Success is a Choice

I need a constant daily strategy to focus on what needs to be done to achieve my top priorities. Meditation and a daily practice of reviewing my top goals for my business (and life) are the only ways I’ve found to manage constant distraction, and to move forward with what I know is my main mission: to help develop and create new plays and musicals and then get them on stage.

If success is a choice, what does success look like? If you don’t know what it looks like, how do you know when you achieve it?

For me, the simple answer of ‘I’ll be successful when I get a Tony’ is too far off. I’ve come to know that my success means helping writers first get their scripts to “work” and then to guide their projects through development to a production on a stage somewhere.

Can you answer the question “I will be successful when …..?”

I’ve found my own success by doing the following:

  1. Defining what success means to me and relentlessly moving forward
  2. Constantly be selling myself, my ideas and my shows
  3. Addressing our big issues through theater in order to be a catalyst for change
  4. Constantly investing in myself as an artist and as a human being

Maybe these will help you as well.

Name It and Claim It

If I just held myself to a far-away measurement of success like receiving a Tony then I would be a mess for years thinking I was a no-good failure. But, as I teach my students and writers alike, if you’re not failing at something you’re not trying. 

In reaching for a goal you’re first defining what your BIG GOAL looks like and then figuring out how to consistently move toward it. There’s no such thing as failure if you learn from it.

What do you desire enough to keep you moving toward it daily, weekly, yearly? What keeps you motivated over the long haul? Find it.

Name it and claim it as yours, and don’t let anything (or anyone) stop you. Not family, not money, not even time. (Well, death will certainly stop me, but as long as I’m alive and kicking I’ll keep producing theater.)

Find your motivation.

Constantly Be Selling

I hate this one. I’m a theater artist, not a salesman! But I constantly have to sell myself, my writers and my projects (your projects) to get our shows on stage.

No man is an island, and we all need people (who need people) to move ahead. Theater is the most collaborative art, and it’s not just in the creation of a script. We need other people in the creation of our production, in the creation of our artistic business and in the creation of our lives as artists.

Constantly be selling yourself and your shows. Constantly be submitting and pitching. Memorize your pitches, and learn how to pitch better. Constantly network so you can do the first three more often. Develop those relationships until you can call them a friend.

No one said it would be easy, and if it were easy there’d be more people doing it. Uncomfortable but necessary.

Speak to our Problems

In business the way to success is to address people’s problems and then solve it with your products.

In the arts, people’s problems – are ALL our problems. Society’s problems. As a theatre artist I constantly try to present stories that make us better human beings. I would like to think that I have made the world a little better by my being in it and doing theatre.

Can you solve society’s problems with theater? The Exonerated was able to overturn the death penalty in Illinois. It saved many innocent people’s lives. The Laramie Project helped overcome prejudice and intolerance by telling and retelling Matthew Shepard’s story on stage. Many of the most financially successful plays and musicals highlight serious contemporary social issues – and they always have, dating back to the Ancient Greeks.

The Ancient Greeks were pretty smart; they knew an explosive platform when they saw one.

One of the quickest ways to get noticed is to address a significant contemporary problem and then to dramatize it for us. (Please do this – we are sorely in need of inspirational storytellers.)

Be a significant storyteller for our times, and you will get on a stage. It’s impossible not to.

Invest in Yourself

Remember the meaning of “priming the pump”? You have to pump the well vigorously enough to get the water flowing “effortlessly.” I constantly invest in myself by learning new technology, trying out new ways of storytelling, and opening myself up to new ideas and perspectives.

Writers also need to “invest in yourself.”

You may need to self-produce to build your “product.”  You will definitely need to invest time and money to build “assets” like the following:

  • Your website
  • Readings (for photos and video clips)
  • Demo recordings
  • Showcase productions for promos, videos, reviews, audience testimonials
  • Sizzle reels and producer pitch decks and reels

Invest in yourself  first in order to get noticed, and then to allow someone else to invest in you. 

What are your dreams? Did this help you?

Please comment below!