Author Archive

This is Part 13 of a continuing series by Cindy Baker Gilbert

What’s wrong with me? Months and months of job postings stream into my email inbox, resumes down dark rabbit holes, not living in Los Angeles and trying to get a job in Los Angeles – what am I, a hamster on a wheel? I’m still here plugging away at my temporary job that in four months will hold third place in the longest job I’ve ever held category. My best thinking finally tells me I could step up my article submissions to Judith’s e-zine. Why wait for a new monthly? I could write about the villain surrounding Obamacare. Wait, I don’t understand Obamacare. Or, I could write about our political parties because there is a “for sure” villain jamming up those works. No, that might alienate readers. Maybe write about the villain that holds back the country from consensus on the murder of JFK. But these issues feel too big. Can’t I start with a simple double murder or murder-suicide? I want to think big, write big and be big. And right away it feels like too much trouble and I don’t know enough about any of it and who cares what I think anyway? There, I said it. That’s the block. It keeps me from admitting I’m a writer. It keeps me following job posts and situations I think I need but don’t want. It tells me I’ll never make a living being a writer so I’d better continue with Plan B which we all know turns out to actually be the plan.

It’s easy to see the villains in other people, places and things, but to recognize and name it myself? My ego glasses have slipped off the bridge of my nose before, but this time they are stuck to my face and won’t budge. I want to do what matters to me, not make sure “the boss” has what he needs when he needs it. Are you there, Judith? Help!

Cindy, Coach Judith is here. OK, the villain you are plagued by (get ready to cringe) is the pirate/Bandit — the I’m not good enough villain. Everybody else has more, is more, does more is more worthy. You give your power to others, but feel like it has been stolen from you. You are not rich enough, talented enough, pretty enough, tall enough, bright enough — everybody else is MORE than you… everyone else has more than you — more money, more time, more talent, more fun, more…

To decide to be a write, without a boss to invest your power in, is to decide you are enough. You’ve got the talent. You are worth being a writer. You’ve got things to say.

However, you are robbed blind by thoughts like these:
I could write, but…(excuse goes here).
“These issues feel too big.”
“It feels like too much trouble.”
“I don’t know enough.”
“Who cares what I think anyway.”

Well, in the process of your rant, Cindy, you wrote a funny article.

That’s what I advise for all of you stuck in the excuse-ridden doldrums. Have a rant. Get out all the excuses. Stop letting the pirate villain rob you of your own talent and self-worth.

Decide what you want to do and spend at least 30-minutes every day going after it.

Take back your life and start acting like who you want to be. Pretty soon it won’t be an act, it will be your life.

Pirates be gone!

Categories : Blocks in the News
Comments (0)


Posted by: | Comments (0)

Sandra Bullock’s “Dr. Ryan Stone” was driving in her car when she received devastating news about her little girl. With that news, the LOST LOVE VILLAIN succeeded in alienating Ryan from society. Now, she simply gets in her car and drives and drives to escape the pain of reality. She finds solace in her work as Mission Specialist on her first space shuttle mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope. She is stubborn, confident, and comfortable in the control she believes she has over her abilities and life. But random accidents abound starting with her daughter falling in the schoolyard and hitting her head. Her little girl is simply at play and then dead. Now space debris from an accidental hit on a space station sends death her way. Yet, Ryan is so insulated from feelings and reality that she nearly causes her own death by her stubborn refusal to comply with directions from her fellow astronaut “Matt Kowalski”, played by George Clooney.

When George gives his own life to save hers, Ryan cries out for him not to leave her – PLEASE. We imagine that the desperation was the same when she pleaded to hold on to her daughter’s departing spirit. Please don’t leave me. PLEASE. And again she is alone. The LOST LOVE villain freshly pressed in her mind, she can no longer navigate the streets of her life with her consciousness at half-mast as she had back on Earth. Circling, tumbling out of control through most of the film, her panic almost causes her to run out of oxygen…she has to calm herself, delve into her core, conserve, focus and find control in her center. We know the Lost Love villain will kill her unless she breaks from its lifeless claws by pushing through the fear. Focus. Focus. And finally there is George without whom the tension would be unbearable. This is great storytelling. It took every bit of this drama for Sandra to realize she wants to live. Really live, not just go through the automated, subconscious motions. Lucky her. She was in a story that insisted she breakthrough. Ordinary people on earth rarely engage in such dramatic circumstances. We simply navigate on autopilot never realizing what villains hold us back from living. Yes, our villains are very powerful. I invite you to figure out who your villains are and to push through. Now you are free to live the life of your dreams.

Coach Judith’s Question: What pulls you down in life? Can you break through your own fear to find your mission?

Comments (0)


Posted by: | Comments (0)

This is Part 12 of a continuing series by Cindy Baker Gilbert

It was pointed out I am too old to be daddy’s little girl. Also, daddy was crazy which is a problem and explains why I worked for so many crazy daddies throughout the years. Some so genius that to effectively work for them meant to stay out of their way and quietly get the job done. Shut up and show up was fine since free rides home in the very G4 I booked for business trips was part of the deal and birthdays meant Gucci bags from one of the wives.

But to set out on my own, to bring to fruition all my dreams of writing and art without a crazy daddy in the picture to suck up all my energy and time is a freeing yet daunting task. If I’m not waiting for direction or even a job from a crazy daddy (bye bye Sorceress villain), then why do I have so many doubts and not doubts of which I am aware exactly? More a nagging voice that says what’s the use, who wants to read this, I can’t be the first person to think of this. That stuff. With the Sorceress villain disappearing and me knowing it’s up to me, who pops up next but the Killer Villain causing me to doubt my ideas and dreams and trapping me in my past cut off from my own heart power and belief in myself.

But to conquer a villain is to push past my comfort zone which I have done. And no, my grand idea from last month did not pan out, but I am not deterred. Instead, I expanded on that idea to include all equine facilities in Sothern California and not just the one in Malibu. (Take that Killer Villain. Cindy’s not giving up.)

I queried ten horse ranches and told them of my administrative and managerial experience at the multi-million dollar equine facility that is now up for sale and inquired if there was a position open at their facility.

I also let them know my BFA in dramatic writing from NYU and my MFA in screenwriting from UCLA meant I knew how to tell a story and certainly their establishment had its own unique story, a story that told on their website would be a great way to market their services.

That’s what I did today. Tomorrow I will come up with another idea. And another and another because I am determined to figure out and eliminate all that has held me back and kept me under a rock so that my light can’t shine.

JPH Comment: Watch out Killer Villain, Cindy got her groove (spirit) back. She’s escaped the past and what didn’t work out to focus on the present – determined to find the idea that will work!

Categories : Blocks in the News
Comments (0)

When everyone is seen as the monster villain, conflicts surge in response to fear. Iranian revolutionaries strike out against their Monster Villain, the US Government and its support of the deposed Shah, by storming the US embassy and taking 52 American diplomats hostage.

Six diplomats escape capture and find refuge in the Canadian consulate. They, along with the 52 hostages as well as the US, see the revolutionaries as the Monster villain. These six are the focus of Argo. Six against a revolution that will hunt them down and kill them. Monster villain indeed.

When Ben Affleck as CIA operative arrives with an escape plan that involves changing their identities to movie production personnel in the midst of producing a “fake” movie, only one of the six questions their ultimate success. As the director, Ben keeps the personal emotions of fear and doubt off-screen with scenes of the six sipping cocktails, enjoying music and a game of cards. Not what I would be doing had I been in their shoes. If you want to make an audience cry, keep the tears off screen. If you want to involve the audience, keep the melodrama to a minimum and let the audience do the feeling for the characters. As I watched I tapped into my own monster villains of fear, doubt, and uncertainty in a failed economy and my feelings of powerlessness to right my own situation. I knew, watching what these six people went through, that I could not match their courage had I been there, but I came away with more confidence to stand up to my own monsters.

JPH NOTE: ARGO is a perfect example of purpose and power embodied in an escape plan. There were so many steps in the “Produce a fake movie” plan that there was no time for despair. The six diplomats chose to survive, to trust the “fake” director, and to succeed for each other one step at a time. And, they were completely focused on what IS in their heightened sense of the moment. The monster villain was overcome by a masterfully executed plan full of meaning and purpose.

Comments (0)


Posted by: | Comments (0)

A new year calls for new ways of getting what I want. My “do whatever it takes” job here in the warehouse world of north Texas is not why I went to grad school, but the idea of interviewing for a job in Los Angeles while still in Texas doesn’t reconcile logistically. With hundreds of applicants for every job post on the internet, I’ve decided to propose a job to someone who doesn’t yet know they need me.

Here’s what I mean. Take a conference retreat center in the Malibu hills where I personally know the woman in charge of the horses at the center. She conducts her own horseback riding business as well as provides riding opportunities to the groups attending events at the venue. I proposed that I live in one of the small houses on the property in exchange for marketing the center’s services, increasing her horseback riding business, and help her prepare the horses for the kids’ summer camps. With my BFA and MFA in writing, I would host workshops and extended classes for the adults and for the kids. That sounds like a lot for one tiny place to live. I explained this abundance of services in no way negates my value nor my abilities. I simply want to be back in Los Angeles.

We could set a specific move-in and move-out date, based upon a pre-set criteria for evaluating my success in all areas. If I do as great a job as I know I will, they can offer an employment contract. If they are not pleased with the results, I have taken my off-hours to set up my new life.

My friend said she would present this to the Center, but it was not up to her. She said she would do what she could and would love to have me up there with her. Two weeks have gone by. I’ll give them another two weeks to figure out what an amazing opportunity this is. Fingers crossed.

JPH Note: Now that’s what I’m talking about. Cindy has taken her focus off despair, off the past and off of a fantasy future. She’s focused on creating a job that matches her skills while simultaneously fulfilling more than one of her goals. Step by step, should the job be hers, Cindy will prove herself essential to her next employer.

Categories : Blocks in the News
Comments (0)


Posted by: | Comments (1)

This is Part 10 of a continuing series by Cindy Baker Gilbert

Connecting the dots of my previous accomplishments limits my job opportunities to a handful of high net-worth individuals with office building investments to lease, equine ranches to run, business offices to manage, marketing materials to be designed and produced, social events to be hosted and international travel itineraries to be booked. If they need professional notes on their screenplays or a review of their warehouse shipping department, these also come under my sphere of experience.

But, if I connect the skill set dots, I open myself to a world of possibilities. The secret to connecting these dots, meant to lead to my new and heretofore unimagined job, hinge on the successful assessment of my skill set. I may have missed a few of the obvious, but here’s my first go at it: good social interaction at all levels, diplomatic, hard-working and tenacious, thrives in an exciting environment, extremely confidential, good communicator and facilitator, excellent writing skills, collaborative team player, and self-motivated. Add to that my interest in screenwriting, film and reality TV.

No longer am I limited by a particular field of endeavor. My strong set of business and interpersonal abilities translate into many environments. This puts the value back on me and not on specific things I have done in the past. My future employer will pay for my time, my creative mind and my set of skills.

No wonder the previous interviews failed spectacularly. When I sell myself short, I diminish my worth in the eyes of others. I must first believe in me.

It’s a slightly different way of looking at the situation. Sometimes all it takes is a small adjustment in one’s thinking to notice a new path, or get excited about a new idea. Let’s see where focusing on my accumulation of skills and interests takes me.

Categories : Blocks in the News
Comments (1)