Hi and welcome to the next helpful round of tips from Christmas Performer Workshops (number one of three).
The 12 Days of “It’s NOT Christmas” Performing Resolutions!
Ever notice that around New Year’s, we make resolutions to help ourselves improve our lives? Then invariably, those resolutions tend to slide away. But the truth is that we can make resolutions at any time, even in the middle of summer, and we really should. By investing in ourselves and others, we can help every precious season become better and better, plus it helps you land more fun and better paying gigs. Here are the first set of Christmas Performer Resolutions, broken down into three categories.
Planning, Practicing, and Performance Feedback
(our first four resolutions)
“I Resolve: #1 To Assess and Set up my Goals for the New Season” (Planning and Feedback)
How was your last season? Take a moment and look back at your calendar. Look at the photos. Talk with the people who were with you in that time period. How did it go? Can you identify some things you don’t want to do again? Did you forgot your gloves or hat? Was there one gig where you would never like to return? These can be your learning moments, time for Lessons Learned.
Next, visualize your upcoming season. Talk to your supporters again. What would you like to do MORE of next season? Where would you like to improve? Establish your Primary Goal for the upcoming seasons. You can set out to be the most unique and best Christmas Performer within your skills and power.
With your first resolution in mind, what’s next?
“I Resolve: #2 That I will not wait until the beginning of my next season” (Planning and Practice)
How many times have you had the season start and felt rushed for time? “Drat, I wanted to get those new headshot photos. And I don’t know if I will have the words to those songs memorized.” Part of our stress comes from not being able to control our variables and then feeling unprepared. You may resort to performing the exact same pieces every season. And for those who want to be their BEST performer self, just being good enough is probably not good enough. We work within some unique boundaries: Santa is an established magical being, more than 1,700 years old. Our audiences expect the Christmas Performers to be excellent at everything they do. This sets a very high bar for us (sometimes adding stress). How do we fight the stress? With our own planning and practice.
“I Resolve: #3 That I will pick achievable Long-Term and Short-Term Goals” (Planning)
The key to goal setting is making certain that you are not trying to do too much. Set focused goals and then establish dedicated time to pursue those goals. Also, consider breaking your goals into both short-term and long-term milestones. Go into your goal-setting aware that many goals will take considerable time and commitment.
For instance, I live in a region with many Spanish speakers. I would like to be able to converse with them as Santa, and with reasonable skill. However, learning to speak Spanish fluently is not a one-year goal. I have started my studies now, knowing that I may not be ready this year. But my Spanish-speaking population is not going anywhere. And being able to speak Spanish may expand my market later. So this is currently a long-term goal, with measurable tasks that fit into my short-term goals (such as enrolling in weekly evening classes and doing homework and practice several times per week).
I would also like to learn to tie some basic Christmas balloon shapes and perform additional magic. These are achievable short-term goals. You can break your goals down into various categories.
- Physical Goals: What can I invest into my costuming, props, or marketing materials?
- Mental Goals: Are there new skills or talents I want to develop such as singing or storytelling? What business plans and issues should I address during the off season?
- Emotional Goals: What gives me the greatest sense of fulfillment? How can I bring more happiness? Which friendships do I want to invest more time in? Which gigs did I enjoy the most?
- Spiritual Goals: This might seem to be an odd category for performers that are not part of the Christmas season. But those of us who have been part of the Christmas role can attest that our performances can be very profound. We interact with our audience in an extremely up-close fashion. Because of this, our personal spiritual side is very important and needs both exercise and training. You can do this through volunteering off-season, mentoring and helping others, and by being actively engaged in your community. Perhaps you’ve been Santa at a homeless shelter. You might not be able to volunteer at that shelter but you could search out other food kitchens, the VA hospital, or other shelters than can use your volunteering time. You could also invest time in meditation skills, Tai Chi practice, or your spirtual practice of choice. When you engage your Christmas heart in your creative endeavors, it can pay off with huge dividends (many intangible ones).
“I Resolve: #4 That I will make friends with my Calendar.” (Planning)
Now that you have reviewed your previous season, established some goals, and resolved to work on these before the season starts, it’s time to intentionally work with your calendar. Perhaps it takes you five months of regular practice to memorize a song until you are unshakable. You also decided to run the new material past a test audience. If you start your season around Thanksgiving, five months earlier is June. Next, you’ve decided that your short-term goal is to practice singing your songs 20 minutes twice per week. Over the rest of the off-season, you will put in about thirteen hours of practice.
Your next goal may be to have a new fancy outfit for your closet. You ordered it in May, delivery is expected three or four months later. Then there are some tailoring adjustments to complete, some accessories to purchase. Now your new outfit should be ready by October, as long as nothing goes wrong. But since this is a new outfit, you need additional photos to make it ready for bidding on new gigs. Suddenly you seem to have a “Give a Mouse of Cookie” rolling chain of events.
When you plan out your goals on your calendar, share it with your peers and your support family. Solicit their input and make adjustments. Back-timing and well-planned calendars are your friends.
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I hope this helps, and stay tuned for the next set of tips! Any feedback and suggestions much appreciated.
Santa True is headed to Discover Santa 2016 in Branson, Missouri. It is our hope to continue posting tips once per week. Please like and share this site, and please look up Santa True in Branson. There are five classes scheduled from Santa True and Christmas Performer Workshops. Please come and join us for fun and a bit of “edu-tainment.”