What You Can Learn From Meryl’s Big Moment

The internet has been alive and chatty over the last week, and we bet there’s a good chance you’ve seen, heard, or read about Meryl Streep’s acceptance speech for the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 74th annual Golden Globes.

After being introduced by the magnificent Viola Davis, Meryl took to the stage to do what she does best; ignite passion in the hearts of audiences everywhere.

Here are our 5 take-aways from the inspiring speech:

You’re an actor! You’re pursuing your artistic craft! You’re alive! Be grateful. Yes, it can be tough to book jobs, yes you have to pay rent, and yeah it rains sometimes. But really, let’s just enjoy it more. Taking time everyday to have even a small gratitude practice will open your eyes to what you do have, and also how you can grow as person and as an actor. Learn to love what you do, all parts of it, and as you gain success embrace modesty. No one wants to see another #HumbleBrag. As artists and influencers we can diminish others or we can chose integrity to uplift those around us; whether you’re a celebrity taking a political stance or average Joe treating the barista at the coffee shop kindly. To quote Meryl “We have to remind each other of the privilege and the responsibility of the act of empathy.” 

We have to remind each other of the privilege and the responsibility of the act of empathy.

2) Responsibility.
As actors we tend to play victim. They give us the jobs. They don’t like me. They won’t see me! The list goes on. There are things that you can take control of in your career, and in your life. The main one is yourself. How you spend you time, what you value, and what you stand for. Meryl knows who she is, what she wants, and what she believes in; right down to her baby toe. Find your essence and passion; then take responsibility and go after it.

3) Feeling Worthy.
Rejection, uncertainty, and waiting for the phone to ring are just some aspects of our crazy industry. No matter what stage of your career you’re currently in, sometimes it feels as though nothing is working. And sometimes that spirals into a fear that you’re not worthy; of success, of dreams or of aspirations. That’s when we need a friend, mentor, or teacher like Meryl. As Viola Davis profoundly expressed during her introduction: ”You make me feel that what I have in me — my body, my face, my age — is enough.”
So, when the going gets tough remember to be kind to yourself, believe in yourself, and imagine that Meryl believes in you too.

4) The Study of Human Nature.
Feeling bored? Lost on how you can make small but powerful gains in your craft? Study. Not a book or with a new coach, but people. There are people all around you, feeling, living, struggling, growing, laughing, crying, dreaming. Observe. Put down that smart phone and check people out. Be ok with looking a little weird! You never know who you’ll meet or what you’ll learn. These eccentricities or observations may not seem useful to you right now, but one day, one role in the future may require you to emulate exactly that twitch or that way of smoking a cigarette. Be open, be vulnerable, and get to know a stranger. Dame Meryl says it best: “An actor’s only job is to enter the lives of people who are different from us, and let you feel what that feels like.”

An actor’s only job is to enter the lives of people who are different from us, and let you feel what that feels like.

5) Persistence.
One does not simply win a lifetime achievement award without a lifetime of great work. Meryl is one of 13 women to have been given the award since its inauguration in 1952. It is easy to see why she is a go-to favourite actor for so many. She has challenged herself consistently over the last several decades playing a diverse variety of roles and building a body of work that stands the test of time. There is no guarantee these tips are the keys to a TV show, or the answer to having it all, but if you are an actor and you truly want to commit to this business, persistence is key.

There will never be another Meryl Streep and perhaps the greatest lesson she can teach us is that she succeeds by truly knowing and owning herself.

Comment below or share this with a friend who could use a pick me up!

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