If you’re working on a career in the media or entertainment industry, but feel like you’ve hit a wall, I can relate. In nearly 3 decades working in Los Angeles, I’ve seen plenty of people zoom to the top, and others crash to the bottom. I’m not an “expert,” I’m an “observer,” so after all these years watching, here’s 3 things that just might help you make the leap:
1. Focus more on your skills, and less on the industry you’re involved in. I recently met a screenwriter here in Hollywood. She’s quite good and has been writing screenplays for ten years. She’s a very skilled writer, but up to this point hasn’t sold anything. For the last ten years she’s worked at Starbucks to support her writing, and continues, determined to eventually build a career. The issue is, she’s a really good writer, and I believe would do well writing books, working as a journalist, writing a blog, or working on staff somewhere as a professional writer. But she’s not interested. Because she’s so focused on a single industry (movies), she refuses to use her remarkable skills anywhere else. The lesson? Don’t wear blinders. Sure, keep working toward your dream, but focus less on a single industry, and explore how you could use your gifts and talents in other areas as well.
2. Make sure your passion intersects with your actual skills. I’ll get some push-back about this because everybody believes in following your passion. But the truth is, for many people (including me for a very long time) their passion isn’t really where they’re the most skilled or gifted. I spent years (actually decades) pursuing a career as a feature film director. But as I rose in the industry, I began to see that my real skill was writing and producing. It took me a long time to realize that I was pursuing a passion that I wasn’t really prepared or skilled to accomplish – particularly at the level I wanted. But had I started my career as a writer-producer in the industry, who knows where I might be today? The lesson? Be ruthless about finding out your real skill set. If your passion ultimately intersects with that – wonderful. But if it doesn’t, have the courage to change course. Don’t waste time pursuing a soul crushing mirage.
3. It’s not about finding the perfect job, it’s about finding your purpose. We all want, need, and dream of the perfect job. But the truth is, if that job isn’t an expression of your purpose, then you’ll ultimately be frustrated and unfulfilled. As I say in my book, “One Big Thing” – your purpose is bigger than a job. The Lesson? Discover how you’re wired and what you were born to do, and then start looking for the right job. Anything else will be backward and frustrating.
How about you? Anything on this list resonate with your career?