Sunday, May 4, 2014

Burning Bridges & CHOICE

Sunday musings...

What is burning a bridge really???

I hear that a great deal  "well I have to say yes,  because if I don't,  I might burn that bridge."

That bridge to where???

Are you even planning on taking that bridge anywhere?  Does it lead to anything stronger, more helpful,  more positive than the side you are on right now?

You have the right to say "no" to a project, for the right reasons.

Simplify WHY you say YES to  a project:  1.  The role/show is something you truly want to do  2.  The company/director/tour is something you really want to work with  3.  The money is just too good to say "NO" to   4.  The project intrigues you and you simply have to be involved

The "YES" can be any of the above, or combination of the above.

But when do you say "no"?

You don't have to say "yes" to everything that comes down the road!!  You don't want to become known as the entitled brat who turns everything down because she/he is waiting on that Broadway contract, or that chance to sing at the Met.  Guess what?  You gotta build that resume FIRST,  AND your reputation.

Saying "no" doesn't, in itself,  give you a bad reputation.  Your attitude, your work ethic, your preparedness, your interaction with others - these things count.

Sometimes,  knowing a situation is simply not a healthy one is a reason for "no".  Sometimes,  you have worked with/done that,  and really need to move on.  You don't need to give a REASON to say no,  but you can simply be cordial,  thankful for the opportunity,  but due to other commitments, you are unavailable.

Trust your gut.  If it doesn't feel right,  chances are something isn't right.  Now, granted,  it takes time to truly develop the finesse of the gut in the business of show - but even as a young performer,  you can trust your instincts.

Know your worth.  Even if a project isn't paying, or isn't paying much,  if a company still treats you with respect,  and recognizes the contribution you are making,  doesn't mean you have to say "no".

You, and only you,  can decide how to establish your business ethic,  and your boundaries.

If you are concerned about burning a bridge,  start by defining that bridge.  Does it lead anywhere other than what you may turn down?  If so,  what?  If so, where?   What is your reason for turning down the gig?

Saying "no" doesn't have to be a public performance.  In fact,  it shouldn't be.  It should be discreet, filled with discernment and measure,  with respect to all parties involved.

From a personal perspective,  "no" can be because of health,  energy,  conflicts,  life...Sometimes things are just too difficult to manage.  If your gut hesitates,  figure out why and then make a decision.  The choice is ALWAYS yours.  How you act on the choice is what has consequences - good or bad.

Ultimately,  the "burning of a bridge"  isn't about saying "no".  It is about HOW you say "no".

Graciousness and diplomacy in your business is so very important.  If you treat others with the respect you would want to be treated with,  you simply cannot burn a bridge.

If your attitude is entitled,  then you are not thinking of anything else but you,  and not in a positive light!

Make your decisions based on YOUR career.  YOUR direction.  Make your choices based on the bridges you want to take, and cross,  not on the possibility of burning one.  That will always make you look over your shoulder.  You aren't going there.

Move forward.  Be true to your commitments.  Say "no" when it is necessary.  Say "yes" when it makes sense.

Make the decision,  and begin the next step.  Rehashing choices makes us chase our tails,  and our path gets tied up,  and we may miss the next bridge.

Claim your possibility.  Claim your reason.  Claim your choice.

Leave those bridges alone,  until they are directly in front of you - and again,  CHOOSE to cross, or not.

1 comment:

  1. This is right on and something that young performers need to hear. It was a definite turning point for me once I learned to simply decline offers (politely of course) if they just weren't what I needed to do at that time. I even asked the exact same question you pose here: Where does this bridge lead?

    Besides, if you can't say no, then you will simply take on too much, and it's easy to let your quality slip and/or resentment build up towards the projects you didn't want to take. Now that will burn some bridges.