If you haven't heard, Nate Parker took two years off of his acting career to make his film "Birth of a Nation" which is the story of the Nat Turner slave revolt. _The Great Debaters_ star was the hot, young actor everyone assumed would be the new Denzel Washington. So when he told his agents that he was quitting acting for two years to finished the film he wrote/directed/starred in, his agents/managers were in a panic with all their fears:
"If you stop acting, your career will flop, you'll never work again; you'll lose momentum, no one will remember you when you try to come back...blah, blah, blah...You SHOULD not do this."
How often do you make life decisions based on what people tell you will happen if you follow your gut instead of following the rules of the game that everyone else is following?
How many times do you chose the SHOULDS instead of your heart's desire?
Those rules or the SHOULDS are fine as long as they're working for you.
But when they're not, then what do you have to lose, by following your heart?
Your heart is actually always telling you what you really want, we just find it safer to listen to others and their fear of breaking rules that ain't helping nobody anyway.
This is true of my family swearing I must become a lawyer, I must settle for someone 'okay' and get married before 30 or die. None of that shit happened and I'm still here: happy and living the life I always dreamed about in my manhattan artist loft drinking wine with brillant friends and lovers. Because I put the story of my life ahead of the story that others had for me that was based on their fear.
I was acting from a place of my joy, my bliss, not my fear of what might happen if I didn't do what everyone else was doing.
That's exactly what Nate Parker did. He re-wrote his story. He stopped the endless auditions for action flicks that would make him tons of money, but were not the kind of work he wanted to do to create a career that would tell a story about his people. He wanted to write a story that redefined what "Birth of a Nation" (originally a 1914 racist film about the Klan) and instead, made a story about black liberation and self-determination. No Hollywood studio was going to call him in to audition for a film about Nat Turner the way Nate Parker wanted it to be told.
He wasn't running around passing out petitions to boycott the Oscars because he wasn't letting the actions of others define his purpose.
He wasn't COMPLAINING which is an act that comes from rage and powerlessness. Instead, he took his future into his own hands and made something from the heart. Something worthy of his talent, intellect and purpose.
The result was standing ovations at Sundance and a $17.5 million dollar film deal. I really don't need to say anything else...do I?
Next time, you find yourself complaining...
1. Who would I be without my problems?
2. What would you do, if you had all the time in the world, all the money in the world?
Let's start to answer that question by breaking it down into smaller, more manageable parts.
What is the story of who you're supposed to be?
1. What did you dream of being when you were a little kid?
2. When did that dream go away?
3. What was the one event that you can recall most vividly where you learned that what you dreamed of was somehow wrong, or not enough?
4. Who or what taught you this?
5. How did your dreams change after that event?
This was the first time someone else's story of who you're supposed to be trumped yours
Remember this idea from my TED Talk: Re-Write Your Story?
If not, Click here to listen to April's TED Talk.
Then come back and answer these questions.
Please feel free to comment in the blog or send me your answers to AprilYvetteThompsonCoaching@gmail.com.
I'd love to get at the root of these moments where your dreams got derailed. So we can find a way to get back on the underground railroad to freedom. That railroad will set you free because it will put you back on the path to your heart's desire which is where your purpose, your joy, your certainty live...
It's a real cool place, this place called freedom...
Love, Light & Power,
April & TheDreamingOutLoud Team
is a Tony-winning producer/writer/actor & CEO of TheDreamUnLocked: Boutique Coaching for Actors, Writers & Dreamers