You’ve heard of Peter Dinklage.
You may have even known that he won a Golden Globe and two Emmys for his portrayal of Tyrion Lannister, the drunk, womanizing black sheep of the Lannister royal family on HBO’s epic blockbuster hit Game of Thrones.
What you might not know, is that a few years ago, he had almost given up on his lifelong dream of becoming a successful actor. He was working at an entry level position at a data company until made a decision that changed the trajectory his life.
His story hits close to home. You can watch him tell it in this video.
But Before He Was Famous
As they say on Game of Thrones, “a Lannister pays their debts”, and long before making an estimated $25 million, Dinklage paid his.
He was a natural performer. Falling in love with it at an early age in plays and skits in school. Peter dreamed and devoted most of his life to theater. He went to school for it. Dreaming to be amongst fellow actors.
It was 1991. He moved to NY to work in theater. He didn’t find any.
The only thing he wanted up until that moment, was to follow his dreams. The only thing he actually had, was no money, no apartment and a NY sized debt.
He worked many low-end jobs. Dusting pianos, pulling weeds, he even went on unemployment once, but not for long, he couldn’t handle the guilt (his words not mine).
Peter Dinklage Was a Data Processor?
After 2 years of job and couch surfing. He finally got a job, in application processing as a data enterer at a company called Professional Application Services.
Where he stayed for 6 years. Longer than he had even studied for his acting dreams. He hated that job. But he clung to it.
From the age of 23-29 he put his real dream on hold. So that he could pay his rent. It afforded him a living. But it paused the real life he wanted.
When Dinklage turned 29, he told himself that the next acting job he got, whatever it paid. From that gig on he would be a full time actor, no matter the cost, for better or worse. He was determined to pursue the life he really wanted.
The Decision That Changed His Life…
At 29 walking away from data processing, he was terrified. It was the only job he felt stuck in. He was afraid of whatever change he had just committed to.
But after 6 years of doing something he didn’t enjoy… Peter gave himself the permission to take a risk.
He landed a low paying theater gig that led to a low paying film which led to several other roles. Which led to other roles. It wasn’t easy, but he kept going anyway.
Overtime, he started to get noticed for one role after another. Until finally breaking through the ultimate dream of being recognized as a leading role on the world’s most popular show (Game of Thrones) with an average of 17.4 million viewers.
Advice on Success From Peter Dinklage
With regards to chasing your dreams and doing things that terrify you. Take it from Peter’s advice:
“Raise your life to meet you. Don’t look for defining moments to change you. They won’t come. The moments that define you have already happened and they will already happen again. Yet they will pass. Don’t bother telling the world you are ready. Just do it”
– Peter Dinklage