Professional Frenemies

Let me first begin by saying that if I am infringing on any laws by re-printing this, I apologize. But it’s just too good to keep to myself and I hope Sharon Moist will be gracious in understanding that The Ajnabee never makes any money from this site, but is solely here to share all that is fantastic in the world. This is truly a gem! Check out the link to Ms. Moist’s site above. Secondly, although written with actors in mind, I just find this piece particularly poignant at the end of a week that was incredibly successful for me as a writer, but perhaps not as satisfying as a human being. As it’s often the case, during my most work-intensive moments, acquaintances just aren’t so cooperative. My work peers — those who lack to notice that I am not a journalist like them, not in the same business as they are and HECK, don’t speak to the same demographics, don’t even look like any of them, so I couldn’t possibly be a threat! — are becoming increasingly hostile. Some lack the common courtesy to even say ‘Hello’ and honestly, the more I make my slow-as-a-snail-but-steady-as-a-turtle way into the world of writing about films, fashion, fun and everything Indian I love so much, the less successful I feel in my personal relationships. The people are the same, I am definitely the same — perhaps more of me due to the increase in fascinating work, and less of me because of my decrease in time available — life is the same, the work is the same, but our relationships are strained and uncomfortable. That is why I absolutely relished getting this in my inbox and thank god for these kinds of divine interventions.

Ultimately, guys and girls out there, take a moment to be kind to each other. Surprisingly, though the media would have us believe otherwise, there is enough work for all of us. And if you are insecure, do as I do… Talk about it! Smile through it. Don’t hide behind a cloak of self-righteousness and arrogance. It’s just not attractive. Oh, and lastly, to those who may feel the urge to write comments about how it’s ‘all Nina’s fault’, I know! I have heard it all before, but obviously am not alone in feeling this way, as Ms. Moist is wayyyy more successful than me and saw the need to write a piece addressing the issue…

During her career as an agent, Sharon Moist saw thousands of actors shoot themselves in the foot, on a regular basis, through the choices they made and the actions they took while pursuing their careers. And, while they weren’t doing it on purpose, it happened because they didn’t have the information and the resources they needed to make better decisions and better choices.

FRIENEMIES by Sharon Moist

Over the last four years of building my business, I’ve been very fortunate to meet some great business advisors and mentors who have wanted to help me succeed – even when our businesses looked similar enough that we could be considered potential “competitors.”

The great thing about these women (and men … but mostly women) is that they have not been threatened by me, but instead have actually helped me expand my knowledge base and grow my business. Unfortunately that is not always the case with people in business, and for some reason, this seems to be especially true when it comes to the entertainment industry.

One of the biggest challenges that actors and others who work in entertainment face is the belief that if they help someone with their career (i.e. get an agent, an audition, or even a better job at one of the networks or studios), the people doing the helping will lose out on an opportunity for themselves. Instead of coming from a place of wanting to give to others, they come to the table with a “what’s in it for ME” attitude.

When it comes to supporting each other, in business and in life, one of my mentors, Zig Ziglar, has this to say: “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”

I’ve never had a Frenemy before (at least not one that I know of), so this is a new experience for me, and quite frankly, as I have experienced the subtle sabotage that has been continually sent my way, it has really changed the level of respect I have for this person, as well as how I do business with them.

So what about you? Do you have any Frenemies? If so, here are three simple steps that you can take to deal with them, no matter what area of the entertainment industry you work in:

Step One: Remember That It’s Not About You!

If you’re in a Frenemy relationship with someone, the first thing you need to understand is that whatever bad vibes, sabotage, or gossip they’re sending your way is actually based around their issues and their insecurities.

Their behavior is actually about their need for attention, their need for approval, their fears of not being good enough and/or their fears of not being liked – none of which has anything to do with you! Unfortunately, there’s also nothing you can do to change their actions, so the first step is to just keep reminding yourself that it’s not about you!

Step Two: Be Nice!

If there’s one thing I know about being human, it’s this: when someone does something to hurt me or sabotage my business, I often feel like I want to retaliate. Therefore, I know that the idea of being nice to your Frenemy may seem counterintuitive to your desire to be mean, but again, you need to remember that their behavior has nothing to do with you.

Now that doesn’t mean that you need to stay around and be their “whipping post.” Instead, whenever your paths cross, your job is to be nice to them and then move on. 

Step Three: Connect With Like-Minded People

Life is hard enough as it is, without having Frenemies, so as soon as you discover that one of your friends is really a Frenemy, it’s time to go out and start connecting with other like-minded, success-oriented people who want to help you succeed.

Here’s an example of what I mean: Over the last two years I’ve become friends with a guy named Bob Fraser; a former actor-writer-producer-director who now works with actors in their careers. And while we’ve actually never met in person, I believe that we have developed a great professional relationship.

Now on the surface of things, it would appear that Bob and I would be “competitors” since we’re both targeting the same audience. However, in reality, Bob and I are really allies because although what we teach actors is very similar, we each bring a different background and set of experiences to the table, so that as we pass our knowledge onto our shared audience, we’re doing so from two very different points of view (POV): he from an actor-writer-producer-director POV and I from an actor-studio exec-agent-career coach POV.

The great thing about Bob is that not only does he have a very generous attitude when it comes to sharing his experience in the business, he also has a great energy about him and quite honestly, I’m really looking forward to the day when we actually do get to meet in person, instead of just communicate online! 

Food for Thought: Your Frenemies will only have as much power over you as you give them. So while they may have started out as a friend, if/when the times comes that they are more Frenemy than friend, bless them and send them on their way, because I know that somewhere out there, just waiting to be discovered, is a true friend who really does want to support you and see you succeed.

Sharon Moist is a former Hollywood Agent and author of 101 Tips for Actors, Sharon now works with clients to help them develop success strategies to become empowered in their own careers. Also known as The Industry Coach®, Sharon’s clients come from all areas of the entertainment industry and represent such projects as: Desperate Housewives, 24, and Las Vegas, among others, as well as studios such as HBO and talent agencies, including The William Morris Agency.

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