Cynthia Erivo ON: How to Take Small Steps to Achieving Your Goals & Why You Should Stop Questioning Your Ability To Achieve Them

    It's important to align our thoughts, words, and feelings, love ourselves in all that we do, and embrace opportunities, even when they make us feel scared or doubtful, because they can lead to valuable experiences and help others.

    enMay 01, 2023

    About this Episode

    Today, I sit down with Cynthia Erivo to talk about following your passion and having compassion for yourself. Cynthia explains why taking the first step is a key to achieving success, turning passion into personal growth and career success, and how to change your mindset when you start doubting yourself. 

    Cynthia Erivo is a British actress, singer, and songwriter. She has acted in a number of films and television shows. Her film credits include roles in "Widows," "Bad Times at the El Royale," and "Harriet," for which she received critical acclaim and an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. In addition to her acting career, Erivo is also a talented singer and songwriter. She has released several albums and performed at a number of high-profile events, including the 2021 Oscars.

    You can order my new book 8 RULES OF LOVE at 8rulesoflove.com or at a retail store near you. You can also get the chance to see me live on my first ever world tour. This is a 90 minute interactive show where I will take you on a journey of finding, keeping and even letting go of love. Head to jayshettytour.com and find out if I'll be in a city near you. Thank you so much for all your support - I hope to see you soon.

    What We Discuss:

    • 00:00 Intro
    • 00:14 Nothing feels more at home than to be with the people who share the same culture
    • 04:16 Discipline and creativity is a combination that help improve our lives
    • 08:07 If you’re hesitant to try something new, just start and you might be able to get over it
    • 13:40 Having a loving and supportive people around you can contribute to your future success
    • 17:34 Cynthia explains how she picks her roles and how each role resonates with her
    • 20:32 When you meet a new character, how do you connect with them?
    • 24:17 Being observant of other people’s habits and mannerisms helps in initiating conversations
    • 27:24 How do you detach yourself from the character you play without losing your real identity?
    • 32:35 What was your reason for going to therapy?
    • 34:58 “You can’t truly process something if you’re just talking to yourself.”
    • 35:40 What do you do when you feel like you aren’t good enough for something?
    • 41:02 How do we approach a challenge together and make it work? 
    • 43:40 The beauty of working in an industry that you love and passionate about
    • 50:46 The Many Sides of Us 

    Episode Resources

    Want to be a Jay Shetty Certified Life Coach? Get the Digital Guide and Workbook from Jay Shetty https://jayshettypurpose.com/fb-getting-started-as-a-life-coach-podcast/

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    🔑 Key Takeaways

    • With hard work, dedication, and passion, anyone can achieve their dreams and make a lasting impact. Cynthia Erivo's accomplishments are proof of this, as she excels as a talented actress, singer, and producer, inspiring others with her impressive work ethic and creative process.
    • Adjusting language and accents can bridge cultural differences. Embrace new experiences while cherishing the familiar in order to gain insight into different cultures and connect with others.
    • Strict upbringings can provide valuable lessons in discipline and creativity. Both Erivo and Shetty credit their teachers for allowing them the space to grow while also instilling important values like kindness, positivity, and hard work.
    • By breaking down overwhelming tasks into smaller goals and focusing on one thing at a time, we can overcome even the most daunting challenges. Pursuing physical activities can also provide valuable life lessons and mental fortitude.
    • Break down tasks into smaller parts to manage overwhelm, celebrate small progress, and build momentum towards a desired outcome. Every step, no matter how small, is a step forward.
    • Surround yourself with supportive and challenging people, believe in yourself, and be willing to try new things to achieve your goals.
    • Understanding a character's movement and body language can enhance your portrayal and resonate with audiences, leading to deeper conversations about communication styles. Finding your artistic obsession allows you to create art that connects with others.
    • To create well-rounded characters, pay attention to details of appearance and nonverbal communication, and empathize with their emotions and motivations to make authentic portrayals.
    • Actors become deeply connected to the characters they portray, making it difficult to separate themselves from the role. It's important for them to train their body and mind to transition quickly, allowing them to embody different characters and create relatable performances.
    • Actors need support and therapy to separate themselves from their characters, and learning to communicate better is a valuable life lesson. Cynthia Erivo found therapy helpful for understanding relationships and showing up as her best self.
    • It's important to align our thoughts, words, and feelings, love ourselves in all that we do, and embrace opportunities, even when they make us feel scared or doubtful, because they can lead to valuable experiences and help others.
    • Creating a safe and judgment-free space where everyone can share their ideas is essential in work collaborations with other creative people. Focusing on the bigger picture can unite everyone in one mind and make it easier to approach challenges together.
    • Trusting your instincts and pursuing what feels right, even if it goes against convention or advice, can lead to success and personal fulfillment. Take small steps and listen to your inner voice to make meaningful changes.
    • Following your instincts can lead to better decisions and quicker adjustments. Don't worry about connections in the moment, they will come later. Keep moving forward and take responsibility for your choices.
    • When communicating with others, approach from a place of love to find common ground and understanding. Find joy in everyday moments to build a foundation of goodness and make big moments even sweeter.
    • Speaking from a place of love and understanding creates an opportunity to be understood and learn from one another. Starting conversations with a solution-oriented mindset leads to a feeling of understanding and joy.

    📝 Podcast Summary

    Cynthia Erivo on Her Creative Process and Iconic Roles

    In this episode of On Purpose, Jay Shetty interviews Cynthia Erivo, the Grammy, Emmy and Academy Award-winning actress, singer, and producer. Cynthia talks about her creative process and how she gets into character. She has played many iconic roles in her lifetime, including Harriet Tubman in the movie 'Harriet' and Aretha Franklin in National Geographic's Emmy-winning anthology series 'Genius Aretha.' Cynthia lent her voice to the movie's title song Standup, which won several awards, including Best Original Song at the Hollywood Music in Media Awards. Cynthia will also play the Blue Fairy in Disney's live-action retelling of Pinocchio. Cynthia's accomplishments show that with hard work, dedication, and passion, anyone can achieve their dreams and make a lasting impact.

    Speaking with Understanding

    When people are comfortable with each other, their true accents and colloquial language come out. However, when speaking to people from different backgrounds, it is important to adjust language and accents to ensure mutual understanding. Moving to a different country can involve missing certain aspects of home, such as familiar foods and activities, while also appreciating the new environment's unique benefits. Engaging in meaningful conversations and learning about others' experiences can provide insight into different cultures and create connections.

    Cynthia Erivo and Jay Shetty on the Influences of their Strict Upbringing

    Cynthia Erivo's upbringing in a strict Roman Catholic school allowed her to form her own understanding of faith which centers around being loving and kind to people and the world around her. She believes that positivity is cyclical and that giving out something good will ultimately come back to you, just like a boomerang. Small interactions and conversations with strangers that are positive have the power to influence someone's day in a meaningful way. Similarly, Jay Shetty's experience in a strict all-boys school taught him the importance of discipline and artistry working in tandem. Both Erivo and Shetty credit their teachers for helping them navigate the strict rules while still allowing them enough space to grow and express themselves creatively.

    Applying Step-by-Step Approach to Life Challenges

    Cynthia Erivo's passion for running has taught her discipline, mental stamina, and how to overcome moments of self-doubt. She applies the step-by-step approach she uses in running to other areas of her life, such as tackling overwhelming tasks like organizing her closet. By taking that first step and focusing on one task at a time, she has learned to conquer even the most daunting challenges. Running has provided her with mental clarity and a space to think, while also allowing her to make new friends and explore the world around her. Overall, Cynthia demonstrates how a passion for a physical activity can translate into valuable life lessons and mental fortitude.

    The Importance of Taking Things One Step at a Time

    Cynthia Erivo emphasizes the importance of taking things one step at a time and breaking down tasks into manageable parts. Whether it's learning a character or running, focusing on each individual component can make it seem less overwhelming. Looking straight ahead at the end goal can create discouragement and self-doubt, whereas small progress should be celebrated as an achievement in itself. Every step towards a goal, no matter how small, is a step forward. By just starting and taking manageable steps, even something as small as putting on your sneakers and taking a step outside, individuals can build momentum towards their desired outcome, and often end up achieving more than they initially thought they could.

    How Cynthia Erivo's Love for Sports and Adventure Helped Her Achieve Success

    Cynthia Erivo reveals how her love for sports and adventure helped her achieve success in her career as an Emmy, Grammy, and Tony-winning actress. Despite facing uncertainty and doubts, she believed in herself and was supported by her mom, sister, and friends who believed in her abilities. She credits her willingness to try new things and not miss out on any opportunities as a key factor in achieving her success. This highlights the importance of surrounding oneself with people who challenge and support us, as well as the value of self-belief and a persevering spirit to achieve our goals.

    Cynthia Erivo on Immersing Herself into Character and Connecting with Audiences

    Actress Cynthia Erivo shares her approach to playing different characters and how she immerses herself in their rhythm and body language to find their internal heartbeat. By understanding their movement and urgency, she gains a deeper understanding of their personality and motivations. In her role as Holly Gibney in 'The Outsider', Erivo's portrayal of a woman struggling to connect resonated with audiences and sparked conversations about different communication styles. Erivo believes that creating art that allows people to connect is what it's all about. Jay Shetty admires Erivo's obsession with her craft, and their shared passion for their work creates an exciting conversation about the beauty in finding your artistic obsession.

    Observing for Authenticity: Cynthia Erivo's Approach to Building Multi-Dimensional Characters

    Actress Cynthia Erivo discusses her approach to developing well-rounded, multi-dimensional characters through observing how they move, speak, and present themselves. She pays attention to details like scent, makeup, and clothing, as well as nonverbal cues like lip movements and eye contact, to create a more authentic portrayal. Erivo credits her ability to empathize and connect with people to her lifelong habit of people-watching and observing their emotional lives. Through her training at drama school, she has learned to identify the motivations behind a character's actions and words. It is not just about what a character is saying, but also how they say it and the emotional context behind their words.

    The Struggle of Separating an Actor from Their Character

    Actors become a part of the characters they play and it takes time to shed them. When a character is portrayed accurately, the actor infuses a part of themselves into the role, making it difficult to separate the two. The process takes a toll on the body and mind, making it important to teach the body to transition quickly. The more time an actor spends with a character, the deeper the connection becomes, making it harder to let go. However, successful actors know that it's essential to train their body and mind to move on, especially when they have to embody a different person continually. Hard work in drama school helps actors connect better with themselves and with others, instilling a desire to create meaningful characters that people can relate to.

    The Psychological Impact of Preparing for a Character

    Actors and actresses experience a significant psychological impact while preparing for a character. It takes time to let go of the character persona even after the film is over. Those who understand and support the individual, along with therapy can help in separating the self from the character. Therapy has helped Cynthia Erivo in understanding her relationships better and how to show up as her best self. It is essential to find better ways to communicate with people rather than just running away from discomfort, to prepare, debrief, and understand personal altercations in personal and professional settings. Learning to communicate better is a life lesson, not just an acting lesson.

    The Importance of Alignment, Self-Love, and Embracing Opportunities

    The misalignment between our thoughts, words, and feelings is a common struggle, but it's important to listen to others to gain perspective. We often question whether we are good enough, but it's crucial to remember that what is meant for us will come to us, as long as we do the work to prepare for it. It's important to ask ourselves if we are loving ourselves in everything we do, and to choose actions that promote self-love. Every 'no' we encounter is just making room for the 'yes' that is meant to be. We should embrace opportunities that come our way, even if they make us feel scared or doubtful, because the experience is valuable and can help others in similar situations.

    Crafting Beautiful Experiences and Collaborations

    The experience that's been perfectly crafted just for you can be beautiful. It's important to recognize and appreciate those experiences. In work collaborations with other creative people, creating a safe space where everyone can share their ideas without judgment is essential. Focusing less on what you need and more on what others need can make everyone feel comfortable and confident. There are no bad ideas in brainstorming, as a bad idea could be the seed of a great one. Finding the purpose and direction of the bigger picture can unite everyone in one mind and make it easier to approach challenges together. Making positive changes in life can involve implementing new habits or practices.

    The Power of Trusting Yourself and Following Your Passions

    Cynthia Erivo credits her mindset shifts and success to a slow and steady accumulation of trying new things and listening to her inner voice. From turning down a university course that didn't feel right to following her passion for music, her journey was guided by what felt good to her. Despite being told to stop working out during drama school, she continued because it was good for her mind and found joy in playing music with a classmate. Her success in performing in Wicked and winning awards is a testament to the power of trusting oneself and following what feels right, even if it goes against conventional wisdom or expectations.

    Trusting Your Inner Voice for Fulfillment and Success

    Listening to your inner voice can lead to more fulfilling and successful decisions. Cynthia Erivo's gut instinct led her to the role of Sealy in 'The Color Purple' on Broadway. Trusting yourself allows for quicker pivoting and taking responsibility when things don't work out. Looking back on decisions, you can connect the dots and see the beauty in the journey. Don't look for connections moving forward, they will come later. One step in front of the other, keep moving forward. Cynthia Erivo is described as warm when meeting her for the first time and stubborn when known well, due to her desire for independence and getting things done on her own.

    The Power of Speaking from Love, Not Fear

    Cynthia Erivo and Jay Shetty discuss the importance of speaking from a place of love, rather than fear. Speaking from a place of love means communicating with another person about what can help both of you meet somewhere in the middle and understand one another. It's not about protecting someone's feelings, but rather about finding common ground. Cynthia also emphasizes the importance of finding joy in the little moments of everyday life and not just waiting for big things to happen. By doing so, we build a foundation of goodness that makes the big moments even sweeter.

    Speaking from a Place of Love and Understanding

    When we speak from a place of love, we give the other person an opportunity to be understood, and therefore we get the chance to be understood as well. Speaking from a place of fear does not work, as we're essentially walking around like broken shelves. We want to allow people to make themselves whole by having conversations that leave us feeling like we've learned something and understand each other better. Arguments often leave us feeling like we still miss certain things because it's more about wanting to be heard than wanting to understand each other. When we start from a place of how do we solve this and make things better, we tend to end conversations with a feeling of understanding and joy.

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    01:02:22 Loving the Parenting Journey
    01:07:16 The Impacts of Your Decisions
    01:09:13 Opportunities Through Obstacles
    01:17:40 Buddhism Is My Anchor
    01:18:59 The Fear You’re Currently Overcoming
    01:26:04 Orlando Bloom on Final Five

    Episode Resources:

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    4 Ways to Know if It Is Time To End Your Relationship (When the Signs Are Not Clear and Things are Not Bad)

    4 Ways to Know if It Is Time To End Your Relationship (When the Signs Are Not Clear and Things are Not Bad)

    Do you find yourself often thinking about breaking up?

    Do you and your partner have unresolved conflicts that keep resurfacing?

    In this episode, Jay tackles the tough emotions and uncertainty many face when considering a breakup. He talks about why people stay in or leave relationships, touching on key factors like emotional closeness, personal investment, and the impact of family responsibilities. Jay also discusses how to ensure emotional security and the risks of staying for financial reasons or out of obligation. 

    In this episode you’ll learn:

    How to recognize emotional investment

    How to assess emotional security

    How to consider financial implications

    How to navigate emotional intimacy

    This honest conversation provides you with the insights to evaluate your relationship more clearly, helping you decide whether to work on it or move on, based on a deeper understanding of your feelings and the relationship's dynamics.

    With Love and Gratitude,

    Jay Shetty

    What We Discuss:

    00:00 Intro

    01:10 When to End Your Relationship

    04:48 10 Reason Why People Stay in a Relationship

    12:44 Top 10 Reasons to Leave Your Relationship

    18:14 The Three Cancers of the Mind

    24:44 Difference in Scorecard Perspective

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    Benny Blanco: 3 Ways to Stop Caring About Failure & Get Out of Your Own Way

    Benny Blanco: 3 Ways to Stop Caring About Failure & Get Out of Your Own Way

    How can you overcome the fear of failure?

    What can you do daily to care less about failing?

    Today, Jay sits down with Benny Blanco for an inspiring conversation about pursuing passions, mentorship, failure, and continuous motivation. Benny has made a huge mark on the music industry contributing to hundreds of millions of album sales worldwide. Benny has worked with A-List artists like Ed Sheeran, Justin Bieber, and Katy Perry. As a solo artist, his albums "Friends Keep Secrets" and its sequel have amassed over 11 billion streams, featuring multiple platinum hits. Beyond music, Benny has ventured into television and even released a cookbook, "Open Wide," showcasing his diverse talents and interests

    Benny shares insight on how to not let failure stop you and getting over imposter syndrome. We also go dive into Benny’s life outside of music, exploring his passion for cooking through his cookbook "Open Wide." Plus, Benny talks about his relationships, how he keeps his creativity flowing, and the small joys that make his life special.

    In this interview, you’ll learn:

    How to pursue your passion with limited resources

    How to not let failure get in your way of achieving your goals

    How to embrace the unexpected in creative work

    How to transition your passion into different fields

    How to find joy and creativity in everyday moments

    Don't miss this intimate look at Benny Blanco's life and maybe learn a thing or two about making your own multi-track masterpiece or the perfect dish to serve at dinner!

    With Love and Gratitude,

    Jay Shetty

    What We Discuss:

    00:00 Intro

    03:43 What’s the First Creative Thing You Put Together?

    06:15 I Never Cared About Failure

    10:33 Developing Amnesia to Failure

    14:22 How Did You Meet Your Mentor?

    18:10 “The Boy I Mentored” 

    23:42 How Do You Show Up After a Rejection?

    26:51 Love Can Be Felt Through Music

    29:56 What Do You Do When You Wake Up?   

    32:02 Why Do You Struggle with Meditation?

    33:28 Why I Went to Therapy

    38:25 The Pressure of Perfectionism

    44:49 Do You Love to Cook?

    47:20 Do You Eat Healthy?

    48:47 Finding Comfort in Food

    54:42 What’s Your Sleep Pattern?

    56:40 Friendships Built Over the Years

    59:19 Multigenerational Friendships

    01:03:44 Better Relationship After Divorce

    01:05:52 Benny on Final Five   

    01:15:57 What’s Your Vice?

    01:17:53 Do You Take Supplements?

    Episode Resources:

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    Why Your Self Worth is Keeping You Stuck & How to Stop Sabotaging Your Personal Growth With Jamie Kern Lima

    Why Your Self Worth is Keeping You Stuck & How to Stop Sabotaging Your Personal Growth With Jamie Kern Lima

    How does low self-worth stop you from moving forward?

    How can you stop self-sabotage and grow personally?

    Today, let’s welcome Jamie Kern Lima. Jamie is a New York Times bestselling author, founder of IT Cosmetics, a company she started in her living room and sold to L'Oreal in a billion-dollar deal, becoming the first female CEO of a brand in its 100+ year history. She's also an active philanthropist who has funded leadership training in more than 100 prisons and shelters across the US, and has donated over $40 million in product and funds to help women face the effects of cancer with confidence. 

    Jamie and Jay ponder on the meaning of self-worth, distinguishing it from mere confidence and challenging the misguided belief that our value is tied to our physical appearance. We get to hear the detrimental effects of self-doubt and present empowering strategies to transform your relationship with rejection, offering a new perspective that fosters resilience and self-compassion. 

    And then the conversation dives deep into personal beliefs, urging us to identify and discard unhelpful misconceptions, while giving emphasis on why authenticity is crucial and its role in conjunction with other factors in achieving success. 

    In this interview, you'll learn:

    How to build self-worth

    How to distinguish confidence from self-worth

    How to handle rejection

    How to overcome self-doubt

    How to remain authentic

    Together, let's learn how to distinguish your worth from external validation, turn rejection into a stepping stone, and live authentically.

    With Love and Gratitude,

    Jay Shetty

    What We Discuss:

    00:00 Intro

    03:17 Do You Feel Worthy Today?

    10:04 Confusing Confidence with Self Worth

    17:37 Your Weight Impacts Your Worth is a Lie 

    24:03 What Has Self Doubt Cost You?

    31:25 How to Change Your Relationship with Rejection

    37:02 The 4-Part R to Reframe Rejection

    44:00 You Need This Today

    48:13 Which Lie Are You Trying to Unlearn? 

    56:32 Authenticity Alone Doesn’t Guarantee Success

    Episode Resources:

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.