It’s a common occurrence for comedians to push and do everything possible to get to the next level. If you don’t push yourself, then how do you progress?
The ideal scenario is to be doing more than what you were doing the year prior. That’s always a realistic goal, but what does “doing more” actually mean?
In an ideal world, “doing more” lends itself to growth: performing better as a stand-up, getting noticed by people, booking spots that actually mean something, etc. Achieving such goals actually means you are getting somewhere; however, most comedians often confuse “doing more” with doing everything where they’re overloaded to the point where they burn out.
Pushing yourself to burnout is never productive tricking yourself into believing you’re being productive negates from your actual goals.
So ask yourself...are you growing or are you just fooling yourself? Here are my thoughts.
You’re not growing if you don’t have a focus. Focused growth is a necessary strategy for comics. Think about it; we are essentially our own businesses as comics. While you may not be a registered corporation, you have to think in a way of what you want to achieve and the steps you need to take to achieve that goal (that’s Business Strategy 101). Too many times, comics will look at everything as an opportunity. That might be somewhat true in the first couple of years of comedy, but you still have to look at it as “what am I gaining by doing this?” For example, I’ve seen many comics (newbies) exhaust themselves by thinking they have to do every open mic, be out every night, do every bringer show, etc. Doing so much scatters your thinking and a lot of it has to do with not having a basic focus. Think about, most comics will even say in their first years of comedy that they are just trying to “get good.” Get good? That’s such a generic goal. They don’t have a specific goal such as “I want to work on getting comfortable on stage,” “I want to move around more,” or “I want to master act outs.” Having a focus is essential because it points you in a direction for whatever growth you’re looking to achieve. Someone else’s growth doesn’t mean you’re not growing. A common assessment of growth is evaluating ourselves against what others are doing.
This is terrible for self-growth because everyone’s path is different. Even I fell into the rut of evaluating myself against others as a new comic and then becoming unnecessarily insecure. The problem here is that everyone (even if they’re similar) is their own comic with a unique style. Unless you’re doing an outright copycat, then sure, but we’re all so different at the end of the day. You can only measure your own growth against yourself and a lot of it has to do with getting out of your own head to allow that growth to take off.
Growing isn’t difficult. It’s us standing in our own way that holds us back from our true potential. So ask yourself again: are you growing or just fooling yourself?
Got questions or something to add? Comment below and tell us your thoughts!