In the past, when people asked me what I did for a living, I used to tell them “I work at an ice cream shop, but I want to be an actress and filmmaker.” I have since learned that I should never, ever, under any circumstances, phrase it like that.
This is why: the first thing I listed was that I worked in an ice cream shop, which implied that ice creaming came first in my life. I made it sound like my job was the more important component. I ended, shamefully, muttering to the floor, avoiding eye contact, with “I want to be an actress and filmmaker”. I did not want to deal with the judgment thrown at me by people who consider me to be beneath them for choosing to spend my life in the entertainment industry. So, I acted like it was the least important bit of information in my response.
But, the most crucial part of what I said was that I used the word “want”. “I want to be an actress and filmmaker.” This is a self-fulfilling prophecy: when using the word “want”, you make it a wish; a dream, a hope. Not in the present. It will always be in your future.
Remember, your words become reality.
In the days when I used this phrasing, I was miserable. I would dread going to work, because I had come to believe that I would be there for the rest of my life. I resented the job. I also felt completely, utterly, hopelessly bound to it as my main source of my income. It had made me so exhausted that I was finding it difficult to work on filmmaking outside of work. I felt trapped, stressed out, and hopeless.
That’s when I had the realization: ice cream was my job, not my career. It was a means to an end; it was a way to finance my career until I could use my career to finance my career. I wouldn’t be lost without it, because the sole purpose of having a job is to get a paycheck. My career is what I do when I’m not at my job. It’s what every spare second is dedicated to; it’s what I squeeze into all the nooks and crannies in my life. My job is my obligation; my career is my need. And, if I go at it long enough, my career and my job will become one.
Once I realized all of this, I completely changed my phrasing. Now I say “I am a filmmaker. I also work at an ice cream shop on the side.” So, I flipped “filmmaker” to the front, changed “want” to “am”, and added the ice cream shop almost as an afterthought. Always put what’s most important to you first. My change of mindset has sparked a change in my life.
Now, I view my job as a wonderful advantage; I get to make people happy with ice cream and change their days for the better! Then, when I go home, I am able to leave the stresses of my job at the shop and spend the rest of my time dedicated to doing what I love. I now have more filmmaking opportunities because of it. Much of my stress melted away. And, best of all, I have become so, very happy. I love my life now, and I look forward to the day when my career will also be my job.