Instead of relying on the tired, worn-out excuse of “not being able to do your life’s work because of money pressures,” perhaps you could try inventing new, innovative ways to provoke more of it to flow your way. So you can get on with the task of doing your life’s work.

Sneaking Out

While it’s the destiny of others to meet expectations and maintain the status quo, it’s the destiny of crazy, genius artists and courageous entrepreneurs to sneak out the side door and head out on the highway, searching for adventure in whatever comes their way.

…the way to open the floodgates of unlimited possibilities is to loosen our tight grip on the way things MUST turn out, and rethink our circumstances even though we KNOW we’re right.

Music, as far as I have seen in the world so far, is the only real magic that I know. There is something really honest and clean and pure and it touches you in your heart.

—Tom Petty, 1950—2017

Every day the voice in my head prods me to work harder with more effort. However the biggest successes in my life had less to do with “effort” and more to do with a clear vision of where I wanted to go, a mountain of rigorous research to light the way, a ruthless commitment to shield me from distractions, a boatload of courage to bolster those scary, risky decisions, and as much cocky confidence as I could muster. —Michael

What’s At Stake?

Regarding your impossible dream or your BIG project, what do you have at stake? Your reputation? Your money? Your life? Your business? Do you have your pride at stake? Are the lives and well-being of others at stake? Investors? Do you have your family at stake? Your kids? Your dignity? Do you still need to prove something to somebody or yourself?
Important because not having anything at stake provokes the question: Why are you doing it?

Self Sabotage

Watch out for it. It will do you in every time. If you’re the leader of a rock band, owner of a small biz, or the president of a big corp. you have to watch out for others. However if you’re the CEO of your own creative world you have to watch out for your Self!
Important because the end result of self-sabotage is worthy projects, meaningful ventures, and personal accomplishments are prevented from ever seeing the light of day.

I’m a real person, and I’m angry. I’m trying to use this celebrity thing to get people some help. AIDS, poverty, racism – I want to be one of the hands that helps stop all that. I’ll put it on my shoulders. I’ll charge it to my account.

—Jamie Foxx

…the most important thing is:

– Your inimitable POV.

– Your unique, specific talent.

– Your divergent life experiences.

– Your courage, in the face of doubt.

– Your ruthless, ceaseless commitment.

– Your distinct, accumulated knowledge.

– Your creative spirit and deeper wisdom.

– Your own personal brand of crazy genius.

– Your true love and unwavering confidence.

– Your many years of practice and persistence.

– Your failures, setbacks and disappointments.

– A “belief” that no one else on earth can grasp.

Too Small to Fail

A project that’s too small for its devoted following will continue to grow slowly, as it sets intelligent plans for the future. A project that’s too big is more prone to collapse.

Important because The balance lies in thinking BIG, but taking small steps to get there.

The Flinch

The “flinch” is a sophisticated delivery system. It delivers doubt, uncertainty and indecision at the most precise moment when we are about to choose, decide, or take action. It’s the reason most modern movies are remakes, most successful books are copy’s, and most music sounds like something we’ve heard before.

 An amateur takes failure personally and often builds it into a case for why he’s not a success.

A professional sees failure as an idea that didn’t work and she builds it into a case for further research and ultimately another attempt.

Important because “building a case” helps to convince us that the story we tell ourselves is true.

The Next BIG Step

The next step is already pre-planned, thought out and ready to take—so you might as well take it.

The next BIG step is different. If it’s really going to be a BIG one, if it’s truly going to take you to the next level, then the next BIG step cannot be taken by who you are today. It can only be taken by that bold, intelligent, courageous, confident person you become, when you finally make the decision to risk it all, and take the next BIG step.

When adversity strikes, that’s when you have to be the most calm. Take a step back, stay strong, stay grounded and press on. 

—LL Cool J

The Haunting

As self-reliant, independent artists & entrepreneurs, the one thing that incessantly troubles us, the one thing that mercilessly crawls under our skin, the one thing that causes us to anxiously fidget and squirm the most, is that haunting voice between our ears that relentlessly reminds us of what we haven’t achieved, what we haven’t attained, and what we have yet to accomplish!

…there are so many important things to do;
so many great ideas waiting to be born,
so many things to fix,
so many worthwhile projects to start,
so many great songs to compose,
so many inspiring scripts to pitch,
so many jaw-dropping start-ups to launch,
so many ways to contribute,
so many people to help,
and so many opportunities to create art that inspires, entertainment that encourages and ideas that matter. It’s a shame that we hastily kill off our precious time, hour by hour, pretending that our aimless clicking and petty distractions are somehow making a difference.

Divine Blush

All you have to do is walk into your creative space, whether it’s a studio, a set, a stage or an office, stand directly in front of your most important project, the one that’s most near and dear to you, and simply begin to do the work.

Important because at that moment everything changes. Your attitude shifts, your edginess softens, your confidence rises and the grip of resistance is released. At that moment, even in the shadow of uncertainty, so long as you stand face-to-face and toe-to-toe with the work you love, it’s as if the gates of inspiration and possibility open wide, and the entire universe begins to blush with joy.

Future Forecasting

When I was climbing the infamous “ladder of success” a five-year plan was important. It was drilled into my brain that smart entrepreneurs make long term plans. Now that I’ve put the ladder in the garage, I find that unless you’re beholden to shareholders or investors, long-term plans are an illusion—at best a guess. And given the blinding speed at which our creative industry is changing, I place minimum value on future forecasting, and maximum attention on today’s forecast—what I’m rigorously committed to achieving today, or this week, or this month.
Important because planning too far in the future keeps us at a dangerous distance from our destination and supports the excuse that we still have plenty of time to reach our goal.

Who Am I?

With so many ups & downs, twists & turns and sudden scary dips & drops in your crazy creative career, it’s so easy to forget who you are in the matter, what you’ve accomplished, what you’re capable of, and where you’re headed. Those four standards form the foundation on which you stand. Trust the experiences you’ve had to teach you. Honor the knowledge you’ve acquired to lead you. Have confidence in your talents, abilities & skills, and have faith in the “deeper wisdom” you’ve attained to bubble up from within and guide your crazy creative journey.

So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable. 

—Christopher Reeve (Superman)

Gatekeepers Begone

Thank God the old greedy, antique methods and protocols of showbiz are waning and the locks on the gates of entry have begun to rust. YOU have now been given the job as gatekeeper of your own network, your own promotion company, your own publishing firm, your own record company, your own empire, and your own independent career. What the new revolution provides are the tech-tools to build your unique brand, the networking opportunities to promote it, and revolutionaries to help you get there; experts, coaches, consultants, savvy managers, etc.. All you need are sensational ideas, jaw-dropping art, innovative and worthwhile products & services, and the courage to step out of the past and into the present. Don’t flinch! You’re a crazy genius artist, a risk-taking “trep,” you can do this!

The Sins of Artists & Treps

I’ve seen’um all in the past three decades of my showbiz career. Here are just a few sins that artists & entrepreneurs consistently commit against themselves:
• Allowing personal dramas to thwart a worthwhile project.
• Resisting “change” as if it were the enemy.
• Faking it!
• Sabotaging the project 3/4 of the way through.
• Procrastinating until you have to run a “mad-dash” to the finish.
• Permitting “pettiness” to dictate the to-do list.
• Surrendering to the voice of doubt, ignoring the whisper of confidence.
• Allowing others to dictate your destiny.
• Denying the value of building a tribe.
• Resisting the “Tech Revolution”
• Denying the “Connection Revolution.”
• Allowing fear to prevent you from raising the bar.
• Believing the demon of doubt is actually the voice of reason.
• “Knowing” the high-road, but taking the low-road.
What did I miss?

…our fans & customers may not notice if our ducks are in a row, however they will notice (and remember) if just one of our ducks is out of line.

It’s Good To be Crazy!

In my experience, pro artists & entrepreneurs are always stronger than they seem, braver than they believe, and smarter than they think. Those who see the future first are always assumed to be a little nuts. That’s because we ARE a little nuts! All of us pro artists & treps have been granted the gift of seeing the future, then reporting back to the others what we see—through our jaw-dropping inventions, ground-breaking compositions, extraordinary music, profound videos, provocative designs, informative books and thought provoking, gut-wrenching, soul-searching, insightful movies. It’s good to be crazy!

The most talented captain can’t save a ship with a hole in it.

—Bob Lefsetz

Humans

No matter how great a musician you are, you’re still mortal. That’s why they say “Take 2.”
No matter how skilled a writer you are, you’re still fallible. That’s why they call it “rewriting.”
No matter how successful a leader you are, your brilliant ideas will still meet with forceful resistance. That’s why they say “You may lose the battle but win the war.”
No matter how smart, good looking and talented you are, you will still smash head-on into brick walls.
Important because for some reason we artists & entrepreneurs need to be reminded that we are still only human.

Cracked & Flawed

Everything has a crack, and most often the people we work with are typically cracked & flawed as well. So the 2nd goal, I think, is to just keep working it, improving it, and getting it closer to how you want it. The 1st goal is to continuously refine & mature our communication skills so we can motivate, provoke and enroll our cracked comrades into getting it the way we want it too.

…the fact that our attempt failed is not a reflection of our worth as an artist or entrepreneur…or a human being. Just because you haven’t figured out a successful way of doing something (yet) doesn’t mean you are a failure. The idea just didn’t work. It’s a failure—and failures can be fixed.

The important thing to me is that I’m not driven by people’s praise and I’m not slowed down by people’s criticism. I’m just trying to work at the highest level I can.

—Russell Crowe

Oh Captain, My Captain!

“Question is, as the CEO of your world, are you willing to launch a half-ass project just to “get it out there?” Or are you committed to doing everything in your power to produce a “full-ass” project that will strengthen your brand and blow away your fans & customers? Every success (or failure) stands on the shoulders of who’s in charge.”

Read More…

Figure it Out

Figure out a way to get your art to disseminate.


Figure out a way to extend your projects reach (beyond FB).


Figure out a way to get your clients and customers to refer your service. 


Figure out a way to get your idea to spread. Projects that spread, win.

Figure out a way to make a buck…or a billion of them.

Important  because you’re an artist, an entrepreneur, and figuring things out is what you do best.

Work’n Like a Dog

The biggest insult you can say about a successful artist or entrepreneur is “they were lucky.” The only reason professional artists & entrepreneurs achieve success is because they take big risks and work their ass off!  And while the amateur pauses to admire his creation, the professional works to improve hers.

It’s Not Your Fault

We just happen to be alive, on the planet, at a time when the volcano of certainty has erupted and the lava of change is slowly consuming everything in its path. From the way we create it, to the way we market it, to the way we monetize it. A traditional, predictable, sufficient system of producing results has vanished, and it happened so fast that many people still don’t know it’s gone forever and never coming back. And none of this is your fault.

Yes there were times,
I’m sure you knew,
When I bit off more than I could chew.
But through it all, when there was doubt,
I ate it up and spit it out.
I faced it all, and I stood tall
And did it My Way.

— "My Way" written by, Paul Anka

Selling Out

Ever worry that your art or products are not commercial enough? Ever think about “reinventing” your work to fit the mold because you read somewhere the “new formula” or the “new rules” for making it today? I think that redirecting your art just to make it more mainstream and commercial would just provoke your current fans & customers to look the other way, because to them, you’d become just another one of the 250,000 other “hopefuls” attempting to go “viral” or “socialize” your way to fame and fortune. In the old days, we called that “selling out!”

The trap is buying the story that you’re headed in the right direction. And while that may be true, it’s also nevertheless true that the road to manifesting something from nothing has no street signs to tell you where you’re going, not even a street lamp to light the way. The pro is never really sure if she’s headed in the right direction because the road less traveled is always paved with doubt and uncertainty. However, as an artist/trep, it’s the only road you can take that makes you feel like you’re headed in the right direction.

Art + Commerce

Entrepreneurs are artists, and artists are entrepreneurs. Problem is, Art is always on the battlefield with Commerce:

Art wants nothing more than to be expressed.
Commerce wants nothing more than to profit from Art.

Art dreams about being admired.
Commerce dreams about abundance.

Art’s real enemy: A timid artist.
Commerce’s real enemy: Bad Art.

I think Art & Commerce really want the same thing: to be respected and paid. So why do they always end up on the battlefield?

…even though many artists & entrepreneurs are doing some “great” work these days, it’s the “extraordinary” work that’s getting the attention and making the big bucks. This should not be new news to you. Your fans, your followers and your customers are now demanding superior products, outrageous service and tear-jerking, sidesplitting, jaw-dropping entertainment. And if you don’t give it to them, they have the entire world in the palm of their hands where they can find it.

Absence of Formula

Great work is not created out of a “common” formula. It’s actually created out of an “absence of formula!” And the only true “formula for success” for any pro artist & entrepreneur is the one that you cook up in the sanctity of your own creative space, whether that’s in the studio or the penthouse. That sacred time of day (or night) when you get completely consumed in the work you love, creating form, inventing truth, grappling with your muse, and battling with your inner demons of doubt & fear. A time and space where formula, proven or not, does not exist.

May the Force be with you” is charming but it’s not important. What’s important is that YOU become the Force—for yourself and for other people too.

―Harrison Ford

15 Dangerous Assumptions

— Assuming that others know what they’re doing, because they’ve been doing it a long time.
— Assuming that when people say “ok,” that means they “got it.”
— Assuming that no one knows the real you.
— Assuming that when others finally understand what you’re trying to say they will side with you.
— Assuming that since a lot of people like your work, there’s no need for them to subscribe or “opt in” to your world.
— Assuming that a representative from a big company will discover you, or buy you out some day.
— Assuming that as soon as you make your first million, it will all start working out.

Read more…

 First Impression

If the first impression of your crazy, creative, genius work raises eyebrows, drops jaws, tempts the gate keepers, and gets the door of opportunity to open…even just a crack, then that will provoke us to want more, learn more, probe more, and take more of our limited time to click through your world. However, if what we find when we enter your world disappoints us, or doesn’t live up to that first impression, then you’ve probably lost our trust forever, and it will take a monster effort to provoke us to return and click through your world again.

No Way!

No Way, will I allow the constraints of money, (either the struggle of making it, or the fear of losing it) to steal away my creative energy and distract me from my mission.

No Way, will I allow an antique group of “technophobic” marketers, dinosaur promoters or disconnected managers to direct my future and rep my brand.

No Way, will I allow gossip, rumors and hearsay to guide my choices and influence my decisions.

No Way, will I allow the “devil of doubt” or the “demon of procrastination” to stop me in my tracks, or stall my worthwhile projects.

Important because I’m a committed artist and a dedicated entrepreneur and nothing will stop me from expressing and manifesting my ideas, innovations and art!

This Week

What could you do this week, the doing of which would shake things up, provoke a change, incite a makeover, or make a big dent in your big project?

What could you say this week, the saying of which would accelerate cooperation, urge resolve and provoke forward momentum?

What would you need to have this week, the having of which would provide you with what’s wanted & needed to finally finish?

What could you write this week, the writing of which would inspire and encourage your reader or listener?

What would you be willing to give up this week, the giving up of which would create an opportunity for something new to show up?

What spark do you need this week, the igniting of which would motivate you to finally get started?

Who do you need to be this week, the being of which would completely alter how we see you, cause us to trust you, and encourage us to follow you?

Have a nice week:)

No Time To Wallow

A common concern I hear from clients: I’m just not good at marketing myself.”

Truth is, somebody’s gotta do the “left-brain” marketing work. Otherwise you’ll be sitting alone in your office or studio with a stack of unseen, un-heard, un-pitched, un-distributed, unsold, brilliant ideas and genius works of art.

If you’re really serious about moving your career/project forward, then you must overcome your resistance to this critical part of the process. Either hire someone to do it for you, learn how to do it yourself, or hire a coach/consultant to help you hash out an intelligent plan. It’s time to start “thinking smart” about your pitch process, marketing strategy and social media.

Important because if you don’t get your great idea or worthwhile project in front of the people who matter, you’ll just continue to day-after-day, hesitate in confusion and wallow in the mire.

They always say time changes things, but YOU actually have to change them yourself.

―Andy Warhol

Ruts & Grooves

At some point it just becomes easier to slip into the “tred-grooves” of what others have already created, and just follow along.

However, if you’ve largely “upped your game,” and if you’ve really set the bar high enough, and if you’ve truly set your sights far enough, and if your goals are righteous & worthy enough, then the way out of the rut is to remind yourself that the commitment you’ve made, and the stand you’ve taken is not hard…IT’S IMPOSSIBLE! That thought alone should terrify you enough to get out of the rut and back into your groove.

 Your Outragious Victory Cry

Once the great Romanian artist Constantin Brancusi finally battled his way through poverty, resistance, fear and doubt, he planted his flag atop the highest peak of riches and fame and shouted his most profound victory cry so that all artists & entrepreneurs throughout eternity could learn the great secret of how to be victorious:
Create like a god!
Command like a King!
Work like a Slave!
Read more…

Smart People Are Dumb

They’re dumb at playing small. They’re dumb at being afraid to share their truth. They’re dumb at discussing petty showbiz gossip, even dumber at spreading it. They’re mostly dumb at demanding their way and very dumb at needing to prove they’re right. They’re dumb at giving up AND giving in, and they’re way too dumb to think of themselves as being smart.

That said, I love hanging out with smart people. I love walking away from a long conversation, blown away by somebody’s smart ideas. I enjoy grappling with deeper issues, with smart people who aren’t afraid to grapple with deeper issues. I even love the swagger of smart people, the way they glide into a room with the nonchalant confidence of a prima ballerina. And I enjoy regular weekly conversations with smart, foolhardy artists & treps who have absolutely ridiculous, utterly impossible huge goals and are nevertheless determined to achieve them.

Isn’t It Ironic?

It’s the apprehension of not getting it right and failing that presents the biggest risk. Uncertainty of the outcome provokes fear and doubt, which provokes heightened anticipation and anxiety, which often provokes a “flinch” that could cause the whole project to fold.

However, ironically, when the work becomes safe and routine, the artist becomes complacent. And while others may wallow and bask in the comfort zone of complacency, the crazy genius artist and the courageous entrepreneur loathe it.

Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.

—Bill Gates

It’s never as easy as we think. We point to the mountain and proclaim: “I can climb that!” Then when we’re half way up, we meet Mr. Doubt. At that point we have three choices: Turn around and run the other way. Freeze and do nothing. Or, continue climbing.

And while freezing will get us nowhere and persisting will get us somewhere, it’s really the challenging process of retreating, restarting and regrouping, that keeps us artists & treps edgy, anxious and sharp, and provokes us to continue searching for a different solution or a new plan of action, that will inch us closer and closer to our goals and dreams.

 Unfair Game

The game called “two steps forward, one step back” is rigged!

We take the two steps forward in stride. After all, those two steps forward are taking us in the direction we want to go. However, most people get hung up on the one step back. It makes us crazy. It feels like a failure. It suggests that we’re slowing down and not keeping up.

Important because if the game were completely fair it would be called “one step forward, one step back.” But it’s not a fair game. If it were, we wouldn’t get anywhere.

Timing is on Your Side

As the CEO of your world, it’s so tempting to play it safe and “parrot” the dictates of proven industry strategies or follow in the footsteps of others who have paved a successful path. However, timing is everything. And because of the times we live in, and the tech-tools available, inventing your own style, writing your own inimitable stories, expressing your own unique art, and building your own exceptional empire, has more traction today, and more of a chance to break through than ever before in history. No kidding!

Anything Goes

Any deal can be negotiated, any barrier can be crashed, any challenge can be conquered, and any door can be opened. And even though we call them “gatekeepers,” no one really holds the keys to anything. The truth is, unlike any other industry on the planet, showbiz invites you, actually dares you to boldly step up to the table with unique ideas, unrivaled entertainment, and lucrative trade business. Because unlike any other industry on the planet, there is absolutely no absence of possibilities and no shortage of work in show business today. If you can’t find the gig you want, you are strongly encouraged to use your imagination and make one up.

As soon as I get ahead financially, that’s when things will start working out.
– As soon as I have more time…
– As soon as I upgrade my computers…
– As soon as I get outta here…
– As soon as I get back on the road…
– As soon as I get moved in and set up…
– As soon as I get this crazy person out of my life…
– As soon as I get a great team together…
– As soon as I get a few more clients & customers…
– As soon as I get healthy…
What did I miss?

The young naïve King Arthur once asked the great wizard Merlin why he always wore robes with moons & stars on them. Merlin replied, “Why it’s because everywhere a wizard goes he is always at the center of the universe!”

—Merlin

No End in Sight

Perhaps it’s not the struggle that wears us down. Perhaps it’s the fact that for us artists & treps there never seems to be a finish line, or a fait accompli. That the work we do and the art we manifest just never seems to end. It’s like a new song is screaming for attention before we even finish the song we’re working on.

 Hard To Explain

You wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve asked the question and gotten the same answer: What kind of music do you play? “It’s hard to explain.” What’s your screenplay about? “It’s hard to explain.” What does your business do? “It’s hard to explain.” Sounds a bit arrogant to me. It suggests that your art, product or service may be too esoteric, or perplexing or over my head, and it’s an effort to find the words to explain it to me. Do you really want us to follow your work or do you just want to impress us with your brilliance? If you really want us as a customer, follower or fan, it’s probably best to continue working on a clear, articulate way of explaining who you are, what you’re offering, and what you want from us.

Important because you can’t build a dream if you can’t clearly explain what it is.

It’s Your Time!

This is not the time to hold back—it’s the time to get busy, get sweaty, jump in the mud and get filthy, grimy dirt under your fingernails. These are the days of disruption! These are the days of transformation! These are the days of the creative artist and the fearless entrepreneur! This is YOUR time! Follow your crazy, creative spirit in the direction IT wants to go. Why? Because it already knows the best route to take!

…distraction wants you to stop what you’re doing, change direction, and give your attention over to something more mundane and less essential. Don’t stall. Keep the momentum moving forward. Keep your two eyes on the ball and your third eye on the BIG goal, your impossible dream—the one that’s always jogging two steps ahead of you.

It’s So Easy

It’s easy to follow the centerline.
It’s daring to remain divergent.

It’s easy to say, “I’ll have what she’s having.”
It’s daring to say, “I need a little more time.”

It’s easy to get distracted by mindless, Internet blather.
It’s daring to disconnect, and remain focused on your master plan.

It’s easy to cave in.
It’s daring to stand tall.

It’s easy to take “the easy way out.”
It’s worth it to remain steadfast and resolute.

If you think your life is complete confusion because you never win the game, just remember that it’s a grand illusion, and deep inside we’re all the same.

—Styx, “The Grand Illusion.

Crumbs Count

Every friend you choose, every lover you lose, every argument you fight, every race you win, every dollar you earn, every petty annoyance and frustrating flop you endure, every choice you make, every stand you take, every promise you break, and every grateful bow you take, is “fresh material” for the art you make and the ideas you manifest. Every magnificent morsel, and crummy crumb of life is food for the genius artist, and vitality for the brave entrepreneur.

Spit’n in The Wind

You don’t need to know how you’re going to get there or how you’re going to pay for it. You just need to point your finger in the direction you want to go, and make a ruthless commitment that “come hell or high water” you’ll get there. To the degree your commitment is unwavering, to that degree the details will fall into place. Not like positive thinking. More like intelligent forecasting. Otherwise, you’re just spit’n in the wind.

What R U Waiting For?

— Things to get better.
— The kids to grow up.
— The inheritance to come in.
— All your ducks to get in a row.
— Others to realize your genius.
— The tech train to slow down.
— Things to go back to normal.
— Your shrink to tell you your ok.
— The right timing.
— Your ship to come in.
— Someone to discover you.
— Investors to pony up.
— Your health to improve.
Important because it’s not about waiting for the perfect time to begin the journey; it’s about using the time we have to get us there.

Speed of Thought

Business and life are now moving at the nearly the speed of thought, and I welcome and embrace that notion, and I’m dug-in deep on the front lines of the tech revolution. However, these days when it comes to making smart, intelligent choices and decisions, I think that taking just a little more time to get it right, is better than shooting a blind arrow. Especially when it comes to growing your brand and exploiting your art.

Flying Solo

Like it or not, if you’re living the life of an independent artist or entrepreneur, you’re alone at the helm. Oh sure, you may have a staff of assistants, band mates, collaborators, partners, a slew of advisors, a career consultant and a great coach, however the truth is, you’re the architect of your enterprise, the CEO of your world, and the “Don” of your empire. And your personal support team could be terminated at the snap of a finger (yours!) because you alone make the big “risky” choices and the uncertain, frightening decisions in your life and career.

The reasonable person adapts to the world; the unreasonable person persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable person.

—George Bernard Shaw

A Beautiful Struggle

As free-spirited, autonomous, self-reliant artists & treps, we are constantly challenged to create and manifest ideas that are new and different. Consequently, we’re criticized when we don’t, hailed as geniuses when we do, marked as sell-outs when we compromise, and labeled “eccentric” when we offer alternatives. Nevertheless, we manage to endure the slings & arrows of others as we pursue our dreams.

Here’s The Upside:

It’s better to be on stage struggling with a broken string, a lousy PA,  and a drummer with an attitude, than it is to be trapped in an office with an outdated computer and a boss with an attitude!

It’s better to be struggling with confusing new software, than it is to be standing on the sidelines waiting for the tech train to slow down.

It’s better to be a free, independent, creative entrepreneur, struggling to reach your goals, than it is to be content working on someone else’s.

That said, it’s better to be entangled in a beautiful struggle than it is to be watching from a safe distance.

…while others are busy analyzing it, financing it, building it and selling it, we’re busy writing it, designing it, imagining it, and creating it. Then, most often, we disrupt it and recreate it again, over and over until we get it right. It’s who we are and how our creative “right brain” works. Not like an excuse, more like a “self realization.”

Shameless

— Asking for directions doesn’t mean you’re inept. It could mean you’re eager to get where you’re going ASAP.

— Asking for tech support doesn’t mean you’re over-the-hill and out of touch. It could mean you’re eager to learn something, so you’ll know what to do next time.

— Asking for coaching is not a sign of surrender; it’s a sign of determination.

Important because asking for help doesn’t mean you’re not ready, on the contrary, it means your ready to move on.

Having a job means you have the option to “wing it.” Flying solo means you don’t have that option.

Dim Bulb

Boredom is good. Without it our minds could not wander and our imagination could not run free. Without it there would be no empty space for new ideas to reveal themselves. Without it our fantasies would be fleeting, our daydreams would be dampened, and the light bulb over our head would be forever dim.

Important because without boredom we would not ask the question “What should I do next?”

O Captain! My Captain!
Our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather’d every rack,
The prize we sought is won.

—Walt Whitman

Your Tired Strategy

Not changing your strategy simply because you’re used to the one you have is a crummy strategy. You may be able to “temporarily” get away with the same o’l worn out, antique strategy you’ve used before, but those days are waning…better said, your results will continue to decline. I think before you launch the new site, release the new record, publish the new book or pitch the next big project, be sure you have an intelligent, progressive strategy in place. Because if a solid plan defines the goal, a smart strategy provides the map to get there. It doesn’t have to be set in stone, it just has to be set in place.

Remember the film, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen? I loved that film. It’s all about going against the flow and taking a leap of faith, against all odds. Make the leap, and you could find yourself swimming in the river of dreams. Don’t, and you may continue on, day after day, stuck in the rut of mediocrity and hopeful thinking. That’s the point! You either make the leap, or sit by and watch the river flow. You either get up every day with the intention of “making a dent” and creating something that matters, or you don’t.

Drunk Monkeys

“Facts” don’t kill the deal they just up the ante. They provoke you to think more clearly, and plan more intelligently. When you’re presented with the facts, you may not like what you hear, but you deal with it, and invent ways to keep moving forward. That’s what artists & treps do, they innovate. However, facts aren’t the problem. Drunk Monkeys are. Buddha described the human mind as being filled with drunken monkeys, jumping around, screeching, chattering, scratching, spitting, carrying on endlessly. We all have monkey minds, with dozens of drunken monkeys all clamoring for attention.

Important because the trick to silencing the drunken monkeys? Keep your focus on one thing, the truth.

 Caution is Overrated

While The Cautious allow themselves to be easily distracted by social media and the jaw dropping headline of the day, The Determined allow themselves to be consumed with their art, buried in their work, and overwhelmed with their big, worthwhile goals and dreams.”

Read more…

R U Ready?

If opportunity knocked on your door today would you be willing to drop everything at a moments notice? Have you done the work, paid your dues and put in your 10k hours? Are you now an expert in your field? Are you operating at peak performance? Have you built your following, grown your tribe, and established a large enough respected reputation? One that will enthusiastically follow you to the next level, and sustain you when you arrive?

Here’s the real question: Are you conscious enough, open-minded enough, intelligent enough, seasoned enough, experienced enough, and wise enough to recognize a real opportunity when you see one?

An artist is one who has faith in himself. He does not respond to the normal stimuli and is not out to impress everybody. He lives to express his art, and in so doing he enriches the world.

Henery Miller, Author/Playwrite

Detach

I know you want it all to turn out a certain way. Me too. I especially want it to go my way—so I can claim the prize that’s waiting at the end. When I was a big cheese CEO, I claimed a lot of prizes, but they were at the expense of a hidden agenda called, “I’m right!” What a bunch of BS! All being right & rigid did was eliminate a billion other options! Took me lifetimes of inner work to finally discover that once you get stuck in, “it must turn out my way” you’ve just eliminated every other way it could possibly turn out! Some think that imposing a righteous, ironclad position creates a sense of strength and power, however that’s an o’l worn out, fossilized strategy. All that does is create a sense of fear in others, and lures you into a trap with few choices. Remaining detached from the outcome and open to ALL options automatically enters you into a lottery of unlimited possibilities. Not like a game of chance, more like a way of being.

Objectives are not linear. Your impossible dream, your ultimate destination is not a straight shot to the land of milk and honey. It’s mostly a long and winding road, like HWY 1 heading north to Big Sur. A 60-mile stretch of switchback turns, dangerous cliffs, frequent landslides, unpredictable dead ends, blinding fog and multiple distractions along the way. It’s also the most beautiful drive on earth! Read more…

Breakdown

I think sometimes it’s ok to let things fall apart. Let things go south. Let the whole project “breakdown” and collapse if necessary. It’s not always about “fix it in the mix.” In fact, the true creative process is not about “fixing” anything! It’s about constantly reinventing, rewriting, redesigning and recreating until you reach that pinnacle moment when you KNOW your work is complete.

The Waiting

I think the biggest mistake we make is waiting; waiting to be discovered, waiting for the economy to turn around, waiting for the kids to grow, waiting for the tech train to slow down, waiting for things to return to the way they were.

Tom Petty says, The waiting is the hardest part.

Billy Joel says, Wait until the breeze blows in, and that old second wind comes along.

Important because it’s not about waiting for that perfect opportune time to finally come along. Perhaps it’s about using the time we have to offer the very best we’ve got.

Bla Bla Bla

Thinking about how to proceed to the next step should lead you to talking about it.

Talking about how to proceed to the next step should lead you to doing something about it.

It’s obvious that doing something will undoubtedly get you closer (if not all the way) to the next step.

Important because too many artists and treps get hung up just talking about it.

When artists get together, they talk about money. When entrepreneurs get together they talk about art.

—Oscar Wilde

Why Bother?

Having something at stake is the greatest of all motivators. It gives purpose, grants meaning and provides reason. It also sharpens focus, validates intention, beefs up resolve and pumps hot adrenalin through your veins.

Important because not having anything at stake provokes the question: Why Bother?

1st Impression

If the first impression of your crazy, creative, genius work raises eyebrows, drops jaws, tempts the gate keepers, and gets the door of opportunity to open…even just a crack, then that will provoke us to want more, learn more, probe more, and take more of our limited time to click through your world. However, if what we find when we enter your world disappoints us, or doesn’t live up to that first impression, then you’ve probably lost our trust forever, and it will take a monster effort to provoke us to return and click through your world again.

Important because the first sweet, scrumptious, juicy bite sets our taste buds up for the rest of the peach. But do subsequent bites live up to that first delectable delight?

 

Don’t Flinch

Behind every great jaw-dropping success there’s an artist or entrepreneur who faced a difficult internal struggle at a critical moment of choice: choose risk, and possibly become a legend. “Flinch” and possibly become an unexceptional footnote.

It’s Not Your Fault.

We just happen to be alive, on the planet, at a time when the volcano of certainty has erupted and the lava of change is slowly consuming everything in its path. From the way you create it, to the way your market it, to the way you monetize it. A traditional, predictable, sufficient system of producing results has vanished, and it happened so fast that many people still don’t know it’s gone forever and never coming back.

“There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

—Leonard Cohen

2017 POSTS