For example, while making Sparkle, the first few audience tests came in below everyone's expectations. Instead of settling, we kept working on the cut of the film, going through at least 15 to 20 different versions until we finally came up with a final one that not only tested acclaim but also represented a strong collaboration between all the filmmakers involved. Because we committed to excellence in the process, I was not worried or stressed when the movie was released, because I knew for a fact that I did everything I could to make the movie as great as it could be.
The second thing I had to look at was my response to what happened, which was under my control too. At first, of course, I didn't respond in a positive way, but there are practical, real ways to change even our most negative reaction. I like to call it doing an emotional CSI—a term taken right out of the hit show Crime Scene Investigation, where the detectives analyze each piece of evidence to figure out what happened. Applying a similar approach to situations that don't work out the way we planned can help shift our perspective.
Here are the questions I had to ask myself: Had I divorced myself from the results? (Too often we define our self-worth on results we can't affect. Let your commitment to integrity and being who you were created to be provide you with your deepest validation.) Had I surrounded myself with the right people? (You are not alone; make sure you populate your life with good, positive people who love you and are there for you no matter what scene you're in.) Was I moving on? (You can't afford to stay in what happened yesterday. Whether good or bad, it's over. Give yourself time to experience the emotion of what has happened, then deliberately move on.) And last but not least: Had I prayed? Your prayers will give you the peace to reconcile even the most devastating situation.
Though I draw from my personal experiences in Hollywood to help articulate these strategies, they aren't specific to my line of work. They're universal and applicable to any circumstance. No matter what job you have, what relationship you are in or what goal you might be pursuing, it's important to have the tools to help you most effectively manage what is and what isn't in your control. Aren't you tired of the anxiety, fear and depression that come along with the worrying? Instead, focus on the two things you can control and allow your faith to manage the rest. If it's out of your control, then it's out of your control. You aren't responsible for bearing the burden of what only God can do in your life. Let this give you peace.
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