Guest: Andrea Bowen
How to do what you love and love what you do:
There’s a classic story told about the job attitudes of three bricklayers. Three bricklayers were asked a simple question, “what are you doing?”. The first bricklayer responded, “laying brick”, and the second replied, “putting up a wall”. However, the third replied “Me? Why, I’m building the world’s greatest cathedral!” Now, the story doesn’t tell us what specifically happened to each of the workers. However, chances are high that the first two bricklayers remained just that-bricklayers. For the third bricklayer though, the one who had vision and loved what he did…well, you can bet he moved forward in life, and probably enjoyed it more because of his attitude.
Now you’ve probably heard the old-yet true adage that our attitude is what makes a world of difference. Well in this episode of Breakthroughs with Jordan Murphy, we are inspired by the story of Andrea Bowen. A young successful actress whose breakthrough shows just how true that old adage really is. Her revelation about our attitudes and the work we do happened later in her young career. None the less, its significance remains infinitely potent: Do what you love and love what you do.
Work was an extension of play:
Andrea’s story is unique in that she started in the entertainment industry from a very young age. She was cast in her first commercial at the age of three. As a child she was taught to follow her passion, to always do what you love and love what you do. Andrea propelled herself into Broadway musicals like “Les Misérables”, and finally into her big break playing Julie Mayer in the show “Desperate Housewives”. Andrea describes her early career in acting as an extension of play. She had fun as a child always playing make-believe with her friends. So, going to “work” was just more fun time for her to make-believe, and at the same time get paid. It’s a dream come true for most, and even as a child Andrea inherently understood that to do what we love, we must love what we do.
Where did the passion go?
However, as Andrea transitioned from an adolescent into her teen years, she experienced a different side of the acting business-especially as a young female. Fulfilling roles in the industry now meant meeting certain physical standards of the casting directors. Directors became more judgmental and wanted actresses based on their appearance/attractiveness. This new side of the game quickly killed the fun and natural enjoyment for Andrea. It wasn’t about doing what you love and loving what you do anymore, it had become a contest of who had the most desired superficial facets.
After this rude awakening, the acting business was just not the same for Andrea. Auditions became stressful rather than fun. Casting directors elicited anxiety rather than inspiring her talent. And Andrea’s passions dissolved into the mundane world of “having to go to work”, rather than doing what you love and loving what you do. Acting was no longer an extension of play, instead it had become something that had to be done to pay the bills.
Andrea’s breakthrough occurred one day at a casting. She ran into an old casting director she’d known since she was younger but hadn’t seen in years. The casting director had booked her in one of Andrea’s first really juicy roles as a young actress. The two hit it off right away and began reminiscing of the fun Andrea had during her time working on that project. She did the audition…felt great about it and left. But something had happened in that room. She wasn’t the same person who came out of that room as went in. This talk, this remembering, changed her state of mind in the room and was the catalyst - the key to understanding the power behind “do what you love and love what you do”. Andrea realized that she had lost her childlike attitude and approach to acting- which is what made it so fun in the first place!
Acting was always an extension of play for her. Thus, finding that child-like approach attitude would be crucial to finding satisfaction in her work again. It’s not about going for a role just because someone says you look good enough for it. Andrea realized it’s now about going for the role you want because you enjoy it. When you find the attitude to take this approach you realize it’s not about whether you get the role or not. In the end it’s about how much fun you have along the way.
The goal: do what you love and love what you do
Children fundamentally do what they love, because they love what they do. They do not stress over other opinions or expectations, what matters is the fun and enjoyment: "To do what you love, you've got to play". This epiphany allowed Andrea to really ground herself to the reason she began acting in the first place-the playing made her happy. Consequently, because of this change in attitude, just like bricklayer number three, she was able to move forward and improve her quality of life in all areas. The lesson is simple…if you want to do what you love, then love what you do. This involves more than finding alignment with your purpose in life or overcoming fear. It takes finding your passion through the things you love to do, and from there you’ll see the opportunity to do what you love.
“If you love what you do you’ll never have to work a day in your life”.