By Shelby Tansil
When an actor walks into the audition room, she is trying out for not one but two roles. First, she must prove she fits the character role the casting director is hoping to fill. Second, she must prove that her personal character is a good match for the hiring company. Does she have enough confidence? Will she get along well with the other actors and staff? She auditions for the role as both an actor and a human being.
How can actors prepare for these dual roles? One option is to hire an acting or audition coach. However, if an actor feels prepared for the character role but wants to work on her confidence or other personal qualities, working with a life coach is another great option.
In her upcoming workshop, Ready, Set, Audition! The Actor's Workshop for Confidence and Success, life coach Noreen Sumpter will help actors and non-actors alike to overcome insecurities, shift negative thought patterns and live fully self-expressed. Recently, I spoke with Noreen to learn more about the workshop and how she empowers people to live life their way:
ST: Why don’t you start out by describing your workshop?
NS: The aim of the workshop is to work and play at the same time. I feel that we learn better when we’re laughing and having a good time. I am going to create some exercises that they would not ordinarily expect. I also want people to feel free to talk about what their concerns are, like when they go to meetings, or go for an interview, or go for an audition. What is the structure? What’s going on? What are they experiencing? Then I want to ask the question from a different point of view. I want to ask, if they were to interview or audition and they had nothing to fear, nothing to hide, nothing to protect, or nothing to defend, what could interviewing or auditioning look like?
ST: Who do you think will most benefit by attending?
NS: I think that everybody who signs up for the workshop can benefit from it, whether they’re interviewing or auditioning, or whether they’re just going for their life and they want to build up a bit more confidence and get a sense of who they are.
ST: What are the main tools you hope people will take away from this specific workshop?
NS: That they’re good enough. [As an actor], you want one job, you want one movie. And though you might not get that movie, I want you to have the confidence to keep moving.
ST: This workshop is just one of the unique services that you offer as a life coach. In 2005, you founded the Live Life Your Way Program. Could you tell me more about how that program works?
NS: It’s really for people who are lacking in confidence in certain areas of their life. They might be looking for new jobs, new positions, new careers…I help them create those things. I also work with the people who just need a little tweaking. They’ve been doing what they’ve been doing consistently and they just need to hear themselves. I’m a reflector; I reflect back to them what they’re working toward.
ST: Do you have any advice for people who want to change their lives but do not feel ready to make that first step?
NS: Well, you’re never going to be ready. There’s no right time, there’s just the time to make the first step. You’ve got to take that first step in faith.
ST: What made you want to become a life coach?
NS: The truth is, I didn’t set out to be a life coach. I was a realtor for 15 years. But I’ve always been that person that supports people to really go after what’s important to them, what they care about. So, when I was a realtor, those are the kinds of conversations that I used to have with people. I would ask, “What do you do for a living?” and I found that the majority of people did not like their jobs. They weren’t happy with their jobs or with what they were doing. But they were afraid to make those moves.
I’m all about people being happy. If you’re happy doing your work, your talent, then that is contagious. It gets passed on. Everybody has a passion, everybody has a talent. And that is something that I strive to support. That’s my hope for all of us – that we do what we love and we live life our way.
ST: In your 12 years as a life coach, what is one of the most inspiring experiences that you’ve had?
NS: I can’t believe it’s been 12 years! Well, it’s like that old adage. We teach what we need to learn for ourselves. I think I’m the epitome of that. It’s great to know that I am constantly learning and growing and flowing. That’s something that I will pass on to my clients. And it’s great to see somebody benefitting from my work with them.
ST: That’s wonderful. It must be great to have the feeling that you’re making a difference in your clients’ lives.
NS: Yeah. And the kind of difference I’m making – it’s not like I’m telling people what to do. I don’t have your answers. You have your answers. My job is to help you ask the right questions, so that you can see it for yourself and then go forth and create the action. Because if I tell you what to do, you’re going to be living my life. I don’t want you living my life. You should have your own life.
ST: You’re kind of like a match that lights the fire inside of someone else.
NS: It’s like I help you create and then manifest that thing that you want. I can help you pull out your vision.
ST: As a young woman relatively new to the workforce, I am inspired by your dedication to empowering women of all ages in their careers. You recently were elected to the board of the National Association of Women Business Owners. Can you tell me what your role will be like?
NS: I’m the Vice President of Membership Engagement. So, I’m the one who is going to keep people engaged and participating in our organization. NAWBO is a 40-year-old organization created by women back in the days when women were not able to get loans without a man. It also has a political arm aimed at shifting the workforce for women and bring women’s rights to the forefront. We also offer programs and educational opportunities for people to help grow their businesses and grow themselves.
ST: Have you been involved with the organization for a long time?
NS: No, I haven’t been involved with them for long. I’m also a member of Business Networking International and the Vice President of the Business Referral Group with the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce. So, I’ve been involved with groups empowering people for quite some time. I actually met one of the women [from NAWBO] at the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce. She asked me, “What is your vision and what are you looking to do?” I told her and she said, I think that we would be a great organization to help you grow yourself and your organization.
One of the questions I had at every meeting when I first joined the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce was, “Where are the other black people? Where are the other people of color?” They were missing. And the more I went, the more I asked the question until one day it was like, Nor, it’s you. You have to get up. And you have to be a part of this. And you have to stand up and make this happen. And that’s sort of been my call.
I’m not interested in being the lone black girl in any group. Or seeing a lone black girl or lone white girl in any group. I’m for true diversity. Each and every one represented. Each and every one having a seat at the table.
ST: Do you have any advice for women who are thinking about opening their own businesses or pursuing entrepreneurial endeavors?
NS: One: It’s not easy. Two: Make sure it’s something that you really are interested in and care about. It’s important that if the money’s not coming in, the love of what you do, what inspired you to keep moving, is still there. It’s really important to have the passion because the passion gives you drive and it gives you energy.
ST: Is there anything else you want readers to know?
NS: Well, I came here [to the United States from Southeast London] in 1985. Sixty bucks in my pockets. I came for love. I met my husband and said, you know what? Just jump. I settled with him and was in love until we got divorced. Divorce is usually ugly. But, you know, I came for love and I jumped because I wanted to. And when it came time to leave that marriage, I jumped again. Life is a series of jumping. Not sitting in and feeling sorry for yourself or making yourself wrong or making the other person wrong or making the job wrong. It’s looking at what’s important to you, what you care about and what you want, so that when it’s time for you to take that jump, you know that you don’t have to look behind you and have regrets. You just have to choose something and stand in that choice. And that’s why I coach and why coaching is so important to me.
ST: Finally, as a theatre employee and enthusiast, I have to ask, what is your favorite play or musical?
NS: Oh, West Side Story! Love that show. Little Shop of Horrors is pretty good too.
Noreen Sumpter is an experienced life coach with a Personal Life Coaching Certificate from New York University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the College of New Rochelle. She currently resides in Brooklyn and helps people from all over the world to own their voice, speak their truth and live life their way.
JOIN US AT NOREEN’S WORKSHOP:
Ready, Set, Audition! The Actor's Workshop for Confidence and Success
423 West 46th St, New York, New York, 10036
Fee: $35 in advance online
$40 at the door (cash only)
To Register for the Workshop Click Here
CONNECT WITH NOREEN:
Call today for a free 15-minute Complimentary Hello Call and learn how the Live Life Your Way program can help you.