The Importance of Professionalism

Have you ever hired a person to do a job and they didn’t deliver? Were you left with the short end of the stick? How did that make you feel? Or maybe you left someone else wanting more?

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Professionalism is one of the most important qualities you can find in a person these days. Some may even say more important than talent or ability. Sometimes I wonder if people aren’t being professional because they simply don’t know how. Before your start to do business, it is vital that you understand the practices that are common to that industries professionals. These are a few reasons why we  should strive to be more professional, especially if we are in business for ourselves.

1.        It is a reflection on your and/or your company

2.        You want to deliver exactly what you promised.

3.        Being professional will get you more jobs

Your reputation precedes you. If you’re known for being late or not giving your best ability, people will talk and they will tell.  “I hired with her one time and she did absolutely nothing she said she was going to do.” The saying, “bad news spreads like wildfire” is common for a reason.  You don’t want that person to be you. No one wants to be known as a liar. It’s simple, don’t commit to something you know you can’t do. If you’re going to be late, call in advanced. Like you, people seriously value their time. Don’t waste theirs or yours. If you’re asked to do something, and you agree, deliver! And last, communicate. If there is something wrong, it is good practice to always have open lines of communication. I’ve seen many relationships (professional and personal) get strained and eventually disintegrate because people weren’t sharing semantic space. When you don’t tell someone how you feel, your opinions or what’s causing a hindrance in your performance, you leave them to assume and speculate. When people assume they almost never assume the best.
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People sometimes don’t remember exactly what you said, but they remember how you made them feel. When you deliver the goods, people feel good. They’ll always associate you with a good feeling. Sometimes those feelings can even cause a person to remember things better than they were. They can rest assured, if you’re on the job, it will be done and it will be done well.

When you establish a good working/professional relationship with someone they will share that as well. Anytime they need your services they will come to you. If they know anyone else who need your services they will refer you. Happy clients equal more clients. More clients equal more relationships and partnerships which equal more work.

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In the professional world it’s all about building relationships. People like to work with those they enjoy being around. You have to decide before you even start working, what kind of relationship do you want to have. One that’s strong, pleasurable and profitable? Or one that’s frustrating and draining. You get out what you put in.

Comment below and tell me about a time someone lost your business because their professionalism disappointed you.

Don’t end up on the casting couch!

 

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It was 2010 and I was a 20 year old senior in college. I was sitting in a somewhat uncomfortable Jury meeting with three people who all served, at some point or another as my professors, directors and mentors. It was tense and certain parts even a little hard to deal with. One of my professors asked that I submit a written code of ethics. They all agreed about their concern that I could potentially end up on someone’s “casting couch”. While, initially it was a bit offensive I later understood what they were trying to communicate. In my mind, me ending up on someone’s casting couch was NEVER an option, and it hurt a little that people I thought knew me well were unsure of that. They felt that I was naive and while this term was used to describe me a lot I regarded it with the deepest resentment. In my mind the word naïve was synonymous with foolish and unintelligent. I am a seeker of knowledge and curious by nature so I didn’t take too kindly to this stigma. But that is an entirely different story within itself.

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In the process of doing this assignment I gained an understanding. When you don’t stand for something, you can and will inevitably fall for anything. If people don’t consciously think about what they will and won’t do to get the things they want, they could end up doing things they never thought possible. Things that could cost them money, assets, relationships (professional and personal), their self-respect/dignity and the list could go on to infinity.

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When a person is strict about what they will and will not do and what they will and will not accept it is evident in the very essence of their being. That alone will cut out majority of the bull, however there are still some people who want to push the boundaries.
I challenge you, make a conscious effort to think about this. What are you not comfortable doing, even if it means you gain success, money, power and relationships? No matter what industry you are in, doesn’t matter what your dreams are. Don’t compromise, not at all! Don’t end up on your version of the “casting couch”.

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Taking care of your instruments

Would a painter leave his (or her) easel sitting out in the rain? Would a violinist not take the utmost care of his (or her) violin? When something is your livelihood you guard it, almost with your life. Being a creative performer my instruments are my voice, my body, and my mind. I have to nurture these things in the same way mother would her child.

As an actress, spoken word artist and speaker; it is very important that my voice has variety. Can it be strong when necessary? Can I project my voice to the last seat in a venue? Can I be heard and more importantly can I be understood? Do I need to work on my articulation, pronunciation and enunciation? Do I know how to use the right inflection and intonation to effectively get the point across? Can I correctly master dialect? Can I completely drop my own dialect? It’s important that I exercise my voice by doing warm-ups and other exercises. It also important to protect myself against illness by being properly nourished and wearing the proper attire during cooler weather. It’s also very important that I don’t damage my vocal cords with excessive or years of drinking and smoking which has been proven to be harmful.

My physique is also a very important part of my business. I need to have endurance, stamina and agility for times when I need to dance (and don’t mention singing simultaneously). My walk and posture need to exude confidence. No director wants to work with an actress who constantly needs affirmation and can never fully commit to a physical action because she isn’t exactly comfortable in her own skin. When you don’t love your body, it’s painfully obviously to everyone else. (Especially if your job is to study human behavior and body language.) Nobody will listen to a motivational speaker whose posture says, “I’m unhappy” or “I’m depressed”. These things are very important. I work out because I want the best instrument possible. I eat healthy because I know it’s essential that I remain energized and in good health. Eating healthy not only gives you energy but it helps your body function at it’s peak, grows healthy hair and beautiful skin that doesn’t age as quickly.

Everyone in the world has to use their mind and brainpower. Being able to quickly think critically and creatively is important. Having an interesting interpretation, a vast imagination and impressive memory is essential for cold readings, auditions, writing poems, plays and speeches. Being a creative thinker helps you get yourself out of unpleasant situations. Being innovative puts you steps ahead of your competitors. I train my brain by constantly reading and learning new things learning how to think positive and by doing creative visualization and memory exercises.

To many people this seems like too much work or maybe like huge sacrifice. I say create a paradigm shift. Have fun with it instead of viewing it as work. Enjoy it. A wise man once said, “don’t judge your success by what you have but by what you gave up to get it”.

What’s your instrument? How do you train and hone your skills?

The Artist Pledge

The ability to create is truly a God-given gift. God, the master creator, has given us all a part of himself. When a painter paints his energy he goes into every stroke of the brush.

Artistry’s purpose is to move you; inspire you; entertain you; persuade you; provoke an emotional response. Nowadays there are too many “artists” content with the profit that comes along with promoting promiscuity, violence, materialism, womanizing and drug abuse. Although art is a reflection of society, it should aid in it’s progression, not contribute to its regression.

Do people not know that the content they pushed into the world directly affects individuals, especially a young and impressionable one. Let’s use our divine talents to uplift others, realizing that this life isn’t all about you.

If you are reading this and you’re a writer, musician, instrumentalist, singer, rapper, poet or an artist of any sort I dare you to join this pledge. Pledge to inform, educate, lift the consciousness, inspire and entertain our audiences!

Join the journey

I have known I’ve wanted to be an entertainer since before I could talk. Singing and dancing for my mom and all her friends had to have gotten redundant and maybe even annoying at some point. I even auditioned for my first play at age four. But being born and raised in the wonderful delta of the great state if Mississippi did nothing to help my chances of entering the performing arts industry.

Now at age 23 I’m ready to launch my career as an actress, writer, producer and director. I don’t have much experience or connections but I have a whole lot of passion. Marry passion with hard work and persistent dedication and I’m sure to get somewhere, right? I absolutely love the arts.(visual, performance, audio EVERYTHING) I want a hand in every aspect of the arts; live/recorded theatre, film, music, spoken word, any and everything I can do, I will do it. Even things I can’t.(but to the best of my ability of course) behind the scenes, in the office and center stage.

I’m going to be trying new things and creating my own opportunities. Join me in this exciting journey. Share some laughs, see and enjoy overwhelming heights and experience ground breaking lows; maybe we’ll even learn something together. 😉 It is and will always be the process that matters most, not the destination.