission or spruiking emails seriously”, “success only looks like getting cast in a new play in New York City on an equity contract”, or “your audition book is far behind where it should be”, consider reframing the situation. Consider looking for the possibility and concentrating on the hope. Turning “you can’t get seen” into spending the time you’re spending waiting in The Actor’s Lounge drafting emails to casting, artistic directors, creative team members, etc. asking for appointments. Turning “no one is taking your emails seriously” into following up and into writing more empathetic emails (shorter, clearer, and more direct). Turning your attachment to a specific idea of success into an expanding and building the idea with the many ways, seasons, and things that can make us feel successful. Turning feeling “far behind” into acknowledging “where you are at the present moment”. Turning agonizing about the past into accepting the present and strategizing toward the future.


And if it still feels daunting, look inside your covered wagon and ask recovering-from-a-snakebite Jim if he can see another route that you can’t see. Before your wagon tips over, ask your Party for assistance. And if you’re the only passenger left, send off an SOS snare to me or to any of your other champions!


If you look for the clouds, you’ll find the clouds. And if you look for the sky of blue, you’ll be able to see the blue, even if it’s currently hiding behind the clouds.


Forge ahead, weary traveler. You got this.




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