Wow. This topic really causes me to think back to my entire career; first as an actor and then as a director/producer and writer. In my own career, confidence, or the lack of it, has been the major killer coupled with trying too hard, which reeks of desperation. When I was younger, I wanted to be successful so badly that I became a less than nice person at times. I was consumed with competition. As I have aged and continued to grow within my art, I have become more comfortable labeling myself as an artist, letting my work speak for itself, and recognizing that the value of my work will be created over my entire lifetime, as opposed to through a moment's recognition. But it is still difficult and I work on it everyday. I was talking with one of my business partners recently about where we have come. Both of our resumes are pretty impressive, and yet we always feel that around the corner someone is going to poke a hole in us, like the big secret will be let out of the bag - that we really have NO talent! This is a rather common occurrence among artists I have come to find, but the point here is that such fear can be very detrimental to the growth of the work.
From what I have seen in the industry, it's typically the nicest people who rise to the top. People who are not burdened with the immediacy of success. They have an easier time living in and appreciating the moment and that makes them a pleasure to work with. I have a very strong memory of Zachary Levi, who I met through mutual friends in LA when he was on Less than Perfect. He actually came out and spoke at a workshop for artists that we had created. At that time, Zach wanted to shoot feature film he had been working on for awhile and we sat down a few times to discuss our group producing it for him. While that never materialized, I always thought of Zach as one of the nicest guys I had ever met. It's easy to see why his career has exploded in the last couple of years. He's just a guy that everyone would love to work with: kind, intelligent, strong but empathetic. A guy you could relate to. Another actress I have known for some time is Annie Wersching, new star of 24 this season (season 8). I went to college with Annie and was friendly with her when she moved out to LA. Though I was never a super close friend of Annie's she was always such a blast to hang out with. Silly, sweet, sassy, sexy and sophisticated. She's good people. And good things happen to good people.
Here are a few ways to stay balanced:
1. Forgive yourself when your art is imperfect.
2. Allow yourself to celebrate when your art moves people.
3. Never stagnate - always push yourself to grow in new ways.
4. Practice your art every single day.
5. Step away from your art every single day.
6. Promote your art every single day - you deserve to be successful.