I'm thrilled to welcome John Campbell as this week's Guest Artist. John and I have been working together for awhile now and he's one of our most active WAG Artists. John shares a story of vulnerability, discovery and ultimately new adventures. I was honored to be his coach along this journey and am so excited for his new venture, The Sandbox Actor's Studio. We have a special offer at the end of this post, so check it out!
When Krista asked me to be a guest writer for this blog, to say I was excited, would be one way to put it. She is a mentor, a friend and a strong light in my life. When people like that come into your life and then ask for your thoughts, well…you say yes…then go do happy dance while simultaneously wondering why me?
So, here we go. How did I get here?
It wasn’t easy…and it was. Wait, what? Finding my purpose, my path, my____fill in the blank. Having known Krista for some time now, one of the things she promises is that things will change. Always change. It is her one guarantee that things can and will get messy and change. And it’s a great promise. Because life isn’t "color by numbers", it’s a little more Picasso abstractionism meets a 2 year old with marker and blank walls. (Yes, I have pictures of that too) That’s what's great about it. As actors, as people, too often we get in this mindset that things should be one way. That if I take certain steps in certain orders a specific outcome will happen. If I get headshots, then an agent, then I’ll work. Mehp. If I get headshots, a great reel, a new agent, then I’ll get work. Mehp. I’ve learned those lessons. They are tough ones to swallow. Your headshots, your reel, your agent can only do so much. Sometimes, most of the time, it’s about what else are you putting out into the world? What are you doing or working on that will create your own work? And work gets work. Work gets work.
So…about this time last year, I quit my job. It was for all intents and outwardly appearances a decent job. One I’d given the company 12 years of servitude and countless 70+ hour weeks and late night phone calls to cover overnight shifts. But those weren’t, ultimately what got me to leave of my own volition. The company changed and my inner fire, my inner purpose for being there, was gone. It was a good job, but my soul was literally disappearing. I was angry all the time and put on a lot of weight. I was unhealthy in the health industry. So, I made a major change and left. Literally for the unknown.
I figured if I left, the universe would help me pick up the pieces. The universe that was telling me in a loud voice inside to follow my passion would take care of me. So, I made some other changes. But, it took me 6 months to decompress from 12 years of corporate life. To feel, the tension dissipate, the headaches to go away, the checking of email that was no longer coming to stop. But, my passion, the reason for leaving never picked up. Auditions weren’t coming. Nothing was coming. Why wasn’t it coming? I did what I was supposed to do dangit.
Well, almost. In my life, the universe has never handed me anything. I grinded and and put in countless added time to play baseball through college and in Europe. I worked my tail off to save so I could get to Vancouver for acting conservatory. The universe has always shown me a path, but I had to beat the path down to get through it. I don’t know why I thought this would or should be any different. It isn’t. I’m still in the middle of it. Beating down a path. Working to get work.
But, as I finally got back on that path, as I’m chopping down branches and moving boulders in the way, I realized a big part of my path wasn’t just to act. What I loved in my previous career was being a coach. Being a leader, a guide and cheerleader for others. Showing others what they are capable of doing themselves. I lost that it my other career and that’s why my soul was dying. I’m a coach. I am almost never more alive and myself than when I’m coaching. In ANY manner. I love coaching acting. I love coaching sports. Heck, I love coaching my 6-year son on the deeper meanings of Star Wars. But, in my haze of bewilderment as to why the universe wasn’t giving me what I wanted, it was showing me what I needed. What fills my soul and my purpose. To help others. To coach.
So, I’m now the owner of my own acting studio. The Sandbox. Three days in. It’s terrifying. But, regardless of the future, I know my path. I know why I’m there. I know what it took to get there. And the work is just beginning. I know that. But, work gets work. The universe will never ever just give you what you think you want. You have to work and sometimes grind, but it will always give you the path to what you need.
And as Krista promised so long ago (at least it feels like so long ago), things will get messy. They should. Because somehow, it’s only then that we are truly capable of listening. In the mess that comes from our knowing what we want and what we can’t take anymore.
So go, find your why. Struggle. Struggle some more. Get messy. It’s ok. Your Sandbox is out there.