More Better Different

More suggests that it’s overflowing with goodness.
Better suggests that it’s a cut above the rest.
Different suggests that it’s not in the same category as the others.

The problem is, the MBD formula lives in the same box that you started with. All you’re doing is rewriting and revising that which you already created in the past—which is really the same o’l, same o’l, only with a different color paint.

Important because instead of constantly rehashing the “More Better Different” formula, why not attempt to push the envelope, follow your intuition, and experiment with what hasn’t been done before?

-Kinda like what Van Gough did with impressionism and Picasso did with realism.
-Kinda like what Dylan did when he went electric.
-Kinda like The Beatles, Alanis, Eminem, Madonna, Prince, Puffy, U2, JZ, Bocelli, Beyonce, Miles, or Spike Lee.
-Kinda like what Amanda Gorman did at the inaugural.
-Kinda like what Tyler Perry said at the Oscars.

Lead Me Not Into Temptation

Most of us artists, entrepreneurs and crazy geniuses are endlessly tempted and repeatedly drawn to veer off the main highway and take a bumpy ride on the road less traveled. That’s because we are beholden to a relentless inner muse who’s only purpose is to inspire us with a tempting stream of alternative possibilities, encourage us to keep pushing the envelope, and convince us that over there is better than over here. Which can often be an exciting adventure for the short trip, but a costly detour for the long haul.

Important because there’s a fix: It’s okay to say “hell no” to the spontaneous, whimsical moods of our crazy muse.

One big, final push!

In his brilliantly written story “The Will To Victory,” master novelist Stephen Pressfield tells a story of the great Theban general, Epaminondas, who was destined to fight a great battle with the notorious Spartans, at Leuctra in 371 B.C.

On the eve of the infamous battle, Epaminondas called his weary, beaten warriors together and sadly told them that they may lose tomorrow because no army has ever beaten the great Spartans. However, he could guarantee victory if they would obey just one command, all at the exact same time, at the exact instant he issued it. His devoted soldiers of course clamored: “Yes! Yes! Tell us what you want!” The general confided: “When you hear my trumpet tomorrow, give me just one more foot. Do you understand…summon all of your strength and push the foe back, just one foot.”

The dawn came and the battle began. The two armies locked up, sword to sword, shield against shield, in the center of the fighting field. Both sides were heaving and pushing, seeking to gain the advantage. Swords were clanging, shields were crashing, and blood was spurting. Epaminondas sat atop of his black stallion and watched and waited. Endless minutes passed. The warriors’ legs were cramping, their knees gave out, but still both sides shoved and strained against each other, trying to break their opponent’s will. Finally the moment of supreme exhaustion came. Epaminondas sounded the trumpet. His warriors remembered their promise of the night before; they summoned their final reserves of strength and pushed the Spartans back with all their might, just one foot. That did it! The enemy ranks broke! The battle was won!

Important because artists and entrepreneurs fight similar inner battles of impending defeat whenever they are faced with an overwhelming challenge. It’s those gut-wrenching times when you battle toe-to-toe with an unbeatable foe or a challenging calamity that could make or break your next move. That’s the time to ask yourself: “Can I give it one, big, final push forward…just one more foot?”

Tweak Your Antenna

More often than not pro artists and treps commit to projects that leave them stuck and trapped, and finding the door out ain’t always easy! That’s why it’s important to keep your antenna tweaked, and to remain conscious, aware and vigilant of those signs, intuitions and fleeting coincidences that tell us when it’s time to change direction, alter our course or toss in the towel.

Important because while “never quit” may be our mantra, there are times when moving on and letting go is the only real intelligent thing to do—so we can recover, regroup, reorganize and reinvent a new game.

A Gold Star For You!

I loved the way that gold star looked at the top of my homework or test paper. Even more, I loved the way it felt. Mostly because all through my schooling gold stars were far and few between. I rarely got one, so when I did, it really mattered a lot. It said I did something good. It said on this particular project I was smart and it made me feel like I was part of an elite group, which made me want to do better. That rare, fleeting gold star made me feel like I was okay.

Oprah said for twenty five years of The Oprah Show, during the commerical breaks, every single celebrity guest would always ask her: “Was that okay? Did I do okay?” She then upped the ante and said, “Every one of them ask me that question, with no exceptions!”

Important because all we really want, even more than money, is to be assured we’re okay, and recognized for our hard work. Just a simple “atta boy” or “you go girl” makes a huge difference. Because the truth is, those acknowledgements are far and few between. That’s why the great swamis and sages always say, “Give that which you seek.” If it’s money you want, give more. If it’s acknowledgement you want, start complementing others, and keep the abundance of the universe circulating in your life. Not like a ploy to get more for you. More like a simple “tip of the hat” to those who walk the rocky road less traveled…like you do.

You’re Safe Here

“What if I Screw Up?” You’re going to, eventually, if you haven’t already. You’re going to lose money, lose fans, lose customers, lose confidence and lose the poker game. You’re also going to make big stupid mistakes, embarrass yourself in front of your friends and family, and be forced to start over. Not only that, you’re going to freeze with indecision, flinch when you should fly, procrastinate instead of progress, and invent excuses to keep moving important work to the “later” file.

This does not happen to everyone. It only happens to risk takers, thrill-seekers and those who are curious enough to venture out onto the skinny branches. Namely, artists, entrepreneurs and creative geniuses.

And you can blame the pandemic or those who propelled it, but that’s not important. What’s more important is how you fix it. What’s your recovery plan? Your rescue mission? Your fail-safe strategy? Your mea culpa?

Truth is, after your big crash, you should be stronger, wiser, more experienced and a lot closer to where you want to go. Still consumed with uncertainty, but filled with just enough crazy curiosity to take forward steps. In fact, if you’re smart, the choices you make after the darkness passes should put you ahead of the pack. And ahead of the pack is where jaws drop, doors open and hits happen. It’s also where extraordinary lives.

Important because fortunately, artists and entrepreneurs are blessed with an amazing ability to create their way out of crummy circumstances, turn failures into a life-experience, and transform a stalled career into an amazing comeback. Which is exactly what many pro artists and treps are doing right now, as the pandemic begins to slowly peter out, and opportunities in our industry begin to quickly ramp up. So release your self-doubt and embrace your self-confidence. Because you are part of the only industry on earth that welcomes you and all your faux pas with open arms. You’re safe here, to fail and succeed as often as necessary. Because the truth is, there’s work to be done…yours.

The Hare-brained Easter Bunny

The Easter Bunny may be cute and funny, however she’s not always soft and sweet (like candy).

In the popular children’s fableThe Tortoise and the Hare, the tortoise is smart, clever, and determined to win the race. However the rabbit is an overbearing bully, who teases, torments and ridicules the slow-moving snapper, which makes the leatherback more determined than ever to devise a plan to win the race.

As the story goes, the arrogant, boastful hare is so over-confident of winning the race, she lets down her guard, allows herself to be distracted, and pauses to daydream. The tortoise however, is committed, with his eye firmly fixed on the prize. So he continues to advance, one step at a time, without allowing distractions to steal his focus, and finally wins the race.

Important because a plan of action that’s too over confident and puffed up with pride and posturing is more prone to failure. While a plan that disallows distraction, sets a diligent pace, and progresses slowly and intelligently will eventually reach the finish line.

More important because the truth is, the hare-brained Easter Bunny really is a lovable character, and does have a big heart. And if we are good, she will show us her gentle, generous side by leaving behind a sweet surprise every year.

You’re Headed in the Right Direction

Your plight is no different than any other successful artist or entrepreneur who constantly questions and doubts her own abilities, and who is confronted every day by the armies of distraction, resistance and uncertainty. The prudent wage earner knows that the road he’s on will lead him to a predictable destination. However, YOU walk the road less traveled. Uncertain of where it will lead, yet somehow confident you’re headed in the right direction.

Thank God every day that you chose this path in your life; the daring, independent life of a creative artist—no matter how challenging it is. Because the alternative can be an endless traffic-jam of mediocrity—no matter how appealing it looks.

Important because “The road to success is always under construction!”—Lily Tomlin

Cheese Whiz

If you remain rigid, steadfast and firm, hoping there’s still enough life left in the old ways of marketing your music, promoting your art or rebuilding your business, then you probably think there’s still enough life left in your iPhone 6. Huh?

If you constantly run down the same old worn out rows of the maze, over and over, expecting that this time you’ll find the cheese, then you’re probably still under the illusion that even though all of your effort and struggle has produced bupkis, what you’re doing is still right. Huh?

Important because holding on to old world thinking and resisting the rise of a new world order will only lead to the slow, depressing decline of your business, the disheartening decay of your independent creative career, and an ego-busting, confidence crushing, humiliating shortage of cheese in your life.

Drift From The Shallow

Drift away from shallow projects, shallow conversations and shallow thinking. Maybe even shallow people too. That’s because there’s nothing more exhilarating then diving into the deep end of the pool where the projects we commit to test our mettle, and those honest, enlightening conversations we have with other pro artists and treps remind us that when we find ourselves slipping down a paltry, petty, pointless, time-crunching rabbit hole, we always have the choice, at any moment, to simply slam on the brakes and turn the other direction.

Important because listen to David Bowie as he whispers to us from the other side: “You should always go a little further into the water than you feel you’re capable of. Go a little out of your depth, and when you don’t feel that your feet are quite touching the bottom, you’re just about in the right place to do something exciting.”

How to Become an Outlier

Outliers create worthy art and commerce out of nothing, from stardust. They create words that provoke us to think deeper, music that demands we listen over and over, visuals that we simply must share with others, and stellar performances that are worthy of multiple accolades. They also create products and services that fly way above the same o’l same o’l.

Here’s how to begin such a quest:

1. Create a clear vision of where you’re headed. However, take down the goal posts and keep the final destination open to unknown, unlimited possibilities. Back that up with a bulldog  determination, and allow yourself to follow the steady tug toward curiosity. Like that time Steve Jobs said, “If you are working on something really exciting, something worthy that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed…the vision will pull you.”

2. Be crazy committed. Ruthless. No plan B. More like a knowing than a wishing. So committed that it’s effortless. Absence of doubt, with a cocky attitude. Like that time Freddie Mercury said, “I won’t be a rockstar, I will be a legend.”

3. Focus on craft. Master that one special talent or quality you have that no one else has. That  raw essence of who you are and what you do. Aim for being the best in the world at that! Like that time Snoop Dogg said, “If it’s flipping hamburgers at McDonald’s, be the best hamburger flipper in the world. Whatever it is you do you have to master your craft.”

4. The best hedge against the distraction of competition (inner and outer), is to wear permanent blinders. That’s why they put blinders on racehorses. If they get distracted by who’s on the left or right they lose a step. That’s why Secretariat (the worlds greatest racehorse), never ran a race without them. That’s why Emily Dickinson seldom read other poets, except for Emerson and Whitman, saying that she simply needed to write without the distractions from other people.

5. Embrace your naiveté. Like procrastination is not even on your radar because you’re too busy progressing. Like tossing in the towel is a concept you just can’t grasp. Like that time Idowu Koyenikan said, “At the end, someone or something always gives up. It is either you give up, or the obstacle or failure gives up and makes way for your success to come through.”

6. Create work that you don’t think will make a difference, you know it will. Create work that surprises the heck out of you, and makes your insides smile. Create work that you can’t take credit for because you know it came through you, not from you.

Important because the most important part of being an outlier is an absence of formula. No rules, predicts, guardrails or manuals. Not even a net. Outliers hold on to the trapeze for dear life with their fingertips. Like that time Alex Honnold climbed Half Dome in Yosemite with just his fingers and toes; no ropes, leads or sherpas. Why would you settle for anything less? Don’t you know there is an outlier already embedded in your bones?

The Thorns in Our Work

I know it can be frustrating, I get frustrated too. However, frustration is a sign that you’re working really hard, mentally and physically, on something worthy of your talent and deserving of your creative expertise.

I know it can be doubtful and uncertain. I mostly reside in uncertainty too. However, while certainty may point to a tried ‘n true predictable outcome, uncertainty points to alternative options and unlimited possibilities.

I know it can be costly, I’ve been there too. However, if what you’re going for is worthwhile, and if what you’re trying to achieve not only benefits you, but also everyone involved, including your fans, clients and customers, then the payoff is worth the cost, and the ROI is priceless.

I know it can be defeating, I have felt the agony of defeat too. However, defeat shows that you’re on the playing field—where victory lives. You’re not just on the sidelines hoping to get into the game.

Important because if you get stuck by one of these thorns it’s not because you were careless. On the contrary, it’s because you were reaching for a higher branch.

Skid Marks & Donuts

Not the kind of skid marks you’re thinking about. I’m taking about the kind you leave on the pavement as you’re flooring it or slamming on the breaks.

When you’re flooring it you realize something so profound you just have to get on it as fast as you can.

Same thing when your slamming on the breaks. You realize something so profound that you must immediately come to a screeching halt to avoid a catastrophe.

However, donuts are good too! When you’re doing donuts, driving around in circles, you’re in a holding pattern, like the planes at LAX; gathering smart intel, watching for an opportunity, waiting to make your move. The journey may make you dizzy, but the experience will make you wiser.

Important because skid marks are actually tangible evidence that you were so aware and conscious, and your radar was so fined tuned that you were able to make a smart snap decision in the face of advancing opportunity or impending doom. Donuts are also good for dunk’n.

3-Pokes That Will Help Make it All Better

Revisit your circle of influence. We’re a unique tribe of independent, creative thinkers. And it’s empowering and motivating to have regular, deep conversations with other like-minded artists and entrepreneurs who are confronted with similar concerns, share similar goals and experience similar angst. And if we can’t find any like-minded peers, then we need to manifest or create a regular, on-going conversation with a personal confident or experienced mentor who understands our industry and the creative hoopla we go thru, and has the wisdom and foresight to bounce back our options, possibilities and crazy ideas.

Remain Flexible, lighthearted and ready. Flexible like an athlete able to turn on a dime. Lighthearted like the new kid on the block, instead of the grumpy grown-up across the street. Ready, willing and able to finally let go of that which only serves one, and begin to embrace that which serves everyone.

Take It Personally: Work every single day to improve and get “crazy great” at what you do (even if you’ve been doing it forever). Then do the deep research and raise your awareness to a level where you can clearly see the big picture of how our industry is changing today. Then find that place inside yourself where nothing is impossible and steer the ship from there. Not like new age magic, more like intelligent foresight.

Important because just like shifting the camera angle, ever so slightly, changes the entire POV of the scene, we are always just one small adjustment away from changing our circumstances and rewriting our future.

Clear Thinking at the Worst Time

Clear thinking is logical, it’s predictable, it’s unsurprising and it’s rational. It can also stifle your creativity and dam up your constant free-flowing stream of crazy, genius ideas.

When we’re in the throes of working on a scene, composing music, writing a book, directing a video or painting a picture, the outcome is NEVER clear. In fact, it’s usually foggy, and filled with indecision, hesitation, frustration and doubt.

Important because the very last thing we want when we’re in the zone of creating, designing or inventing, is to be clear thinking. On the contrary, the very first thing we want is to be open-minded.

Rewrite!

Rewrite your work.

Rewrite your career.

Rewrite your goals.

Rewrite yourself out of a trap.

Rewrite yourself more options.

Rewrite your circle of influence.

Rewrite yourself out of the worst of times.

Rewrite yourself into the best of times.

Important because we artist and entrepreneurs are the writers and authors of our own destiny. Others gladly hand that job over to a higher-up. But we can rewrite our lives as many times as we want. Until it feels right. Until it feels like the truth. Until it feels like home. Not like a formula to make it, more like the freedom to choose it.

By When?

That question was asked, uttered, mumbled, whispered or shouted by someone scurrying through the halls of our publishing company nearly every day for decades. It’s the single most effective and inspiring motivator I know. And everyone wants an answer to that question but no one wants to commit!

Every stand you take and every claim you stake should include a “by when?” Or the conversation holds no accountability, it carries no liability, and it downgrades what was just said to a half-baked idea!

Important because nothing says commitment like “by when?” Not like a rigid deadline, more like one component of an intelligent plan.

Self Obstruction

One of the many things we’ve learned about our democracy over the years is the destructive side of filibusters. Which is the use of obstructive tactics to hamstring progress and prevent the adoption of a measure, bill, or new idea.

Makes me think that not only do politicians prevent each others ideas from happening, we do it to ourselves too. If you’re stalling to start, continue or complete a project, or if you are obstructing, or standing in the way of your own clear path to progress, then you are deliberately sabotaging your goals, undermining your dreams, and filibustering your own worthy ideas! Huh?

Important because in Washington, it takes 60 senate votes to break a filibuster. In your world it only takes one.

Dodge Ball

Dodge the distractions not the work.

Important because as long as we keep doing those things we really don’t need to do, we’ll always be able to dodge those things we really should be doing.

New Beginnings

Most folks are calling 2021 a new beginning. However, artists & treps are used to new beginnings. It’s where we live every day. If the music isn’t right we keep rehearsing. If the painting isn’t right we paint over it. If business slows down we upgrade what works and downgrade what doesn’t. If the words aren’t right we rip the page out of the typewriter and start over. Huh?

Important because as crazy creatives, starting over is what we do every single day. Heck, we slam on the breaks much more often than we floor it, and we frantically flap our wings much more often then we cruise! And while some are prepping for a new beginning, to an artist/trep it’s just another opportunity to improve our work, rethink our strategy, hone our craft, and nose-dive back into the deep end of the pool right where we left off.

The Hill We Climb

Performance poet Amanda Gorman, a 22-year-old Los Angeles native, performed her poem “The Hill We Climb” as part of President Joe Biden’s Inauguration Day ceremony. Gorman is the youngest inaugural poet laureate in history. And she’s one of us, an artist/trep!

“When day comes we ask ourselves, where can we find light in this never-ending shade?”

She’s an artist because like you, she is gifted with that non-stop, perpetual streaming download of spontaneous inspiration and great ideas. She’s an entrepreneur because like you, she carries the responsibility of pushing her work and talent into the world, and must bear the consequences of that constant battle cry of doubt and resistance between her ears. And just like you, as she stepped away from the mic, she watched the faces in the crowd, for any sign of disappointment. Instead, she saw a roaring standing ovation. Of course you know all this, because you live in the same hood she does.

“We will not march back to what was, but move forward to what shall be”

Amanda is an outlier, a Beatle, a mold breaker. Her words and how she performs them stand out and apart from the dinosaur poet laureate’s of yesteryear. That’s what outliers do, they break the mold, drop jaws, raise eyebrows and cause normal folks to say, “oh my!”

“So while once we asked how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe, now we assert: How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us.”

Important because when one of us artists/treps shines so brightly, it provokes all of us to up our game.

This Boring Life

The pandemic has introduced a new creative challenge for unwitting artists & treps to deal with: Boredom!

Whaaat? Artists & treps never get bored! Our minds are too active, our imagination too wild, and our non stop stream of great ideas & creative solutions never runs dry!

Still, a few creatives I work with are asking the question: What the heck am I supposed to do with something I’ve never experienced before?
Answer: Shift your POV.

Think of boredom as an opportunity. Because without boredom our minds could not wander and our imagination could not run free. Without it there would be no empty space for new ideas to reveal themselves. Without it our fantasies would be fleeting, our daydreams would be dampened, and the light bulb over our head would be forever dim.

Important because without our new buddy boredom we would not ask the question “What should I work on next?”

5 Prompts, Pokes & Prods

I wrote 55 blogs & stories this past year; some great, some so-so, but each of them had a prompt, a poke or a prod. Here are 5-nuggets I pulled out of my 2020 archives to help inspire you to keep your head in the game, keep your mask on your face, and keep pushing that boulder up the mountain. By the way…never forget…the boulder is real, the mountain is an illusion.

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) Assess Your Strategy. If you continue to repeat the same work habits or marketing  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 growing will eventually begin to dwindle…just when you were expecting it to peak. Not budging from your tired old strategy is a lousy strategy.

3) 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.

4) 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.

5) 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.

Important because 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!

I’m Not So Sure

It’s a powerful honest statement. 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.

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

No true artist or entrepreneur is ever sure, even when we say the work is finished! It doesn’t matter if we’re composing music, writing a script, shooting a scene, or making a risky business decision. “Certainty” is yet another obstacle to greatness. And when we remain willfully and confidently unsure of the outcome, even a little, that leaves us wide open to unseen opportunities and unlimited possibilities.

Important because there are no sure bets when it comes to creating art or manifesting big dreams. In fact, originality demands an absence of certainty. And if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that it’s okay to proceed (confidently) with uncertainty leading the way.

Two Geniuses

Somewhere in the world an exceptionally talented artist or entrepreneur, with much to contribute, wakes up in the morning to hesitation and uncertainty. However, even though the resistance is strong and the doubts are convincing, she knows that in order to succeed she needs to be a fully confident and committed participant in the game. So she proceeds to her creative space determined to do her best work.

Somewhere in the world an equally exceptionally talented artist or entrepreneur with much to contribute, wakes up in the morning and is hesitant to proceed, vacillates in indecision, and is secretly doubtful he has what it takes. He permits impatience to set his pace and distraction to steal his focus. So he proceeds to his creative space dubious and disordered.

Both are equally talented and have much to contribute. Both have doubt. Both have fear. Both are uncertain about the future. However only one is committed.

Important because “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy and the chance to draw back. Therefore, concerning all acts of (creativity) there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and plans: that the moment one commits oneself, then providence moves too.” — W. H. Murray, Scottish mountain climber, writer, artist.

4 Things You’ll Need in 2021

1. Your advisory board. Those few people (or that one person) in your life who you can count on, confide in and consult with for opinion, perspective, and inspiration. It doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned actor, a successful songwriter, an independent artist, or a savvy CEO, the last person you should consult when you’re stuck in indecision or faced with arduous options is YOU! You may be the one in the trenches, however the benefits of running the details by a knowledgable mentor, assures clarity, diminishes doubt, and provides the confidence necessary to make a wise decision.

2. Your incomplete to-do list of unfinished tasks, abandoned goals and postponed projects. Add to that your wildest dreams and strongest desires. They lead, you follow.

3. Your unique abilities, exceptional talents, impossible ideas, and that uncommon quirk that no one else in the world has but you. Without them you’re toast! Add to that, the 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. You’ll need some form of secure, digital proof that you got the vaccine. No matter who you are, what you do, or what you believe, you’ll undoubtedly be working with others, whether it’s in the studio, on the set, or in the board room. And trusting the health of those around you will now be a required asset. At this moment, several tech companies, including Apple, Google and Microsoft, are scrambling to create apps that would include vaccine and coronavirus testing info. Plus, a digital vaccine passport for travelers will soon be introduced by the International Air Transport Association. (Source: Healthline, Washington Post, CDC).

Important because the only thing you won’t need in 2021 is proof that you survived 2020.

The Nag!

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

Important because without the coaxing of the Nag, we’d never get anything done!

Rearranging The Furniture

It is now apparent that the dark cloud that has hung over our lives in 2020 will finally be obliterated with a painless, double shot of much needed hope! And many of the artist and treps I know are celebrating by rearranging their furniture, slapping paint on the walls and redesigning their creative space to clear out the dark energy and make room for new exciting projects in 2021.

It makes me think that you can redesign your studio with the coolest gear and the latest technology, and surround yourself with awards, citations, gold statues and platinum records. You can even create a cool creative vibe in your space with inspiring posters, meaningful artifacts and memorable chachkies. However, it’s your greatest ideas that will ultimately be the most imposing energy in the room, and your most important unfinished work will be screaming at you the minute you set foot in the door!

Important because when you take a look at the genius, brilliance and talent that has come out of small, dusty garages (from tech giants to rock stars), it becomes evident that your great ideas and biggest dreams could care less whether you do your work in a small cubicle, a dusty garage or an elaborate studio. The only thing your best ideas want is to become meaningful, relevant and alive in the world.

The Crack in Our Head

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 cracks, and actually find enough peace of mind 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 urgencies and there are no openings to be found anywhere.

However, what I’ve come to learn is that manipulating our busy schedule is easy, because most of us artists & treps have our own favorite software, or built-in time-management system that helps us triage the storms of the day. But finding that time to contemplate, create and manifest our imaginative ideas, can be illusive.

Important because the cracks we 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 frantic thoughts, just long enough to slip through the cracks and experience that illusive, creative peace of mind, is to sit in a private space, for 10-20 minutes, close my eyes, and allow the cracks between my thoughts to open up effortlessly, so that I can slowly slip into the deep end of the pool. And for over 30-years, the balance I’ve found in my life between the hoopla of showbiz and the silence of my soul is astounding. I’m not sure who I would be without this one simple, daily practice in my life. As Leonard Cohen would say, “that’s where the light gets in.”

The Big Shift

Nothing is more damaging to a career, destructive to a business, or catastrophic to a creative spirit than an inability to pivot, an unwillingness to change, or a resistance to remain flexible. Especially when our comfort zone, and the circumstances that we are accustom to suddenly collapse and shift.

Important because the way we have always dealt with our industry, our business, our careers and our world is in the midst of a massive paradigm shift. And by definition, “a paradigm shift calls into question the rock-solid assumptions on which the previous paradigm existed.” And shrugging our shoulders at the many new eccentric ideas and unique possibilities that are currently swirling around between our ears, will continue to make it harder to thrive during this big shift.

Headspace

Narrow the influence of the narrow minded.
Quiet the mantra of toxic chatter.
Reject the attraction of pointless distraction.
Resist the temptation to aimlessly click.

Important because artists and treps need all the clear, headspace we can get.

2021 Posts