Chicago, IL (WiredPRNews.com)
Actor, director, producer James M. Lynch was having what he termed ‘the winter of my discontent’, borrowing the quote from his favorite writer, William Shakespeare. Having finished his MFA in Directing from DePaul University’s Theatre School, Lynch was facing the same problem as all theatre grads; find a job that pays.
Finding a job wasn’t difficult, he was cast in play after play, directing and teaching, but smaller theatre companies didn’t pay and those that did, paid little more than bus fare. He was supplementing his income as all actors do, bartending and waiting tables plus he had an on again, off again house painting business. Applying to universities across the country for teaching positions, Lynch was frustrated with the lack of positions offered and, as a transplanted New Yorker, was none too keen on moving to a small town to get a job at the smaller universities with positions available.
“I was frustrated and depressed”, says Lynch, “and to top it off, we were in the midst of a dreary and cold Chicago winter. I was drained and unmotivated and there were days I didn’t even leave my apartment, except maybe to take a trip to the liquor or video store. I had to do something to turn myself around or I would have just sunk lower”.
To turn himself around, Lynch went to the ‘good book’ of his choosing; The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. “A few years ago I’d done an experimental theatre, one man version of Hamlet and I had immersed myself in the text. All along since then, especially in this difficult period, I kept hearing the words from the text in the back of my head, like positive, active coaching, giving me guidance. Things like ‘from this time forth my thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth’, were my call to action; no more fooling around when my career and happiness is at stake. I didn’t have a coach or anyone else to talk to from this ‘rut’ I was in so I began keeping a journal, sorting out my thoughts, using the Hamlet quotes as guides and writing what they meant to me personally. My core inspiration was ‘there is nothing, either good or bad, but thinking makes it so’ and I used it to shift my thinking into a positive, forward moving mode, leaving the interpretation, ‘thinking too precisely on the event’, aside and giving up feeling sorry for myself and complaining that life was too tough; it all depended on my outlook.”
Speed ahead 15 years to the present day, like changing acts in a play, and Lynch is now a proven executive, life and business coach, having totally transformed himself from actor/director to writing Fortune 100 seminars and retreats, learning and delivering leadership and development courses, earning a job as executive director of a well known personal development seminar company before a swift climb up the corporate ladder with stops at Sales Trainer, Production Manager, General Manager and Chief Training Officer, then out on his own as an entrepreneurial coach and founder of two companies with stakes in several others. Not leaving his arts background behind Lynch has founded and produced visual and performance art and is on the board of a local ballet company plus is Vice Chair of his local Cultural Arts Commission.
Says Lynch, now a successful businessman, husband and father of three, “At this point I knew I had something to share, I’d been more than lucky and I went back to my journal, back to the quotes that had inspired me and I knew I had to write this book”.
Years later, working primarily at night while training and coaching during the day, he has finished and released The Hamlet Secret: a Self-Directed (Shakespearean) Workbook for living a passionate, joy-filled life. This 214 page book is written to empower others on the road to personal growth and development, providing journaling and exercises for the individual in any stage of their life.
Each quote, 80 plus, has a short lesson or interpretation that’s more Lynch’s message than Shakespeare’s, plus at least one exercise to ‘drive home’ the message and take it from a good idea to something that is about doing, not thinking, about ‘ah hah’, not just ‘unh, hunh’. “As a former acting coach I still use the lessons from acting, including leading an ‘acting for non actors’ course that is just as much life coaching as acting, and the book had to be about action, not just thought and good ideas. People want change, lasting, visceral and inspirational, and that’s what makes this book unique. You could just read it as an exercise in theory of life but, as you can see by the cover, I stress the part of the book that is a workbook, not a workbook accompanying another book, but a complete, self led, journey of discovery. It’s more than a few week’s reading, it’s a year and half worth of work,” adds the author.
The Hamlet Secret is available online at Borders, Barnes and Noble, Amazon and on his own site, Do it Yourself Life Coach where he also has a second book, ‘Don’t Hire a Life Coach’, an e-book that takes on the fad and cultural phenomenon called ‘life coaching’ and defines and guides users to get the most out of this effective tool without wasting time or money on ‘what coaching is not’.
As Hamlet might have said, ‘Though this be madness, yet there’s method in it’.