I’m not great at self-congratulation.
I am great at doing the work and sharing more credit with other people, whether or not they actually helped out as much as I say they did.
Was that self-congratulatory? Many apologies if so. I was trying to be self-deprecating. That happens to be my forte.
But last week I went out of my comfort zone and celebrated the premiere of The Other Client List, the web series I created, wrote, co-produce and co-star in that took about a year and a half to make into a reality.
It’s not like I worked on it all day every day for 18 months. But I did work on it a lot. And last week, I actually took a break to celebrate that work.
To be honest, it felt a little strange. All the focus and energy that went into getting the premiere up and away could have been used towards other creative projects. I could have been at home writing the book I’ve been tinkering away at for a long time. I could have been working on my new demo reel, or my new pilot, or a new character study for another project, or outlining episodes for yet another project. I had plenty I could have been doing. But I took a night to celebrate and show people the work.
I think part of the reason I’m hesitant is lingering fear. I say lingering because, for the most part, I’m pretty good at facing my fears head on when I recognize them. But there’s still a strong part of me that gets nervous when I put myself out in the world. I was nervous that it wouldn’t be well received. I was nervous that if I took time to look nice, I’d likely fall on my face and embarrass myself. I was nervous that people would be like “She spent all that time… on this?” I’m accustomed to taking risks, putting myself out there and getting rejected. It’s harder for me to get celebrated and to allow myself to be good at something. As a perfectionist and workaholic at heart, I’m always convinced I didn’t work hard enough or overlooked so many things that could have made my product better.
But last week was good for me. I told myself, as I scoured over the finished product again and again, seeing tiny fixes I wanted to make and things about my performance that I’m unsatisfied with, that I did the best I could with what I had at the time. And that’s really all we can ever ask for.
I think too often people get held up thinking something has to be perfect. I have that same inclination. For years I kept my stand up comedy offline because no performance was every good enough or I never got footage of a completed joke. But I’m slowly learn to get over it. I’d rather have a product I’m proud of online than have a thousand projects I don’t think are good enough never see the light of day. I appreciate the perfectionism and workaholic nature because they fuel and inspire me to keep doing better than the last venture. But I also respect the fact that letting them have too much influence in my life will cause me more frustration and pain than listening to them a little then letting them go.
I’m also learning how to relax and celebrate these accomplishments. The event last week was a real joy. And I enjoyed the heck out of taking an evening to gather friends and partners from all sorts of areas in my life to watch my work. I really enjoyed letting myself just let the work stand for itself. And I enjoyed people’s laughter and support. I realized that the rest of the web series will be viewed by people online, so I won’t get to hear the laughter or listen to direct responses (for the most part). So I sat back and enjoyed it. And when people said “good job,” I didn’t self-deprecate or try to downplay things. I smiled and said “Thank you.” I made sure the people who deserved credit got it, and I took credit for what I did proudly and unapologetically.
Because I did work my ass off. I put a ton of time, energy, money, and effort into this project. And it was time to celebrate that. And I wore an awesome outfit and didn’t fall flat on my face. And it all felt pretty daggum good.
But of course I have a western to finish off now and festivals to submit to and project to develop and imaginary characters to bring to life. So now it’s back to my favorite part… the work.
If you want to binge watch The Other Client List, click here: Season 1 of The Other Client List.