Are You Waiting for Your Career's Prince Charming?

Let me start by saying that this blog is not just for women. It's for men, too.

If you're an artist, a creative, an entrepreneur, then you're a big dreamer. You didn't move to LA or NYC, for example, and you don't sacrifice your nights and weekends or work a second job because you have an itty-bitty dream. Nope. You've got a big dream. You know the one I mean. The one that has you rehearse your speech in the shower. That one.

And I know that you work hard toward your dream. I know that you sacrifice. But over and over again, I see both women and men falling for a myth that often comes along with big dreams. It's the myth of Prince Charming. And both women and men fall for it. A lot.

Here's what it looks like for those of us in Hollywood... If I just get my film into Sundance it will sell for lots of money and Hollywood will come knocking on my door. If it can just get a better agent, then I'll get better auditions and it's only a matter of time before I'm starring in a TV show. If I can just get the money for my feature, my career will unfold the way it's meant to be. If I could just win a contest, then I'll sell my script for lots of money! And on and on and on... (Fill in the blanks for your chosen field.)

And just like there's no Prince or Princess Charming in real life, there's no Prince or Princess Charming in your career.

What's the big deal, you ask? Isn't it OK to have hope?

Here's why I feel it's so important to write this blog. Because wishing and hoping and waiting for Prince Charming is really demoralizing. Being liberated of the Prince Charming myth turns out to be really freeing.

To understand why, let's go back to the fairy tale for a minute.

The way the fairy tale goes, the princess has to wait for the prince. She has to be perfect, even though she has no idea who the prince is or what he will want of her. She's helpless in the story, waiting for this mysterious person to pick her. She doesn't get to pick him. She has no choice in the matter. She has no power.

In the fairy tale, the prince always comes. But in real life, we know that the prince does not always come. Sometimes he never comes. Sometimes a false prince comes. Sometimes a bad prince comes. And even when Prince Charming actually does show up, it sucks spending your days trying to be perfect for him. What about you want? Doesn't that matter?

Actually what you want does matter. But you can't have it both ways. You can't spend your days waiting for the prince and also spend your days creating your own destiny.

My advice: Spend your days creating the life and career you want and if or when a rad guy or gal shows up (they don't have to be royal), and they fit your description of a good partner in your career or your life, you'll have so much more to offer.

Sounds good, right? So why do we keep falling for the myth? Because it's so much easier to wait and hope then to take responsibility for making your dreams happen.

It's way easier to complain about not having an agent (or having a bad agent) then it is to get out and cultivate relationships and get those auditions ourselves. It's way easier to just send a script to a contest and hope for a good result then it is to network with producers and get them to read your scripts. And man is it easier to wish for money then it is to raise it.

But after all that wishing, what do you have? No agent, no auditions and no starring TV role. Even if you have a contest win, you probably haven't sold your script for lots of money. You definitely have no money to make your film. And you've wasted a lot of time wishing and hoping, playing it safe and getting frustrated.

Do yourself a favor and purge the Prince Charming myth once and for all. Take responsibility for your career goals and go get them now. Sure, you'll get rejected. Sure, you'll get frustrated. Sure, you'll be uncomfortable and afraid. But it will be yours. Your mistakes, your fear and your victories and triumphs.

Go ahead and kick Prince Charming to the curb. Don't waste another minute.

Shawn Tolleson is a director, writer, career coach and mother of four-year old twin girls. You can read more of her blogs at and learn about her upcoming feature film Saturn Returns at Follow her @shawntolleson.