A few months back I published a Productivity Prescription that was equal parts encouragement and a new determination for myself. It basically prescribes, 4 hours of Peak Performance activity in the morning, 3 hours of Peak Performance activity in the afternoon, and specific time intervals for meals, exercise, and checking in.
At the time that it was written, it hadn't quite been fulfilled but it served as a guide for how I wanted to structure my days. If I had to rate myself on a scale from 1-10 (10 being "Nailed it") based on how my typical day goes, I would say 7. Certainly, there are a few days that are 10s and some that are 5s. But, previous to writing that prescription, it was a consistent 4 or less. (I should qualify that score: 4 or less on days that I didn't have a rehearsal, or a performance scheduled.)
The point is, that I have finally been able to actualize the very simple wisdom of, "just keep moving forward" in my own life. Daily or Weekly To-Do lists are magical! They have served as a way to visualize my objectives and tasks, order them, hold myself accountable, and acknowledge where I stand on accomplishing them. I love an empty checkbox... about half as much as I love checking it! I have to say, the old-school pencil and paper route is the way to go here. It's more kinetic.
A friend of mine recently commented on my IG story, "You are so motivated! I need help with that." For me it's really about finding a balance between determining to move forward, even if just by one small step on a tough day, and giving myself a break by acknowledging the accomplishments that I have accumulated on a given goal. Some days I'm going to give 110%, and forget to eat, and get cramps in my fingers, and stress my eyeballs. Other days just setting one main goal that MUST be met, no matter what, is all I have to offer beyond the normal demands of the day.
I recently talked to a guy who had been working extremely hard on a national campaign for an organization I am affiliated with. I watched as he pushed himself to the limit, month after month, topping the list in all the categories among his peers. It was tiring just observing all of his efforts. (And inspiring. It forced me to question if there was maybe a little more that I can do too.) After a hugely successful event, I had a chance to congratulate and thank him for his incredible efforts. And to my shock, he confessed that he once considered himself the laziest person he knew, that he was the best at avoiding work. I couldn't believe it. His secret was to attach his efforts in the organization to specific goals he wanted to achieve in other areas of his life. He self-incentivized! But what really changed was his determination.
I have SO many big goals. And sometimes its tough to see the forest for the trees. But I finally get it now. It's about breaking the big goals down into actionable smaller steps. And ticking them off, one at a time.
One page at a time.
One person at a time.
One to-do at time.
One step after the other. Like a little engine on a track.
There's some great printable To-Do lists online. Here's one I like:
enisha b jane
In my own words.
Seven whole years. It's been 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, SEVEN years since I moved to Los Angeles this week. It's difficult to quantify that much time having already passed... partly because time feels more like a construct in a climate like this one--it goes from a dry summer to a brisk fall. No winter. No rainy season. But also because, like this year, time flies by so quickly. Were we not just in March? My head is spinning thinking about it. And when you have back-to-back years like 2018 it just... goes.
So, I forced myself to examine each year that I've been in LaLaLand and QUALIFY each with a Big Win and a Big Lesson. So here goes:
Year 1 (Fall 2011 to Fall 2012)
Big Win: Booking Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn
This would come about 6 months after I arrived. It was my first leading role in what would be shot like a film. I learned a ton!
Big Lesson: The Follow-up Opportunity
Yeah. I hadn't yet found consistency in my work. So I was not able to capitalize on the momentum of Halo or Footloose in the way I wanted to and missed some big follow-up opportunities as a result.
Year 2 (Fall 2012 to Fall 2013)
Big Win: Adding Humvee Driver to my Special Skills
I booked a recurring role on the show Perception and was tasked with driving this military "armored" truck in a desert scene. Cast and camera crew in tow. Loved it!
Big Lesson: The Consequences of the Wrong Crowd
Mmmhmm. I had to relearn this elementary school lesson. I was freshly out of what would be the last booking in a few years. It was the consequence of being highly distracted. My focus was completely off of my career and being drained in a toxic relationship.
Year 3 (Fall 2013 to Fall 2014)
Big Win: New Acting Technique
I discovered a technique that would gift me with the consistency that I had been so sorely missing. It also gave me something productive and career-driven to focus on. Acting class was my saving grace!
Big Lesson: No One is Coming to Save You
I learned that there are people who will laugh at your pain and watch you sink. True friends are rare. But ultimately, you are responsible for you.
Year 4 (Fall 2014 to Fall 2015)
Big Win: Learned the art of the Win
I had to defend myself in a small legal injustice with a landlord who unfairly refused to reimburse my rental deposit. After several attempts to solve the issue myself, I decided to take him to court. I won. At a time when I felt attacked by so many forces, I determined to fight and win.
Big Lesson: The Power of "No"
It was after that win that I reintroduced the word "no" and the phrase 'not good enough" into my life. It didn't feel good in the moments, but in the depths of my being I understood it to be right.
Year 5 (Fall 2015 to Fall 2016)
Big Win: LOVE
I met my husband-to-be! And despite a few battle scars and a few thick layers of protection, I was able to open and let love flow.
Big Lesson: Seize the Yes!
Career wise, I learned to be unafraid to cut my losses with dead-end relationships and seize new opportunities when they presented themselves.
Year 6 (Fall 2016 to Fall 2017)
Big Win: New Community, who dis?
I landed a spot in the ABC Discovers Showcase and found a new tribe of talented, silly, actors and a relationship with a studio. I also dove into a fresh spiritual practice that also came with a community of positive, uplifting people.
Big Lesson: New Levels Bring New Obstacles
I worked harder in this one year than any other year in Los Angeles. I was constantly faced with my own self-fulfilling limitations and was forced to move through them.
Year 7 (Fall 2017 to PRESENT)
Big Win: Purpose
This last year has allowed me to envision and outline a path to my purpose. My goals are clearer, bigger, and feel attainable. This year I have experienced genuine happiness far more than in years past.
Big Lesson: It All Counts
All the skills, lessons, and obstacles make sense now. I learned that everything I have ever succeeded or failed at are part of the story. Nothing is for nothing. It all counts.
•They say we are completely different people every seven years. I'd say that's true.•
A "Shit List" is one way to call it...
Another way to call it is a "Can't-Quit-Till-I-Prove-These-MFs-Wrong" List...
We'll go with the latter. It's more proactive. This list is not exhaustive. There are some strong honorable mentions not actually worth mentioning. But for the 5 people below, I have dedicated the following Haikus to their extraordinary contributions to my determination to win!
1. For "Mr. Springer"
That one producer
Never a Leading Lady?
Thanks for the inspo
2. For "Mr. Little"
That one director
You were lucky to have us
What's your claim to fame?
3. For "What's-Her-Name"
Threats to my career
Assume, then apology?
Next time just ask first
4. For "Ms. Cakes"
Said I'd run back home
Thought you were there to support
Why so bitter, though?
5. For "Ms. 4-Leaf" and the Like
You hope for the fail
Go ahead, keep checking in
You motivate me
Basically, Thank You!
It's a strange choice to pursue acting, to pursue an art form where there is no separation between the art and the art maker. There is no piece of music to play, no canvas or print to present, no sculpture to stand behind. The actor's work is contained within her. She learns to insulate her art with thick skin. She receives criticism and rejections not to a body of work that exists in her absence, but to the body of work that is her body, mind, and interpretation.
It's a funny business this show business. It is not for the weak or impatient. And many are poised and ready to root against you. But that's the game. And the winners know how to transform those voices into activation. I literally can't stop until I have proven each of these folks wrong. (A few I already have!)
A productive life calls for some planning. I’ve been an artist and entrepreneur for all of my adult life so I know that maintaining a productive and balanced work life can be challenging when you are your own boss.
Here’s a little prescription I intend to use in order to chase away my post-show blues and get back into the flow of a winning #artistlife.
I N S P I R A T I O N (20 Minutes Minimum Daily Requirement)
B R E A K F A S T (Daily. May be consumed during the Peak Performance Period when necessary, but no more than 2x per week.)
P E A K • P E R F O R M A N C E • P E R I O D (Morning Edition. 5-6x Weekly. 4 hours)
L I G H T • P H Y S I C A L • A C T I V I T Y (2x Daily. 15 minute intervals. May be skipped on days of Heavy Physical Activity.)
H E A V Y • P H Y S I C A L • A C T I V I T Y (3x Weekly. 45 Minutes Minimum Requirement. May be accomplished A.M. or P.M.)
L U N C H (Daily.)
P E A K • P E R F O R M A N C E • P E R I O D (Afternoon/Evening Edition. 5-6x Weekly. 3 hours.)
D I N N E R (Daily.)
T H E • C H E C K - I N • P E R I O D (4-5x Weekly. 30 minutes.)
G R A T I T U D E (Daily.)
T I M E
T I M E WASTED
T I M E MANAGEMENT
T I M E IS RUNNING OUT
T I M E IS FLYING
T I M E TO FINALLY FIGURE IT ALL OUT
T I M E AS A CONSTRUCT
T I M E IS ON MY SIDE
T I M E IS MY BITCH
T I M E WITHOUT BEGINNING
T I M E WITHOUT END
T I M E
Today is my mother's birthday. Naturally, our conversations in the previous days have been reflections on the passage of T I M E. She and I share similar feelings these days about birthdays coming and going and piling up as they do. So consequently one begins to ponder how exactly the years have been spent, how one has succeeded, failed, survived, thrived and well...wasted countless hours, years, and precious T I M E on fruitless pursuits. But my mother is a survivor! She is a hero, a heroine in the truest most literal definition of those words. She deserves every comfort, every joy; and if I am to be a testament to her indomitable strength, and master the T I M E that I have as Enisha in the pursuit my own version of distinguished success, than my mother will know more comfort and know more joy.
Last night heading from our rehearsal in Beverly Hills, a castmate of mine and I were ruminating about the nature of disagreements. She offered some sage wisdom: "If it's not going to matter in 5 years, why let it bother you for 5 minutes?" I'm pretty sure I have heard that one before but if so it's been years. She is right. It's a wonderful way to diffuse any situation and get back to the heart of the people involved. I put that one in my pocket for a rainy day. But I have to admit, I started thinking about the things that have mattered 5 years later. And how fast 5 years go by. And how much T I M E I have wasted in the past on attempting to hold on to a relationship that was eclipsing my priorities and clouding my judgment. I was thinking in that moment that I am also pretty damn proud that I have learned from old mistakes and have since had the wherewithal to acknowledge a bad thing coming. Ain't nobody got T I M E for wasted time. Not anymore.
On Saturday I made a new determination to wake up earlier. Listen, I am a morning person only when necessary. I typically have no problems waking or being alert and ready to face the day once I am vertical. But maaaannnnnn, I really love sleep. It's delicious. My skin loves it too. However, I am aware that I can accomplish more daytime things with more daylight hours. So, I have been greeting the day about 2 hours earlier than normal, feeding the 4-legged princess of the castle, saying my morning prayers, studying some literature for the sake of my own human revolution, and then getting the day poppin! Yes, I have reclaimed my T I M E!
In April, my grandmother turned 80. I am only allowed to write that because it's only now becoming obvious that she is a grandmother. That she is in fact aging. But the truth is, this woman is ageless, T I M E less! Effervescent and magnificent! Hysterical and glamorous at the same time. I call her by her first name, as do her children, this having been established as the only way to address her long before I came into the world. Trust me when I say, it is the best way to show her the respect that she commands. Man, I love that lady! Anyway, none of us discussed really age when it came to her before now because the number never made sense. It never matched. And frankly it didn't matter. She has managed to make T I M E her .... you know. And I like to think I've got just enough of her in me to be confident that I needn't worry about a thing. Afterall, T I M E might just be a construct of the matrix.
enisha b jane
In my own words.