Are You Emotionally Tough Enough?

I have not yet read Ramin Setoodeh’s Ladies Who Punch but a lot has been made of the passage and leaked video of Elisabeth Hasselbeck tearing up her note cards, storming off set and refusing to return after a public dressing down by Barbara Walters on-camera. “F**K this!” is her go-to.

Not for nothing we’ve seen this played out many times in movies and scripted television shows when the frustrated actor throws up their hands and exclaims “I can’t work like this!” It’s startling to see a real person to do it. Versions of it are a lot more common than you may realize.

I agree with everyone who commented in my Facebook group saying Elisabeth seemed like a brat and Barbara a bully. I commend Joy Behar who’s heard on the audio calming Elisabeth and helping diffuse a fraught situation.

It’s easy to go for cheap shots, easy jokes and play arm chair social critic which is not the point of this post. I want to remind us how stressful and emotional television is, especially live television. Once you go on-camera, become the face of a show, you are under a whole different level of scrutiny – even abuse – than we civilians can comprehend. Ask Leslee Jones.

The competition is mind-rattling. There are very few spots at the top. Tens of thousands of people are vying for a handful of opportunities. This is true behind the camera as well for top producing and executive jobs.

Do you have the emotional bandwidth for your dream job? We look for this in the audition process. In business it’s called a Stress Interview. In casting I’m looking beyond skills to see if you have the emotional maturity to handle the stress of the many demands: Long hours, huge expectations, last-minute changes, castmates, marketing obligations, delivering ratings…

My friend, sports and peak performance psychologist, Dr. Gregg Steinberg, talks a lot about Emotional Toughness – mastering one’s emotions in 5 key areas:
1) emotional awareness (you need to be aware of your best emotional state)
2) emotional preparedness (you need to build emotional toughness)
3) emotional bravado (you need to overcome your fears and anxiety)
4) emotional connectedness (you need to stay connected to your moments)
5) emotional drive (you need great motivation and energy)

Mastering your emotional toughness could be the difference that gets you the dream job – and helps you keep it.