Do you feel stuck right now? Believe it or not the answer may already be right in front of you. A friend of mine who has been trying to produce his first movie for more than a year recently came to me and said he was giving up. Nothing was working and he was sure that he was now doomed to a life of failure. Maybe he just didn't have talent? Maybe the cards were just stacked against him, and life just doesn't work out for the little guy? Those are both easy defaults. They are the royal announcements for an upcoming pity party of magnificent proportions. I've thrown a few of those parties myself.
But do they really help us? Is hitting bottom like this just the world's way of showing us what no-talent, meaningless people we are in this huge unfriendly universe? I don't think so. I am very confident that my friend has talent and that he can succeed. As of this very moment, in fact, he is back on track and moving along just fine.
So what happened? He let go. What? HE LET GO! After completely melting down, he came to the realization that he had been trying to force everything to happen on his timetable in the way he envisioned it. Once he melted down and the smoke cleared, he remembered something. A year ago a trusted friend had given him some advice, advice which was now very relevant and useful. At the time he had received it, however, he didn't give it a second thought. At that point he was polite enough, but the the suggestion was immediately buried under the "I know what I'm doing" myths bouncing around his head.
Financial and motivational guru Harv T. Eker often says that the words "I know that" comprise the most dangerous sentence in the universe. Why? Because once we are convinced that we know something, we are more likely to close our minds to new ideas. After all, if we already know everything on the subject, why explore other possibilities?
My friend's meltdown brought him to a place of being willing to say, "I may NOT know something." He then remembered the advice he had previously been given, and began exploring it. Then he discovered real solutions to his problems. He's still a bit sore about the fact that he had this information a year ago and didn't make use of it, but at least he is now moving.
As you all know I have had some roadblocks to my production and I've been very open about them because I want to help others and writing about them helps me. Not too long ago I sat with my trusted advisor, John Mashni, and after taking a deep breath admitted that I had been saying "I know that" for far too long when I obviously was missing something. I was ready to see things from a new perspective and I sit here today a little better person and certainly a better producer because of it.
Are you sitting there saying, "I'm stuck! Why aren't there any answers or solutions to my situation?" Well, maybe the answers are actually right in front of you, but you need to let go and be open to seeing them. Yes, you can argue with me that you are trying to see them, and they just aren't there. If you can't see them, you aren't ready for them. But take heart. They are there and you WILL find them. I did.
Lynne M. Smelser is an executive producer and scriptwriter. For more than 20 years she has been an active writer who has won many national awards. She also holds a Ph.D. in English from Michigan State University.