I’m sitting in a Vancouver cafe right now, post-callback audition from my first Canadian audition. And I made a conscious choice beforehand. Some might call it a risk. Some might call it clever. Most might think it is negligent.
In the words of a self-built leader and discipline machine Jocko Willink, “Good”. I’ll be the one doing something different.
I went into the room fasted.
That is to say, I sat woke, prepped and packed, travelled in transit, sat and waited in an overcrowded waiting room to 60mins past my callback calltime, to go into the room of producers, advertising pros, and the director, without eating a single thing.
Why was this a conscious choice? Because it isn’t always something that I do. It depends on the job/the character/the person I’m in the room with. But when you’re out to get an edge but remain yourself and in the moment, I genuinely can’t think of a more simple and honest preparation to deliver.
And I believe this is something that transfers into those similar moments in life; not just an actor/artist in a morning audition. It translates into the job interview you want to feel present in; into the shift you really want to fire on all cylinders; in the exam you want to stay mega focused in. Fasting is focused. Fasting is being present. Fasting is your very real self.
You know what else? Zero nerves. Yes, this comes from years from experiencin this time of stress but also this offers an alternative to your brain and unconscious mind to focus on. “When will I eat today?” it wonders. “How will I obtain food?” my caveman program running in the background is processing, and all the while it is LESS concerned with the social structures of an audition/interview/exam of judgement and pressures of a result. The fasted feeling pulls you into the present.
Now let’s remember a few things about a situation like this. You are choosing to be wherever you are at that point. You chose to attend and you are there because you want to do well. We know several controls are in place, not the least of which are 1. I can keep a water bottle with me WHEREVER I am as no one will ever question your right to hydrate through the day (in fact, it’s becoming increasingly popular in professional environments to have a non-recyclable water container on you. Love that health revolution huh!) and 2. If you are in one of these situations about, you most likely have or will have access to food immediately after OR later in the day (in my case and those that like to push their fasting out or stick to an eating window).
SO with that in mind, why would you not attempt or even enjoy something that may well give you an advantage over the many others that are shooting for the same job/exam result/YOUR job and shifts… A fair advantage too; a personal one that you have control over and hey, you aren’t hurting anyone.
What a lot of people tend to do is think is: “BIG day today. Better have a BIG breakfast.” (or brekkie as we call it in Australia. Geez we love our abrevations… Abbrevs.)
While this makes sense initially, believing we need a lot of energy to do the things for the day, we are underestimating our body’s ability to store energy FOR this activities we plan to do, but also we overestimate our body’s ability to digest that monster breakfast before we reach that time we need to concentrate. At that stage, fragments of our focusing energy are helping your stomach, intestines, liver, and kidneys sort through that shit. In the intestines’ case, literally.
And so instead, let’s flip it. Let’s look at taking a risk. Who knows what interesting place that might lead us, right? Because you know what, one day you might sleep in or run late or go back-to-back interviews, and not get the chance to eat. Before you reach a forced fast situation, making it a conscious choice and deliberate option you take will help take the fear out of when things might not go to plan in future. And since this may well make you sharper and even more in the moment, heck, even better!
How I approached this morning was very basic but based around the bare essentials and that’s all I need to deliver. Anywhere. Any environment. This takes practice but that’s what this is. A practice; a discipline. When I woke up on “game day”, I:
- Got up within 10mins – no snooze button.
- Made a herbal tea (coffee isn’t ideal within 2 hours of waking, so trying out a different, unsweetened herbal tea each morning keeps you interested and engaged with the practice. The little things. In this case, it was a Vanilla Camomile.)
- Rolled my leg muscles out and stretched.
- Grabbed a sparking water (with a hint of lemon flavour; zero calories and doesn’t spike your insuline like eating a bowl of cereal or even eating fruit would)
- Made a coffee and whacked it in an insulated flask so that I can enjoy when I hit the 2hr mark (and thankful I did, sitting in that waiting room!)
- Packed a protein shake for breaking fast later in the day (a delicious way to do it; but if you are cycling of protein shakes or just don’t do them, packing a snack/small meal that you can’t nervously get at in a waiting room is a great idea too!)
- Hit that callback/interview/exam/audition like a beast. (yep, be there and crush it! LION or LIONESS!)
- Resisted the temptation to eat or break fast after the “stress-inducing scenario” was over. (Not that I did experience stress or nerves, but if I were addressing a large for example, I would and by not eating/devouring a protein shake immediately after its all over, you consciously disassociate the two actions. Otherwise, you are inviting yourself to become a “stress eater” OR just as bad, seeing food as a reward after EVERY scenario like this… What happens when you get busy in your job? Or start auditioning a lot more? Slippery slope– even if just waiting an extra 30mins, it’s worth it)
- Go to the gym, which I’m about to do (I have friends like myself that prefer to train fasted. This is optimal for many but really, go with what suits you. If you can’t fast for long but want to train fasted, train earlier, dumbie! Just make sure you’re hydrated, no matter what).
- Eat. Feast. You’ve earned it now, but at least now my animal brain won’t go all “Pavlov’s Dogs” on me after every audition and callback. (Better after every gym sesh, when you need it most!)
That’s it. Keeping the daily discipline in a more stressful or higher-stakes situation than your normal routine. Why not let it work for you? Save the time and the focus. You might just bypass the anxiety with the more important things in life.
And what’s more, you might just book that job or increase the likelihood at the very least, because guess what..? It’s that thing of when you’re not pining over the position, that’s when it tends to come to you.
Let them all say “let’s get that fasted fiend back in here! I loved his/her energy! So present and determined.”
That’s discipline for you. That’s fasting working for you.
Alright. Get Creating Yourself.
I’m off to the gym.
– The Fasted Artist