January 6, 2016

Keep Those New Year's Resolutions!

Keep Those New Year's Resolutions. Tips for making your new year's resolution list enjoyable, attainable, and effective.

If you're a little nerdy like me, you might get very excited about creating your list of New Year's Resolutions. For me it's a fairly detailed process that begins somewhere in the middle of December (because I'm just too excited to wait any longer!) with recaps of the year prior, vision boarding, inspiration hoarding, and finally several working drafts of the all-mighty resolution list. It can really be quite fun when you get into it!
The truth is, however, that I wasn't always such a Resolution nerd. In fact, I used to be quite the opposite. Years of failed lists tended to make me feel like the whole process was useless. It's a scheme made up by fitness and health guru's to make an extra buck. Resolutions just set yourself up for failure. Trying to limit or morph yourself is demeaning to the very essence of living life to the fullest. These are all things I used to tell myself. But it doesn't have to be that way!
Here are my tips for making your New Year's Resolutions enjoyable, attainable, and worth the effort:

1. Celebrate your successes!

You're going to have plenty of time to get into the nitty gritty of your goal's list. So don't get ahead of yourself! The VERY first thing you need to do is give yourself a big pat on the back. If you had a resolution list the year before you need to do a recap to celebrate the things you accomplished. Retype your goals list as an "I did it!" list. Even add extra things you are proud of that weren't necessarily on your list. If you didn't have a list last year that's ok too! Just take some time to reflect on things you accomplished the year before. When you are done I want you to prominently display this list in your main work area. All year long you can look at it and remember just how badass you are. This will give you an extra boost of confidence when you need it!

2. Get inspired and create a vision.

Resolutions should be things that feed your soul. They should make you feel good and accomplished on the inside. Resolutions that are aligned with your true happy self are just easier to stick to. So take some time now to reflect on the things that make you happy. For this I find Vision Boarding to be extremely important. You need to mentally get a clear picture of what your dream life looks like. This vision will keep you moving in the right direction throughout the year, even if the individual steps aren't always perfectly clear. And this isn't just some new age mumbo jumbo. Visualization practices such as vision boarding have been scientifically proven to produce results.
"Mental imagery impacts many cognitive processes in the brain: motor control, attention, perception, planning, and memory. So the brain is getting trained for actual performance during visualization. It’s been found that mental practices can enhance motivation, increase confidence and self-efficacy, improve motor performance, prime your brain for success, and increase states of flow – all relevant to achieving your best life!" - Psychology Today.
So have fun creating a vision board, and make sure you keep it somewhere you'll see it throughout the year.

3. Find the lead domino.

I was listening to a podcast with Tim Ferriss (Ep 49 20:25) a while back and he brought up this idea of "The Lead Domino" that absolutely blew my mind. It's a concept that completely recognizes our innate limitations as human beings, and yet gives us a tool to grow with that reality in mind. The truth is we can only give our focus, time, and energy to so much in life. If we make a resolutions list that tries to encapsulate EVERYTHING we are indeed setting ourselves up for failure, because we simply cannot do everything! This is where the lead domino comes in. First, make a rough list of things that go along with your vision board that you would like to accomplish this year. Now imagine this: every single thing you are dreaming of accomplishing this year is a singular domino. All of these dominos are lined up in a row. The thing with dominos is that you don't have to push over every single one, you just need to push over the lead domino. So which item on your list is the lead domino? Which resolution, if accomplished, will have the most effect on all the other dominos? Is there one resolution that at least touches on and affects several other items on your list? If you can find that one thing, that is your lead domino for the year -- that is your BIG GOAL NUMBER ONE.
If you are having a hard time sorting out whether things effect each other try this: write out each goal on a post it note, and then move them around where you think they relate to each other. If your post-it notes bunch around one thing that is your lead domino! It's important you do this exercise so that your resolutions list is actually attainable and effective. You can add some other items to your list as well, but make sure they are important and won't overwhelm you.

4. Break big resolutions into smaller goals.

Now it's time to get specific. You have your Resolutions list. Now you need to break those down into a bigger list of actionable goals. Really, at this point, you should be thinking of your Resolutions List as a Goals List. Resolutions, as well-intended as they may be, are usually pretty vague. Goals are specific.
Ok, so let's say one of your resolutions is to get a raise at work. Now HOW are you going to accomplish that? Come up with specific actions that are smaller and more focused. Don't just wish for a raise, focus on the things you need to do to get there. Such as getting certified in a new computer program, planning a networking meeting once a month, reading one work-related book every month, speaking up at every work meeting, etc. Once you start crossing these smaller goals off your list it gets addicting, and you'll keep at it all year long as your Big Resolution gets closer and closer in sight. Trust me, small goals add up to big things!

I hope these tips help you focus and feel successful in the coming year! I'd love to hear your thoughts, or what you determine to be your Lead Domino for the year! Happy 2016, or as I recently heard from a friend -- Sweet '16!

November 13, 2015

Opening of Norman Reedus' Photography Exhibition in LA

Norman Reedus photography exhibition in Los Angeles.
Last night was the opening reception for Norman Reedus' photography exhibition at Voila! Studio in Los Angeles. I am a big Norman Reedus fan, and couldn't pass the opportunity to see his work in person. I had seen some of his photography work in the past online, but I'd never quite gotten the full idea of what it is he aims to accomplish with that medium. I was curious what the exhibition would reveal of the man who somehow manages to live an extremely public life, and yet remain a mystery.

Most people know Reedus from his role as Daryl Dixon on the Walking Dead. In fact it could be argued that Dixon is the show's most beloved character. There are t-shirts that say "If Daryl dies we riot" (referring to The Walking Dead's penchant for killing off its lead characters), and Reedus has been gifted so much dedicated fan art that he has even recently released a book, titled Thanks For All the Niceness, featuring some of the most amazing pieces.

Line to get into Norman Reedus photography exhibition in Los Angeles.

Due to his immense popularity on The Walking Dead I expected the turnout at his exhibition to be quite impressive. I was right - at the shows official opening time the line to get in stretched all the way down La Brea Ave., as far as the eye could see. I wondered how aware they all were of Reedus' artistic pursuits beyond acting, or if they were there just to support the man they love so much on TV. Or if the answers to those questions even mattered.

Norman Reedus modeling Prada
For me, personally, what I find most intriguing about Reedus is that it is almost impossible to define him as an artist. He seems to be in a constant state of personal evolution. Back in the day Reedus used to model for companies such as Gap and Prada, then he picked up acting, and then somewhere in the mix he took up photography and has even directed three short films. I believe that type of constant artistic growth requires a lot of guts. To be well revered in one field and to be willing to branch out as a newcomer and try something completely different, that can be extremely scary. So I give Reedus a lot of respect for prioritizing his own personal growth and desire to share his perspective, despite the constant typecasting and defining sales tactics so prevalent in the entertainment industry.

Norman Reedus photography exhibition in Los Angeles.So, were all the people at the exhibition big art fanatics? Plain and simply - no. I overheard a very nice gallery employee trying to explain to a somewhat confused couple who had never been to an art show before how to take it all in. She suggested that they just walk around and discuss the pieces with the other attendees. You know what? I thought that was really awesome. To have your work affect someone in a new way is the goal of any artist - and here Reedus had succeeded in drawing in people from all walks of life. Some people who had never even stepped foot in a gallery before. That's pretty amazing. So whether people came as fans of Reedus' artistic work outside of acting, or simply because they love him so much on the Walking Dead - it didn't matter.

Furthermore, the exhibition was simply a lot of fun. Everyone I saw at the show was having a great time. The photos were quite eclectic, and left a little something for everyone to enjoy despite their reason for coming. 

Norman Reedus photography exhibition in Los Angeles. Hershel, Actor Scott Wilson.The artsy-fartsy folks debated with curiosity the thought process in some of Norman's darker and more playfully grotesque pieces, and The Walking Dead fans reminisced over the images which exploited Norman's unique working environment on film sets. Norman Reedus photography exhibition in Los Angeles. Death by gummy bears.

Norman Reedus photography exhibition in Los Angeles. Girl in curlers.And for all those curious of who Norman really is in this eclectic anomaly... I think the answer lies in some of his more subtle pieces. There was a sweet photo of his son which seemed one of the most serious of the collection, and another of a girl in curlers - whose twinkled expression and joy seemed to hold all the answers. If only it weren't so fleeting - captured in a single moment - maybe you could know the man on the other side... 

Norman Reedus' exhibition will go until December 31st.

518 N La Brea Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90036

November 10, 2015

My Interview on Coffee With Kat!

I was recently a guest on the new online talk show Coffee With Kat!

We cover a lot of topics. Check it out, broken down into four parts below.

1 of 4
"In this video we get to know Ellen Hancock and talk about the importance of keeping your materials up to date as an actor, knowing your type, as well as advice on building your reel."

2 of 4
"In this video Kat and Ellen talk about blogging and social media presence."

3 of 4
"In this video Ellen tells Kat her secret to her perfect skin. We also dive into Entertainment Industry advice- like how to take great digitals, finding the right agent, and self taping as an actor."

4 of 4
"In this video Ellen and I talk about her love of photography and tips on how to get started as a photographer."

Thanks so much for having me Kat! :)