I had an experience yesterday that humbled me and made me let go of some old thoughts about my past. As a result, I can no longer kid myself about having not made it as a professional actress.
Three of the most successful actors who went to school with me at the University of Houston Theatre Department came to Houston yesterday to honor Mr. Cecil Pickett, one of the most beloved acting teachers that UH ever had. Mr. Pickett was a true genius at directing and teaching acting. His teachings were as excellent as any of the modern day acting coaches who became famous in New York. And we all knew it, even in the 1970’s when I was in his classes.
Dennis Quaid, Brett Cullen and Robert Wuhl shared the stage with Pickett’s daughter Cindy Pickett who also has made a name for herself in movies and in soap operas. The four of them reminisced about the training they received from Mr. Pickett, the tough criticism and the brilliant methods he taught. Their stories brought back my own memories of being in Mr. Pickett’s classes, reminding me of how fortunate I was to have been his student for three years. I learned so much that I later passed on to hundreds of my own acting students.
Here’s the humbling part. None of them remembered me. Although I was in the same classes with them, they did not seem to recall my name or face. It made me confront the fact that I had not fully shown up in those classes. I did not have the same level of commitment to stand out that they had. It would be easy to say I just did not have the same level of talent that they did. But that is not really it. The truth is that I was too scared at that time in my life to take the risks that they did.
The other big lesson for me came from Dennis and Brett who both said that they had been committed to succeed as actors. They would not take no for an answer. While Brett got a TV series within two weeks of moving to LA, Dennis waited a year to get and agent and then another year before getting a role in a movie. Neither gave up no matter what happened. Brett revealed that he has been financially broke several times, but would not quit.
I on the other hand gave up way too soon! I did not have their commitment to succeed at acting professionally. I do not make myself wrong for this, I just need to be honest with myself about it. My commitment has been to self-awareness and spiritual psychology. I have been 100% committed to transform my life and to help others transform through teaching acting, voice, public speaking and communication skills.
It was a great experience to see my classmates talk about their success and the struggles that they encountered along the way. I am proud to say I knew them, even if they don’t remember me. And I am glad to come to terms with the fact that I took another path.
So, what have you been committed to that has brought you to where you are now? And is there anything you need to acknowledge that you did not do or become because you were not really committed to it after all?