As we ride the beautiful waves of what we call life, we encounter inevitable highs and lows. I've encountered my fair share of both and believe it or not, this photo of me mean-mugging with my "game face" inspired me to share with you the lessons that I've learned about how to persevere through the tough times. I want to make sure that you don't miss out on your pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but only after we have weathered the storm.
“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”
― Maya Angelou
3 Secrets to Perseverance
Secret #1: Ask for help and support when you need it
There are times when I feel like giving up. When my certainty about my career path and lifestyle wanes. I don't get the callback, I don't land the fashion campaign, I get a my gazillionth parking ticket, I get a pimple, I get homesick, or whatever it may be that just makes me have a bad day or feel overwhelmed about life. I'm human and it happens to all of us. But in these moments when my certainty is weak is when I lean on my family and friends for love, support, comfort, and help.
The key to preserving through the storms and the lows of life is knowing that you are not alone and that you don't have to always be strong or pretend that everything is ok. For me, I call my mom and my sisters and I gchat with my best friends on the East Coast, I confide in them what's bringing me down and they have this uncanny way of saying exactly what I need to hear to help to keep moving forward. Sometimes the easiest way to get through a tough time is just ask for a shoulder to lean on.
Secret #2: Put on your game face when the going gets tough
We can't predict nor can we control how things will go, but what we can control is how we react when negative situations arise. A few months ago my manager set-up a meeting with me and a potential new agent. I had spent the morning prepping for the meeting - head shot (check), resume (check), make-up done (check), outfit on (check), elevator pitch down (check).
Feeling pretty confident I walk outside my apartment to find that my car had been towed. For those of you that live in Los Angeles, you know how gangster the parking restrictions are here. My heart fell out my chest, my eyes started to tear up, my palms got sweaty, and I literally thought I was going to pass out.
I always leave early for my meetings, especially with LA traffic, but I was pushing it close with time. Did I Uber to my meeting and then figure out how to get my car? Did I cancel my meeting altogether and deal with my car situation? Did I get my car first? How much was this going to set me back?
I took a deep breath, pushed back the tears, and called the towing company. It was going to set me back 200 bones plus the $83 ticket, that alone was enough for a borderline nervous breakdown let alone the pressure of being late to my meeting or even worse canceling. Deciding that come hell or high water, I was going to not only make my meeting, but I was also going to crush it. I hopped in an Uber, picked-up my car, and jetted off to my meeting. I made just in the nick of time (thank you to the travel gods), wiped my sweaty hands on my jeans, did a quick make-up check, smiled to myself in the rearview mirror, and went in and rocked my meeting.
I ended up signing with that agent and I have been extremely happy with him ever since. The moral of the story is that you cannot let the set-backs that life can throw at you knock you off of your game. If I had rescheduled the meeting, would it have gone the same way? A lot of "the breaks" in this business are due to timing. What if I allowed my car being towed and having to fork over $300, to distract me during my meeting? Your reputation is paramount and being a basket case in important meetings will not serve you well. So you have to put on your game face no matter what is going on behind-the-scenes and keep moving forward.
Secret #3: Don't be afraid to change your course
One thing my older sister told me that has always stuck with me was, "There is more than one way to your dream." And I choose to believe that, especially in the entertainment, fashion, and creative industries. There are no rules or one singular path to your goals, dreams, and successes.
This belief allows me to be flexible in my career and life pursuits. I can embark on new passions and avenues for fulfillment without the pressure of trying to fit into a certain mold, so when things don't necessarily go as planned, it's easier to shake it off, course-correct, and keep it moving. Additionally, just because my path doesn't look like someone else's that doesn't mean that I'm not headed to exactly where I need to be. It just means that this is my journey and I get to decide which roads to take.
Moreover, instead of fearing change or worrying about "failure" I choose to embrace it. I know that "failing" in one project is just the way of life giving me information (the events) and wisdom (the lessons learned from the experience) to empower me to move in a new direction that will inevitably allow me to be a better version of myself than I would have been if you had stayed in the same place that I was.
This is the essence of growth and all growth is uncomfortable at first but when you look back at how far you have come, you have no choice but feel grateful for the beautiful journey. It can get hard to see the glimmer of light, of hope, of relief, at the end of the tunnel. But I promise you, that if you keep moving forward through inspired action, you will get there - and more importantly, you will get there stronger, wiser, and better for it.