This word is dangerous to your career


I should be further along my career (for my type, my age, my talent…)

I should build up my tv credits (because my agent told me to)

I should go for a commercial agent (because it’s easier than getting a legit one)

I should cut my hair (because it’s a more marketable look)

And on and on and on.

Should is a dangerous word. When you set goals and make decisions from a place of “should” you disconnect from what’s in your heart.

Have you ever taken on a goal because someone else said you “should”? If you have, you know what happens next.

You might go for that goal diligently at first, but eventually you run out of steam. When your heart’s not in it, you can’t stay motivated.

We human beings have a habit of looking outside ourselves for reassurance. But the truth is, no one knows what’s best for you. That is your department.

When it comes to the entertainment industry, there is no “right way” to create success. No one can predict what is going to happen.

A while back Christina Hendricks gave an interview (she played Joan Harris on Mad Men). Her agents at the time dropped her when she signed on to play the role. Why? Because they told her “It’s a period piece. It’s not going to make any money.”

She decided to go with her intuition, and love for the script. And they decided to drop her.

Hmmmm. Seven seasons later, six personal Emmy Nominations, and countless awards later…who do you think made the better choice?

Which just goes to show…agents know exactly nothing about the future. Just like you and I.

Getting perspective and suggestions from people you trust can be helpful in the decision-making and goal-setting process. But at the end of the day it’s YOUR LIFE. You have to live with your choices and you need to do the work. No one knows what is truly in your heart but you.

Listen to that voice. It will never steer you in the wrong direction.

People give advice (solicited or not) based on their own world view. That includes their personal experience, failures, limiting beliefs, heartbreak, and fear. One of my mentors told me, “People can’t support you beyond their own fear.” That includes people who may seemingly “know better” than you do.

The truth is, no one knows anything with complete certainty.

When you follow what’s in your heart, there’s space for magic, serendipity and unforeseen gifts.

When you think about your current acting goals, which of these phrases resonates?

I’m excited to…My ideal is…I get to…I can’t wait to…I’m proud to share…I’m inspired to…

I have to…I should….I know I’m supposed to…They said I must…

Think about what YOU want to focus on going forward. Give yourself permission to cross off the stuff that feels like a should, and go for the stuff that feels like a gift. Above all other voices, listen to the one inside your heart.

Leave a comment. Is there something on your “should” list that you can let go of?


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  1. Beautiful truthful & creatively freeing advise always leaves the recipient in a more peaceful state! 🙏😍 grateful as always for you lovely ladies & the inspired work your doing!

  2. Excellent advice! The way I first heard this was about 25 years ago and it was: “Don’t Should on yourself!”

  3. Thanks all of you at Acting Pros! Great meeting you at free workshop. You guys rock!
    Thank you for this great piece of wisdom. It is so true. After having different agents for 30 years, I know it definately is so true.

  4. So true!!! Thanks for the reminder 🙂

    Love the Christina Hendricks story -had no idea!

  5. You shared a mouthful of truth here! I can’t tell you how often I continue to hear others telling me I should, “blah blah blah.” Thank goodness, I know how to ‘act like I’m listening,’ then listen to my heart, even though at times it can feel shaky, Can’t be reminded of this enough, so thank you!

  6. Wonderful article! Insightful, intuitive, informative and from the heart. Thank you so much for sharing this 🙂

  7. Thank you so much for this post. I really needed to hear this! 🙏🏻❤️

  8. I Love this . I am a actor, but have also started some voice over and feel very strong about it and have gotten some negative feed back for wanting to build it . But I am moving forward because I do believe in my gut. Thank you Wendy Davis for sharing this and I will be sharing it as well. You Go Girl…:))

  9. Wow! That nail was really hit on the head! Excellent advice!~


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