Searching for your purpose?
First, try discovering what you like. What are you interested in?
Do you like movies; what do you like about them? Do you want to act in a movie, do you want to write a movie, or work on a movie set? Do you want to direct a film?
You like makeup? Do you like wearing makeup? Does the idea of applying makeup on other people interest you? Does the idea of working in a retail environment excite you? Would you prefer to do makeup for private events (e.g., weddings, parties, proms?) The same questions could apply to doing hair, or nails, or about anything.
You must start with these basic questions first.
Because they get you to thinking about details. Basic questions leads to visualization-envisioning yourself doing a specific thing. If you can “see” yourself doing something clearly, along the feeling attached to this accomplishment, the idea may be worth pursuing. Even if you start by researching how to get started. Google and YouTube research can literally change your life.
You may discover that you’re not willing to invest the time, energy, or money to move forward on the idea or desire. For example, you may decide that now is not the right time to attend cosmetology school and get a license.
Next tip, consider what kind of environment you will likely work in. Or what your ideal work scenario looks and feels like.
For example, making movies is a long arduous process. Oftentimes one scene can take hours for the crew to set-up, which means there is a lot of sitting around and waiting. I know this first-hand because I scored ‘Extra’ work in a Nike commercial (directed by none other than the incomparable Spike Lee), “Blue Chips” (starring Nick Nolte), and worked as a stand-in on a T.V. show called “Missing Persons”. I was the leading lady in a college film (can’t recall the name); I even worked (as an intern) at the Jerry Springer Show (no further comment or details will be offered at this time.) Moving on…
Or, are you someone who prefers a more structured schedule? The current job market lends itself to a lot more options that are better suited for different personality types and individual preferences.
Sometimes, you just have to be willing to try different career paths and see what happens.
As I entered young adulthood, I also aspired to become a make-up artist. Thanks to a chance meeting with James Brown, father of famed make-up artist and beauty mogul, Bobbi Brown, I got my chance. The next thing I knew, I was interviewing for a part-time freelance make-up artist with Bobbi Brown Cosmetics! It was an unbelievable experience. I had the chance to work an event at Neiman Marcus, where none other than then-Lead Makeup artist Cynde Watson, who was there to teach Chicago the art of a beautiful makeup application.
I took a break from makeup to attend college and work a more “traditional job.” Years later, the makeup bug never left me. After moving to New York and settling in, I decided that I wanted to work at M.A.C. Cosmetics. I was fortunate enough to work at the first flagship M.A.C. store in Times Square as a freelance makeup artist. Shortly thereafter I became a part-time makeup artist. During the process, I realized that being a makeup artist wasn’t really for me. I became clear that I loved the company (I still do); met and worked alongside some of the most amazing and talented MUA in the industry, yet this career lane was not for me.
You see, I realized that I liked the idea of doing makeup versus actually doing it. I preferred being a customer instead of the person working behind the counter. This despite the fact that I was working for a brand that I loved as a consumer. The makeup job was still retail. I was expected to meet weekly sales goals which made the application of makeup feel secondary. I also realized that I was stretching myself too thin and whatever gains that the part time job afforded me diminished because I was working a full-time job at the same time. Something had to give or I was going to burn out fast. So, I had to make a decision to walk away from the part-time makeup artist job.
The silver lining is now I know. Sometimes the only way you will know whether something is right is by trying it out.
On the journey to finding your purpose, you must be prepared for a solo trip. Many people won’t get your dream. Not your family, friends, partner, colleagues, neighbors, and random people you meet at happy hour. Mainly because some people need to “see it” done before they believe it. They believe in the lottery because they know someone who has won it. Some people can’t grasp the concept of something unless it seems “realistic” or easily attainable to them. Many well-meaning “advisers” will caution you to play it safe. To be “smart”, as they take you into a verbal abyss of their past failures and shortcomings. They’ll throw in irrefutable facts such as age, financial status, gender, race, social economics, education…they will argue the case against your dream for you. Because perhaps someone did the same thing to them. Or simply because this dream was never assigned to them; it was given to you.
If you want to pursue a career in acting-go do it! Unless your peer group consists of Meryl Streep, Angela Bassett, or Robert De Niro, you should take acting advice from naysayers with a grain of salt. You have to be mindful that there are people in your circle as well as those on the perimeter, who are in silent competition with you.
You must follow your own Northstar and trust it. Uncertainty and even failure aren’t always proof-positive indicators that you should quit; it’s quite the contrary. These could be signs that you are actually on to something great. Realized purpose is the much coveted pot at the end of the rainbow. As elusive as it may seem, it’s real and it is yours for the taking.
You’re ready now. Go for it!