The Hollywood School for Success and Happiness

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(This article was originally posted in The Indie Chicks Magazine 10/30/13)

No huge secret: it’s tough to make it in show business. The thing no one tells you: it’s tough to survive on a daily basis in show business, to stay healthy, happy, inspired and sane. I may not have “made it” in Hollywood just yet, but I have learned a thing or two about survival. On my quest for my dreams, success and contentment, I’ve learned many a lesson the hard way. I hope I can help you cut a few corners on your quest, regardless of your profession or location. So here you go, the tips and tricks on getting ahead while not losing your head courtesy of The University of Hollywood. You didn’t get it from me.

It’s Not Who You Know, It’s Who Knows YOU
People love to throw around that old adage, “It’s who you know.” But the truth is, lots of people move out here without knowing anyone and do big things! So don’t get all bent outta shape because someone is the boss’s daughter (or girlfriend). Instead, focus on not only getting to know people, but also working hard and building an awesome reputation for yourself. Do the work, be cool and easy going in the process and more work will follow.

Be a “Yes” Person
In other words, get out there. When people invite you places, GO. Go even if you don’t know them very well and it could be awkward. Yes, even if you don’t feel like getting up or getting ready or you had a long day. Listen to Nike and JUST DO IT. You might make a new friend, discover a cool spot, make a new business contact, and have some good food, whatever! It builds character and enriches your life, even if it’s just about getting in the habit of doing something spontaneous or scary. Plus, it’s cool to be the person that shows up. People that show up are a dying breed. In LA, they are practically unheard of.

You Don’t Need a Million Friends
Be cool with everyone, but not everyone needs to be your BFF. It’s OK to peace out on friendships that aren’t adding value to your life. Limit your friends to the people, who support you, make you laugh, and inspire you. When you have big goals and lots of work to do, it’s quality not quantity when it comes to your circle. It’s ok to give priority to the people that make you feel good.

Dress the Part
There’s a great saying: “There are no ugly women, just lazy women.”

Don’t be lazy. Put in the effort: do your hair, put on your makeup, and wear that cute outfit. I know some of you are hating this one, but hear me out: I’m not saying girlify yourself to attract a man or impress a woman. Do it because it makes you feel confident. When you look your best and know it, you can’t help but feel great! You walk with a swing in your step. You smile more. Who doesn’t want to be around that?

Don’t Be a Hater
So you know somebody who just skates by without working hard/putting in the time/having any talent – whatever. We all do. It’s annoying, it’s frustrating, and it probably makes you feel like throwing in the towel. And complaining. A lot. And being generally negative about them, yourself, the business, and life, but don’t. Fight the urge. Everyone is on their own path. You are exactly where you are meant to be right now. Brad Pitt was the El Pollo Loco Chicken on the street corner while trying to make it. The Good Wife star Julianna Margulies waited on a very famous (and very rude) Julia Roberts while she was a struggling actress in New York. You’re going to get yours. Don’t be a rain-cloudy drag in the process. Celebrate other people’s successes and know that it’s going to be that much sweeter when it’s time to celebrate yours.

Be Your Own Biggest Fan
Speilberg got rejected from film school 3 times. Disney was told a mouse would never work. Seinfeld was booed off stage. Most people would shrug, say they gave it a good shot, and switch careers. Not because they no longer want it, but because the world has told them it’s just not happening. The truth is, the more you want something, the more obstacles you will face. So start building that thick skin and tell yourself that in the process of fighting for greatness you will be criticized but the only one that can stop you is YOU. You deserve that role, dammit, because you’re awesome and work hard. So study, get good. And know, in your heart, that you’ve got what it takes.

So there you go! I hope I’ve illuminated some concepts, or at least reminded you of those you already know. No matter what you’re aiming for, whether it be a promotion, weight loss or meeting The One, my hope is that you continue on and keep your head up. Your dreams are for the taking.

I think you’re ready. Next week you’ll be advancing to level 2. Let’s get a little deeper, a little more personal for your second lesson at The University of Hollywood.

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