On June 11, 2017, I sat down to watch the annual TONY Awards in my NYC living room. Just before they began, I turned to my roommate and I said, “I am going to be on Broadway by this time next year.” I caught myself off guard as the words left my mouth. I’ve said I wanted to be on Broadway before, but this time felt different. This time I set a tangible goal. There was something about placing a date on it that made it feel more official, more attainable. It wasn’t just a pipe dream anymore, it had turned into a plan simply by attaching a clear destination to it.
In the weeks following the Tony’s I caught myself sharing this goal with close family and friends. They’d ask, “what’s new in your life? What are you up to?” Part of my response became, “I’m working to be on Broadway by June of next year.” I didn’t say this to be pompous or arrogant, but because I believe there is immense power in words and setting very specific goals. A quote by Greg S. Reid kept popping into my head as I began incorporating this into my conversations — “A dream written down with a date becomes a goal. A goal broken down into steps becomes a plan. A plan backed by action makes your dreams come true.”
The more Mr. Reid popped into my head, the more I realized that for the last few months I had subconsciously started taking his advice. After more than a year of telling myself, and everyone else, my website was “under-construction” I finally just buckled down and built it myself (thanks squarespace.com!). I made the conscious choice to start using social media as a business tool and created professional facebook, twitter, and instagram accounts. I also made the very clear decision that I would focus on pursuing work that kept me in New York City. I had begun to really reflect on my professional image and take very important steps to build my “brand.”
All of these empowering accomplishments and decisions came to a head when a few weeks ago I was at home in Cincinnati, OH having dinner with one of my oldest friends and my boyfriend. I was explaining all of these new career steps and we jokingly created the hashtag #BroadwayByJune. It quickly snowballed into the idea of creating a blog and social media series that would document my journey. For the next year of my life I would create a weekly post detailing my work to make the broadway goal a reality.
I was not in love with the idea at first. I was terrified of putting this out into the world and completely failing. I was afraid people would think I was being arrogant and just wanting to talk about myself. The list goes on. But, as I thought about it, I realized what an incredible opportunity this could be. Not only does this commitment hold me accountable and keep this goal at the forefront of my brain, but if there’s the possibility of even one person benefitting from learning about my journey and all of my ups and downs, then that is worth it to me.
I recognize that Broadway is not the end all be all in the world. My work and value as an artist is not defined by a Broadway credit on my resume. I also know that, for a million different reasons, this dream may never happen. It is a very real possibility that I will fail. I could pound the pavement every day for the rest of my life and it could still never happen, but that does not mean I won’t work as hard as I can to make this dream come true. Broadway is a lifelong dream of mine, and I know that I would regret it if I did not give it my all to try and get there.
It is really easy to dream about the things you want and hope that one day your life will simply work out that way. I’ve been pounding the pavement for the last 4 years, never creating a real plan, just hoping that one day I would end up where I wanted to be. The arts industry is so subjective and your next job is based on factors completely outside of your control, but the truth is, we have more power over our lives than we realize. We can control setting goals, we can control breaking down the steps to create a plan, and we can control taking action on them.
So this is my commitment to taking ownership of my career and working to make my dream a reality. When we see people in the place of success we want to be, we always ask “how did you get there?” So, until at least June of 2018, I will be making weekly posts about my journey to make #BroadwayByJune a reality. You can follow #BroadwayByJune to see my journey on Instagram and Twitter, and you can find the weekly posts right here at annateresestone.com. I don’t know what this next year will bring, so whether I get there or not, here is my journey. I hope you’ll join me.
Anna Terese Stone
Editor: Brian Crawford Scott