The Sabotage Monkey
If one of your great ideas or worthy projects has finally started to take root and build some momentum, now is not the time to take your foot off the pedal, now is the time to floor it! Why? Because it’s at this time, when the pique excitement for a new idea or project begins to slowly give way to the reality of manifesting it. The money, time, responsibility and viability of the project begins to look daunting, and it’s at that point the monkey between our ears steps in and want’s to play. Even the most professional artists & treps sabotage their own credible projects, meaningful ventures, and personal goals and dreams, because of doubt, fear or a lack of confidence.
Watch out for it. The sabotage monkey will do you in every time. If you’re the leader of a group, owner of a small biz, or the president of a big corp. you have to watch out for others doing the monkey business. However, if you’re the CEO of your own world you have to watch out for yourself!
Important because always be vigilant of your own dark side creeping in to wreak havoc.
Thought for the Day
Create yourself or you will lose yourself in other people’s versions & stories of you.
If you still have a pulse it’s not too late.
If you can read these lines you’re not too old.
If you can take another step, you’re not too tired.
Rebuild your life every day, thought by thought, step by step, line by line.
Persist until the story you love is the story you’re living.
Gone in a Blink
In their bestselling books, Blink by Malcolm Gladwell, and Meta Human by Deepak Chopra, both authors scientifically and philosophically demonstrate the fact that we already (unconsciously) know the answers to the most challenging questions the instant they show up. It doesn’t matter if it’s which agent to sign with, which drum set to buy, or wether or not we should reach out or hook up with a certain individual (or group). The instant the challenge, concern or question is presented, in a blink, the answer is already standing at attention right next to it.
Like that time when you were young someone said: “If you get stuck on an exam question go with the very first answer that popped in your head.”
Problem is, at that instant, when the first answer pops in our head we flinch! Then the fog rolls in, and doubt quickly clouds over the blink of truth. Often followed by either vacillation or procrastination. The challenge is to remain awake, aware and vigilant enough to recognize the blink and catch it before the fog rolls in!
Important because since the blink of truth is coming from your heart it’s always there, 24/7 waiting to be discovered and put to use. And once you see it the first time, you’ll always know where to look for it the next time.
Bonus Track: Legendary producer Rick Rubin gives this notion a different spin: He says flip a coin! If you’re at an impasse between two choices and you’ve honestly looked at every possible, conceivable outcome, and you still can’t decide which way to go, flip a coin! When the coin is spinning in the air, you’ll likely notice a quiet preference or wish for one of the two to come up. In these few seconds which are you rooting for? This is the option to go with. It’s the one the heart desires. The choice is over before the coin ever lands!
What’s Your Excuse?
Dear crazy, creative reader,
What stands in the way of you playing a much bigger game? What’s your excuse, concern or fear? What’s stopping you?
How can you not see that we need your unique skills and remarkable talent more than ever before?
How can you not use the power of your words, and seize the opportunity to write encouraging stories, inspiring scripts and motivating movies and videos, especially when there is such a loud, desperate cry for inspiration and truth?
How can you not take a break from writing the same’ol predictable, ordinary tunes, and instead use your unique, creative style to compose powerful music & lyrics that reach in, grab us by the bones and lift us up? Heck, even poetry parlors are on the rise in this country! And the Grammys announced a new, special merit award for “Best Song For Social Change.” Why not go for that award?
How can you not transcend or excel your business or corp., when it’s so obvious that we need forward thinking, risk-taking entrepreneurs, publishers and producers who are aware enough to realize that our current reality is screaming for creative solutions to impossible challenges! And if you’ve tried and failed before, try again!
Important because the world is still in awe of dreamers, artists, and creative people like you. And artists, athletes, and socially conscious entrepreneurs are by far the most trusted and effective influencers on the planet! And you are part of that group! How can you not see that we are counting on you, dear creative reader, to enlighten us, inspire us, and lead us into a safer, smarter, more fulfilling future? (Actually, on second thought, I think you already see it. In fact, I think you feel it, gnawing at you deep inside your bones!)
A Way Of Being
Those who do not engage in the traditional arts might be wary of calling themselves artists. They might perceive creativity as something extraordinary or beyond their capabilities, or a calling for the special few who are born with these gifts. Fortunately, this is not the case. Creativity is not a rare ability. It is not difficult to access. Creativity is a fundamental aspect of being human. It’s our birthright. And it’s for all of us. Creativity doesn’t exclusively relate to making art. We all engage in this act on a daily basis. To create is to bring something into existence that wasn’t there before. It could be a conversation, the solution to a problem, a note to a friend, the rearrangement of furniture in a room, or a new route home to avoid a traffic jam. What you make doesn’t have to be witnessed, recorded, sold, or encased in glass for it to be a work of art. Through the ordinary state of being, we’re already creators in the most profound way, creating our experience of reality and composing the world we perceive.
However, to live as an artist is different. To live as an artist is a way of being in the world. A way of perceiving. The practice of paying attention. And you are either engaging in the practice or you’re not. It makes no sense to say you’re not good at it. It’s like saying, “I’m not good at being a monk.” You are either living as a monk or you’re not. We tend to think of the artist’s work as the output. The real work of the artist is a way of being in the world.
Important because that’s an (edited) excerpt from the NYT #1 best seller: “The Creative Act: A Way Of Being” by Rick Rubin.Rick is one of the most successful American record producers of all time, and was voted one of Time magazines 100 most influential people in the world! And it just so happens that back in the day, the entire staff at Music Connection had a front row seat as we followed Rick’s career from punk rocker, to the founder of Def Jam records, to a 9x Grammy winning producer, to the president of Columbia records, to a music industry legend! And whether you’re a professional artist, risk-taking entrepreneur, or just plotting your next move, you should check out this quick, easy reading book. Remember how Steven Pressfield’s “War Of Art” reached in and shifted our POV? This book will do the same thing. Here’s the link, let me know what you think!
The Importance of Triage!
For many pro artist and treps the first hurdle that often hangs us up is “What to do next?” And how we think about what we should do next makes a big difference! Just thinking about it can provoke procrastination, or tempt us to take easy street, leaving our most important goals waiting on side lines. This is when we need to “triage!”
The word “triage” is a medical term, mostly used in an emergency room: “The preliminary assessment of patients or casualties in order to determine the urgency of their need for treatment and the nature of treatment required.” And as a 33-year career nurse, my awesome wife taught me to use that term (or POV) in every area of our life, from to-do lists, to big projects, to vacation planning, even Christmas shopping for the family!
That said, here’s a rewrite of that definition to help us get past that first hurdle: “The preliminary assessment of our goals, projects and dreams, in order to determine the urgency of their need and the nature of the work required to achieve the intended result.”
Important because the most important choice we can make today is what to do next. The second most important choice is doing it. Not like a blanket rule, more like a continuous assessment.
Somewhere between the urgent disruptions, the thought-robbing distractions, our screaming to-do list, and the continuous lure of breaking news, there are openings where we can slow down, slip through the gaps, and actually find enough white space to get some creative work done. Some days, the openings are so wide we can spend long hours catching up on our most important projects and goals. Other times the days are jammed with a boatload of responsibilities or unexpected catastrophes, and there is no white space to be found anywhere.
However, what I’ve come to learn is that navigating our busy schedule is not difficult because most of us artists & treps have our own favorite software, or time-management systems that help us triage the work load of the day. But finding that time to contemplate, create and manifest our ideas and projects can be challenging. That’s because the gaps we really need to slip through are the ones between our busy thoughts, where pure creativity lives, not the ones between our busy schedules, where time-management lives.
And the only way I know to slow down my restless thoughts, just long enough to slip through the gaps and experience that creative still zone, is to sit in a private space, every day, for 10, 20, 30 minutes, close my eyes, and allow the gaps between my thoughts to open up effortlessly, so that I can slowly slide into the deep end of the pool.
Important because That simple daily routine (that I’ve been doing for nearly 40-years) has become the solid foundation under my feet, that allows me to walk through life a little slower, a little lighter and a little clearer. Not in search of enlightenment, more in search of that illusive white space.
Lost in the Struggle
— If struggling worked, you’d be winning the fight.
— If lots of irons in the fire worked, you’d be experiencing multiple successes.
— If setting a frantic pace worked, you’d be ahead of the pack.
— If procrastinating worked, then life itself would eventually give in to your goals & dreams.
Important because what works is slow, smart, steady progress. Not like at a snails pace, more like at a persistent one.
“I was waiting for something extraordinary to happen…but as the years wasted on nothing ever did…unless I caused it.” —Charles Bukowski
Absence of Certainty
Go ahead and plan, meet, huddle, Zoom, brainstorm, scheme and strategize all you want. In the daily (more like hourly) lives of pro artists & treps (and their families and lifestyle), uncertainty still rules the roost! It causes smart business owners to have sleepless nights, talented artists to lose confidence, and seasoned professionals who stand in front of cameras, and behind mics 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 confronting list of unfinished works and unsolved mysteries…that only patience and creativity can solve.
And while it’s certainly true that uncertainty will keep your fans, clients and customers, curious and coming back for more, it is also nevertheless true that the predictability of certainty will often bore fans, clients and customers into moving on…in search of something more curious and uncertain.
Important because so much we can learn from uncertainty, and so much we already know about certainty.
Too often we assume that our POV of a project or situation must be true. Therefore, we take what we assume is the appropriate action based on that assumption. Huh?
Assumptions, especially in our creative career and entrepreneurial lifestyle, are a very dangerous thing to hang your hat on. Why? Because we should never forget that we are a “people” industry, and every project is a unique conversation between buyer and seller, drummer and bandleader, actor and director, writer and producer, producer and corporate, etc.. Plus, as independent entrepreneurs, we live and work in a unique creative culture where no deal goes down like any other, no original project is planned with a templet, and every agreement can be negotiated and written in an unlimited number of ways. No other industry on the planet operates this way! So to say that “this time” is the same as “last time” is a false assumption. That’s why I get frustrated when people say things like: “oh well, that’s just the way the music business works.” Or, “that’s just the way it is in television.” Or, “He must be thinking or feeling this way, because that happened to him.”
Important because here’s a reminder: Assumption is the ball ‘n chain that slows the progress of our goals ‘n dreams to a crawl.
Don’t Waste It!
The challenging times we live in are inextricably coupled with a profound opportunity that awaits us in the coming year, to use our multiple creative talents to not only entertain, but to inspire, motivate and reach out and make a difference. And now, more than ever, we need to hear your truth, roused from the depths of your soul and passionately expressed in your music, writing, performing, publishing, directing, producing, teaching and business.
Important because now more than ever, on the brink of a new year, opportunity is starring at us right in the face, waiting for us to drum up the courage to make a move. And if we flinch, it could all be a bit of a waste.
My Muse Doesn’t Care!
My Muse is on a mission and nothing will stop it! It doesn’t care if I need a break, doesn’t mind if I’m in dire straights, could give a hoot if I’m having a bad day, and laughs when I attempt to ignore it. Like the terminator with only one, ruthless, unstoppable objective, the mission of my Muse is to feed me a non-stop, 24/7, continuous, streaming download of fresh ideas, projects, bits & pieces of abstract visions, original music, spontaneous bursts of inspiration, and bright light bulbs over my head! It even invades my dreams, where I wake up in the middle of the night and I must record a foggy idea before I lose it! It has no feelings, no emotions, no empathy or compassion, and actually could care less if I take one of its great ideas and run with it. It’s only job is to deliver the goods!
Important because on the one hand, I often wish there was a switch to turn off the download. On the other hand, I realize that my Muse (or my creative spirit) has been the one constant in my life since I was a kid, and that it has always pointed me in the direction to the exact spot I’m standing in right now! Not like a mythical guide, more like an intuitive one.
Dear Genius Readers
I’m writing to you from inside the belly of a whale. It’s dark in here and very cold. However, there is an occasional bright ray of light that shine’s through the blow hole every time the giant mammal takes a breath. Fortunately, that light shines in just when I need it most.
I can hear friends and family on the outside shouting: “How are you?” “Do you need anything?” “What can we do for you?” and they mean it! However, that puts the responsibility on me to come up with an appropriate answer which I simply do not have. Meanwhile, there are a few enlightened ones who are willing to take on that responsibility, and simply observe and notice what’s wanted and needed, and just provide it. And while I acknowledge the first group for their genuine, heartfelt, loving generosity, I admire the second group for their insightful wisdom to bypass protocol, follow their intuition, and simply act.
I started looking through my past blogs searching for clues to escape this darkness. Turns out there is no escape, there is only turning up the light, which as we all know will immediately eradicate the darkness. The one blog I found helpful is from 2019 When You Forget Who You Are, I hope it reminds you too!
Although this is the darkest time I have ever experienced in my life, intellectually and confidently I know that George was right when he said “All Things Must Pass,” and I have no doubt that I will eventually follow the light and find my way out of this whale-size darkness. However, I’m in no hurry.
Important because my awesome, angel, soulmate wife of 30 blissful years, gently, softly, and peacefully passed away recently, from complications due to a lifetime of type 1 diabetes. And after eleven years of intimately interacting with YOU via this blog, it just feels right to share that with you. Nancy was a 35-year career nurse at UCLA, and she was also an abstract expressionist artist in both painting and collage. If you’re interested, here’s her website. Thanks for listening my dear reader, YOU are a bright shinning light in my life.
No Middle Ground
When you’ve been blindsided, even if you saw it coming…or when push comes to shove and you need to make an impossible decision…or when you’re up against the ropes and getting pummeled…you’re either John Wayne or Don Knotts. You’re either Meryl Streep or Ethel Merman. There is no middle ground!
Important because when someone suddenly tosses you a hot potato and expects you to react, you’re either Superman or just plain o’l clumsy Clark Kent, because Mr. In-between is nowhere to be found. You either take the high road, or end up in a sinkhole.
Pro artists and entrepreneurs may not always look busy on the outside: leisurely picking at the guitar, tapping the keyboard, scribbling and sketching notes, sitting at a chaotic desk twiddling their thumbs, staring out the window, etc. You can understand why others may wonder how a smart, talented, creative person, can just sit there and waste time.
But we’re not! We’re processing, we’re considering options, we’re searching for possibilities, we’re inventing our next adventure, we’re plotting our next move, we’re devising ways to make a buck (or a billion of them), we’re dreaming our impossible dream!
What we’re actually doing is slipping into a stream of consciousness that detaches us from external distractions, and allows our thoughts to soften and our attention to drift in a more personal and creative direction. And while that may look like wasting time to others, what we’re really doing is working very hard (on the inside). That’s our real creative space. It’s the only place where we can invent and create something from nothing, without deadlines and without pressure from others. Whether it’s composing a song, memorizing a scene, painting a picture, or creating a pitch-deck! It’s our private, penthouse studio, where we can imagine what could be. Not like meditating, more like Superman’s Fortress of Solitude!
Important because the truth is, pro artists & treps never waste time daydreaming, rather, they spend time daydreaming. It’s time well spent that others just don’t understand.
Shut the Door or Stick it Out?
After the soul searching settles, the due diligence has been completed, and the final decision has been made, some folks quietly close the door, believing that quitting is an easier, smarter way out of a challenging situation. Of course they’re right! It’s much easier! And often, letting go and getting out is the most intelligent thing to do!
However, when faced with similar challenging circumstances, others choose to change-up the protocol. They rewrite, reinvent, reimagine, and recreate an all new and improved version of themselves and their work, in order to stay in the game and remain relevant.
Important because (unfortunately) it doesn’t matter that much to us if you stay or go, because we have so many choices today. What matters is how many people will be affected by your decision to quit, or how many people will benefit because you choose to soldier on. It’s not always entirely about you.
More Cookies Please!
It’s what every artist and entrepreneur wants to hear: “ You did a great job!” “You completely nailed it!” “ Wow! You are amazing!”
All of us crazy, genius, artists and treps crave acknowledgement. It boosts our confidence, provokes persistence, and can pull us out of a slump faster than any drug. It’s also the shiny bait that lures us to reach our highest level.
And for some, that’s enough! Making ends meet as a starving artist or a struggling business owner is (secretly) plenty to deal with. We all know someone like this. As talented as they are, they could easily spend the rest of their life reveling in the praise and sympathy of their friends and family: “You work so hard!” “It’s a tough world out there.” “You should be proud of what you’ve already accomplished!” The payoff of support and empathy easily outweighs the daunting challenge of growth and change.
However, for others it’s not enough. They know that applause is just a temptation to repeat the same thing over and over, and praise is a sweet cookie that often spoils your appetite to persist.
Important because recognition from others validates the essence of our creative work, and makes us feel relevant. However, when it comes to where we’re headed and how we’re going to get there, we’re on our own. And no amount of praise can replace the insightful, criticism or advice from a trusted, experienced confidante, who is committed to see us achieve our very highest goals. Not like trading compliments for criticism, more like when we begin to see inside the mechanical nature of kudos and praise, its bankruptcy becomes apparent.
Your Big But
Successful artists & treps do the deep research to determine what it will take to solve a problem or achieve their big goals. And after weighing all the options, they choose the best one for their particular situation, then “go for it!” And in that instant they’re on the playing field diligently moving the ball towards the goal.
Others make up scenarios in their head and say “yeah but…” and never get into the game.
Important because sadly, for those who don’t do the deep research or get coaching, the options are baffling and the risks look too high. For those who do the due diligence, the options are clear and the risks become calculated. And while winning the game is a good possibility, losing the game is guaranteed if you continue to say, “yeah but.”
New rule: Never let your “big but” block the view of the goal post!
No matter how great a musician, actor, dancer, photographer, or V.O. artist you are, you’re still mortal. That’s why they say, “Let’s take that again!”
No matter how skilled a writer you are, you’re still fallible. That’s why they call it, “Rewriting.”
No matter how smart, good looking, talented, wealthy or successful you are, you will still say stupid things, make stupid mistakes, and slam face-first into sliding glass doors.
Important because “Through Elf-help books and Elf-improvement courses he had become a better Elf, but still, just an Elf…”
Inspired by Kevin Ahern, Artist
Down to the Crossroads
Many artist and entrepreneurs are blessed/cursed with so many multiple talents, interests and responsibilities, that we often find ourselves stalled at the crossroads with conflicting choices. Instinctively we know it’s time to make a decision and move on. However, we often feel paralyzed by the options and baffled as to which bumpy road to take (they’re all bumpy!)
Important because You’re not alone. I know that every one of you reading this, often find yourself stopped at a crossroads in your career/life, and stumped as to which activity or project you should commit your time, talent and energy to. That scene is written into the script of every pro artist and every risk-taking entrepreneur. We’re a unique society of independent, creative thinkers, and while there are plenty of Google links specifically designed to help navigate the thought-wrenching, unpredictable choices we make, in my experience, nothing returns us to the path of progress faster than an honest, heart-to-heart, free-flowing, unedited rap-session with someone who understands the angst we go thru, and the turmoil that goes on between our ears! Someone who has stood at the same crossroads and has the insight and skill to inspire and encourage us, and point us in the right direction. Not like a therapist, more like a seasoned player in the field of dreams. I know you know this because I’ve said it ad infinitum. However, I also know that sitting at the crossroads waiting for the arrow to turn green, can be a long, frustrating wait. And unlike how-to-books, sorting it out with a trusted cohort never goes out of style.
Suddenly, without warning, we’re in the fourth quarter of the game and there’s only 133-days left in 2022! And some artists & treps I know have had a boom’n year so far! For others, it’s been a bust (so far).
And although the fourth quarter of the game always taunts us with so many more frustrating breakdowns, foul-ups, time-outs and challenges, it’s also an opportunity to adjust focus, change-up strategy, and re-commit to that which you say matters most to you. That’s a good insight to remember!
Here’s another good insight: Given my decades long publishing career, I always work better when there’s a deadline in front of me. If not an actual deadline then a big desire. A desire exciting and worthy enough to pull me forward. And like you, I always have an idea, a project, or a dream sitting on the back burner just waiting for a spark of motivation, to ignite a fire of desire, that is powerful enough to pull me out of my head and motivate me into action!
Important because here’s how to start a fire of desire using a simple timeless method that actually works: Take a sheet of yellow legal foolscap, and on one side only, quickly scribble down what you are honestly committed to completing or achieving by the end of this year (don’t think just write). Then quickly scribble down exactly what you want the end result to look like. Then quickly scribble down what it will actually feel like when you achieve that goal. Then scotch tape it where you’ll see it every day. Of course I’d rather just type it in my iPhone, but I gotta tell ya, seeing it taped to the wall in my scribbled handwriting causes it to shout at me! Which causes me to snap out of it and stay focused! Try it! Then email me at the end of the year and let me know how it all worked out! Happy New year!
Dubious & Devoted
While The Dubious remain hesitant about the economy and anxious about the future, The Devoted are busy making tough choices, confronting impossible decisions, and with cocky confidence, investing their time and resources into their own great ideas and worthy projects.
While The Dubious scratch their heads and wonder what to do next, The Devoted are hard at work growing their brand, extending their reach, and kicking the quality of their work up a notch.
While The Dubious are “reluctant to trust anybody these days,” The Devoted are forming partnerships, forging relationships, joining groups, strengthening friendships, and enlisting advisors.
Important because while The Dubious are exhausted at the end of the day from battling with the relentless, dubious voice between their ears, The Devoted are emboldened at the end of the day from not giving in to it.
Trust the universe to present a constant stream of ideas.
Trust your intuition to point the way.
Trust your gut to sound any alarms.
Trust the tools of experience and knowledge to manifest your dreams and ideas.
Most of all, trust your own blind faith. Your intrinsic ability to see it, even though you can’t prove it.
Important because trust is like wealth, the more we invest the bigger the return.
Talent is Overrated
The following is an excerpt from the book The Knowledge. A novel written by my favorite author and mentor, Steven Pressfield. In a recent email, Steven titled this passage:
“Talent is B.S.”
“I have a literary agent. His name is Martin Fabrikant. Marty is ninety-six years old. That’s not a typo. Marty is Dutch. He speaks with an accent. He’s about four-foot-ten and likes to joke that he used to be six-four…
Marty is a death camp survivor. He’s got the tattoo. He never speaks about the experience directly (I only know through my friend Pablo, who originally introduced me to Marty) but he’ll make remarks from time to time whose gist is, “Appreciate life. Never complain. Work hard and do your best.”
Marty has one other mantra: “Talent is Bullshit.”
“I’ve seen a million writers (musicians, actors, entrepreneurs) with talent. It means nothing. You need guts, you need stick-to-it-iveness. It’s work, you gotta work, do the freaking work. That’s why you’re gonna make it, son. You work. No one can take that away from you.”
“And I’ll tell you something else,” Marty says to me now over the phone: “Appreciate these days. These days when you’re broke and struggling, they’re the best days of your life. You’re gonna break through, my boy. And when you do, you’ll look back on this time and think this is when I was really an artist, when everything was pure and I had nothing but the dream and the work. Enjoy it now. Pay attention. These are the good days. Be grateful for them.”
Important because check out Steven’s new best seller: Put your Ass (where your HEART wants to be)
Waiting For Easy
Clearly it’s confusing.
Obviously it’s frustrating.
Needless to say it can be heart breaking.
Of course it’s hard.
If it were easy everyone would be a crazy, genius, independent artist/trep!
Important because the best we can hope for is that if we stick to it long enough, we will get better at managing hard.
— Inspired by Maria Shriver
Just when you’re sure it’s going to happen for you, it doesn’t!
Just when you think you’re in, they pull you back out again!
Just when you are anxiously checking and re-checking your messages for the one call that will send you to the next level, the call that actually comes in sends you directly back to square one.
And while it’s true that this is an all-too-common scenario for most pro artists & treps, it is also nevertheless true that the sudden sting of a setback is always a painful surprise.
Important because when others are suddenly blindsided with unexpected negative results, they often think, “Why me?” However, when a pro artist or trep is suddenly slammed or stymied she immediately retreats to her Fortress of Solitude and calms her doubting mind. Then she conjures up new ideas, invents better solutions and explores different options. Finally, she re-commits to that which she says is most important to her. Not like whoa is me, more like Wow is me!
The Future is Coming!
The future is coming, and when it arrives we will either be reveling in the awesome progress we’ve made, stuck in a mess of our own making, or standing in the same spot we are today, not having moved the ball much.
Important Reminder: where we stand now, in our creative careers and free-spirited lives, is a direct result of every single choice and decision we made leading up to today. Therefore, it stands to reason, that the choices & decisions we make going forward will land us toe-to-toe with the promises we made, and face-to-face with the person we are destined to become.
It’s hard to remain motivated and excited about our big goals and future dreams when there are so many confronting, disheartening distractions happening all around us!
That said, here are four reminders that you may have forgotten in the heat & hoopla of these challenging times:
1. Progress, growth and success are a consequence, an upshot, a by-product of focusing our attention on the goal ahead, and simply doing the work, in spite of the distractions.
2. It’s what we are not doing that could move the dial and make a difference. It’s the confronting actions we resist that could produce the breakthrough we so desperately crave.
3. Procrastination can be ass-kicked! At any moment we have the power to quit a mind-numbing, time-crunching, useless habit and choose where to give our complete attention.
4. Your Choice: Stand up on your own two feet and declare, “this I shall do!” Or, continue to vacillate in indecision and wallow in the mire.
Important because in the heat of the hoopla, never forget who you are as a crazy, creative artist/entrepreneur. And lean-in to all the experiences you’ve had, the knowledge you’ve acquired, the talents and skills you’ve learned, and your unique ability to create, invent or dance your way out of any challenging situation.
I’ve published 739-blogs in the past 573-weeks. And with great respect to all the Dad’s in my readership, I’ve decided to re-post the one blog that has generated the most feedback more than any other by far! Happy Father’s Day!
This July 30th would have been the 39th birthday of my awesome stepdaughter Michele. It reminds me of the time I had the great opportunity to teach her how to dive off the board into the pool. She was 9 years old. She could dive off the side of the pool real easy, however head first off the board was a different conversation. Over and over she would come to that place that we’re all familiar with: the very edge of the diving board, with her toes hanging off the very end, shivering with a combination of fear and cold. I kept encouraging her, and reassuring her that she was a great swimmer and she could do it. However the voice in her head convinced her she couldn’t.
Finally after so many failed attempts and aborted efforts, she was once again on the edge. I had run out of pleasantries and supportive slogans, and finally I just said, “Fuck it Michele, just dive in the pool!” She looked at me shocked, like I had just committed the mortal sin of a lifetime. Then she looked at the water, looked back at me, and dove off the board. Of course as soon as she poked her head out of the water I hugged and praised her like she just won an academy award. She was thrilled, I was proud and when the summer sun finally set in the backyard, it was a milestone day to remember.
There are only a few words or slogans that provide so much wisdom and provoke so much action: “One day at a time,” “Be Here Now,” “Live and let live.” However “Fuck It” has a certain finality to it. It’s loaded with power and filled with commitment. To finally arrive at “Fuck It” is to finally get to that place where procrastinating has lost its lure, fear has loosened its grip, frustration is at its highest peak, and pettiness is something you are no longer willing to put up with. To finally arrive at “Fuck It” means that your commitment to the task at hand is now resolute.
Important because it just could be that the phrase “Fuck It” is the secret password that finally opens the door, and provides the breakthrough that will push that big idea, project or desire to the next level and beyond. Not like an angry profanity, more like a determined resolve.
Sinners Among Us
I’m fortunate to work and consult with a clientele of successful, committed, intelligent, talented, artists and entrepreneurs. However, the conversations at the deep end of the pool are not always focused on their success but rather their sins. Here are ten examples of the sins that we artists & treps consistently commit against ourselves:
— Resisting raising the bar too high because that would equal more time-crunching responsibility.
— Allowing the dramatic breaking news of the day to invade our creative thought-space and slow the progress of our goals, projects and dreams.
— Permitting pettiness to invade our to-do list.
— Faking it.
— Working so hard, for so long, for fleeting results has become the new normal.
— Dragging our feet until the interest in a worthwhile project fades to black.
— Setting attainable goals instead of impossible ones.
— Continuing to placate and put up with the uncooperative, unhelpful, ineffective or righteous ways of others at such an emotional, physical and monetary cost to you and your goals.
— Resisting change as if it were the enemy.
— Knowing exactly where High Street is, but constantly choosing Easy St..
Important because there are persistent “personal” challenges in the daily lives of pro, independent, creative artists and entrepreneurs that are worth enduring in order to advance forward, and forgiving yourself is one of them.
Reading The Room
The reason your followers are not buying more of what you’re offering, is not because they don’t understand your pitch, it’s because you don’t understand theirs!
Important because be the genius artist/trep who is not afraid to read the room, and lean in to what is truly wanted and needed by the folks you’re trying to help, impress, or sell, then provide more of that. Not like giving in, more like letting go.
Slowly I Crept Step by Step
“It was in Niagara Falls! Slowly I turned, and step by step, inch by inch, I walked up to him and I smashed him like that…and bonked him like this…”
That was a classic Three Stooges bit that is embedded in my bones forever! It also reminds me of how fast we progress when we slowly chip away, inch by inch, at our most important goals and dreams:
Author, Stephen Pressfield says to devote one committed hour a day to your book, script, treatment or songwriting, and before you know it, you’ll be pitching your project.
Pro guitar coach, Tony Polecastro says to devote a minimum of ten committed minutes a day to learning a guitar part (or any instrument), and in a very short time you’ll have exceeded your goals.
Marketing/business leader, Seth Godin says to block out thirty committed minutes a day to work on your biggest dream project, and before you know it you’ll be liv’n the dream.
My physical therapist says 20-minutes a day on the bike will help soothe my aching knee (ouch!)
My meditation guru, Swami Muktananda said 30-minutes, every day, in silent meditation will relieve stress, and quiet my anxious mind (I’ve been a daily meditator for over 30-years! Yikes!)
Important because as crazy, genius, artist/treps, we should devote a “committed” amount of time every day to those specific, worthy activities that clear our foggy brains, quiet our chattering minds, nourish our hungry souls, and move our biggest impossible dreams, quicker and further up the road toward completion.