Solitary Confinement

Everyone is home now watching and listening to ART! Music, TV, movies, books, documentaries, YouTube videos, TED talks, podcasts, and more. Meanwhile, musicians are at home jamming & recording together online, actors are auditioning online, writers are collaborating online, and artists are camped out in their studios splattering paint all over their Photoshop docs. Thank God they didn’t quarantine our devices! Meanwhile entrepreneurs are reimagining their businesses, upgrading their tech, reaching out to their customers and clients and shifting their gaze to planning & plotting their first move once the darkness passes.

They’ve told us over again how NOT to catch the virus: stay far away from human beings! If we follow that simple rule we should be fine. They’ve also sentenced us to solitary confinement and told us to be patient, because however long it takes it takes. If we follow that simple rule we should be fine.

Important because pro artist & treps work in isolation and uncertainty every single day of their lives! The process of creating art and making risky decisions is a lonely one. Therefore, it stands to reason that creative people can handle being shut in much better than others. More reason to believe we should be fine.

Another BIG Change is Coming

It may not happen all at once and it may be sporadic across the country. However, a new wave of change is coming to overwhelm us: A return to normal. Actually a much better normal! It will be a triumphant end to a spellbinding story. Books will be written, movies will be made, and songs will be sung all about the darkness that took over the planet. And as a crazy, creative genius you will be part of that story.

When this darkness finally passes, people will be dancing in the streets! Literally! And your family, friends, neighbors, fans, customers and clients will remember how you selflessly helped them get through the darkest of times. There will also be an avalanche of entertainment; from TV shows and movies anxiously awaiting their release date, to production companies eager to complete important critical projects that were put on hold, to recording studios surprised by the sudden onslaught of new business.

Plus, after we see the green light and our confidence in socializing returns, nightlife will explode with the reopening of bars, restaurants and summer festivals. Your favorite movie theaters will reopen (hopefully). Friends will reunite and deeper friendships will be forged. That wonderful smell of summertime neighborhood BBQ’s will fill the air. Grocery stores will stock rolls and rolls of toilet paper! In a variety of colors! Enough to TP a house! You’ll take your kids to school and they will be so happy to reconnect with their friends. Your teenagers will be back on the hunt for a college. And hopefully, there will be a kinder, gentler, more patient culture of human beings populating our planet.

Important because we need to keep this vision locked in our mind’s eye everyday. And start looking at who we will be and what we will do on the day the darkness passes. And it will. Not like wishful thinking, more like facts, predicted by science and history.

This Too Shall Pass

The reason I haven’t written is because I just had quadruple bypass surgery and I was in UCLA hospital for a week! What a dicey time to be in the hospital, right? I’m hunkered down at home now, licking my wounds and hiding from Carona.The bad news is my chest hurts from the surgery. The good news is my chances of ever having a heart attack have been drastically reduced. Thank God my awesome wife is a nurse!

The other good news is that I really had to totally tune out the corona catastrophe and focus on my own personal catastrophe. My surgeon, who is also the chief heart transplant surgeon at UCLA, said that’s what he has to do: tune everything out of his head except the task at hand. Kinda like when you move all your other projects and distractions, not only to the back burner but completely off the stove! So you can give 100% to your most critical creative work. Reminds me that at any minute we have the opportunity to choose where to give our complete attention.

I’m also reminded that while the fear, confusion and uncertainty of our fate is very real, what’s most important is how we react to it. When I am hit with an unexpected catastrophe I immediately try to move out that which does not serve the moment and slam the door on gossip and rumor. Then I diligently scour the global info-sphere for factual guidance.

I’ve said this before, and I think it means more today than ever: when we find ourselves standing toe-to-toe with the demon of disaster the best thing we can do is trust the experiences we’ve had to teach us, honor the knowledge we’ve acquired to lead us, have confidence in our talents, abilities & skills to support us and have faith in that “deeper divine wisdom” we’ve attained to help us navigate the perplexing labyrinth we’ve unexpectedly found ourselves lost in.

That said, after we’ve secured our personal situation and settle into a “new normal,” we need to return to our work and look for ways to use our talent, imagination and creativity to help others and contribute to the global family. Now is the time to write songs that reach in and touch us, videos that inspire us and give us hope, and blogs and podcasts that remind us who we really are and what we’re capable of. There is absolutely no one on earth that can profoundly inspire us as much as you, the creative artist and risk taking entrepreneur. We need you now more than ever. Don’t worry about the money. Just use the awesome tools you have to express your art…and don’t stop! Overwhelm us with a flood of your work during this time of global uncertainty. We need you now to step up.

Never forget, you’re a crazy, independent, genius artist/trep! Now is the time to use your crazy imagination and creative talent to help us all get through these most challenging times in our lives.

Important because All things must pass and we are going to get through this. Not like positive thinking, more like realizing that thousands of brilliant scientist, specialist and billionaires around the world are working 24/7 to solve this problem. I trust them.

P.S. Just this morning I received this poem from bestselling author Steven Pressfield:

“Pandemic”  (by San Francisco poet Lynn Ungar)

What if you thought of it

as the Jews consider the Sabbath—

the most sacred of times?

Cease from travel.

Cease from buying and selling.

Give up, just for now,

on trying to make the world

different than it is.

Sing. Pray. Touch only those

to whom you commit your life.

Center down.

And when your body has become still,

reach out with your heart.

Know that we are connected

in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.

(You could hardly deny it now.)

Know that our lives

are in one another’s hands.

(Surely, that has come clear.)

Do not reach out your hands.

Reach out your heart.

Reach out your words.

Reach out all the tendrils

of compassion that move, invisibly,

where we cannot touch.

Promise this world your love–

for better or for worse,

in sickness and in health,

so long as we all shall live.

Our Shadow Agenda

I assert that deep down inside, held hostage by your ego, hidden behind “I wanna be a star,” and just around the corner from “I wanna be stinking rich,” you have a burning desire to make your own personal contribution to our industry and the world. Perhaps you think the only thing that prevents you from really making a difference are your circumstances. If you only had more money, you would do more philanthropic work. Or, as soon as you find more time, you’ll get involved in those specific community affairs that tug at your heartstrings. In my 40 years in showbiz, I have learned that “If only” and “as soon as” are the best excuses we artists & treps can come up with to forestall the responsibility of playing bigger.

Tim Ferriss said: “It’s lonely at the top. Ninety-nine percent of people in the world are convinced they are incapable of achieving great things, so they aim for mediocre. Therefore, the level of competition is fiercest for realistic goals.”

It’s time to give up the notion of waiting for your life to turn out before you up your game. It’s time to take a stand that showbiz is your dharma, your purpose in life, and pledge to do your best work—honestly, and with integrity. It’s also time to promise yourself to remain conscious and vigilant regarding the pettiness in our awesome industry and commit to doing exceptional work that will set an example for all of us to follow.

Truth is, what you are seeking is also seeking you. The world is now waiting for people like you to start being the extraordinary artist you said you’d be, and doing all the extraordinary things you said you would do someday!

Important because This simple shift in your POV may be the only piece missing in moving your career to the next level and achieving your wildest dreams.

Downsizing

A smaller project that is easy for its devoted followers to consume (and easy for its creators to manage), will continue to show growth and profitability as it sets calculated, controlled plans for the future.

A project that’s too big is more prone to collapse.

Important because as more artists & treps continue to downsize their lives & careers, its not because they’ve run out of killer ideas to manifest, its because over time they’ve learned that the value of monetization lies in thinking BIG, but taking smaller, smarter, strategic steps to get there.

When Your Bones Sing

The moment greatness is recognized, it jettisons to the top of the heap. Doesn’t matter if it’s a song, screenplay, video, performance or product. If it’s great, word spreads fast and we all clamor for more.

As a pro artist/trep you know what greatness feels like because you’ve experienced it before. That feeling only reserved for those talented creatives who are willing to confidently stand down and trust inspiration and great work to flow through, instead of trying to force it.

Even your bones sing when you achieve greatness. Actually your whole body sings. And all you can do is smile, with that cocky, confident satisfaction of knowing you nailed it. Almost like you’re right on the verge of saying “I told you so.” More like you’re right on the verge of saying “I knew it!” That’s because you did know it. You couldn’t prove it but you could know it.

Important because sometimes we need a gentle reminder that that fleeting feeling of bliss is why we chose the path less traveled. And it’s why we continue to walk the rocky road of an independent, creative artist/entrepreneur. And the secret to experiencing more moments of greatness and bliss is to not reach backwards to try and repeat or recapture it, but rather to drum up the confidence to stand down, lean in and allow creative intuition, divine inspiration, and those great, crazy, genius ideas to simply flow through us.

Rut Time

I fall into them too and so does every crazy genius I work with. A creative rut is usually caused by confusion, or not knowing how to proceed, or mental exhaustion, or boredom, or resistance, or not playing big enough (things we have control over).

The creative work we do, inventing something from nothing, day after day, then trying to figure out how to sell it and make a buck, is mostly exhausting, and the process can be tedious, frustrating and mind-numbing. At some point it just becomes easier to slip into the “tred-grooves” of what others have already created, and just follow along. Problem is, following along the path of the status quo only compounds the problem. It supports the antique illusion that “the trend is your friend.” And while that may be true on Wall St., it’s certainly not true on your street.

Important because ruts are too often misinterpreted as failures, but they’re not. They’re an opportunity in disguise. Because “Rut Time” is the best time to recommit to your biggest dreams, rework your projects and reinvent yourself as the creative genius you are. Believe me, I know you know this. I’m just reminding (both of us) of what we tend to forget in the hoopla and drama of our awesome, creative, independent lifestyle.

Knee Jerk

I used to be pretty good at knee-jerking a quick answer. I could flower up a response and snap it off before you could catch your breath. However, I don’t want to be good at that anymore. Maybe back in the day when I was CEO of MC Inc., when I was making my bones and building my world, I thought I had something to prove. Not anymore, especially if it doesn’t serve somebody. I want to be good at pausing and thinking through a challenge, doing the deep research and consulting others before I give away my decision or choose too fast.

Important because show business and life are now moving at nearly the speed of thought. And I welcome and embrace that notion, along with all the opportunities that come with it. However, these days, I think that moving at the speed of “forethought,” and taking just a little more time to get it right, is better than shooting a blind arrow. Especially when it comes to growing and enriching our awesome, crazy, genius, independent, creative life.

The Critics Are Waiting

It’s doesn’t matter if it’s the game on the field or the halftime show on the stage. Whenever the lights go up in the arena, and the crowd roars in anticipation, there is a talented person (or persons) standing right in the center spotlight. And that person may appear fearless on the outside, all dressed up in colorful matching battle gear, or showy, flashy costumes, ready to step into the arena and declare victory. However, on the inside, the demon of doubt lurks between the ears of every super pro, and taunts them with distractions, fills them with uncertainty, and relentlessly reminds them of what they haven’t achieved, what they haven’t attained, and what they have yet to accomplish.

Both athlete & artist will attempt to leave all they’ve got in the arena. But will it be enough to satisfy a hungry crowd? Others can’t appreciate the barenaked courage it takes to put your ass on the line and step in front of a billion fans & foes around the globe, and give your performance of a lifetime, while a group of self-proclaimed critics eagerly wait for you to blow it. And it doesn’t matter if you’re singing the National Anthem or passing the ball as far as you can toward the end zone, it’s the onlookers who are torn between the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.

Important because talk about being in the moment! Thank God, there is a time when the athlete or the artist can experience some fleeting moments of complete ecstasy and peace of mind. And that time is when they are nowhere to be found! Lost in the instant of their battle, and vanished in the evanesce of their dance.

 

Fighting Obscurity

Artists & treps strive to be “relevant.” Why? Because we’re in this for life, and sustainability is imperative. Nobody wants to look like a dinosaur in their field. However, once you find your groove, achieve some success, and enter the comfort zone, fighting obscurity becomes a bigger challenge than getting there in the first place.

That said, the two things that breed relevancy are consistency and change (two opposing forces). Consistency is the act of constantly producing exceptional work that exceeds the expectations of our fans, followers, clients and customers, and that actually provokes eager anticipation for more. Change is the ever-present tug in all artists and treps, to learn, grow, innovate, re-create, invent, take risks, and push the boundaries.

When combined, consistency & change = relevance.

Important because it doesn’t matter if you’re an artist, musician, actor, writer, director, PR expert, or business owner. To the degree your work consistently exceeds expectation, to that degree you’ll continue to be relevant. Not like an Amazon robot. More like an unremitting pro.

Morons Rule The World!

Alas, we are doomed! Doomed to work and interact with showbiz morons for the rest of our lives. Why? Because our awesome industry is filled with them: moron agents, moron actors, moron writers, moron musicians, moron editors, moron producers, moron publishers, moron attorneys, moron staffers, moron employees, moron bloggers…

Question is, why do you continuously work with, and put up with the pettiness of morons at such an emotional, physical and monetary cost to you? And it’s absolutely moronic to use the incompetence of others as an excuse for why it’s taking so long for you or your project to advance: “I’d be much further down the road if it wasn’t for those morons!” Huh?

Heck, we even allow morons to dictate what songs are the best, what movies are the best, which artists are the best, who gets into the hall of fame, and what to wear to the Grammys!

Important because thank God we get to work with brilliant people too. People who are grounded, not flighty. Pros who are confident, not cocky. Team players who are committed to more for us, not more for me. And while the morons we work with slow us down, the smart people we work with raise us up, and elevate our game.

Leader of the Band

The question is, as the CEO of your creative career, are you content to produce half-ass work just to “get it out there?” Or are you committed to doing everything in your power to produce full-ass work that will strengthen your personal brand and blow away your fans, clients & customers?

Important because every success (or failure) stands on the shoulders of the leader of the band.

6 Essentials You’ll Need in 2020

1. Your unique abilities, exceptional talents, and that uncommon quirk that no one else in the world has but you. Without them you’re toast.

2. Your incomplete to-do list of unfinished tasks, abandoned goals and postponed projects, staring you right in the face, and still waiting for you to take action.

3. That remarkable skill you have to “create” your way out of crummy circumstances. Without that, you’ll be constantly stalled by crummy circumstances throughout the year.

4. Your biggest goals, wildest dreams and strongest desires. They lead, you follow.

5. Your advisory board. Those few people (or that one person) in your life you can count on, confide in and consult with for advice, guidance, direction and inspiration.

6. Trust, in all those experiences you had in 2019 that taught you something. Confidence, in all the knowledge you acquired that lead you somewhere. And Faith, in that deeper wisdom you attained that prodded you to look deeper.

Important because the only thing you can’t take with you into 2020 is any hope of a better 2019.

Howl At The Moon

What if we joined other like minded people and stood our ground together?

What if we spun a sign that expressed what we feel inside?

What if we spoke our truth, from deep inside our guts, right into the lens of a media camera?

What if we chose the perfect location, stood up on our own two feet and howled at the moon?

Important because our voice and our presence matters.

The Cost of Arrogance

Knowledge provides a bigger picture, a wide angle lens to see how to get to where we’re going. 

Experience validates that the knowledge is true…or not.

Wisdom makes all the critical choices and decisions when knowledge and experience flinch. 

Desire takes knowledge, experience and wisdom and turns them into a lifelong game worth playing.

Important because for the pro artist/trep, the biggest block to knowledge, experience and wisdom is the arrogant attitude that “I already know.” 

No Toll Booth

Show Biz is the only biz that you break into. You don’t break into plumbing, you don’t break into nursing, and you certainly don’t break into politics. However, you break into Show Biz. Why? Because we assume the door is locked, therefore, we have to break it down to get in the building! Huh? Then, after we’re in, people laugh and say, “What a lucky break!” Huh?

It’s time to let go of that mythical, antique slogan and realize that our awesome entertainment biz is the only industry where the door is always unlocked, always wide open, and always on the lookout for the next great song, an inspiring screenplay, a stellar production, a great movie or TV series, a mind blowing startup, a jaw dropping performance, a creative artist with an extraordinary talent, or a brave entrepreneur with an impossible vision.

Important because somewhere between impossible and hope there’s a less-traveled road that leads to all possibilities. The best part is there’s no toll booth, turnpike or stop signs!

10 Horrible Reasons Why You Haven’t Broken Through

1) You’ve been faking it for so long you’re exhausted and it’s getting harder to keep up the charade.

2) You’re selling a new story: instead of telling people where you’re headed, you’re telling them stories of where you’ve been.

3) You’re still waiting for someone to walk in and save you and your career or your business.

4) Not making it for so long has become the new normal.

5) Every time you’ve come close to the brass ring, you’ve been afraid to let go and reach out for it.

6) You’re stuck in a thinking that “success” has to match your definition.

7) You resist “change” as if it were the enemy.

8) You’re too embarrassed to admit to yourself or others that it’s time to fold up the tent.

9) You will never admit or even listen to the notion that the choices and decisions you’ve made in the past are the reason you are where you are today.

10) You need help and you’re too proud to ask for it.

Important because nothing on this list is more important than #2. If you can (honestly & confidently) start telling people where you’re headed instead of where you’ve been, that would mean the other 9 reasons don’t apply to you.

Content Trumps Everything

Choose:

A crummy song sung by a great singer?
A great song sung by a crummy singer?

A crummy screenplay performed by a great actress?
A great screenplay performed by a crummy actress?

A crummy product sold by a reputable brand?
A great product sold by an unknown?

Important because even a great actress can’t make a crummy movie a box-office hit. Craft outshines uniformity. And even though the industries of certainty are disrupting all around us, and even though we have entered into a time of political ambiguity, what matters most during this time is the art we create, the songs we compose, the books we write, the movies we direct, the worthwhile content we produce, and the worthy ideas we manifest. And that art and those manifestations will outlast and outlive adversity and mediocrity, and they will be remembered, recalled, recited and reproduced over and over again for generations to come.

Artists in Angst

It’s frustrating when we stand tall in the middle of our creative career and confidently point in the direction we’re headed, only to be dismissed by those who just don’t understand.

It’s defeating when we are absolutely certain that our talent, idea or product has the potential to be great, and make a difference, but others don’t or can’t see the vision.

It’s sad when our best effort can’t even get off the ground because others scratch their heads and just don’t get it.

Important because we can never stop the incessant, ongoing process of inventing and devising clear, clever, articulate ways of asserting who we are, explaining what we do, describing what we have to offer, and clarifying what we expect in return.

Fatal Interruptions

It’s not you, it’s not your work, and it has nothing do with your talent, ability or skill. It’s all about constant interruptions!

Constant interruptions scatter our thoughts, thwart our creativity, kill our motivation, and wreak havoc on our productivity.

Yet we somehow continue to boast about our ability to multitask, and treat constant interruptions as a given in today’s culture of endless distractions.

Important because it’s not a given! We always have a choice how we spend our time! And our big goals, worthy projects and biggest dreams, are all screaming to get as much of it as they can! Here’s a wakeup call: Time spent = progress made.

I’m Not Sure

It’s a powerful honest statement. No one will think less of you for saying it. It’s a statement that shows your willingness not to get stuck in a righteous standoff. It’s a statement that suggests that you’re still mulling something over and trying to get to the heart of the matter. In fact, it’s a state of mind that we should stand in most of the time.

If you were sure, it would mean you played it safe and followed the rules of predictable protocol.

If you were sure, then you probably weren’t creating something unique, or making a risky choice that could take you further along.

If you were sure, then your expectation for a specific result would be fixed, with no chance for any other outcome.

Important because a pro artist or entrepreneur is never sure, about anything. Doesn’t matter if you’re composing music, writing a script, shooting a video, writing a book, standing on stage or making risky decisions for your business. “Surety” is yet another obstacle to greatness. And when we remain willfully and confidently unsure of the outcome, that leaves us wide open to unseen and unlimited possibilities. Not like living in doubt, more like leaving the door open so that opportunity doesn’t even have to knock.

Swept Away

As creative artists & treps we easily get swept away with those grand ideas, visions, words and sounds we see and hear in our heads. So swept away in fact that our own creative fantasies and dreams can actually knock us off course and distract us from the very real work that needs to be done in order to keep progressing.

Important because here’s a reminder: You don’t have to pursue every single great, genius, mind-blowing, jaw-dropping idea you have.

No Regrets

In spite of all the risk, struggle, insecurity, doubt and uncertainty, I’ve never known a musician who regretted being one. I’ve never met an entrepreneur who dreamed of having a 9-5 job. I never knew an actor who didn’t figure out a way to accept rejection. I’ve never met a writer who was satisfied with the first draft. And I’ve never met a business owner who when he finally closed his doors regretted opening them in the first place. That said, in the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take.

Important because whatever barriers rise to stop our progress or block our way, the mere process of creating, conceiving, experimenting, designing, inventing, or simply attempting, will never let us down.

The Worry Group

“It takes a worried man to sing a worried song, I’m worried now, but I won’t be worried long” —Woody Guthrie

The one thing we artists & treps have in common is that we worry too much! Mostly about the future. Why? Because we’re charged with inventing it from nothing—then we stake our entire livelihood on it! And if our insides are “shake’n like a leaf on a tree” that’s one of the many side effects of living an independent, entrepreneurial, creative life.

Important because we are not alone in our plight. There’s a huge group of us creative worriers. And behind every great jaw-dropping success there are artists & entrepreneurs who faced difficult internal worries and personal struggles. However, they chose not to pause or flinch or wait around to be rescued. Instead they chose to somehow, someway, at some point in the midst of their worries, figure out a way to stand up on their own two feet and take the necessary steps to rescue themselves.

What To Do When Your Ship Comes In

It doesn’t matter if you’ve hit the career lottery or, suddenly your hard work is paying off and finally moving forward with velocity. Here’s what to do when things start to happen:

1. Beware of self sabotage: It will do you in every time. It causes great opportunities to crash, sends dreams & goals back to the “waitlist” and can bring to a screeching halt the actual progress you’re celebrating right now. Be vigilant of your own dark side creeping in to wreak havoc.

2. Check your ego: fight the urge to get cocky & arrogant and embrace the impulse to be grateful & humble. Never forget, out of all the rides in the amusement park, you chose the exciting rollercoaster that always goes up…and then it always goes back down, ad infinitum. 

3. Play Much Bigger: Now is not the time to take your foot off the pedal. Now is the time to floor it! Start to up the ante on your dreams and goals and begin to ratchet up your career commitments. Now is also a great time to hire a personal coach or jump into an online class or webinar to sharpen and enhance those unique skills that got you here in the first place.

4. Rethink the people you work with: staff, mgmt., agents, sales team, coaches, consultants, techs, bandmates, etc.. Don’t flinch or choke on this one. If personnel changes need to be made, now is the time to make them, while you’re in power mode.

Important because while you’re sitting at the top of the mountain with newfound confidence and wisdom, now is also the time to: share something that will motivate us, teach us something that will help us, show us something that will inspire us and give us a ray of hope with your acquired wisdom, seasoned experience and unique talents.

Foolish Argument

Pointing to others’ struggles as some sort of clannish, cliquish solidarity is a petty excuse for not advancing.

“I’m not the only struggling artist, other artists are struggling too!”

“I’m not the only business owner feeling the pinch, others are feeling it too!”

“I’m not the only musician who can’t get my music heard, nobody can!”   

“It’s not just me, everybody’s having a tough time!”

Important because if you allow the plight of others to lure you into their drama, you’ll start to forget who you are and start to believe you’re one of them. You’re in this alone. Put on your blinders and dig in.

Searching For Truth

Most of us artists & treps are always searching for deeper truth and honesty wherever we can find it. Not only from our leaders, but also from our staff, bandmates, partners, agents, managers, advisors, reps, etc. That said, here’s the only method that works for me:

Gather the info, expel the gossip, research the facts, analyze the data, poke the evidence and explore all the possibilities.

Then discuss the outcome with a trusted cohort, advisor or knowledge expert. Debate the downside, dispute the upside, argue your point and consider all POV.

Then go inside. Take the knowledge you’ve acquired, right into your private time, thought process, daily meditation or whatever methods of personal solitude you choose and simply “contemplate.” Let the noise dial down, as your inner wisdom bubbles up. Ask yourself if you’re willing to accept the truth even if you don’t agree with it. Allow your intuition to enlighten you, nudge you, tug you, pull you, sway you and lead you toward your own “deep truth.”

Then take the requisite action to make those tough, risky, ambitious decisions with confidence, clarity and wisdom. Not out of confusion, or frustration, or because others say so. But rather out of your own intelligent research and your own deep truth.

Repeat this process in your art, your job, your business, your personal life and with all your big goals and impossible dreams.

Important because when you mix intelligent research with deep truth it always points to the choice you should be making and the path you should be taking.

Vision Quest

We all have access to the same tools; the same Mac, the same production software, the same Internet, the same smart phones & Pads, the same cameras, guitars, keyboards and drums. And if we don’t own the tools, we can often beg, borrow, steal or rent them. And ultimately, with enough talent and expertise, a creative artist or entrepreneur will skillfully use those tools to build something worthwhile; a song, a movie, a painting, a book, a script, an app, a start-up, a small biz or a big Corp.

However, before talent or skill, before innovation or invention, even before creativity, there is a vision. You see or hear something (within), that you believe is obvious, worthwhile and possible—often it’s only a “fleeting glimpse” but it’s enough to arouse an eager Muse. Then you proceed to skillfully and masterfully use the tools to manifest that vision in the world.

Important because most have the tools, some have the talent to use them, but few have the vision to create something that matters. Without a vision for something new, we’re just repeating what’s already been done before. Without a vision for something original, we’ll use the tools to simply build to code. Without a vision for something unprecedented, I’m afraid we’re left with the same ol’, same ol’.

Uptight, Worked Up & Edgy!

Every single day, a plan, a plot, a project, a scheme or a great idea screams to be on the front burner: A song that needs to be recorded. A video that needs to be shot. A business deal that needs a push. A website that needs to be built or updated. A relationship that needs to be dealt with.

Important because sometimes our best-laid plans work out, far beyond our expectations. Other times they fall apart and fade away. That’s the nature of a creative, independent lifestyle. However, truth be told, it’s all those big plans, worthy projects and bright ideas that we’re NOT doing that continue to keep us uptight, worked up and edgy.

Complacency Sucks!

It’s the apprehension of not getting it right or failing that presents the biggest challenge. 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, if the fear of blowing it subsides, you lose your best shot at producing art and commerce that really matters!

Important because when our work becomes safe and routine, the artist/trep 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.

UBUNTU

I’m re-reading The Turning Point by Gregg Braden. I enjoy reading his books because they have nothing to do with showbiz, everything to do with humanity and they temporarily take me away from my own personal, circumstances and remind me that every breath I take, every move I make and every step I take, in some small quantum way affects everyone and everything.

I’ve written about UBUNTU in the past, however this time it struck me particularly deep. In his book Gregg talks about an anthropologist who proposed a game to the kids in an African tribe. He put a basket full of fruit near a tree and told the kids that who ever got there first won the sweet fruits. When he gave them the signal to run, they all took each others hands and ran together, then sat together enjoying their treats. When he asked them why they had run like that as one could have had all the fruits for himself they said: ”UBUNTU, how can one of us be happy if all the other ones are sad?” ‘UBUNTU’ in the Xhosa culture means: “I am because we are.”

Important because this game may be difficult to play for most of us who were raised playing the game “more for me.” However, if you subscribe to the thinking that giving and receiving are different aspects of the same energy, then perhaps we could play a new game called “share that which you seek.” In doing so, the energy of abundance would eventually circulate and come back around directly to you. Not like self-regard, more like collaboration.

Blindsided!

“…I’ve looked at life from both sides now, from win and lose and still somehow, it’s life’s illusions I recall, I really don’t know life at all.”—Joni

I’m sure there are plenty of books that proclaim: “The Top 10 Ways to Handle an Unexpected Catastrophe.”  But when you’re suddenly blindsided by a career or life altering tornado you’re not going to run off and buy a book! At least not until the dust settles and you have the time to read it.

And while it’s true that during hard times we often feel like we’re alone, out of control and losing ground, it is also nevertheless true that when an artist/trep is up against the wall she will immediately begin to conjure up ideas, invent solutions and explore options right on the spot. I’ve often said that whenever I’m confounded with challenging circumstances I much prefer a creative thinking pro by my side, even if it’s a sudden, life threatening medical challenge! And of course I rely on the advice and coaching from expert specialists! But I also seek out the wisdom of those proven, qualified writers, thinkers and pros who dive into the deep end of the pool and explore the uncharted depths of unlimited possibilities.

I don’t know the answers and I don’t have a top 10 list. We all get slammed in different ways. I do know that while the fear and confusion is very real, what’s most important is how we react to it. When I am hit with an unexpected catastrophe I immediately try to hunker down, take heed and surround myself with my inner circle. I move out that which does not serve the moment and slam the door on gossip and rumor. Then I diligently scour the global infosphere for factual guidance. I also let my emotions run free on their own without any concern about being appropriate. In fact, being appropriate is the last thing I’m concerned about when I’m swimming in the dark sea surrounded by sharks!

Important because when we find ourselves standing toe-to-toe with the demon of disaster the best thing we can do is trust the experiences we’ve had to teach us, honor the knowledge we’ve acquired to lead us, have confidence in our talents, abilities & skills to support us and have faith in that “deeper wisdom” we’ve attained to help us navigate the perplexing labyrinth we’ve unexpectedly found ourselves lost in.

Two Fisted Advantage

If you’re a regular reader of my blogs & stories you already know that I’m a huge advocate for artists & entrepreneurs. That’s because I’ve been both all my life and in my world there’s no difference between the two. They both dwell in the land of uncertainty and risk and they both have to use creativity and innovation to negotiate their way through it. That’s not all…

A songwriter composes the music he hears in his head.
An entrepreneur creates a vision for the future that she sees in her mind’s eye.

A painter prepares a canvas for her next artistic expression.
An entrepreneur prepares a Powerpoint presentation for his next keynote.

A writer processes words that stimulate and entertain.
An entrepreneur processes words that motivate and inspire.

A singer nervously stands in front of his audience and shares his soul.
An entrepreneur nervously stands in front of her shareholders and shares her vision.

Neither one would last long in a regular 9-5 job because both have a relentless muse and an untamable creative spirit which they simply MUST follow. And unlike others, A&E’s have an advantage: the unique ability to devise, create, invent, fabricate, formulate, manifest and cook-up ways to make a buck.

Important because if our world ever crashes, it will be the crazy, genius artists and risk-taking entrepreneurs who will survive to inspire us and point the way out of the rubble and into the light.

2020 Posts