The world is a very competitive place. Few careers are as competitive as the acting business. During the pandemic, many who had the talent and fortune of being performers put their careers on hold last year. It took devoted, intelligent, and creative individuals to be able to pivot and make the most of the “time-out” we were all handed.
My guest this week is that type of person. When the lights went dim on Broadway, Salisha Thomas did not sit idly by. She started a Master Class and started a podcast, “Black Hair in the Big Leagues.” I met Salisha when I was a guest host at a PodMax event about a month ago. Many of the hosts and I took notice of her high-energy level throughout the day. It was clear she could teach us all something about staying upbeat.
Finding out that she is a current Broadway and former Disneyland actress, I was interested in how she could maintain a fresh and high-energy performance day after day. Performing up to five shows a day at Disney and on Broadway, eight shows a week; I needed to know the secret. Her answer was simple: You have to SHOW UP. Just show up. As a performer, although it may be your fourth show of the day, it is the audience’s first. And you have to “show up” with first performance energy for them. The audience does not care if you are having a good day or a bad day. They expect to be entertained at an exceptional level.
When you see a performance on stage, there is no doubt when the lead actor takes the stage. They command your attention and amaze you with their talent and ability. Salisha is a leading lady who commands respect and attention. We can all learn something from this week’s interview with her, and I know I have.
If you are a student or starting your career, you are performing every day to various audiences. Salisha talks to me about her experiences and shares some tips about life which I have compiled the highlights below for you to put into action.
A wise man once said, showing up is half the battle. So college advisors will tell you one thing to do to succeed is to show up to every class. Then, when you start working, bosses will say you need to show up and put on a happy attitude for customers. Salisha tells us the audience does not care what personal baggage we are carrying that day; they need us to show up and perform our best.
So, how can you do this? How can you show up each day with a great attitude and energy? Practice this simple thing: Imagine each task you need to perform as the one thing that is in the way for you to achieve whatever goal you are striving to attain. That the better you complete it, the closer you will be to reaching it. Especially when the task has nothing to do with the direct achievement of that goal, focus on over-delivering on that task. The result will be exponential over time but will include you being happier while performing the task. People will like and trust you more. In the end, opportunities will find their way to you. Excellent performances of simple duties train you for exceptional tasks. No one will give you a chance to do something more complicated if you deliver a mediocre job on something simple. Be grateful, show up, smile, and get it done.
Rejection is a Gift.
Salisha talks about auditioning. That process has a ton of rejection built into it. Having to go through that time after time must require a ton of intestinal fortitude. Understanding that rejection protects you is a harsh lesson. It may keep you from the thing(s) you think you want, but you may not be ready for them, or that opportunity may be wrong for you. Learn from the experience and do not think of it as a failure; instead, it is a step to success. Use this newfound understanding of rejection to stave off defeat and try something new. Use the unique experience to understand what you may need to learn or discover an additional talent. If nothing else, take rejection gracefully. Be like a duck swimming on top of the water. On the surface, they look calm, but under the water, they are swimming like crazy to get to the next thing. Be like a duck, show calm and grace when faced with rejection, yet work your ass off to overcome it.
Salisha talks about being actively grateful for your current position in life. Being thankful is something I talk about regularly. For me, to be actively grateful is to consider that there is someone in a worse position than you, no matter what your current situation is, and be thankful for it. Another way to think about it is to imagine that someone would swap positions with you in a heartbeat no matter your situation, as your problem is exponentially better than theirs. Thank those who support you regularly and support others as you have been supported.
Showing up is half the battle, and in doing so, we may have to face rejection. That is okay because we now have the opportunity to learn. However, if we do not show up, we do not give ourselves the chance to succeed or fail. I am not saying it will always be easy, but you have to show up first if you want to get a good start to anything.
I appreciate feedback of all kinds, so please email me any questions or feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a great week, and remember, it doesn’t take a lot to get a good start; you just have to start. Thank you.