Growing up in the small town of Owensboro, KY my passion for performing began in church. When I was 9 years old I got the opportunity to play the captain of the ship in the show Go Go Jonah! I was the youngest, smallest and shortest of the cast so casting me as the captain was either going to be ironically funny or a complete failure.
In the midst of a horrible storm my character was supposed to wake Jonah, an adult man played by our youth minister, and deliver the line,
“What are you doing sleeping at a time like this! Get up and cry to your God, man. And tell him to have mercy on us.”
On stage, in front of what seemed liked a congregation of 1,000, the anticipation grew. The thunderous lights began to flash as the grumbling sound effects boomed inside everyone’s bones. This was my moment! I grabbed Jonah by the collar and with all the authority that a 9 year old could muster up, I delivered my line, extended my arm out toward the motion of the storm and the crowd went crazy.
From that moment on I wanted to do anything that got me on stage. I was lucky. At a very young age my passion presented itself to me. Ever since, I’ve done nothing but pursue this dream.
Not all of us are so fortunate to find that passion, that thing inside of us that we could wake up everyday excited to do whether we got paid for it or not. So today we will take a look at 5 ways to not only find your passion but to build a life and a career around it!
Last week I had the pleasure of sitting down with Bruce Winston who teaches entrepreneurship at Tribeca Flashpoint College. Here’s the tip of the ice berg of our conversation.
1. WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?
“Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress: Working hard for something we love is called passion.”
Write down what exactly you are looking for in life. If you don’t know, write down a few options. We can always edit it down later. Here are some common answers from artists and students who’ve attended Bruce’s workshop “Find Your Happy” to help get you started:
–Creativity & Self Expression
-Adventure & Exploration
2. Brainstorm your perfect day?
With your list in mind, take a little time and brainstorm your perfect day. I’ve done mine below. My ultimate goal is to be a cast member and writer for SNL. I suggest shooting as high as you can!
6AM– Wake up, drink lots of coffee and enjoy breakfast with my family
7AM– With Gary Vee in my ears I go for a run
8AM– Head over to 30 Rock
9AM-12PM– Write, brainstorm, collab, work harder than everyone else!
1-?PM Write, write, memorize, create.
7PM– Dinner, family, write.
Dream big and visualize your life being this way.
3. How will you get there?
“If everyone has the same number of hours in the day, why do some people seem to get so much more done than others? How do they do more, achieve more, earn more, have more? If time is the currency of achievement, then why are some able to cash in their allotment for more chips than others?
The answer is they make getting to the heart of things the heart of their approach. They go small. Going small is ignoring all the things you could do and doing what you should do. It’s recognizing that not all things matter equally and finding the things that matter most. It’s a tighter way to connect what you do with what you want. It’s realizing that extraordinary results are directly determined by how narrow you can make your focus.”
― Gary Keller, The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results
With your ultimate goal in mind and your perfect day written out, now we have to reverse engineer how to get there. What I mean by this is to look at where you want to be in 5, 10 or even 20 years and work your way back from there. Here I chose a 5 year goal.
-Where do you want to be in 5 years.
-What do you need to accomplish in the next 1 year to get you there.
-What do you need to accomplish in the next 6 months to get you there.
-What do you need to accomplish this week to get you there.
-What do you need to accomplish today to get you there.
At 15 I found that The Second City in Chicago is one of the places that SNL picks from. So from then on I was in every play I could be in, dropped out of two colleges where I was studying theatre to do professional theatre. Produced and wrote my own video content. Moved to Chicago and completed The Second City conservatory. Was hired by The Second City and completed two contracts where I was performing on Norwegian Cruise Lines.
I wrote, produced and performed on every stage I could in Chicago over the past 5 years. All this time I was mastering my craft, adding to my resume and reel and becoming the best, funniest, hardest working and most honest performer I could be.
I knew I needed an agent to take the next step into TV and Film, so in December of 2016 I hyper focused on this. Here’s what I needed:
Here’s a look at my weekly goals that I started in December 2016.
Week 1: Edit a killer reel.
Week 2: Research and choose a photographer.
Week 3 and 4: Save up to pay said photographer.
Week 5: Take headshots
Week 6: Write cover letter and update resume
Week 7: Find out everything about every talent agency in Chicago
Week 8: Received headshots and submit my package
Week 9: Accept offer and sign with agency
Week 10: Begin auditioning
Since March I have shot three commercials, I have been asked to submit tapes to Daily show, SNL and a couple other dream jobs of mine and I’m auditioning about twice a week. I’ve launched a YouTube channel to have control over my own content and I’m patiently building a following. When Pilot season comes in Jan. of 2018 I will have set myself up for success.
Don’t sit and wait!! Go Do!
4. Beware the P Word!
“The really happy people are those who have broken the chains of procrastination, those who find satisfaction in doing the job at hand. They’re full of eagerness, zest, productivity. You can be, too.” – Norman Vincent Peale
Procrastination will cause you to wake up in 10 years with regret. It is a thief of time. Time that you will never get back. I find that getting the ball rolling is the hardest part, but once it continues to roll, momentum picks up and productivity becomes abundant.
If I didn’t focus on what was necessary in Dec. I would be living in my comfort zone with no agent. Make yourself uncomfortable. That is when growth happens!
5. Take Action
Go do! It’s as simple as that. Ideas are nothing without action. Just do it!! Get off your lazy butt and pursue your dream! Show people around you that you are willing to do everything for what you love.
If you are interested in getting the productivity ball rolling, Bruce offers a free workshop called “Find Your Happy” which is an in depth dive into what is discussed in this article. Bruce also leads the “Hero’s Journey” series which is a course for anyone interested in pursuing a degree in digital media (Film, Recording Arts, Animation and Graphic Design). This series is a great chance to earn college credit and get a head start on your degree! You can also take a look at Bruce’s business at www.girgit.com.
This article was written by Timmy Hart Barron. Timmy runs #TipsWithTimmy, a live show every Friday at 1PM via Tribeca Flashpoint College’s Facebook Page bringing young artists tips on how to not only create something awesome, but of quality. Timmy is an actor and comedian here in Chicago with a passion for everything digital media. You can follow Timmy’s personal journey via every social network @timmyhartbarron and his Youtube channel TimmyTV