Knowing what makes you tickprofoundly affects the time you keep.

As actors, we spend a lot of time in class and in personal research for a role, dissecting and understanding our character's "why." Why does he want X? Why is she saying Y? Why does Z affect him? It's Acting 101. What is the character's goal? What is the character willing to do to obtain said goal, etc? These questions are so basic that after a while, we actors may stop filling out our little worksheets and checklists and assume more of an ethereal "personae absorption" method of analysis, to be summarized in statements like, "I just get her (or him)."

I'd like to pause there for a moment.

To just "get" our characters, we may keep them stuck in a stagnant emotional mud puddle. Without knowing why they're doing what they're doing, we could miss the opportunity to see, feel, express, and/or direct why they change.

I challenge you to think of yourself in similar terms. We just "get" ourselves, don't we? We're quite used to "us." Therefore, we don't spend too much time analyzing our personal whys; we give even less time pondering our direction and allowing that direction to give way to change. To just "get" us limits ourselves to what we've already "got."

Could there be more for you? Where is your arch taking you? What if you spent time analyzing your own trajectory? What would you learn if you sat down with your own character and discovered your motivation, your goal, your most valuable and unique gifts?

Who are you? Don't give me a job title: actor, painter, director, etc. Ask yourself, "WHO am I?" I want to know how you tick. Examples might be: I naturally strategize, I have a tendency toward procrastination, I generally take swift action, I am emphatic, I am an innovator, I build bridges between divided parties (we need you!), etc.

I want to know the things that you are, regardless of your job title or task at hand. These things remain true about you no matter what. This is the beginning of understanding how you're going to provide the most value to the world.

Surprisingly, most people cannot objectively answer the question, "who am I?" We have hunches, but it's helpful to get a second and professional opinion. I've taken numerous personality tests that have illuminated how I see the world and how the world sees me. They answered SO many questions about how and why I work.

Understanding your hard-wiring will help you to become more effective in the works you do and more forgiving about the works you have no interest in doing. Knowing your aptitudes allows you to outsource your weaknesses and capitalize on your strengths. Some of the tests I've taken include: the Strengths Finder, the Fascination Advantage, the Kolbe index, the Myers-Briggs. If you've never heard of these tests, look them up. If you scoff at the fact that they cost money (though not very much), you're brushing off investing in your most valuable resource: yourself.

If you're an actor, have you accepted that you're an entrepreneur? YOU are the brand. YOU are the product. YOU are the selling point. If a baker was asked, "what are the ingredients of your bread?" and he replied, "flour... I think; and probably water... oh, and yeast!, yes, there must be yeast," he is not very likely to sell many loaves. You must know your own ingredients. What makes you rise?