CoM Quote 4-10-23

The #1 obstacle stopping you from networking is…

In last week’s newsletter I introduced you to the concept of The 3 Levels of Your Dream Networka simple framework I developed for my Optimizer students to help them demystify and simplify their networking strategies.

So often I find that people get stuck building their professional networks because they have no idea who to connect with next (or even who to reconnect with in their existing networks). By breaking down an endless list of people you could be reaching out to into:

  • Your “Peer Group”
  • Your “Experts”
  • Your “Gatekeepers”

you can better understand how to strategize your networking efforts based on where you are in your career now, where you’re going next, and who you should be building relationships with to achieve your goals.

Now let’s address the elephant in the room…

The #1 obstacle stopping most people from networking is that they have no idea what they want to do with their lives.

If you’re stumped on who you should be networking with while the job market is slow…

If you procrastinate on sending outreach emails…

If you hesitate when updating your résumé or your website…

Or if you struggle with what to say during lunch meetings (or even job interviews)…

The chances are you’ve spent too long chasing the next gig at the expense of pursuing work that fulfills your “Creative Calling.”

What Is Your “Creative Calling?”

Having conducted hundreds of ‘Hot Seats’ with my Optimizer students where I helped them workshop their résumés, draft cold outreach, update their websites, or prep for an important job interview, I can usually tell within ten minutes the reason they’re struggling is lack of clarity about their career path.

We assume the reason we’re not getting gigs is because we need to change the font size on our résumé header, or change the order of our credits, or put a different video clip on the homepage of our website, or ask a different question in our cold outreach, or sell different skills in the interview, or or or…(cue massive analysis paralysis).

But ultimately I find the problem underneath the problem is people can’t tell the story of where they are headed in their career next because they have no clue themselves. So they just take whatever comes along to pay the bills. Ten years later they’re pigeonholed as the “go to person” doing work they no longer want to do.

In my upcoming Build Your Dream Network workshop I’ll help you design the next major steps in your career path so you can pursue work that fulfills you instead of that just pays the bills.

As the author of the bestselling book “Creative Calling” Chase Jarvis writes:

“We are all born creative. Creativity is a life amplifier. It’s as fundamental to our well-being as physical fitness, proper nutrition, and mindfulness. Creativity is a critical human function.

Not being creatively fulfilled by the work you do, the people you work with, and the stories you tell is a surefire path to burnout. (Ask me how I know this.)

If you’re struggling to find work that creatively fires you up, below are three questions that have helped my Optimizer students reignite their pursuit of meaningful work.

1. What is your “Ultimate” dream job?

I’ve been shocked at how many times I ask students this question only to watch them become a deer in headlights.

Kevin Hart

People often struggle with identifying their dream jobs because they didn’t think they had permission to pursue these opportunities. They’ve been conditioned to think small, play it safe, and accept they are a cog on the assembly line of someone else’s dreams.

Recently I had two students who shared the following with me:

“I didn’t even think I had a right to care about the art. It makes me cry a little bit. Even being able to think like this and like care and have an opinion about the art you’re making. I’ve never thought that I could.”

“I’m feeling the same way. I feel like I’m being reminded that I’m allowed to feel this way about editing. It’s been drained out of me because of the jobs that I’ve had to take paycheck to paycheck. It’s always about, what am I going to do next? But this is just reinvigorated my love for it.”

No matter how bad the advice you’ve gotten from family, friends, or colleagues in the past who have the best intentions for you (but ultimately want you to play it safe), give yourself permission to dream limitless dreams.

👉 Q: If you could have any job – past or present – what gigs would you walk across broken glass to work on?

2. What stories are you excited about telling?

No matter your specific craft or area of expertise, creatives live to tell stories. But are you telling stories you actually care about? And are these stories having the impact on the world you want to be part of your legacy?

If you identified dream projects above that you’d love to work on (or dream companies to work with), what are some of the common themes amongst them?

This goes far beyond genre, i.e. “they are all sci-fi.”

This goes far beyond the medium, i.e. “I love serialized dramas.”

E.G. If I were to clarify why Cobra Kai is my creative calling, it would be as follows:

I want to tell inspirational, character-driven stories (with lots of action & kick-ass music thrown in) about underdogs overcoming the impossible to realize their full potential.

Now how can you apply this to your work?

👉 Q: What are the most important stories you want to tell, and how do you want to impact the world?

3. If mastering your craft was the only reward of your work..what would be your dream role?

So often (especially in Hollywood!) we get so wrapped up in the results of our success that we forget to focus on the process.

Whether it’s the pursuit of the golden statues, the caché of telling people at industry mixers we’re working on the latest hit show, the stuff we can buy with all the money we’ll make, and most importantly the prestige of blockbuster credits on our IMDb page, Hollywood hypnotizes us into believing we are defined not only by our work but also by its relevance in popular culture.

I’d much rather define my success as being excited to wake up Monday morning to do creative work that I find fascinating where I get to solve creative problems I love to solve. If work isn’t fun, what’s the point of it all?

👉 Q: What specific creative role (or roles) would you kill to have on the dream projects you identified earlier?

Stop Limiting Your Potential

If you stopped listening to all the doubters…

If you stopped listening to everyone telling you to play it safe…

If you stepped outside your comfort zone and took a leap of faith…

What dream job would you pursue if you could do anything in your career?

Keep in mind I read every message I receive personally, so don’t be shy about sharing. Now that I’ve achieved my goals in the entertainment industry, I want to help you achieve yours.

Be well.
Zack Arnold
Creator, Optimize Yourself

P.S. In next week’s newsletter I’m going to show you how absolutely essential (and powerful) it is to surround yourself with “A-gamers” to ensure you become an A-gamer yourself in your chosen craft.

Until then, if you haven’t already, make sure to add your name to the waitlist for my Build Your Dream Network workshop as I have a special announcement going out this weekend only to those on the waitlist. You don’t want to miss it.

Zack Arnold (ACE) is an award-winning Hollywood film editor & producer (Cobra Kai, Empire, Burn Notice, Unsolved, Glee), a documentary director, father of 2, an American Ninja Warrior, and the creator of Optimize Yourself. He believes we all deserve to love what we do for a living...but not at the expense of our health, our relationships, or our sanity. He provides the education, motivation, and inspiration to help ambitious creative professionals DO better and BE better. “Doing” better means learning how to more effectively manage your time and creative energy so you can produce higher quality work in less time. “Being” better means doing all of the above while still prioritizing the most important people and passions in your life…all without burning out in the process. Click to download Zack’s “Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Your Creativity (And Avoiding Burnout).”