How do I stay Motivated?
Updated: Jul 29
When I was a little kid, my mom told me "Shara, you have to realize that you have more energy than most people." I was told over and over that I'm an overachiever and that I do so much, but honestly it never feels that way. When you work in an industry that if you sneeze they forget about you, sometimes it can feel like a rat race just to catch up. How do you stay motivated? I find a few things to be really important here. You need to love what you are doing. You need to treat it like a job. You also need to have more energy than most people. How do you do that though?
You need to love what you are doing. Do you remember being a kid and riding your bike around the neighborhood with your friends and the day just flew by and before you knew it your mom was yelling across the neighborhood "Shara, you have to come in and wash your head!!!!!" ? Maybe this siren call was just my personal experience, but the point is the day just flew by. Why did it do this? Because I was having fun! They say time flies and it really is true. Now, when I'm on a treadmill just to "exercise" and I don't have a TV or iTunes or something to distract me beyond the clock those minutes just last forever. The point of this is all is if you're not enjoying what you're doing, don't do it. We spend too much of our lives doing that thing we do for work, and as far as we all know we only have this one life to make use of it. It's better when you're having fun. I make a lot of content and act a lot, because I genuinely love doing it. There is no better feeling than researching a character and learning something I never knew before, walking around in someone else's shoes, and then making an audience feel something be it empathy or catharsis or sheer and utter joy. I love it, so it makes it easy to WANT to do it.
You need to treat it like a job. Malcolm Gladwell talks about the 10,000 theory in his book "Outliers". The theory goes, if you spent 10,000 hours doing something, you're going to be an expert. The book highlights people like Bill Gates and the Beatles and how the right set of circumstances arose for them to achieve this. This way of looking at it all takes all the willy nilly fru fru stuff out of the equation. Actors don't work 40 hour work weeks unless they are on a major film or TV show or Broadway and booking regularly to sustain this. The way I look at it is, if I want something to be my job, I need to treat it as such. That means 40 hours dedicated to my career each week whether someone is paying me for it or not. It all contributes to my 40 hours, and that 10,000 hour mastery. If someone isn't paying you, make your own work, read a book (like Mr. Gladwell's), take a class, watch a video online, practice, have coffee with someone you can learn something from, go to an event, etc. It all compounds on itself. Motivation really isn't something you need to be inspired to do, but just make a decision to do it. Put in the work. During the Pandemic, a lot of people are struggling with staying motivated because no one else is demanding something on them. This is why I created "The Homemade Sketch Show", so I would be accountable to myself. If we have a new show every week, then I need to make a new sketch every week. I made my own deadlines. Even as I'm writing this blog post, I know I have a sketch to do that I'm procrastinating creating. (I'm not perfect!) However, because I created my deadline and have a group of people counting on me, and an audience waiting for it, I have to do it. It's that simple.
My husband tells me all the time "Shara, you have more energy than most people." He knows the real secret to it all though! Sleep. I may not keep "regular" hours as most nine to fivers, but I always get my sleep. If I stay up till 4am. I wake up at noon. If I go to bed early, I get up early. If I have a deadline that forces me to not get my sleep, I take a nap. When we sleep it is when our bodies heal and repair. If we are learning something (like lines for a script) sleep is when those things will all come together. If you have a choice to study your lines twice at night or once at night and once in the morning, always choose the option that involves sleep. You will remember it so much better.
When you work in a field that if you sneeze, they will forget about you make sure to treat it like a job, get your sleep, and for the love of all things good in the universe, please please please love it. It is the only way to sustain and grow and keep your sanity doing it.
Things that Help Get a Good Night Sleep:
Books I Love on Putting in the Work: