Reese Witherspoon shared her struggles with self-doubt and imperfections of perfection in a recent interview with Adam Grant for Answer: thinking Audio notation.
During the interview, Witherspoon made it clear that she is in no way immune from Impostor Syndrome, revealing that it almost knocked her out. walk the linefor which she won her first Oscar.
“I had to sing. I had to play instruments that I had to learn how to play. Every day, I wanted to quit smoking. Every day I had a hole in my stomach thinking, ‘I’m going to be horrible, I’m going to have to stand on Stage in front of hundreds of people, and I’m going to look bad, or I won’t be able to do it, and I tried every way. I called my lawyer I was like, ‘Get me out of this.’ She said to the manager ‘I can’t do that anymore.'” I wanted to quit. Seven months of workouts and I mean every day probably, I cried a lot during the workouts. I was just scared, scared of not being good enough.”
In the end, though, Witherspoon says she realized that the fear of not being good enough was holding her back in the end.
“And then I realized I had to be the best I could be. I would never be John Carter Cash. I would never be a perfect musician. I would never play the perfect autoharp or the guitar perfectly. I would show up and do my best. And there was a reason someone thought That I can do it,” she explained.
However, Witherspoon has faced her fair share of rejections throughout her career.
“I’ve been auditioning for really important parts since I was 14 to 25 and that feeling is I’m going to try and I’m going to accept the rejection…I’ve lost a lot of parts,” she said. “I wanted this part to be so bad. I didn’t get it. It was a Drew Barrymore movie. And Drew is a friend of mine!”
But those same rejections became the building blocks of Witherspoon’s self-esteem.
She said, “That was good, because I learned that just because I wasn’t right doesn’t mean I wasn’t good enough. So a lot of failure, you know, helped build my identity and my self-confidence.” .
Rather than viewing her industry peers, like Barrymore, as a competitor, Witherspoon drew inspiration from other women in Hollywood who were making their own paths in the entertainment industry, citing them as a source of inspiration for her behind-the-camera projects.
“I’ve learned by watching Drew’s productions live and watching Goldie Hawn work, produce and direct, and then watch all these women that I really respect, ‘I’m not going to wait for the phone to ring. I’m going to take charge of my own career and be the leader of my destiny.”
Witherspoon’s media production company, Hello Sunshine, recently acquired for $900 million, was a testament to her quest to create practical change in the entertainment industry.
“If you don’t like the way the industry looks, especially as you rise to where you got to when I started my company, there is a responsibility to leave the business in a better place than the way you found it,” she said.
She said accepting failure as part of the process also allowed her to take more risks, admitting that she’s not a fan of rules, preferring to do unconventional things.
She said, “I’m not committed. When people make a rule for me, I feel like ‘Is this really how we should do it?'” ‘, adding that it has been this way since she was younger.
“I would naturally try to figure out ‘my way.’ Or if I had homework, it was always like, ‘What wouldn’t anyone else do?’ That was always my first thought. ‘What’s the weirdest way I can handle it?’ She explained that this is the The way my brain works.
And while she cares deeply about the work she’s doing, she also knows when to let go and “send off”.
“generally [I am] Really not a perfectionist. And I think it helps to go, ‘I did my best, everyone here did their best. Push the transmission. We gotta finish you guys.’ We gotta put our pencils down. Perfectionism can crush you. And you just have to post sometime.”
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