On Life’s Stage

If you watched the Academy Awards show the other night, you saw dozens of Hollywood’s most celebrated stars all lavishly coiffed in their hot, er, haute couture. While it’s fun to “ooh, aww” and “huh?” over the latest fashions, I decided to dig beneath the sparkling externals to see what non-scripted advice the good-looking and glamorous can share with us.

Action. Fade in.

Grunge retro cinema poster. Vector illustration.“Eventually stardom is going to go away from me. It goes away from everybody and all you have in the end is to be able to look back and like the choices you made.” – Matt Damon

“Respect your efforts, respect yourself. Self-respect leads to self-discipline. When you have both firmly under your belt, that’s real power.” – Clint Eastwood

“Overcome the notion that you must be regular. It robs you of the chance to be extraordinary.” – Uta Hagen

“A lot of people give up just before they’re about to make it. You know you never know when that next obstacle is going to be the last one.” – Chuck Norris

 “You pray for rain, you gotta deal with the mud too. That’s a part of it. I’d be more frightened by not using whatever abilities I’d been given. I’d be more frightened by procrastination and laziness.” – Denzel Washington

“There are no regrets in life. Just lessons.” – Jennifer Aniston

Like the choices you make.

• Respect your efforts. Respect yourself.

• Press beyond regular to become extraordinary.

• Don’t give up.

• Deal with the mud.

• Fully use your abilities.

• Bravely fight procrastination and laziness.

• See regrets as life lessons.

Freeze frame. It’s a wrap.

Brave and Resilient Tip #60: On life’s stage, your best performance is to be the best you. 


Let’s Talk

What Drives You?

Q. How I can be free from allowing my performance to dictate my value as a person?

A. Let’s Talk! Sadly, our culture’s view of performance dictates our self-esteem and feelings of success; and is a false measure of what matters. It’s a trap with glitter on it, and it’s a challenge to get free from these messages of our culture and our past . . . but let’s do it! 

When (not IF) you fail at something – what are the messages that you play internally? Do you berate yourself? Do you repeat hurtful messages passed down to you from family or friends? That’s a pretty big sign that performance matters . . . too much. When we fail at something and we begin to beat up on ourselves, our performance not only mattered too much but also dictates our worth.

Sample messages that have to die include “You are such a zero.” “You can’t do anything right.” Can you replace those messages with the truth? For example, “I failed at that task, but I am not a failure. I can try again. My performance has nothing to do with my value as a person.”

If we don’t settle this issue in our own lives, we will pass along that trap to others. Family or friends will feel you measuring their lives and their results. They will sense your approval or disapproval of them based on their performance. It is an unloving intruder in relationships. In reality it is a spillover from your own trap; so you need to repair the well. Here’s an exercise: describe yourself. Did you use performance words? Oops.

How do we really matter? Is it by the things we do (performance) – or something else? My something else is that the God of the universe gave me life. I matter to Him. Psalm 139 describes my birth and yours, as well as how much we matter. I’d like to think I look to Him for my value, although it took decades. You might say I am a recovering performance junkie. Think about guarding your heart for those performance messages dictated in TV commercials and for the drivenness worshipped in our culture. Are you willing to consider that success is being in the center of God’s will?

What’s more important to you, the outside (performance) or the inside (your heart, your spirit)? Which one are you feeding? The one you feed will be the stronger one. You do get to choose.

For Deeper Reflection

Psalm 139: 13,16 [though the whole chapter is amazing], “For Thou didst form my inward parts; Thou didst weave me in my mother’s womb . . . Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Thy book they were all written, the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them . . . .”

Jeremiah 1: 5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born, I consecrated you . . . .”

Ephesians 1: 3 – 6 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him, in love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved . . . .”


Helen B. McIntosh has a doctorate in counseling psychology and is a national board certified professional counselor and certified in reality therapy. An educator for 19 years, Dr. McIntosh is an author, a highly demanded national speaker and inventor of the Peace Rug®, an international curriculum for conflict resolution.

You can contact me confidentially at DrHelen@braveandresilient.com.