Stuck in the Past? 10 Advice Tips from the Ghost Whisperer

This week we feature guest poster, Jessica Sitomer, an entertainment industry coach.

Melinda Gordon, played by Jennifer Love Hewitt in the Ghost Whisperer,  communicates with ghosts who can’t move on because of unfinished business from their past. The obvious message for those of us who don’t get the opportunity to communicate with spirits, is: If you don’t learn from the mistakes of your past, your future will give you more of what you don’t like in your present, only the more you get, the worse your future will be.

Old bad habits haunting you? Here's how to move on.

Being a coach for 15 years, I’ve seen the mistakes people have made that were the differences between their success and in some cases, devastation (loss of home, divorce, illness due to stress, and the worst, suicide).

Allow me to be a “ghost whisperer” and share the top 10 mistakes people make that stop them from achieving their entertainment industry career dreams:

  1. Getting stuck in old business habits that don’t work: Let’s face it, if you’ve been doing the same things over and over to generate work and you’re not happy with the results, you’ve got to try something new. Imagine a Ghost revealed himself to you to show you the same 3-5 things you’ve been doing to generate work. Can you envision what they are? Now imagine that the Ghost shows you 2012 and you’re doing the same things. How will you feel at the end of the year when your results are the same as they were this year, only you have more debt and more feelings of resentment? What about in 5 years, 10 years? What will your retirement look like if you don’t do something different?
  2. Not treating the business like a full time job This is 90% of not only my clients but also the hundreds of thousands of people pursuing entertainment careers. So do you want to stay in the 90% or be in the top 10%? To be in the top, you must be spending 40 hours a week on your business when you’re not working at your craft, and 10 hours a week when you do have a job in your craft.
  3. Lack of consistency This is the classic “New Year’s Resolution” example that is easiest to explain with a gym membership. At the beginning of the year, people join a gym making a resolution that “this year they will get fit.” Again, only 10-15% of the people stay consistent. The gym counts on that or they would be overcrowded. They just keep taking your money while you let your membership go to waste. Your competition is like those gym sales people, just counting on you to start strong in January and peter out as 2011 continues on, so that they stay on top and you never break-out!
  4. Unable to “get back on the horse” Many clients have made a big push, and then something gets in the way, or they get sidetracked, or they run out of steam and can’t “get back on the horse,” until the next year. Do you want to be having this conversation with me 12 months from now? I hope not!
  5. Fear of rejection Fear is a career crusher, and the entertainment industry is like any other sales industry in that you have to get a lot of ‘nos’ to get to the important ‘yeses.’ I know you get that intellectually, but do you get it emotionally?
  6. Not taking risks Again it comes down to the 90%/10% rule in that 10% of the people in our industry take risks. Guess which group gets the top results? Every mentor I’ve interviewed had risks to share. They are necessary to move forward in your career.
  7. Coming from a place of lack and desperation So many people get themselves into a place where it’s too late. They are in financial crisis, which causes them to be in a state of desperation, which equals a continued cycle of lack of work. If you’re in this cycle, you must find a way out or it will only worsen.
  8. Seeing why something won’t work instead of seeing the possibility I call these people the ‘Naysayers’, always having a reason why something new won’t work, or why they can’t afford something they know is going to help them, or knocking something before they’ve tried it. Other versions are people who have “heard that doesn’t work” or people who have “tried it once and given up because it didn’t work.”
  9. Lack of family support This has always been a challenging one for me because, it usually occurs when the family doesn’t see you getting anywhere because of the reasons above. It’s hard to support someone who is causing financial strain on your life, or who is angry, bitter, and frustrated all of the time because he or she is not working. Your family wants you to be happy, and when you’re not working, you’re usually not.
  10. Lack of self worth This is where it all stems from. Whether you grew up with low self-esteem, or the lack of work has chipped away at your self worth, or you’ve had a great career and then lost it. These are just some of the few reasons why people’s lack of self worth, which disguises itself in many ways, sabotages their success in the industry.

Figure out what mistakes you’ve made in the past and solutions to those mistakes so you won’t make them in the future.

If Melinda can help the ghosts cross over, surely you can have a career cross-over too.

Mojo Moves

  • Make new mistakes
  • Discuss with your Accountability Wingman what three old, ineffectual habits you want to break
  • Don’t be invisible like a ghost — Get noticed

Jessica Sitomer, The Greenlight Coach, is a top Entertainment Industry Speaker and Coach and is the author of And…Action! Powerful, Proven, and Proactive Strategies to Achieve Success in the Entertainment Industry.

Photo courtesy of CBS/Ghost Whisperer

Got tips on how to move on from your past?  Comment below.

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Did you enjoy this post?
  • Lara

    Great post. For writers who want to get serious about their craft, see my blog for valuable writing tips

  • Diane Dick

    Hi Jessica

    Did you write this post for me only? I found that all I could say was me too to most of your comments, except for #8 as I have this thinking that when something doesn’t work one way, then there will always be another angle to it.

    I think that for me the big one is “Getting back on the horse”. It is much tougher when you listen to the economic naysayers who say that we’re still in a recession and things are all doom and gloom. I think should I shut up shop or find another market niche to tap into, or another direction to market my business in and somehow this has always proved a successful line of thinking. I always like to think outside the “box” or square. When times are tough you have to look at everything you spend and ask is it a necessary spend for your business.

  • Jessica

    “Getting back on the horse” is all about changing your coping mechanisms. Looking for humor in the face of rejection or when you’re feeling hopeless, can lighten the stress and open you up to a fresh take on the situation. It sounds like you’re experienced with finding “other angles” so as you get challenged, before making a change in direction, explore finding a coping mechanism that helps you bounce back faster and those other angles will be revealed. Even if it is going in a different direction, at least you’ll have the peace of mind that you thought it through and can trust your instincts.

  • Wendy Hanlan

    Great article – it’s sooooo important to spread the word about this subject. When these issues creep up, especially later in lie, depression and self-doubt can really start take over. Ask for help!

    • Jessica

      I agree Wendy! And so many people are ashamed to talk about what’s REALLY going on in their business, because they feel it’s important to keep up the “success facade” That’s why it’s important to find a small core group you can mastermind with and be truthful with each other. Good luck!

  • Andrei Grun

    Touched so many painful issues from my past.Yes it is easier to hide in a corner,be the victim and not accept pain.But one has to move on,honest and opened to all feelings.

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