There is a stereotype out there about the younger generation being lazy, and unfortunately, I’ve seen it to be true.
Between emails, my LA Bounders membership, and my live webinars, I am constantly interacting with people who expect things to be done for them. And it drives me crazy.
I’ve been racking my brain about how to educate this generation without sounding like a total dick. I’ve been struggling so much, that I thought I should stop serving them altogether, and no longer help them move to LA to go after their dreams.
But I feel that it is my purpose to help people, so what good would it do by keeping quiet?
This generation is going to move to LA and try to pursue their dream, and fail miserably because they are so attached to their own laziness. I don’t want that to happen. I genuinely want people to make it. I want people to live their highest potential and be happy doing it.
So I am going to have to practice “Tough Love”—something at which I do not excel. I’m like the poster child for positivity and inspiration. I rarely practice tough love. But if I’m going to shed any light for this generation, and prepare them to conquer Los Angeles and make their wildest dreams a reality, I’m going to have to step outside of my comfort zone. I’m going to have to show them some tough love. Because this isn’t about me, and how it makes me feel. It’s about them, and helping them achieve their dreams.
And with my first act of tough love, I’ll start by switching the word “them” to “you”.
It’s easier for me to write this as if it’s not for you. As if it’s for “them”, in fear that I may insult you.
But even if you’re not between the ages of 18 and 24, you may still need to hear this, too.
So, I’m going to put on my Tough Love mask, and speak to you.
It's Time To Get Responsible
Let me start by saying, this is not about walking 20 miles in the snow to get to school.
This is not about, “When I was your age, we didn’t have iPads!” (and I apologize for how ridiculous that sounds to the generation that preceded me. Make no mistake, I am eternally grateful for cell phones and color television!).
This is simply about responsibility and how it pertains to your career, and “making it” in your professional life.
I’ve been a relatively responsible human being my entire life, but it wasn’t until I read Jack Canfield’s Success Principles that I truly paid attention to it’s role. I want to share this excerpt with you:
“If you want to create the life of your dreams, then you are going to have to take 100% responsibility for your life as well. That means giving up all your excuses, all your victim stories, all the reasons why you can’t and why you haven’t up until now, and all your blaming of outside circumstances. You have to give them all up forever.”
This had a profound impact on me, as I finally understood that I am solely responsible for my life. When things don’t go my way, I can’t blame anyone or anything but myself. Jack’s concept of E + R = O (Event + Response = Outcome), states that how we respond to events is what will determine our outcome. We may not be able to control all events in our life, but we can take responsibility for how we respond to them.
Jack goes on to explain the power of responsibility in your life, and how it breaks down on a larger scale.
While I think you should definitely read this chapter in his book (it’s Chapter 1 because it’s that important), I’ve decided to break it down on a much smaller scale, how it may pertain to you going after your dreams in LA.
So here is a list of things you should be doing, despite your natural tendency to expect things to be done for you:
1. Check your email.
That seems so obvious to me, but apparently it’s not obvious to you. I understand, if you’re fresh out of school, you may not be used to email as a major form of communication. In the entertainment industry, and I presume most professional industries, email has become extremely important. You’re expected to check your email often, especially now that we all have phones that alert us when an email comes in. You no longer have an excuse to say, “Oh, I didn’t see your email.”
2. Learn some email etiquette.
You don’t have to write as if you’re emailing the Queen of England, but please try to be respectful. Spell people’s names correctly—especially if their name is part of their email address and is therefore, staring you in the face. Use punctuation and capitalization. Write in full sentences (in real words, not emojis). Spell words out instead of using the slang shortened text version. The moral of the story here: effort.
3. Put things in your calendar.
When you schedule a meeting, or even a phone call with a mentor, or a prospective boss, or even a friend, please put it in your calendar. Yes, you. We can’t come over and write it in your calendar for you. You’re a big kid now, and you can write it in your own calendar. If you miss an event because you forgot, you should have no excuse. It’s up to you to remember, so do whatever you need to do to remind yourself. Especially if you’re meeting with a potential employer or someone who is offering to help you. If you flake out, they will likely never offer to help you again.
And if something comes up, let the person know ahead of time. Speaking of things coming up…
4. Commit to your commitments.
Look, I know FOMO is real and out there. But the real FOMO (by the way, for those of you who are slang-challenged, that’s “Fear Of Missing Out”), is when you skip a commitment that could propel your career forward. If you have a meeting scheduled with someone who is going to help you in any way, don’t flake, or ask to reschedule a million times because you were invited to a cool party, or something that seems “better”. Not only is it disrespectful to the person who is going out of their way to help you, but it’s disrespectful to yourself. It says that you don’t respect your own time.
5. Show up on time.
My whole life I've always been late. I am the worst. And I really hate that about myself. So for the past several years, I have worked on changing this. Now, I'm almost always on time. When I'm running late, it's usually for something that I don't care much about, therefore I don't put in as much effort to be on time.
But your dream career is something you should care about. So when you get the opportunity to meet a mentor for coffee, or shadow somebody, or even your first job in the industry, please, please, please show up on time. And by "on time" I mean early. When you're late, it looks really bad. And there will always be consequences: whether it's getting fired, getting knocked down a level, or no longer getting the help you thought you were getting. If you know you're going to be late (LA traffic is the worst...) then let the person know as soon as possible. And apologize.
6. Do your homework.
I know, I know. School is over. You thought you'd never have to do homework again. But when you’re going after any dream, it’s going to require research. And effort. You may need to Google things. You may need to practice things. You’ll definitely need to put effort into things, and you have to get rid of the mindset that someone will do this work for you.
LA is a competitive city. If you’re not willing to step up and put the effort in, you’re going to be weeded out quickly.
I understand that for whatever reason, this form of responsibility is rare for you. But if you continue to be lazy, and not accept responsibility, you won’t make it in LA, and I won’t be able to help you with anything I teach.
Look, going after a big dream is going to require work. It's going to require a certain level of effort that goes well beyond what you're used to. The 6 things I've outlined here are basics—basics that should be applied to even the simplest career. If you can't master these 6, then you're not ready to move up to the next level of "Dream Job".
Breathe. (That's for me.) Whew, that was a lot of tough love.
But you know what I get to say now?
You've got this.
We all have bad habits. And we are all capable of breaking those bad habits.
All it takes is two steps: 1) awareness and 2) consistent effort for 30-90 days.
New habits don't form overnight. But a month will fly by and feel overnight.
So for the next 30 days, pay attention to these 6 things. Take action. Better yourself. Show the world that you are ready to make your dreams happen.
And then go and get it.