In the high-stakes world of stunts and performance, it's not uncommon for aspiring athletes and actors to encounter mental roadblocks along the way. These challenges can stem from various factors, such as fatigue, pressure to adapt, or confronting uncomfortable truths. This article aims to provide a soothing and supportive guide to understanding the reasons behind these mental walls, unpacking the inner workings of our minds, and offering advice on how to overcome these barriers in a calm, adult, and professional manner.
Part 1: Why We Hit Walls: The Psychological Dynamics
Hitting a mental wall is a natural part of the learning process, especially when faced with new and challenging experiences.
Understanding the Mental Wall
The mental wall is a psychological barrier that can hinder your growth and performance. It's essential to recognize that it's a natural part of the learning process, especially when you're venturing into new territory or confronting challenging situations. The key to overcoming these walls is to acknowledge their existence and understand the factors contributing to them.
Factors that contribute to hitting a wall include:
Part 2: Manifesting Emotions: The Importance of Self-Awareness
When we hit mental walls, our emotions can become overwhelming and may manifest in unproductive ways. For example, we may become overly emotional and blame others for our struggles, rather than reflecting on our own experiences and taking responsibility for our growth.
To raise our self-awareness, we should:
Part 3: Growing Past Mental Walls: A Path to Emotional Maturity
IMPORTANT: It is not unusual for adults to be oversensitive to words like maturity, behaviour or growth because often these terms are misused when we are young. When we are still developing we are told to 'grow up', often by people who have failed to nurture our ability to balance and manage emotional states or expected too much too early. We are told to 'act' in a more mature way, often by people who did not set the best example, or we associate the idea of changing our behaviour with being told off by a patron or teacher who didn't have a better method to coach and guide us. So, when we talk here about emotional maturity, we are not being parental, we are talking openly and honestly about adult growth and personal development, and in a spirit that everyone can grow and develop further.
Unpacking the Inner Struggles
Our inner child is not used here to describe childish behaviour. We are talking about emotions we experience in our youth, and can still manifest in our adult life if placed into situations that cause us enough stress or contain specific triggers that are relevant to individuals. Remember, we all have an inner child.
When facing a mental wall, it's common for our inner child to emerge, manifesting in over-emotional reactions, resistance to guidance, and misplaced blame. To develop self-awareness and address these issues, consider the following:
a. Identify your triggers: Understand the factors that evoke strong emotional responses or resistance within you. Recognizing these triggers will help you anticipate and manage your reactions more effectively.
b. Reflect on your feelings: Instead of blaming others, take a step back and examine the emotions you're experiencing. Determine if they're rooted in fear, insecurity, or other internal conflicts.
c. Accept responsibility: Acknowledge your role in your emotional reactions and understand that it's up to you to manage them in a professional manner.
To overcome mental walls and develop emotional resilience, it's essential to approach challenges with a mature and balanced mindset. Some strategies to consider include:
Part 4: Navigating the Professional World: The Importance of Emotional Management
In the high-pressure environment of Film, TV, and Live Entertainments, it's crucial to demonstrate emotional stability and professionalism. Failure to manage our emotions can lead to being quietly "cancelled," as colleagues may be unwilling to work with us or recommend us for future projects. To succeed in this competitive industry, we must learn to manage ourselves effectively.
Some tips for maintaining professionalism include:
Part 5: Cultivating a change that will lead to greater happiness, help us cope with stress and ultimately lead us to far greater success, far easier.
Developing our 'Self-Awareness'
Self-awareness is the ability to recognize and understand one's own emotions, thoughts, beliefs, and motivations. It involves a deep and honest introspection, enabling individuals to identify their strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement. Developing self-awareness allows for greater emotional intelligence and improved decision-making, as it promotes a better understanding of how one's emotions and behaviors impact oneself and others. By cultivating self-awareness, individuals can navigate relationships and challenging situations more effectively, paving the way for personal and professional growth.
Cultivating self-awareness is crucial for addressing mental walls and growing as a performer. To enhance self-awareness, try the following strategies:
Adopting a Calm, Adult, and Professional Approach
Adopting a calm, adult, and professional approach is crucial for success, particularly in industries where collaboration and teamwork are vital. People prefer to work with individuals who can manage their emotions brilliantly, communicate effectively, and handle changes and challenges calmly and professionally. In every industry these people will be also be valued higher, paid more and have more options and be given greater trust and autonomy.
Displaying maturity and emotional stability creates a positive working environment and fosters trust among colleagues. While co-workers may be willing to assist with professional issues, they are not responsible for addressing personal matters.
As freelancers, maintaining a professional demeanor is particularly important, as reputations and future opportunities often rely on the impressions made during previous collaborations. Exhibiting emotional maturity and professionalism increases the likelihood of being recommended for future projects and fosters long-lasting professional relationships.
To navigate mental barriers and maintain a professional demeanor, consider these tactics:
When we work to better understand these things and recognise how each can affect us and others, we can see that 'hitting mental walls; is a very common experience for al adults, and that we are very likely to encounter them in the world of stunt training and performance. Understanding the reasons behind these roadblocks, raising our self-awareness and developing positive strategies to overcome them can lead to a significant increase in emotional resilience and therefore professional success.
As you progress through The International Stunt Academy and into working life, remember that encountering mental walls is a natural part of the journey. By understanding their origins, developing self-awareness, and adopting a mature, balanced approach to managing emotions, you'll be better equipped to overcome these obstacles and thrive in the competitive world of film, TV, and live events. By doing so, you'll not only enhance your personal growth but also protect your professional reputation and future opportunities in the industry.
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This blog os co-authored by The ISA Team
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