One of my passions growing up has been theater. In total, I have participated in 20 shows either as an actress, sound board operator, or director, and each show has taught me a lot. Now I am studying business and pursuing my dream of becoming a successful businesswoman, and I would like to share my reflection on how much theater has taught me about business.
You may not get the job or part you wanted, and that’s okay.
When you’re an actor in theater, you usually aim to get a main role. However, it is usually the director’s choice for which people get which roles. The cast list then goes up and sometimes people do not receive the role that they hoped for because the director believes that they are the best fit for something else — and that’s okay. In business, a person may not get the job that they were hoping for as well — and again, IT’S OKAY! Not getting a certain role or job allows someone to explore further and truly find the best position for his/her self and work harder to get their dream job or role the next time.
Every person makes a difference.
In business, every single person makes a difference. From an intern to the CEO, every person can affect another like a domino effect. Whether it is an attitude or getting work done, everyone at a company can influence one another. When it comes to theater, a lot of people think that the most important part of shows are the actors and actresses. While it is true that the actors and actresses are important, growing up and participating in theater helped me realize that every tech crew member, director, manager, assistant, and audience member can make a difference when it comes to a show. Can you imagine a show without lights? Or what if the lights were red the entire time? What if you couldn’t hear the actors? What if there was no audience to watch it and applaud? Again, every person is highly valuable and one person’s absence can make a huge difference — just like in business.
Self-leadership is important.
The truth about leadership is that sometimes the best leaders have no one to tell them “good job,” and the may only receive feedback when they mess up or frustrate someone. I learned this early on before I went to W. P. Carey, because of my involvement in theater. In addition to being an actress in plays, I was in charge of the sound crew for my high school’s musicals. No one noticed when our shows were perfect (when it came to sound). But when a microphone died during a performance — or there was that high-pitched, screeching feedback noise — the audience immediately noticed the sound, and would complain. This can get frustrating, but like in business, it is important to maintain self-leadership and be able to motivate yourself when you know you deserve good recognition.
Confidence is key.
Theater takes a lot of courage and confidence in order to do well, and that is also the case in business. Whether it was an audition or getting ready for a show, this practice helped me realize that it is okay to be nervous, but overall it is necessary to calm the nerves and do the very best you can. When it comes to business, the more confident you are, the more a buyer, colleague, or boss will trust and respect you for what you have to say, and you can achieve your best effort.
Theater may always be my passion, and I would love to continue it as a hobby in the future. However, W. P. Carey has shown me that I can have the same amount of passion for a career in business. I would never wish to take away any of the experiences I have learned through theater, because those experiences have helped make me who I am today at ASU’s W. P. Carey School of Business.