Thursday, September 29, 2011

22. It’s Not Who You Know… It’s Who You Are That Matters

“The only economy that matters, that can actually put money in your purse, wallet, or the cracks of your sofa, is the economy created by your thoughts, words and baby steps. Every day, someone new, near you, becomes a millionaire. Next…!” – Mike Dooley, Tut’s Universe

There is this guy who works on the security team for my office building. His name is William. He’s a young Hispanic man with a wide grin and an out-going personality. He works the front desk and makes it a rule to learn everyone’s name that passes through daily… not because he has to… everyone has electronic passes that show their name and photo as they swipe through the entryway. But he says “Good Morning, Virginia” to me every day...and I’m not special, there are a couple hundred people that work in our building. He’s set himself a goal to know EVERYONE by name. Very impressive.

One late evening as I was passing by the front desk, he was packing up to leave and he volunteered the information that he was off to school. Was I surprised by this? Nope. Clearly this was the kind of guy who would never be content standing at a desk and playing Words With Friends for very long. He told me he’s taking classes at a local community college and he’s planning to graduate with a degree in business.

I told him that I thought that was fantastic and I wished him much success. He smiled and humbly said, “Thanks.” He told me a personal story about another job where he had experienced income discrimination related to being Hispanic, getting paid less for doing the same work as a white guy. He said that with a degree, he felt he might be able to protect himself better against that kind of thing. And then he said something that really struck a chord with me…

“But as for SUCCESS, that’s a tough one… Because, sadly, it’s all who you know, anyway.” And that bright light that I see in his smiling eyes every morning began to flicker and fade. And that made my heart burn with anger at this silly world and the stupid misinformation that we’re taught growing up.

I had to speak up… and said, “No, William. It’s not who you know, it’s who you ARE that matters the most. And who YOU are is a person of value and you are not going to settle for anything less than you know you are worth, because what you bring to the workplace has value.”

He looked at me with surprise and smiled his signature wide grin.

Normally our conversations tend toward such scintillating subjects as the weather and the traffic. So the fact that I’m calling him out, in the lobby of our building, as being a “person of value” is not exactly business-as-usual.

After he got over the shock of my comment, he countered with, “You think outside the box. Most people are not like you.”

And I said, “Actually, most people are like me, I think. Here’s what I’ve found to be true, William. It’s not who you know… because if you are a total douche and you KNOW everyone… then everyone still KNOWS that you are a total douche. But if who you ARE is a person of character then the right people will want to get to know YOU… not because you’re super connected, but because you are a good person that other good people will want to know.”

He smiled and shook his head and laughed a little to himself. And just when I thought he had nothing more to say, he piped up with, “You are very intimidating to men. If this is how intense you are now, I can’t imagine how frightened I’d be if you were mad at me.”

Now it was my turn to be shocked! I immediately turned red and laughed and said, “Well, yes, I suppose you’re right. I may be a bit much for the timid.”

He nodded in agreement as I escaped into the elevator.

I do believe in him though. I believe he will be successful in business or whatever he decides to do with his life… Not because he’s started out with a bunch of connections or advantages … he hasn’t had those tools at his disposal, but it won’t matter in the end. He’s going to be successful because of WHO HE IS. 

He cares about his work, he goes the extra mile for people and has a great attitude every single day. I know that about him and I only see him for about a total of 2 minutes every week day. It's blatantly obvious. You’d have to be totally blind not to see it. 

He’s a person of value.  And I know that deep down… he knows it too.

Watch out, world… William’s an up-and-commer!


“Do you want to know why I have an issue with compromising, economizing, and settling for less? I have to work just as hard whether the bar has been lowered or raised. Dream even bigger.” – Mike Dooley, Tut’s Universe

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

21. You Be The Judge… Or Not?

“Judgement kills creativity. Judgment kills the artist. For when we judge, we are doing more damage to ourselves than the person we are judging.” – Peter Pamela Rose, Actor’s Spiritual Toolbox

Don’t judge… Notice.

“Cut people slack… Their actions might not reveal their enduring character but instead reflect some situation they find themselves in. Forbearance is a form of generosity.” – Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project

When I judge, I find myself closed-off to the learning that’s there to be gained from a critical thought. So now I make an effort to notice rather than judge. When I notice something, I’m not immediately placing a value on it… good/bad… right/wrong. I try to let go of my ego and take it in and allow the information to permeate my brain, if it’s useful… I keep it… if it’s not useful… I forget it.

“The beginner scorns criticism. The wise soul carefully weighs it. And the Master says, “But, of course!” – Mike Dooley, Tut’s Universe

There’s something valuable to be learned from every experience and every situation,... good, bad, ugly, sexy, annoying, painful, awesome, amazing, etc.

“I have learnt silence from the talkative, toleration form the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet strange, I am ungrateful to these teachers.” – Khalil Gibran, mystic, poet & artist (1883-1931)

But when fail to NOTICE and start to JUDGE myself or others it triggers a defense mechanism inside me, this fear of being judged myself… which closes me off to my source, my heart, my creativity. And accessing those things with a child-like spirit of play is the greatest joy in my life. So allowing judgment to kill that? Nope. F-that. I’d rather kill the judgment… or let it go… if a less violent way is preferred.

“If something is not working let it go. If something wants to work really well, let it into your life.” – Lena Stevens, The Power Path

Essentially, I don’t like the feeling of being judged, so I don’t like to inflict that kind of negativity on others. I don’t blindly close my eyes though, I do notice things, but my urge to JUDGE generally comes from my own fear of inadequacy or my ego’s defensive need to try to make myself feel superior and safe… None of which have any lasting value in the creative process.

So judgment? Bye-bye! Noticing… Hello!

“The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right place but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.” – Dorothy Nevill

Some people think that being super judgmental makes them seem smarter. And maybe they do seem smarter… to other judgmental people. But do I want to create a new work of art with Mr. Judgy McJudgerson? Nope. That sounds like no fun at all… and I’d rather be creative than seem “smart.”

“Sometimes a man wants to be stupid if it lets him do a thing his cleverness forbids.” – John Steinbeck, novelist, Nobel laureate (1902-1968)

Besides it’s easy to destroy something, to tear it to shreds and point out all the flaws. But seeing the potential in things requires vision, creativity, specificity... and, dare I say, bravery... especially when your speaking-up in a crowd of fear-addicted McJudgersons, bless them.

“Giving positive reviews requires humility… A willingness to be pleased requires modesty and even innocence.” – Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project

So next time you feel the urge to judge… notice yourself judging… and choose for yourself.

To judge or not to judge? That is the question.


“Ah, good taste, what a dreadful thing! Taste is the enemy of creativeness.” – Pablo Picasso

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

20. Finding Your Voice

“The least strained and most natural ways of the soul are the most beautiful; the best occupations are the least forced.” – Michel de Montaigne

As many of you know, I have been studying voiceover at Edge Studio in New York for a little over a year. The studio popped onto my radar via my very talented friend and voiceover mentor Kristin Price, who also teaches at the studio. 

I had very limited experience in voiceover, but was intrigued by the medium. It seemed like so much FUN, getting to use your voice and your imagination to create a character or jazz-up a tag-line! And the best part about voiceover is… it doesn’t matter what you look like. Your physical appearance is not a factor. As your tools, you have your voice, your heart and your mind to communicate your message.

I am an auditory learner. So hearing and listening and speaking are the ways that I primarily process the world. Therefore, naturally, voiceover is a medium I enjoy. It’s been a fun journey studying at Edge over the past year+ and has helped me to learn the following:

  • The voice doesn’t lie. When I am not breathing, or tense or disconnected, you can hear it… IMMEDIATELY.
  • If I don't believe me, the listener won't believe me.
  • I can think outside the box and expand the scope of characters that I could imagine myself playing.
  • Everyone’s voice and interpretation of copy is unique. There is no one “perfect read.” Embrace the uniqueness.
  • Choose one person to speak to. It will always be more interesting (and specific) than talking to a crowd.
  • There’s a place for everyone in some genre of voiceover… actors, non-actors… everyone has a voice.
  • Achieving a natural/conversational sound seems easy, but is actually very difficult.
  • Voiceover is challenging, but it can always be fun... if you allow yourself to play.
  • Don’t be a talking head. Use your body. Move.
  • Listen.
  • Breathe.

Studying voiceover has helped me feel more confident in expressing myself as an artist. I have found Edge Studio to be an incredibly supportive environment for growth and learning. And when I launch out into the (very competitive) voiceover  market to start building my career professionally, I will definitely feel more confident having prepared myself and having been trained to represent myself as a professional. I am honored to have been mentored by some real pros! Some of my favorite Edge coaches include: Kristin Price, Linda Jones, Jay Snyder and Carol Monda... all amazingly talented, great communicators and good people. 

I will be recording my Narration Demo in October (with Jay). I got to choose all my own narration copy, so besides it being a professional studio-recorded demo (fancy!) it will also be a bit personal… because the words are all chosen by ME. Wha-ha-ha!!!! It’s like a little 90-second Virginia Wilcox PSA (Public Service Announcement). I'll have it available online before the year is out... just you wait. :-)

It’s been way fun and super empowering to embrace my own voice and realize that it’s perfectly imperfect… And I am looking forward to more learning and vocal-awareness in the future. I wanna continue training and get reeeeeallly, really good at voiceover recording… ‘cause I LOVE it.

Next stop… Animation Demo… then Commercial… then Audiobook... then who knows? A job maybe?  :-)

Thank you, Edge! Speaking my truth through voiceover copy has contributed greatly to my building-up the courage to be able to write my truth to you all here. It’s all connected.

And in preparing for my grad school auditions this year, I hope that I can retain the lessons that I’ve learned at Edge and translate them into my audition experience.

Breathe. Listen. Speak your truth.


Discretion is the better part of valor. Spontaneity is the better part of brilliance. And imagination is the better part of making dreams come true. – Mike Dooley, Tut’s Universe

Monday, September 26, 2011

19. Test Your Passion

“First, choose from the options that thrill you. Then, choose the ones that also teach you. And from those, choose the scariest. Butterflies in your tummy are good.”  – Mike Dooley, Tut’s Universe

So yesterday was a crazy-whirlwind day of meeting new people, being present in the moment (as often as possible) and swallowing my fear when I felt called to share with folks about the Acceptance Project.  I think it was a bit much for me, actually… it was a lot… I am exhausted. 

Too much, too fast, perhaps? I found myself getting a little overwhelmed with it all and ended up letting some self-doubting and self-sabotaging thoughts hang-out in my head for longer than I’d like. (Their echos are still kinda boppin’ around in there.)

“You knew there’d be things that would rattle your cage, push your buttons, and rock your boat. These would remind you that there’s still more to know.”  – Mike Dooley, Tut’s Universe

Even if I’m not necessarily doing things “right” when it comes to this blog or in life in general… I KNOW that my pursuit of an MFA in Acting is “right” for me and THAT’s what matters.  I can feel good about WHY I am pursuing this dream, but HOW it’s all unfolding… well, that’s what I am letting go of daily… I want to allow it all to happen naturally.

This was one thing that helped to kick-start my recovery back into feeling-good-about-what-I-am-doing-mode…

Jennifer Gresham is a PhD biochemist, a blogger, a teacher and an award-winning poet. She has created an online-course to help people find their passion. She’s a scientist, so everything is very clearly laid out and quantifiable… which I LOVE!  If you are exploring that part of your journey right now, I highly recommend taking some time to check out her site. I signed up on her email list and was thrilled to receive at free 30 minute web-video where she explains the foundations of her method of self-discovery and asks a lot of GREAT questions.

Exploring her methodology was super encouraging for me in the pursuit of my passion, because it reinforced for me that I am on the right path! These are some of the questions she brings up… What kinds of actions cause me to feel pride in myself? What are my core values? What are the intrinsic and extrinsic motivations in my potential career? What is my definition of success?

Will a life as a professional actor be in alignment with my answers to the questions above? YES is the answer! Yes. Yes. Yes. Annnnd it gives me that fire-in-me-belly feeling! I am doing the right thing. I am moving in the right direction. And yes, sometimes it’s uncomfortable and scary, but … according to Jennifer Gresham’s tools, my passion has passed the test!


Passion FOUND. Whew!

Check that one off of the to-do list.

Now, if I could only get rid of this instinctive need to apologize about it all the time. It’s weird. Why do I feel the need to be like… “Oh, sorry I’m doing this selfish thing of pursuing my dream. Hope you don’t mind.” 

So illogical. So unnecessary.

“Do you really need someone else’s permission, acceptance, wink or nod, or are you ready to give these to yourself, now?” – Mike Dooley, Tut’s Universe

It's my life, after all. Feel the fear and do it anyway, Wilcox! 

Thank you for reading, beautiful people. Go after your dreams!

“It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” – George Eliot

Sending you all big Monday love… in hopes that Monday (or whatever day is the start of your “work-week”) is your FAVORITE day of the week.


“Create your own dream job.” – Leo Baubauta, Zen Habits

P.S. For other posts about "finding your passion" go to... #9 & #10.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

18. Failure: A Gift In Disguise

“If you’re an entrepreneur, you have a kind of delusion. You’re willing to do something that’s kind of ridiculous, which is probably gonna fail 99% of the time, because the adventure of doing the thing itself – the journey – is so enjoyable that you don’t give a crap about the end.” – Feross Aboukhadijeh, creator of YouTube Instant

I was thinking yesterday about how glad I am now that I didn’t get into grad school on my first two tries. I have been so incredibly blessed by the results of NOT being accepted that I know that, though disappointing in the moment, my “failure” was actually a gift in disguise. I have learned so much about myself through this process and over the past two years. What was “supposed” to happen, definitely happened.

 “When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.” – Helen Keller

The New York Times recently published an incredibly insightful article by Paul Tough entitled “What if the Secret to Success Is Failure?”  I posted it on my FB page yesterday. But for anyone that didn’t happen to see it, here are some of the highlights that I LOVED…

Click HERE for the full article.

“People who accomplished great things… often combined a passion for a single mission with an unswerving dedication to achieve that mission, whatever the obstacles and however long it might take. She decided she needed to name this quality, and she chose the word “grit.””
“...He identified a set of strengths that were, according to his research, especially likely to predict life satisfaction and high achievement. After a few small adjustments (Levin and Randolph opted to drop love in favor of curiosity), they settled on a final list: zest, grit, self-control, social intelligence, gratitude, optimism and curiosity.”
“...We all know — on some level, at least — that what kids need more than anything is a little hardship: some challenge, some deprivation that they can overcome, even if just to prove to themselves that they can.”
“Randolph wants his students to succeed, of course — it’s just that he believes that in order to do so, they first need to learn how to fail.”

So, next time you suffer what feels like a crushing defeat… find the hidden gift. It may simply be the strength of character and learned confidence derived from surviving failure. 

Mmmm... Failure. Feeeeeels sooooo goooood! LOL!


Wishing you all zest, grit, self-control, social intelligence, gratitude, optimism and curiosity!


“Nothin’ happens to anyone… that isn’t a gift in disguise.” – Mike Dooley, Tut’s Universe

Saturday, September 24, 2011

17. What's Your Point of View?

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller

I’m getting closer to locking-in my 4th monologue, the Shakespeare one. Kathryn Bild and I talked through many of the selections I brought in during our last coaching session. After much narrowing... I’m contemplating two possible options and trying to see how each of them would best contribute to the over-all 4-monologue package.

This year I’ve decided to take a slightly different approach than I have in the past when putting together a balanced mix of monologues. Besides finding a monologue that speaks to me, I want to find characters that have various points of view that I share. 

By choosing characters that see and experience the world in a similar way that I do,  I will be able to explore more deeply some of these authentic sides of myself, which will be fun and fulfilling as an exercise all on it's own.... And, hopefully, because these pieces are so near and dear to my heart, the auditors will be able to get a good sense of who I am through the pieces I have chosen. Since they only have 5 minutes to get to know me, I want to make sure I am showing them some 100% genuine organic Virginia Wilcox.

So far, these are my “points of view”…
  • Contemporary Dramatic: I’m in a menial job that’s not what I want to be doing with my life. But rather than choosing to be bitter about it, I choose to give 100% of myself and do the work to the best of my ability. I find fulfillment in bringing small joys to people’s lives. The world is full of hope, even in my current circumstances.
  • Contemporary Comic: I’m unsure about my current life path, unsure of myself, unsure of the future and letting that emotion bubble-over, unfiltered, in the presence of a total stranger. Something needs to change and I am looking for help and comfort wherever it is available to me. The world can be a scary place when I feel helpless.
  • Classical Non-Shakespeare: I have strong beliefs about a woman’s role in the world and believe that women can have power, if they choose to take it and not be shackled to the social norms of society. I communicate these beliefs with the confidence because of my strong convictions. I have found my voice and gained strength by overcoming past humiliations and financial difficulties myself. The world will be what I make of it.
  • Classical Shakespeare: TBD

What do YOU think my 4th “point of view” should be? What’s missing above? Some of you know me VERY well… What other parts of me are not being represented that should be represented in this mix?

I’m curious to hear your point of view.



“Remember that we are all works in process, perfect in our progress and always moving towards our own personal growth and evolution.” – Lena Stevens, The Power Path

Thursday, September 22, 2011

16. Yes, Juilliard, Yes

As you may have been able to deduce from the title of this blog post… I will be applying to Juilliard this year for an MFA in Acting. Yaaaay!!!!

If you have been following our dauntless hero… a.k.a. me… you will recall that the possibility of applying to Juilliard was first mentioned back on September 12. Since then, I have spent some quality time exploring the Juilliard Drama website and reading/soaking-up everything I can about their program. 

Also, read a fantastic interview with James Houghton, the Director of the Drama Division. His philosophy is incredibly inspiring. He has a vision based in training actors as individuals, giving-back to the community and a sense of social/cultural responsibility of artists. Clearly, they have a great leader at the helm. 

This week I also attended a tour, lead by Kathy Hood, Administrative Director for Juilliard Drama.  Kathy has an innately generous and loving spirit. She is welcoming and kind to all visitors. She answered every question with the greatest care and respect, making us all feel a part of the Juilliard family, even just for a couple of hours. 

The facilities are beautiful at Lincoln Center and located right in the beating-heart of New York City (my favorite place on earth). As a part of the tour, it was such a gift to get to hear two of the current 4th year students speak about their experience in the program (Michael Curran-Dorsano & Virginia Veale).

I also know personally a few alumni of Juilliard Drama, one of which, I believe, is one of the greatest theatre artists I have ever known and was one of the people that inspired me to want to attend Solano College’s Actor Training Program (now, unfortunately, closed) when I was 18 years old. I am referring to the one-and-only Daniel Talbott, who is a genuinely good human being as well as an incredibly talented actor, writer, director, and will certainly be successful at any other endeavor he may try his hand at. Anyway, I’m a fan. His journey in forging his own path has inspired me to do the same.

So Juilliard definitely has an appeal to me for all of the many reasons mentioned above. However, the clincher… the MAIN reason that I cannot pass up the opportunity to apply at Juilliard is as follows...

“There is a strong ethos of community service at The Juilliard School. Along with students in the Dance and Music divisions, actors and playwrights regularly use their art to reach out to underserved communities, as teachers and performers in New York City and in such places as New Orleans, South Florida, South Africa, Botswana, Tanzania, and India. Through twice monthly community meetings with activists, politicians, and artists and a four-year course of study called Point of View, students are encouraged to understand the social, historical, and artistic context of their work. In the same way they practice making informed and imaginative choices for the stage, the actors and writers begin to make informed and imaginative choices about their lives as artists and citizens.”

Acting is a service job. And I want to learn how to be the most skilled artist that I can be, so that I can SERVE in the best way possible.

Acting skills can be honed anywhere, but at Juilliard, not only will I be taught and be able to practice the skills I will need to do great work as a professional actor… I will also be surrounded by a nurturing community of artist’s that have a commitment to the social/political/cultural responsibility of artists actually written into their charter.

The difficulty of letting go of fear or ego or preconceived ideas of what an actor “should” be simply falls away when I know I am performing in service of the greater good. What better reason to fearlessly bare your soul and express your point of view, than to help inspire others to do so as well… and learn together, growing in love for one another and feeling the freedom and comfort of a shared connection between human beings.

When I pass away from this earth, I want to die happy knowing that I have been all used up. That I gave everything I had to give. That there was no part of me that I held back. I cannot possibly think of a better way to give everything, than as an artist as citizen.


“Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

15. Quiet Your Inner Critic

“You don’t have a “money problem;” you have a drive, will, and imagination block. Learn how to ask for and fight for what you want and say no to what you don’t want.”   – Tom Todoroff,

I struggle daily with my own insecurities about this Acceptance Project blog… It’s especially difficult when I tell new people about it… people who have just met me… sssstraaaangeeeers. Yikes! Scariness!!!

But “Action Creates Confidence,” as I have tried to remind myself in my Personal Process Guidelines, so I keep putting myself out there and taking action to tell people about what I am doing and invite them to follow.

It’s rarely easy though. I wish that feeling confident would stick with me more consistently. I know that’s all part of the process…


When I tell other people about the blog, I am always met with a look of shock on their faces… “You’re doing what? Wow… That’s a lot… Um. Good for you.”

Most people say supportive things… I mean, it’s not like most people will stand there and make fun of you right to your face anyway, even if they do think you're totally insane.

Though I think that most people are generally supportive and some people actually get excited by the idea. I mean… why not? It’s not their blog. They may as well wish me well.

But it’s the look of pity that I sometimes get that’s the hardest for me to process. It’s the…  “Oh, this poor girl is going to be so crushed when she doesn’t get into grad school... again.”

You know what the truth is? I won’t be crushed… I wasn't crushed before and I won't be again. Not at ALL! Rejection is status-quo. I am soooo used to it… Actually, getting accepted would probably throw-me more. Definitely.


Sometimes I get this icky feeling that I am totally uppity and pretentious to ONLY be applying to tippy-top-top-uber-competitive-nationally-renowned drama schools.

And yes. Maybe I am uppity.

But this is my life and I don’t WANT to go anywhere else. So other people can go to other schools… because that’s what they want. I, however, will continue to move toward my dreams… and hopefully learn not to apologize about it along the way.

To be perfectly honest, my main source of embarrassment with the project is that it’s totally over-kill. 

Don’t get me wrong, I totally LOVE blogging every day about all this stuff. And it is helping me immensely to keep me focused and on-track.

However, I admit that starting a blog is a bit much. It’s certainly not required for admission to grad school. Ha!

Creating this blog in spite of my fears and reaching out to you all to follow… has helped me with another of my Personal Process Guidelines… “Don't Be Embarrassed To Over-Deliver.”

Why is this one is so hard for me?

I guess I feel like other people are able to put way less effort into things and still succeed.

Like they're living these "cool," effortless lives and I'm not.

But for me, the fun is in the effort. It may not be "cool," but I enjoy doing the work. I like knowing that I did EVERYTHING I could. I just don’t always enjoy other people noticing how much work I am actually doing. I feel like it makes them uncomfortable.

Of course, you guys know what I’m doing… and I appreciate that you are noticing.

But I still struggle with the feeling that it shouldn’t be a struggle.


The nice thing about feelings is that they change. Hallelujah! So I know that the bad ones will soon be replaced by good ones again. It’s only a matter of time.

As for the blog…

People who are into it… will enjoy being a part of it.

People who are not into it… won’t subscribe.

I’d rather have a few totally supportive people following, than a thousand people that are ho-hum about the project.

Though I am primarily writing this blog for my own benefit, I do hope my successes feel like your successes too! Because we’ve committed to creating this chapter together!

At the start of this project, I promised to keep showing up in your inbox every day (except Friday) and I will continue to do so, inner-critic be damned!


P.S. Out of curiosity, how do you quiet your inner critic?

“As soon as we consider giving up on anything, we are looking for reasons to support that decision. If we, instead, commit to a project, or mission,… then we look for reasons to stick with it.”- Adam Gilbert, MyBodyTutor

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

14. Take Care of #1

“In nature there are neither rewards nor punishments; there are consequences.” – Robert Green Ingersoll, lawyer & orator (1833-1899)

On Sunday, I shared with you all my Five Daily Practices That Lead to Happiness.  Number one on my list is “Sleep: Get 8 hours every night.”

Have I been doing this, you ask???? Noooope. Have I been happy about it? Noooope.

And yet, I am continuing to choose to prioritize other things over sleeping. Why? It seems silly to have to miss out on awake-things that I’d like to be doing in order to have some quality time with my pillow.

But in reality, when I don’t get enough rest, I am not really enjoying my life while awake anyway, not as much as I would if I was well-rested.

Also, “Take Care of Yourself First” is number one of my Personal Process Guidelines (see the side-bar of the blog page). And getting plenty of sleep is definitely in-line with proper self-care. (Wow! Is that me or my father speaking? LOL!)

Number One... On two separate lists... Clearly, I am trying to teach myself a lesson… Will I ever learn it? 

Maybe. Maybe not.

At least, I’m aware that my lack-of-sleep-choice leads to unhappiness for me. That awareness helps me to... 
A. Not stress-out about why I feel cranky
B. Not blame others for my own choice not to prioritize sleeping

If I don’t sleep enough, then I can’t really be fully present in my relationships or fully engaged in my work… and that’s just sad.

So, go to bed earlier, Wilcox!!!!

Ugh! I know. I know. I will.

Tonight… I will be in bed at 10:30pm… NO EXCUSES! (And no Facebook.)



"Don't stay in bed, unless you can make money in bed." - George Burns 

Monday, September 19, 2011

13. If There’s A Question, Well, There’s Your Answer

“When we do what we know is right, we’ll feel happy.” – Adam Gilbert, MyBodyTutor

When something REALLY feels right for you, there’s no question in your mind that it’s right. You just know. It lines up with your values and priorities. It makes sense in all the right ways. You get that fire in your stomach. It makes your heart feel glad to be moving forward in the right direction. 

This is the criteria I have been trying to take into account when choosing a monologue. I know there are four monologues out there that will make my heart sing when I read them and I am not going to stop looking until I find them.

It’s like one of those fairy-tale quests… The one monologue to rule them alllll! ;-)

Anyway, there are a million “pretty-good” or “sorta-could-work” or “kinda-great” pieces out there. And I’ve done some of those pieces, and there is nothing wrong with them. They get the job done…kinda.

But… then there are certain pieces of artistic expression that are able to transcend getting the job done… And when I read a monologue that has that “je ne sais quoi,” then I KNOW that’s a great piece for me…

When a monologue is right for ME, I react to it in the following ways:
  1. I wish that I had written it
  2. The character is illuminating something that I feel needs to be known to the world
  3. I immediately want to read it to someone else
  4. It makes me FEEL something strong, emotionally
  5. I can’t imagine NOT doing that monologue, I love it so much
  6. I know that no matter the outcome of the audition, I will be thrilled to have 90 seconds to give my interpretation of this character and share that with the auditors

If I have my choice (and in this case I do) I do not like to rush. I like to have plenty of time for my monologue selection process and to allow myself down-time between Drama Book Shop runs to let things sink in.

That’s why I started my monologue search back in June. It has been tedious and time-consuming. 

It's not so much fun searching for monologues as it is finding them.

It’s like shopping. When you’re looking for something specific, you’ll never find it. But when you’re not really looking for anything in particular, you stumble upon the perfect thing. Ugh. I am usually looking for something specific, which is why I don’t like shopping much…. I digress.

However, I have triumphed over my own resistance to looking for monologues and I have found 3 pieces that make my heart sing. Yay me! I should give myself a gold star for effort… ‘cause, goodness knows, Ron Van Lieu won't be pasting one on my forehead. LOL!

My missing piece is the Shakespeare monologue. I have read through many, many, many of them and none have given me that “heart-singing” feeling… yet.  Wish I could offer him a commission for a new work. But alas… he has expired.

I’ve got a monologue coaching session tonight with Kathryn Bild. (This will be my 5th coaching session with her.) She’s been right alongside me through the entire process. Tonight we'll be reading and discussing and hopefully choosing my Shakespeare piece.

I love collaboration. I know this. So I have made an effort to surround myself with supportive and knowledgeable collaborators that I love and respect. This is what I need to feel successful in my process.

For me, the era of going-it-alone is through. You know they don’t give out metals for self-sacrifice? I know!? Lame right?.... So may as well ask for help. That’s what I figure. There's lots of folks out there that know how to do things a lot better than I do, might as well use them as a resource!

I have FIVE minutes in the room on audition day. I am required to prepare FOUR monologues, but am only guaranteed the time to do TWO of them before I am either dismissed or allowed to pass to the next round of auditions. 

Every. Second. Counts. 

How do I want to spend my moments? Doing a "this-will-sorta-work" monologue? I think not.

I want to feel confident that every monologue that I’ve prepared is my best one, my favorite one, and one that I will feel fulfilled to have shared in that moment.

Wish me luck!


“Do you want to know why I have an issue with compromising, economizing, and settling for less? I have to work just as hard whether the bar has been lowered or raised. Dream even bigger.” - Mike Dooley, Tut’s Universe

Sunday, September 18, 2011

12. Five Daily Practices That Lead to Happiness

“I don’t have enough life left to waste doing stuff I hate.” 
(Leo Babauta, ZenHabits)

What you do every day matters more than what you do every once in a while.

Cumulatively, over a long period of time, those little moments and daily choices add up to a big chunk of your life. 

It’s your routine daily habits that have the biggest impact in shaping who you are becoming.

Adam Gilbert, My Body Tutor, gave me a brilliant assignment one day that has changed my life.

I was feeling crappy and unmotivated and generally negative about life. To help me find actionable tools to be able to change my mind-set, he asked me to come up with MY five daily practices that lead to happiness.

He explained that these practices are unique to each individual human being, because what makes him happy may not make me happy and vice versa.

Then he shared with me his five daily practices. They were all fantastic!  

I stole a couple of his and added a couple of my own. This is what I came up with…

Virginia’s 5 Daily Practices That Lead to Happiness
  1. Sleep: Get 8 hours every night
  2. Brain Drain: Write 3 stream-of-consciousness pages in my journal every day
  3. Exercise: Get my heart-rate up for at least 15 minutes every day
  4. Consciously Eat Healthy Food Every 3-4 Hours: never feel hungry, never feel stuffed
  5. Be Present: listen and be loving toward all people that I come in contact with daily

So, now… when I feel like life is totally sucking, all I have to do is ask myself if I’ve done my five things today.

And I know that taking action to do one or more of them will surely make me feel better about life… like magic!

I love the way I feel when I do these five things. 

And doing more of what I love inevitably leads to happiness.

Yup, even happiness takes practice.

Why wait? Practice. Be happy now.


“You know what you need to do, so do it.”
(Lena Stevens, The Power Path)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

11. =IF(logical test, [value_if_true], [value_if_false])

Okay, guys… Am totally about to geek-out on you this morning…

But I seriously woke up thinking about how the “=IF” function in Excel applies to my life. This is a true statement.

Excel is about as “math-y” as I get. Really it’s just a big, fancy calculator on a grid.

The way functions work in Excel seems magical to me. And I love magic.

So my subconscious is making magical calculations in my sleep? 

So be it.

Let me explain… Stay with me now... 

The “=IF” function in Excel checks whether a condition is met in a certain cell and then, in another cell, returns one value if that condition is “True,” and returns another value if that condition is “False.”

I do this to test my beliefs.

In Excel…
=IF(logical test, [value_if_true], [value_if_false])

In my head…
=IF(I am powerful beyond all measure, [I should believe this statement and live my life as if I am a powerful person that can make an impact for good in the world], [I should disbelieve this statement and live my life shrinking in fear, feeling powerless and focusing only on my own weakness and self-protection])

Hmmmm? Which value would I rather choose? The [value_if_true] or the [value_if_false]?

TRUE! Clearly serves me better. No question.

And this function can and has applied to soooo many areas of my life…

=IF(I deserve to have a loving relationship that brings joy and growth into my life every day, [I should believe this statement and take great care in allowing someone into my life who will love me unconditionally and will allow me to love him unconditionally and I will not settle for anything less], [I should disbelieve this statement and fearfully cling to any relationship, even if it negatively affects my life, because I am lucky to have someone, anyone paying attention to me and the thought of being alone scares the crap out of me])

=IF(My time is valuable and I am capable of supporting myself financially on my own, [I should believe this statement and know the specific amount of money I need to make in order to live the lifestyle that feels best for me and continue to search for work until I find a job that will give me that amount of compensation so that I will never have to stress-out about how I will be able to afford to pay my bills], [I should disbelieve this statement and take the first job that comes my way even though it really doesn’t pay me enough to be able to survive but it’s better than nothing and looking for a new job is scary and takes effort so I’ll just stay with this one that really doesn’t serve me because I don’t feel confident that it is actually possible to get paid the amount of money I need to be making anyway])

My Body…
=IF(I have a healthy/sexy/beautiful body that I feel great in, [I should believe this statement and make healthy food and exercise choices every single moment to continue to support the health and longevity of my body because I am strong enough to take responsibility for my own choices and my body is a precious gift that I have been given and I love myself and I enjoy the feeling of satisfaction that I get from taking great care of it], [I should disbelieve this statement and know that no matter what I do I will never be able to feel great in my body so it doesn’t matter that I eat unhealthy because changing my behavior with food is too hard for me and I can’t make it a priority to exercise because I don’t have time and even when I do exercise it never actually makes me feel any better anyway so there is no point in trying because I am just going to fail and feel worse])

Applying to Grad School...
=IF(I am worthy of acceptance to the graduate school of my choice, [I should believe this statement and fearlessly move forward and apply myself doing everything I can to prepare the best way I know how to become the kind of student that I would respect and admire and want to be in class with because I am dedicated and talented and passionate and have gifts to contribute to the world and it would be a shame for me to waste my life away sitting behind a computer for the next 30-50 years], [I should disbelieve this statement and give up trying because I have failed twice already and that must mean that I am not talented enough to get in and maybe I'm not actually any good at acting anyway and trying a third time and failing will be so devastating and embarrassing that I may spontaneously-combust and I will forever be known as that loser who tried and failed three times and then burst into flames of inadequacy and it's dumb to follow your dreams anyway because dreamers are silly people that delude themselves into believing things that are never going to happen and though other people are sometimes lucky and get into those schools I will never ever be accepted and I shouldn't even try])


Jump into my head, people! Ha!

I love the “=IF” function. Who knew it would be so applicable in non-math too?!

And it definitely helps to write out the false statement. Because it always sounds so silly when you read what you’ve written and you know that it’s SOOOO clearly false, but sometimes it sounds true in your head.

Disempower the false!!! Write it out!

Essentially, I ask myself… If this is true, what else is true?

Annnnd… as I am able to make tiny changes to improve one area of my life… those skills, that confidence, that momentum can lead to improvements in the other areas of my life as well.

Do your own logical test. What’s your “=IF” Function?

(Geekiness. Done. Close parentheses.)


"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.' We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
(Williamson, Marianne. A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of "A Course in Miracles", Harper Collins, 1992. From Chapter 7, Section 3])

Thursday, September 15, 2011

10. Get Into Your Gift

"When they know that they do not know,
people can find their own way…

The simplest pattern is the clearest.
Content with an ordinary life,
you can show all people the way
back to their own true nature.”

Verse 65 – Tao Te Ching – by Lao Tzu

How do I find my “passion?” How do I know what my “great work” is?

These questions keep coming up in recent conversations with friends.

Many of us are at a time in our lives when we are feeling the growing pains of personal growth and yet, have not found a specific outlet or a direction for all of the new-found energy and experience we’ve been gathering.

When it comes to major life-direction type questions, I am a big believer that... the only person who has the answer is YOU.

You know your own best way. (Even if you don’t KNOW you know it… you know it.)

And I certainly don’t have any answers for anyone… I’m constantly exploring what’s happening with my own crazy self and I definitely don’t know what is best for someone else.

However, I think that finding your “passion” or any other answer you are looking to find for yourself is really about…

1.     Trusting yourself

2.      Asking yourself the right questions

3.      Listening and trusting yourself

4.     Being open to allowing the answers to come

5.     Being brave and trusting yourself

6.     Testing to see if the answer you THINK you’ve found is really lasting and true for you (not just based on what you “should” do or what other people have told you that you “should” do)

7.     Allowing yourself to feel the fear, but not letting it stop you

8.     Taking action to move in the direction of your "great work"

9.     Feeling fantastic that you’ve started to do what you’ve always (secretly) wanted to do

10.  Make it a habit. Keep doing it...

The time-table on this journey? Totally up to you.

Actually,… this will probably take forever. I know it will for me, at least, but I’m okay with that.

It’s go-at-your-own-pace… Choose your own adventure!

I think it’s fun, asking questions and not knowing the answers.

Here are some questions I enjoy asking myself often…

·         Whose work inspires me? (This is often an indication of the kind of work I’d like to be doing.)

·         How can I give? (It’s not about what I have to gain, it’s alllll about what I have to GIVE. I gain through giving.)

·         What is my reason for doing this thing? (If it’s because I think it's “FUN,” then I know I’m on the right track.)

·         What can I do to make this hurt less/ eliminate the things that bother me? (Ouch! Discomfort and pain are my friends. They are indications that action needs to be taken…Step away from the crazy-makers.)

·         Am I consistently moving toward what makes me feel good? (Do more of that!)

·         Am I living out my childhood dreams

·         What’s my idea of “play?” (If it’s fun for someone else, that doesn’t mean it’s going to be fun for me.)

·         When no one else was around, what am I naturally drawn to do/think about?

·         Am I just surviving or am I moving towards thriving?

·         How can I do less of what I don't like and more of what I love?

·         Am I procrastinating because of a lack of interest or a fear of failure?

·         Will this only give me fleeting pleasure or the joy of lasting satisfaction?

…Blah, blah, blah… You get the idea.

The best part, with questions like these, is that there are really no wrong answers.

Love that.

It’s simple really… Do what you want to do. That’s how you know what you “should” do.

Trust yourself. Go you own way. Be happy.


“The best career advice to give the young is, find out what you like doing best and get someone to pay you for doing it.” 
– Katherine Whilehaen

“The least strained and most natural ways of the soul are the most beautiful; the best occupations are the least forced.” 
– Michel de Montaigne

Juilliard Drama Campus Tour: Sept 21 (reservation confirmed)
Juilliard MFA Open House: Sept 25 (reservation confirmed)
Baby steps…