— The glitch is not that we don’t do the work. The glitch is that the work we’re doing is not the crucial work that’s wanted & needed most right now!
— The glitch is not that we don’t look for solutions. The glitch is that we keep choosing the same old, worn out solutions over and over, expecting the glitch to go away!
— The glitch is not that “there’s not enough hours in the day.” The glitch is that we procrastinate and allow petty distractions to steal our focus and rob our precious time!
— The glitch is not that we don’t know how. The glitch is that we resist asking for advice, coaching or direction!
Important because the glitch is not that we don’t know what the glitch is. The glitch is that we do know what the glitch is and we resist doing anything about it!
Since I started blogging in 2011, I’ve always tried to write at least two blogs a week. Not an easy task no matter how short they are, but certainly a task I love and one that pushes me and provides just enough discipline to keep me sharp.
However, this past few months I’ve been squeezing out barely one a week, slammed with an unexpected flurry of personal challenges that insist I remain at the top of my game and demand precision thinking and diligent decision making. One of the challenges has to do with a major health issue facing someone very close to me, and the other is a time-crunching project that I committed to two years ago that has yet to produce the results I expected. I do believe there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but man, that light constantly flickers from dim to bright.
That said, I’m reminded how Seth Godin emails a blog every single day and has rarely missed a day in decades. I’m sure he gets slammed with unexpected circumstances too! How does he do that? I’ll tell you how he does it; he writes a blog every day, then queues it up and launches it. There is no other secret.
I’m also reminded how Wayne Dyer ran eight miles every single day, rain or shine, for 29 years! I’m sure he got slammed with unexpected circumstances too! How did he do that? I’ll tell you how he did it; he got up every morning, put on his tennis shoes and ran out the door. There is no other secret.
All this reminds me of a blog I wrote back in 2016 called “Romancing The Stone.” It’s the mythical story of the Greek King Sisyphus, who was severely punished by the god Zeus for his deception and trickery. He was ordered to push a huge boulder up a steep hill. However, every time he got close to the top the massive stone would always roll back down, forcing Sisyphus to begin again and again, for eternity.
Important because we are all faced with giant boulders that we must continue to push up the hill. Sometimes we choose our own boulder and sometimes life blindsides us and insists we start shoving a different one. Nevertheless, when we get close to the top and the boulder rolls back down we are always faced with the same choice; do I just stand at the bottom and do nothing, or do I start over and begin shoving? Of course we artists & treps are programmed to keep pushing no matter what. However, that choice can often be as heavy as the boulder itself.
“When I get to the bottom
I go back to the top of the slide
Where I stop and turn
And I go for a ride
Till I get to the bottom and I see you again…”
—Beatles, Helter Skelter
1) Choose a can, a destination, and a path.
2) Place the can right in the middle of the path.
3) Kick the can as hard as you can, and try to keep it in the center of the path.
4) After you’ve kicked the can, walk up to it and kick it again as hard as you can, while still trying to keep it in the center of the path.
5) Repeat steps 1-2-3-4, ad infinitum.
The object of the game is to keep kicking the can down the center of the path until you arrive at your destination.
– If others criticize your method, consider their POV, then keep kicking the can.
– If the voice in your head criticizes your ability, don’t listen, just keep kicking the can.
– If petty distractions temporarily pull your focus, return your attention to kicking the can.
Important because some folks arrive at their destination much faster than others. Perhaps it’s the can they chose, or the way they kick it, or perhaps they’re just natural born “can kickers.” Either way, the more experiences you rack-up by just kicking the can down the path, the better you’ll get at the playing game. Have fun!
*Reprinted from a blog I wrote in 2015.
We (artists & treps) were born into an already established system. An innate “rule-set” of edicts, theories, policies and expectations. We were born into a flawed condition that has existed for over 100 years:
— You must be successful.
— You must constantly advance.
— You must have a degree.
— Looks beat talent.
— Money beats looks.
— Looks & money beat everything else.
— The price of success is effort, struggle and hard work.
— The only thing that beats hard work is luck.
— If you don’t make it, you must be unlucky.
— If you don’t make it, there must be something wrong with you.
Important because although all of this (and more) is embedded in your DNA, none of it is embedded in stone. Those precepts and notions were in place long before you were born. And to the degree you can go against your (inner) grain and dismiss the “rule-set,” to that degree you’ll have a chance to forge your own way, make up your own rules and manifest your own destiny. It’s not your fault. It never was your fault.
As artists & entrepreneurs, we stand alone, every day (actually every minute) right on the very edge of an unknown future which is hurling at us at quantum speed, waiting for us to toss caution to the wind and create great art, awesome music, inspiring scripts, amazing characters, important books and extraordinary products & services.
However, it’s at that moment, as we stand toe-to-toe with unlimited possibilities, that we are most afraid to take risks and try something new. Sadly, most often, that’s when we reach back behind us and grab hold of the past, and toss it out into our future like a safety-net, hoping that our past successes and experiences will protect us from failing.
Important because while our past work can be a sturdy shoulder to stand on, it’s never a blueprint for anything new. And really, there’s no better place to find anything new than right here on the edge of the future, where the field of all possibilities is staring us right in the face, waiting for us to make the next move, warning us to forgo mediocrity, tempting us to create art & commerce that really matter and challenging us to drum up the courage to not reach back but to lean forward into a future that beckons our best.
Drawing a line down the middle of a page and labeling one side pros and the other side cons is an old fashioned, archaic, even childish method of decision making. But it still works!
Important because the simplicity of separating the massive traffic jam in our heads by distinguishing the positive vs. negative outcomes can often be the door OUT of the room called confusion and delay, and the door IN to the room called solutions and resolve.
If you can just stand back and point your lens at today’s entertainment industry, then shift your POV just a couple of degrees, you should be able to see that there are so many more opportunities today then ever before in the history of show business. And after observing our esteemed industry slowly transform with the times, there is no doubt that the Internet, specifically Netflix, Amazon and Spotify have disrupted the traditional content-distribution supply chain and caused profound changes in the entertainment industry…for the better and forever!
That said, if we artists & entrepreneurs (especially composers, actors, writers, directors, small biz owners and big dreamers) continue to resist the exponential transformation that is currently taking place in our awesome industry (specifically in television, movies, music and publishing); and if we fail to educate ourselves or go through the necessary learning curve (and alert our agents, managers and reps to do the same), then we will always be stuck in indecision and baffled as to which way to go. We will always be faking our conversations and pretending to have answers. We will always be juggling our priorities, changing our goals and redefining our commitments. And we will always be “almost” making it and forever chasing our dreams instead of catching them!
Important because This is not the year to hold back and wait—it’s the time to jump into the deep end of the pool! These are the days of the creative artist and the fearless entrepreneur. And if you can relate or resonate at all to what I’m saying, then this is YOUR time!
I wrote 56 blogs & stories this past year; some great, some so-so, but each of them had a prompt, a poke or a prod. Here are just a few of those pokes to help inspire you to keep your head in the game:
1) Revisit, reimagine and reconsider that which you say must be completed, resolved, manifested or begun. Remind yourself what it is you really want. Remind yourself what your biggest most important dream/goal is. Remind yourself what truly matters to you. Then ask yourself, “What am I committed to?”
2) Focus on improving. Everything you’re good at today you sucked at in the past. That’s because you kept improving.
3) Assess Your Strategy. If you continue to repeat the same tactics and schemes over and over, convincing yourself that you’re doing something different; your fans, customers and clients will move on to something new, your numbers will start to drop, your results will continue to decline and that dream you have of making it will eventually begin to dwindle…just when you were expecting it to peak. Not budging from your tired old strategy is a lousy strategy.
4) Your time is so precious. Why waste it on rechecking emails, continuous media updates and irrelevant social media that steals your focus, invades your creative thinking and robs your precious time?
5) If procrastination couldn’t be ass-kicked, there would be no Steve Jobs, Irving Azoff, Tarana Burke, Beatles, Jeff Bezos, Gaga, JZ or Swift.
6) Review your support team and inner circle, including staff, agents, managers, bandmates, sales team, coaches, consultants, techs, partners, etc.. I know it can be a heavy scene to split with people you work with (and like). However, a heavier scene is continuously putting up with the pettiness and incompetence of others at such an emotional, physical and monetary cost to you. Don’t flinch or choke on this one. If issues need to be addressed or personnel changes need to be made, don’t be afraid to pull out Maxwell’s Silver Hammer. Truth be told, YOU are the CEO of your world. And the goal is to work with the most talented people who are aligned with your vision and committed to the task at hand—not to wait around for people to change or grow up.
7) Remain vigilant and aware of those signs that tell you when it’s time to change direction or toss in the towel. While “never quit” may be our mantra, there are times when changing course is the only real intelligent thing to do—so you can recover, regroup, reorganize and reinvent a new game. Not to mention loose the stress and reclaim your sense of Self.
8) Don’t Fake It! “Truth” is by far the most magnetic and attractive attribute, and we all crave it like a drug. Especially during these crazy “point-the-finger” days when everything is so transparent. If you express the truth in your art, music, business, marketing, writing, life, etc., your fans and customers will support your mission and join your tribe. If you try to “hype it,” they’ll see through the ballyhoo like Superman sees through brick walls.
9) The last person you should consult when you’re faced with a big challenge or stuck in indecision is yourself! If it’s that important, bring in a trusted confidant or personal consultant to help you sort through the details.
10) Don’t complain about how hard it is. Everyone who has ever made it in showbiz worked hard. Rather, revel in how great it is to work hard on something worthy of giving it everything you’ve got.
11) Give it back! Giving and receiving are different aspects of the same energy. And in our willingness to give that which we seek, we keep that energy circulating in our lives.
12) Don’t Do Anything Stupid! You’re an artist, an entrepreneur, an independent, crazy, creative genius! I know it can be tough; however, it’s a GREAT life, and the only life for you! Don’t screw it up!
Important because every choice we make and every step we take triggers a series of extraordinary circumstances that will ultimately determine our destiny.
• Your music, acting, writing, art or film career is where it’s at today because of the daily choices & decisions you made in 2018.
• Your business is where it’s at today because of the daily choices & decisions you made in 2018.
• Your financial situation is where it’s at today because of the daily choices & decisions you made in 2018.
• You are the person you are today because of the daily choices & decisions you made in 2018.
Important because it’s fun to make new years resolutions. However, I think it’s more effective and productive to make daily or weekly ones. It’s easy to announce, “this will happen next year!” It’s much more productive to proclaim, “this will happen today or this week!”
I was 29 when I started Music Connection magazine. Zero money, zero experience. I couldn’t PROVE to anybody that MC was going to work. But I could KNOW it. I was holding it in my hands and reading it in my mind before I ever committed to actually doing it. Just like an actor sees the scene played out in her minds eye before she ever hears the word “Action!” Just like when a songwriter hears the music in his head before he ever writes it down.
Important because you may not be able to PROVE to investors, producers, agents, managers, staff or even friends and family that your crazy, genius idea will work. But you can KNOW it! And the manner in which you articulate that KNOWING may be the only convincing “pitch” that sells it.
Inside the box: where the known lives.
Outside the box: where possibility lives.
Inside the box: common sense at work.
Outside the box: experimentation at play.
Inside the box: withheld expression.
Outside the box: full self-expression.
Inside the box: where caterpillars dwell.
Outside the box: where butterflies soar.
Important because while others insist on tried & true, artists and entrepreneurs get anxious & antsy when confined to any regular routine. And while it’s the desire of others to maintain the status quo, it’s the destiny of artists to climb out of the box and report back to us what they find—through their lyrics, music, movies, screenplays, art, books and breathtaking performances.
Unfortunately, for some pro artists & treps, the end of 2018 doesn’t look that much different then it did back in January. Or for that matter from the year before!
— Has your income changed much?
— Has your personal time-management system or your daily routine changed much?
— Did you manage to breakthrough any of those barriers that prevent you from gaining ground?
— Did you exceed your goals? Did you go beyond this year’s projections?
— Have you grown your base? Improved your art? Upgraded your business? Revised your strategy?
— Are you still fighting the same demons you were fighting at the beginning of the year?
— Have the books you read, the seminars you took or the podcasts you listened to provoked any real, lasting results? Did you actually partake in any?
— Did you keep all the promises you made to yourself this year? Did you even make any?
— Are you still wondering when it’s all going to finally start working out?
Important because what if nothing changes? What if your current circumstances remain stuck where they are? What if the end of 2019 looks the same as today? Would you be okay with that? Or, is it time to finally consult with an intelligent advisor or a knowledgeable cohort who could help?
When you share the stories about all the irons you have in the fire it’s sure to impresses the heck out of everyone.
However the truth is, having too many irons in the fire puffs up your ego and keeps you stuck in an illusion that you’re getting somewhere.
Having too many irons in the fire supports an archaic belief that the more irons you have in the fire the better your chances for success.
Having too many irons in the fire becomes food for distraction and fuel for confusion.
Important because the only red-hot iron you should have in the fire is the one that will bring you closer to the dreams and goals that are most important to you.
“There’s the next mission and nothing else! The only thing that’s important to me is the next mission.”—Robert Downey Jr., Iron Man
— 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 get it.
— Assuming that no one knows the real you.
— Assuming that if you just keep doing what you’re doing, things will someday improve.
— Assuming that the decline of your business has to do with the times we live in.
— Assuming that when others finally understand what you’re trying to say they will side with you.
— Assuming that a representative from a big company will discover you, or buy you out some day.
— Assuming that since you’ve been doing this for so long, odds are you can’t fail.
— Assuming that “that’s just the way it is” is a true statement.
— Assuming that when you wake up in the morning and look around your world, that the room you’re in, the town you’re in, the country you’re in, the culture you’re in, the career you’ve chosen and the society that you’re a member of is basically set in stone.
Important because assumption is the ball ‘n’ chain that slows the progress of our goals ‘n’ dreams to a crawl.
With so many twists & turns and ups & downs in our crazy creative careers, it’s so easy to forget who we are in the matter, what we’ve accomplished, what we’re capable of and where we’re headed. And in my experience, pro artists & entrepreneurs are always stronger than they seem, braver than they believe and smarter than they think.
When a challenge arises, an artist/trep automatically rises to the occasion; like my creative friends and neighbors where I live in Thousand Oaks—where quick creative action has saved lives and property in an instant! And when suddenly blindsided with a difficult situation, an artist/trep will immediately begin to invent ideas, solutions and options right on the spot, often with rapid-fire reaction (while others stand there in awe).
That’s why whenever I’m confounded with a situation I much prefer an artist, entrepreneur or a creative thinker by my side, who acts on ingenuity and invention, rather then someone who is fixated on protocol.
Important because the only thing we need to learn is to 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 guide our crazy creative journey in the direction we want to go.
There is a reason why us artists, writers, musicians, actors, editors, directors and creative entrepreneurs are eager for this current political madness to end. And it’s not about money, it’s about truth. All of the creative work we do is about truth. Creativity itself is all about expressing and manifesting our truth through our creative skills and our crazy creative ideas. Heck, most of us rely on expressing our truth for our livelihood! And we all crave it like a drug. Especially during these dark days when fiction, falsehood and cock-and-bull stories are so transparent, making it clearly obvious who’s trustworthy and who’s not. And if we want to send a clear, personal message to the current frontrunners of fabrication then voting is the best way to do it. So go out and vote like you’ve never voted before! Vote like the future of your awesome creative lifestyle depends on it. Vote like you would vote if you were the only one voting!
Important because turnout is everything and your POV matters. And we’ve all learned the hard way that it’s not only about who votes, it’s more about who doesn’t.
So many of my clients get hung up on whether they are working on the right project, headed in the right direction or making the right choices. Why? Because most of them are blessed/cursed with multiple talents and interests and often get stuck in which specific project they should be working on today. Which always leads to indecisiveness. Which always leads to a head full of doubt and angst. Which always leads to procrastination, which always delays the progress of worthy work.
Important because on the one hand, the freedom to pursue our own crazy ideas or the choice to dance to our own drummer is a treasured gift and our greatest ally. On the other hand, the time spent wondering what we might be doing instead is our perpetual nemesis.
I’m so pumped and inspired! Like that time I saw Billy and Elton in concert. Like that time I stood in front of The David in Florence Italy. Like that time I met Paul & Linda. And like those times when I walk into my friend Amadea’s art studio and stand in awe of her talent. I am so inspired by champions. People who once stood in the same spot as me only managed to run further and faster to the top of the mountain.
That said, if the Dodgers and the Red Sox can still give it their best, after performing an 18-inning marathon (the longest game in World Series history, 7 hours 20 minutes of continuous grunt’n & spitt’n) and still get a good night sleep (huh?), then wake up the next day and go back out on the field to grunt & spit again, then I’m inspired to stop wallowing in my petty circumstances and get back to plowing my own field of dreams!
Important because while the amateur asks, “did they like me today?” the pro asks, “Did I leave everything on the field? Am I walking out of the arena with no fight left in me? Did I give them everything I had?”
Whatever resolutions, promises or plans we made at the beginning of this year, we are now, very quickly, approaching the end of our 2018 season. Did you knock the ball out of the park or are you standing at home plate, in the bottom of the 9th with two outs?
Important because there is one thing you can do right now that could make all the difference as you put the finishing touches on the final two-months of 2018 and boldly head off into the uncharted waters of 2019: In the deep silent privacy of your own soul, remind yourself what it is you really want. Remind yourself what truly matters. Remind yourself what your biggest most important dream is and refocus on the ultimate vision you foresee in your future. Then ask yourself, “What am I really committed to?”
Resistance invades our “to-do” list.
Worry invades our momentum.
Doubt invades our confidence.
Fear invades our opportunities.
Arrogance invades our choices.
Distraction invades our workspace.
Procrastination invades our timeline.
Important because in the 1953 20th Century Fox film, Invaders From Mars, the only way they destroyed the invaders was to call in the army and wipe them out with bazookas, hand grenades and bombs. Unfortunately, as artists and treps, we are just an army of one. And the only weapon we have to wipe out the invader’s is to stand up on our own two feet and declare that the invasion stops here! Not like positive thinking, more like taking a ruthless stand that enough is enough!
“I would hate to think I would ever be in a position where I’m faking it to get a paycheck.”—Trent Reznor
“Truth” is by far the most magnetic and attractive attribute we can express. And we all crave it like a drug. Especially during these crazy “point-the-finger” days when everything is so transparent, making it clearly obvious who’s trustworthy and who’s shady.
If you express the truth in your art, music, marketing, writing, acting, performing, life, etc. your fans, clients and customers will follow you, support your mission and join your tribe. If you try to “hype it” they’ll see through your ballyhoo like Superman sees through brick walls.
Important because I’ve said this before: every choice we make, every step we take and every bond we break triggers a series of extraordinary circumstances that will ultimately determine our destiny.
The biggest challenge for artists & treps is “uncertainty.” Go ahead and plan, meet, huddle, brainstorm, scheme and strategize all you want. In the daily lives of pro artists & treps, uncertainty still rules the roost! It causes smart business owners to have sleepless nights; talented, genius artists to self-medicate and seasoned professionals who stand in front of cameras, behind mics and on podiums to have upset stomachs.
Others wake up in the morning into certainty; a start time, an end time and a paycheck. However, when an artist or entrepreneur wakes up in the morning, uncertainty is sitting impatiently at the foot of the bed with a list of unfinished works and unsolved mysteries…that only creativity can solve. And you can forget the certainty of a paycheck!
Certainty is safe and dependable.
Uncertainty is risky and speculative.
Certainty makes folks feel comfortable.
Uncertainty makes folks squirm a little.
Certainty is limited to those options that are certain.
Uncertainty includes ALL possibilities.
The capricious works of Uncertainty will keep fans, clients and customers curious and coming back for more.
The predictability of Certainty will bore fans, clients and customers into moving on…in search of uncertainty.
So much we can learn from Uncertainty
So much we already know about Certainty.
Important because the truly committed artist and the most successful entrepreneur live in a perpetual state of uncertainty. No wonder they’re always a little edgy, no wonder they have quirky personalities, no wonder they rarely have time, and no wonder everyone loves them!
Is the work you’re doing too important to take chances?
Or is the work you’re doing too important to play it safe?
Important because taking intelligent chances will always move us to a new place. While playing it safe will always keep us standing right where we are. Of course doing nothing will always keep us standing right where we are too.
As pro artists & treps we are always waiting…perhaps more than others…
Waiting for our work to be recognized or acknowledged, so we can proceed with confident abandon.
Waiting for others to make up their mind.
Waiting for some free time…so we can finally gather our thoughts and catch our breath.
Waiting to be rescued from mediocrity.
Waiting for the pieces of our lifelong career puzzle to finally fall into place.
Waiting for a call back.
Waiting for all the negative thoughts between our ears to settle down.
Waiting for the unrelenting wave of technology to slow down so we can catch up.
Waiting for the unrelenting wave of media noise to quiet down so we can find our footing.
Waiting for people to eventually come around to our way of thinking.
Waiting until it’s our turn…finally.
Waiting for a miracle.
Important because waiting for our world to change is a sure way to jam the works, pause the action, slow our progress and keep us mesmerized by wishful thinking. Question is, what are you really waiting for dear genius?
While the dazed and doubtful complain about how hard it is to make it, “especially during these tough times,” The Committed are busy making dicey decisions, chancy choices and risky judgments.
While the dazed and doubtful remain confused about the economy and anxious about the future, The Committed are at work inventing new projects, growing their brand, upgrading their tech and investing in exciting new ventures.
While the dazed and doubtful see the whole world in chaos, The Committed are focused on their fans, followers, clients and customers; forming partnerships, making agreements, signing contracts and growing relationships.
Important because while the dazed and doubtful scratch their heads and wonder what to do next, The Committed are at work improving their art, expanding their base and building their future.
If you’re in it to prove something (even to yourself), you’ll have a tough row to hoe. I’ve seen extremely talented artists and super smart entrepreneurs crash and burn because their best work was repeatedly sabotaged by a desperate hidden agenda:
– “If I don’t make it I’ll be seen as a failure.”
– “I’m getting older; this could be my last shot!”
– “I must prove to my family (and my self) that the work I’m doing is worthy and has merit.”
Important because “I’ll show them!” is never a valid reason to struggle in any career. There’s only one thing that will propel our success: doing extraordinary work! We don’t need to prove anything to anyone. The only thing we’re beholding to is our craft, our unique talent and our dharma (our true purpose). I think if we honor THAT, we will have a fulfilling, successful career that lasts a lifetime.
California Wildfires have burned across the state non-stop for over a year. According to the California Department of Forestry, the Mendocino Complex Fire (currently active) has burned nearly 400,000 acres (an area larger then Los Angeles) becoming the largest complex fire in the state’s history. On August 4, a national disaster was declared in Northern California. I live in Southern California, however my awesome cousins in Northern Cal were forced to evacuate their home and family earlier this year. Thank God they were spared disaster.
I’ve never personally lost everything in a fire and I can’t imagine what it’s like. But I know this for sure: As creative artists and risk taking entrepreneurs we never lose “everything.” After the smoke clears in any sort of disaster; whether it’s a physical catastrophe, a career calamity or a personal letdown this is what we’re left with:
• We still have our unique abilities and our exceptional talent.
• We still have “access” to all of the tech tools, software and digital trappings to help rebuild, reinvent and reconnect with our fans, clients and customers.
• We still have that special quality which is reserved especially for A&E’s; the ability to “create” our way out of challenging circumstances.
• We still have our crazy, genius ideas, big goals and strong desires, which continue to tug at us and pull us forward.
• We still have a circle of influence—those few people in our life who we can count on and consult with.
Important because we still have that fire in our bellies which provokes us to keep moving forward and make something happen.
— Focus on improving. Everything you’re good at today you sucked at in the past. That’s because you kept improving.
— Ignore know-it-all’s. There’s nothing worse than being told what you already know by someone who doesn’t. Focus on Facts.
— Don’t worry that time is running out. Stay focused on what truly matters to you…even if you’re running on empty.
— Don’t focus on how hard it is. Everyone who has ever made it in showbiz worked hard. Rather, focus on how great it is to work hard on something worthy of giving it everything you’ve got.
Important because a new entertainment infrastructure has been built along with a new protocol: Anything Goes! Focus on that.
A barrage of publicity and a boatload of “likes” will certainly put a lot of eyes on your work. However, once the hoopla wears off and the true essence of your hard effort is revealed, the only thing that matters is:
Do your reps love it enough to sell it?
Do your fans love it enough to share it?
Do your customers love it enough to buy it?
Do your subscribers love it enough to re-up?
Do your clients love it enough to return for more?
Important because it’s important to get “eyes on the prize.” It’s more important to create a worthy enough prize.
When to share your brilliant idea:
Never at the beginning stage: Asking others what they think of your great idea, while it’s still just an idea, is like asking for permission to be excused. It’s the perfect catalyst for procrastinating, a great justification for shelving and a wide-open back door out of the project.
Never at the developing stage: Asking others what they think of your emergent project while you’re right in the middle of producing it, constructing it, writing it or crafting it is a setup for creative disaster!
Always at the finishing stage: Welcoming suggestions (even hiring a consultant) when you are deep into the final stages of your project can be enlightening, inspirational, informative and revealing. It’s a way of shinning a bright light into those areas of the project that you may have overlooked or you just couldn’t see.
Important because everyone has an opinion on everything, and for the most part we can’t wait to give ours.
The reader response to my last blog “When it’s OK to Quit” has gone way off the charts! It reminded me of another popular blog I wrote titled, “Seven Questions Before You Change Course.”
I think this is important because while “never quit” may be our mantra, there are times when quitting or changing course is the only real intelligent thing to do—in order to make use of the very best talents we have and bring us closer to the lifestyle we desire. I think as pro artists/treps we need to remain vigilant and aware of those signs that tell us when it’s time to shift direction, so we can recover, regroup, reorganize and reinvent a new game. Once again, here are those seven simple questions. Hope this helps…
1. Why did I pursue this in the first place?
2. Have I completed my mission?
3. Why do I feel the need to change?
4. What do I have to gain by changing course—how will my life/career be different?
5. Will this change cause a hardship for others?
6. Am I enthusiastic about the possibilities that could arise out of making this change?
7. Am I willing to take the necessary steps to initiate this change?
Big projects begin with a mix of anticipation, excitement and cocky confidence. Then things start to get more chancy and less fun. Then, over time, things get real gnarly, the money leaks through every crack, you lose faith, and the project becomes a stressful quagmire for you and all those involved. Then people in your inner circle start to ask, “why are you doing this to yourself?”
Important because I hear the same mantra in my head that says, “never give up!” However, if our desire to continue sailing in circles is waning, or our ship is truly sinking, as the captain of our world, perhaps it’s time to give the order to “abandon ship!” and move on to something more personally rewarding, desired or worthy.