Number 13 – Giving to Others May Be Your Best Opportunity
In theatre, we’re pretty obsessed with the word “opportunity”. When job adverts are published, they tend to be accompanied by the words “opportunity for director/producer/actor/designer/insert job title here”. The chance of being given a job is usually presented as an opportunity rather than simply a job.
This means that we are often on the lookout for opportunities that we can take. How can I increase my opportunities? How can I generate more opportunities? How can I take opportunities when they present themselves? This is all well and good but for an industry that is ostensibly focussed on sharing, community and creativity, isn’t it a bit self-centred?
I wonder what would happen if we flipped this thinking around and focussed on how we can give opportunities to others? If we’re looking outwards, maybe more will come back to us in turn?
What can we give to other creatives to help them get their projects, ideas and careers off the ground? That might be as simple as time and expertise, or more obviously money and space. If we focus on those artists around us who we can help, surely others will start to help us?
And I don’t think this will necessarily result in doing more work for free. Like I suggested in my previous blog, it means we have more irons in the fire - more projects that might take off, more projects that might get funding, more projects that might get programmed, more collaborators who might hire you.
This also relates to the idea of value. Ultimately, our value comes from being able to solve someone’s problem. All businesses are founded around this central idea of solving someone’s problem. And if you’re able to solve someone’s problem, they’ll probably pay for it.
So have look around you. Where can you give, rather than take? Give your list of contacts a scan. Who in that list can you help or give support to in some way? Get in touch and offer that help. Not everyone will take it. Not everyone will have money straightaway to pay you. But it might just result in more opportunities.