A Lesson from Kevin Bacon

John O'Leary

John O'Leary

Inspiring Story of Overcoming Challenges

Stephanie Szostak Kevin Bacon and nervesEven Movie Stars Get Nervous When It Matters

"The butterflies are always there before we do anything of importance. Our job is to get them to fly in formation." -Captain Charlie Plumb [Tweet this.] | [Share on Facebook.]

It's almost impossible to make it as an actor in the highly competitive movie industry.

The most well-connected actors, from the finest schools, with incredible drive and abilities repeatedly find themselves on the outskirts, incapable of getting the break, unable to achieve the dream. This is what makes the success of Stephanie Szostak - and her unlikely conversation with Kevin Bacon - even more remarkable. Let me explain.

Stephanie was raised in the suburbs of Paris, France. She first came to the United States at 19 when she studied marketing at The College of William & Mary. While there she fell in love, graduated, moved to New York, and started her life. She worked in marketing at Chanel, got married, had children and led a normal life. Then, at age 28, with absolutely no experience, no training and no track record, she decided to become an actor.

Although well-intentioned friends told her she was crazy and would never succeed, with her husband's encouragement, her belief in herself, and some neighborhood acting classes, Stephanie started the journey. She took some short roles, got on a few sets, learned the craft, built a bit of a resume, and caught a huge break when she was called back to be in a major movie titled, The Devil Wears Prada.

The unassuming, but talented actress then received significant roles in both Dinner for Schmucks and Iron Man 3, before landing the leading lady role in R.I.P.D. The filming took place in Boston and during her first day on set Stephanie looked around the room in absolute awe of the other actors. Finding herself on the same set as Ryan Reynolds, Jeff Bridges (The Dude, himself), and Kevin Bacon, her anxiety was high as she wondered if she truly belonged.

Kevin Bacon Reminds Stephanie Szostak We're All the Same

On that first morning, Kevin and Stephanie had a few minutes before shooting to get to know one another. They talked about the movie, about other movies they had participated in (Kevin had a bit more to discuss!), and about their families. Eventually, though, Kevin wiped his eyes, apologized and explained he was simply exhausted because he hadn’t slept at all the previous night. When Stephanie asked why, he replied that he never sleeps before the first day of shooting; just too much anxiety.

Stephanie, shocked, yelled back, "What? You get nervous? I figured I was the only one!"

Kevin shared that anxiety simply meant he cared. He felt intense anxiety in his first major role (Animal House), has experienced it in every role over the four decades since, and felt that when he doesn’t feel it anymore he'll know he's not taking it serious enough and it's time to quit.

(I had the pleasure of interviewing the talented Stephanie Szostak on my most recent Live Inspired Podcast. She shares the "one degree of Kevin Bacon" story, but also discusses growing up in Paris, losing her older brother when he was in his 20s, following her heart, her new show A Million Little Things and how she works at enjoying the journey. It's a terrific conversation. Check it out here.)

Those Nervous Butterflies Mean You Care

My friends, I think we all experience anxiety as we prepare for the big meeting, the first date, an important sales call, a new opportunity.

But the important lesson to learn from this dialogue between two Hollywood actors (hey, they really are like us!) is that we shouldn't stop nervously anticipating as we get older and more seasoned. Instead, we should hope for butterflies before the second meeting, the second date, the next sales call and opportunity. And the third.

Because those nerves are a reminder that you care. And butterflies should always be present when we do anything of importance.

Our job isn't to wish them away, but to get them to fly in formation.

As you enter into your week, welcome the butterflies. Act and anticipate and plan as if the work you do, the relationships you touch and the life you live actually matters. Because it all does.

And what better place to begin this practice then the most important roles you play: the ones at home.

This is your day. Live Inspired.

The post A Lesson from Kevin Bacon appeared first on John O'Leary.

Live Inspired Podcast: Enjoying Your Journey (Monday Moments ep. 161)
John O'Leary shares a reminder to enjoy the journey on the Live Inspired Podcast Monday Moments segment. Join me every Monday for a quick burst of inspiration on our Live Inspired Podcast Monday Moments segment. Today, I reminisceon my false-summit during a trip to the Maroon Bells in Colorado. My friends, I encourage us to remind oursel...
Read More
You're Missing It- John O'Leary.
What We Don't See on the Cover "When you judge others, you do not define them, you define yourself." -Earl Nightingale [Share on Facebook] | [Tweet this] Box. Label. Category. We still try to fit people into these, don't we? Liberal, conservative, black, white, rich, poor. Or maybe it's titles. CEO, mechanic, stay-at-...
Read More
You're Missing It
What We Don't See on the Cover“When you judge others, you do not define them, you define yourself." -Earl Nightingale [Share on Facebook] | [Tweet this]Box.Label.Category.We still try to fit people into these, don't we?Liberal, conservative, black, white, rich, poor Or maybe it's titles.CEO, mechanic, stay-at-home parent, unemployed, overpaid Ca...
Read More
Live Inspired Podcast: The Good Doctor Star Hill Harper Talks Mission, Impact + Acting (ep. 160)
John O'Leary welcomes award-winning actor Hill Harper to the Live Inspired Podcast for an inspiring, down-to-earth conversation about what is right in the world and ways you can make it even better. Most people know today's guest as the award-winning actor in ABC's The Good Doctor or from his nine years on CSI: NY. But Hill Harper is also a...
Read More
Live Inspired Podcast: Thinking Beyond your Boundaries (Andy Andrews on Monday Moments ep. 159)
John O'Leary welcomes back past Live Inspired Podcast guest andNew York Times best-selling author Andy Andrews for Monday Moments. To book John O'Learyfor your next event, visit hisprofile: https://premierespeakers.com/john_oleary John's most recent book title isOn Fire: The 7 Choices to Ignite a RadicallyInspired Life. To order copies...
Read More
A Little Boy Who Could
An Invitation to Reach Beyond Your Circumstances "Numbers have life, they are not just symbols on paper." - Shakuntala Devi My friend, the plight of the refugee is both timely and timeless. Often when covered in the news, headlines focus on the sheer number of refugees. Today: 68.5 Million people have been forcibly displaced fr...
Read More
IN STUDIO - Webcast #26 Unlocking the Secrets to Joy (from the world's happiest people) Part 2
IN STUDIO -Webcast #26 Unlocking the Secrets to Joy (from the world's happiest people) Part 2 Mark your calendars for our next live Webcast#27: Staring Up At The Clouds on Monday, 7/15 at 10:30 AM CDT! If you are unable to attend live, you can access the video, audio downloads & ongoing discussions here 24/7. […] This post is only avail...
Read More
Live Inspired Podcast: A Refugee's Story of Hope (ep. 158)
John O'Leary is joined by Dr. Bassam Hadi on the Live Inspired Podcast to share his father's story on the plight of being a refugee. The plight of the refugee is both timely and timeless. Often when covered in the news, headlines focus on the sheer number of refugees in the Middle East, North Africa, Central America The number is so vast...
Read More
The Buzz Around Mental Health
What It Means for All of Us "Only curiosity about the fate of others, the ability to put ourselves in their shoes creates this shock of recognition. Without empathy, there can be no genuine dialogue, and we as individuals and nations will remain isolated and alien." - Azar Nafisi Dese'Rae Stage is a photographer, just shy of having a P...
Read More
Live Inspired Podcast: Keep Climbing Mountains (Monday Moments ep. 157)
John O'Leary shares the inspiring story of 17-year-old on Live Inspired Podcast Monday Moments. Join me every Monday for a quick burst of inspiration on our Live Inspired Podcast Monday Moments segment. "Never let your current situation, whatever circumstances you're going through, be a mountain that you can't climb." Today I share th...
Read More