April 15th is About Me, Not the IRS.

Tax season is about more than just my finances. It’s a time to dig out all the stuff I did last year. When I’m gathering all my data, I find stuff I forgot about…and some stuff I’d like to forget about. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Tax Day is in the Springtime. I see it as a kind of Spring Cleaning when I can see what I want to keep in my life and what to throw out. If not for taxes, I’m sure I wouldn’t do it at all.

The value of life reflection is underrated if not completely dismissed. I learn from my mistakes (OK, maybe not always the first time around), and I learn from my successes. Especially now that I’m in a career “drought” it’s good to be reminded that last year was pretty darn good. When we review, we remember the crappy things that we survived, and we remember the wonderful things that came to fruition.  Reviewing my life patterns gives me perspective on the Big Picture.

I’m a big fan of looking at the Big Picture. It provides clarity when I can otherwise get caught up in the daily noise of survival. I see why I’m willing to undertake some projects and  why it would be wise to eliminate others – not easy for A-Types. It’s kind of like purging the closet. I can identify patterns that will either help me move forward or continually keep me stuck. Try this: open your calendar and review everything you did last week. What patterns do you see? Look around your home and do the same thing. What patterns do you see? Your refrigerator. See a pattern? Your car. See a pattern there? What one thing can you do today to improve your life flow?

The best person to tell us about our lives is us. The trick is listening to that person…that wise, wise person. So when you dread pulling out all your paperwork to do your taxes, look at it as an opportunity to make new decisions about the rest of your year.



Matchmaker, Matchmaker

Yeah, yeah Valentine’s Day, blah, blah, blah…..

So what do romantic relationships have to do with marketing yourself? Well if you’ve ever been on a dating site you know exactly what! If you’ve been out of the on-line dating scene, let me share some striking similarities….

THE PROFILE PHOTO – Going through potential dates’ photos is both exhausting and hilarious, because you see snapshots under the “WTH-were-they-thinking?” category: Women showing how hot they are with “slut” photos, and men showing their “adventuresome” side with long distance shots of them skiing, hang gliding, zip lining, etc, but you can’t see their faces? This is what happens when we get trapped into contorting ourselves into images of what we think they want.





THE PERSONAL BIOS – After awhile, you skim through the first paragraph because so many use the generic description, like “I love to laugh”, “I’m comfortable with a night on the town or relaxing on the couch binge watching”, etc. Too many people write the obvious, but don’t take the time to express sincere individuality.

THE ON-LINE EXCHANGE – “Hey”, “What’s up?”, “Hi”. I kid you not, people actually think communication begins this way. Of course, there’s the complete opposite approach where they write a tome and expect it to be personal? The problem here is overthinking. When we don’t write enough, we’re actually censoring ourselves based on the fear of saying the “wrong” thing. When we write too much, we assume that they won’t understand us, so we over explain.

Success lies in having a picture, a bio, and a pitch that truly expresses who we are. What most people don’t understand is that we can never do this alone. As I’m writing this, someone else is looking over my words, giving me honest feedback, because I know that two minds are better than one. My two cents? Team up with somebody, whether it’s for your professional profile or your online dating profile. We all need support from those who can see us as we are, not as we should be.


The Golden Rule of Marketing

I receive several newsletters from entrepreneurs and/or artists in LA. They come in several different forms, and some are better than others. I may not read them all, but I tend to open them all because they are my colleagues. But what actually entices me to read them? Content.

The Internet, at the beginning of this 21st century, is essentially the “Wild West” with no law enforcement and it’s free to anyone willing to travel it! How awesome is that? This has, however, created a sea of “experts” in social media, but who has the best advice? The one that applies to you. But how can you be effective unless you know who/what you ARE!

"Who . . . are . . . YOU?

“Who . . . are . . . YOU?

Better than giving you a list of “10 Dos and Don’ts” (the most common device used in e-marketing), I’m going to cut to the Golden Rule of Self-Marketing: Share who you ARE.  This is too often confused with sharing what you do. While I don’t pay much attention to where my musician friends are gigging this month, I do care how much they love what they’re doing, and this sets the tone of their entire newsletter. I don’t practice yoga, but I read my friend’s yoga news, because she shares her world travels and spiritual experiences.

So if you’re sending out newsletters as a form of self-marketing, always ask, “What can I share about myself, and how does this help others?” I think actors make the most mistakes, when they just send a list of recent bookings. Ask yourself, how does this help others? Instead, share an on-set story, or something you learned along the way.  It doesn’t matter what you do, it matters who you are.

I Have Too Much Money

Yep, that’s my problem – I have more money than I can handle.losing-money And as long as I continue to believe that, it will forever slip through my fingers.

Over the last 5 months, I’ve taken money education classes through the Actors Fund in Los Angeles. The first seven weeks we examined our earliest money memories, our family history, our assumptions about money, and more. This was not easy, but with carefully guided homework and weekly discussions led by a professional social worker, we saw things more clearly. We discovered that while we (all artists) claimed to be broke or bad with money, none of us had the same amount of it. None of us had the same parenting around it, and none of us had the same “script”.

For years, I thought my script was one of 'Rent an auditorium and charge $39.95 a seat. Thank you for coming.'“scarcity issues”. Turns out, that’s just a catchphrase used to sell wealth seminars. When I discovered what my true script was, the clouds parted, and I was ready to take on the next phase of unearthing my real numbers. Discovering exactly what I earned and spent each month – down to the penny – was both terrifying and liberating. Louise Hay says, “In order to clean your house you have to see the dirt.”

Money is just one facet of our lives that needs identification. It also applies to our talents – if we don’t know what are talents are, we will never use them wisely. When I work with entrepreneurs and artists (one in the same, really) I say,  It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you. And we must begin with ourselves. What do I want? What kind of person do I want to be known as? What brings me joy? When we recognize who we really are, it frees us to fully express it. We no longer give away or talents, but instead we use them wisely, and life no longer slips through our fingers.



Let me share three questions that have kept me on track while keeping my eye on the prize. They have supported such goals as a 500 mile bicycle adventure, my move across country, and myValedictorian return to college at the age of 40 (just to name a few).

1. I ask myself, “Why?”

Sometimes we take on goals because we think we “should”. I should get in shape. I should go back to school. I should read more. Acting on these thoughts is usually a knee-jerk response to comparison to others. Unfortunately, there tends to be little follow-through, because we resent tasks that aren’t personal. (Were you ever forced to take music lessons? Join a sports team?) In order to succeed at any one thing, we must first ask ourselves why we want it. If our answer is dependent on the approval of others, then it’s time to reevaluate. And if we continue to ask “Why?” during the process of achieving it, our answer becomes clearer and clearer. So when taking on any new task/goal, life change, or career change, first ask, “Why do I want _____?”

2. Where do I spend my time?

The easiest way to see what we value is to review how much time (and money) we spend in certain areas. We may have made a goal to write a book, but upon examination we might discover that the time we actually spend on it is far less than the time we spend on say, working out. Maybe it’s just time to focus on getting in shape? And then ask ourselves “why” we want to get into shape. There is no “wrong” here, just clarity.

3. Is this still fun?

Nowadays, a person will change their career/job 7 times during their lifetime. But when is the right time to change? The question I always ask myself is, “Is this still fun?” As an actor, I almost always answer, yes. But when it doesn’t feel like fun, I go back to question #1 and ask myself “Why do I want (to act)?” My answer revitalizes me and usually has me exploring new options and honing my skills for the pure joy of it.

What questions help you along the way to your goals?