Breaking Out Of The Fear Cycle

Written by Dallas Travers, CEC

As an artist, inspiration is your strongest muscle.  The more you act into your inspiration, the more it will serve you.  Inspired action sounds so freeing and spontaneous, but it’s not as easy as it sounds.

How often does an inspired action pop into your head and then you begin to plan, contemplate, complain, or over-analyze the probability of this idea actually working? You convince yourself right into giving up before you even try.

For example, you might meet a casting director at a staged reading, and the two of you connect.

The next day, the lightbulb goes on, and you think, “I should call that casting director right away. But I don’t know…that might look weird, maybe I should wait a week…”

A week passes and you decide, “Now, it’s been too long, so maybe I’ll send her a postcard instead.”

But your postcards aren’t up to date, so you’ve got to get new ones printed and before you can do that, you have to pick a new photo because your old postcards don’t really look like you anymore.

The next thing you know, you decide not to even bother because by the time the postcards are printed and mailed, it will be too late. And besides, that stuff doesn’t really work anyway.

So, what happened to that initial lightbulb of inspiration? What stopped you from simply acting on that very first thought?

The first thought is always the pure thought.  And all too often, you bury that thought with doubts and justifications. This thinking leads to paralysis and now, you’re living in what I call, “The Cycle of Fear”.

Here’s what Cycle of Fear looks like:

idea –> analysis –> procrastination –> defeat

The funny thing about the Cycle of Fear is that it actually requires so much more mental energy than simply taking inspired action.  It’s exhausting, and it attacks your confidence.

So how do you avoid falling into the Cycle of Fear?

It starts with structure.  So let me share a simple system to help you dive into inspired action more often.

For this example, let’s pick booking a role, but you can apply this same process to any type of goal.

Identify your goal

First, identify the credit you want to add to your resume within a specific timeframe of your choosing.   I recommend that you think short-term because thinking too far in advance opens up too many unknown factors.  The point here is to get into action, so focus on 1-6 month timeframe.

Track Your Progress

Tracking is essential because it allows you to see what works, and to truly notice when you’re thinking about doing something instead of when you’re actually doing it.  Tracking your progress shows you precisely where you stand and that knowledge builds your confidence.

Break your plan into daily and weekly actions.  These simple steps become your top priorities for the week.   One great online tool to help you record your progress is an app called ASTRID.

Get External Accountability

Isn’t it always easier to stay on track when you know someone else is watching? Create external accountability in some way to ensure that you have support and help make sure you follow through on your plan.

Find an accountability partner, participate in a program where you get group support, join a mastermind group or register for a business of acting program. There are so many great options out there, so discover what system of support works best for you and connect with those like-minded actors.
Following an actionable plan and relying on a support system are two keys to avoiding the Cycle of Fear.

Now, you’ll avoid  the ‘what-if’ thinking which leads to paralysis because you’ve acted swiftly on your first inspired thought and created a system to support you along the way.

Respected as one of the entertainment industry’s leading experts, Dallas Travers teaches actors the career and life skills often left out of traditional training programs. Her groundbreaking book, The Tao of Show Business, has won over five awards including first prizes at The Hollywood Book Festival and the London Festival along with the National Indie Excellence Award. She has helped thousands of actors to increase their auditions, produce their own projects, secure representation and book roles in film and television.

If you’re ready to jump-start your acting career, get your FREE Thriving Artist Starter kit now at

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