The Grand Chasm

When you stand on the southern edge of the Grand Canyon you can clearly see the dangerous, rocky, risky, steep, treacherous hike it would take to get to the other side. An ominous trek indeed.

That said, if someone pointed across the dangerous, rocky terrain to the other side and said:

“Look…that’s where your big goals and dreams are! That’s where you’re headed! And hiking from here to there is your only chance!”

Your jaw would drop, your eyebrows would raise and you may say something like: “No way! Are you kidding me! How do you expect me to get there? There must be an easier way!”

Important because the good news is there is no chasm between us and our big goals. It just looks that way from our doubting POV. And while many amateurs look across the imaginary chasm to the other side and say, “there must be an easier way,” the pros are excited by the challenge and committed to the adventure. They research all the possibilities, consult with experienced advisors, and muster up the confidence to stand on the very edge of the great (illusionary) divide that (appears) to separate them from where they are now, to where they want to go, and proclaim “This I shall Do!” And once that happens, the entire universe bows at their feet!

“There is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: That the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves, too.” —William H. Murray—Forbes

Resisting Simplicity

– What project (or projects) are screaming at you to be started, refined, clarified, or completed?

– What confronting issues need to be addressed, before you can move forward?

– What are you avoiding that you know you should be pursuing?

– What is the truth that continuously whispers to you from deep within, that gets drowned out by all the other noise?

Important because there’s a mighty resistance that bubbles up when we artists & treps confront these simple questions. (Read them again…)

It’ll Be Just Like Starting Over

So many folks are calling 2022 a “new beginning.” However, artists & treps are used to new beginnings. It’s where we live every day. If the music isn’t right or the scene has a bug, we record another take. If the painting isn’t right, we paint over it. If our business slides off the rails we upgrade what works and downgrade what doesn’t. If the words aren’t right, we rewrite them, because writing is rewriting, and our showbiz careers are nothing more than a series of daily rewrites, upgrades, do-overs, fresh starts and new beginnings!

Important because as crazy creatives, we slam on the breaks much more often than we floor it, and we frantically flap our wings much more often than we cruise! And while others are making resolutions for a new year, 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, where our comfort zone is!

“It’s time to spread our wings and fly
Don’t let another day go by my love
It’ll be just like starting over…”

— John Lennon

Ten Prompts

I wrote 56 blogs & stories this past year, some good, some so-so. However, each one had a prompt, a poke or a prod. Here are ten gems I pulled from the archives to help inspire both of us to keep our eye on the prize, and our hearts running way ahead of our head:

1. When one of us artists/treps produces work that reaches so high, and shines so bright, it provokes all of us to up our game.

2. While these may be tough times for the “prudent,” who busy themselves with the process of getting it right, these are golden times for the “audacious,” who busy themselves with the process of testing new ideas, taking creative risks, and inventing new ways to get their best work out there, any way they can.

3. 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!

4. Chasing your dreams around in another location doesn’t guarantee you’ll catch them, it just expands the circumference of the chase. You’re still you. And no matter how far you go to run down your dream, you’ll still be you.

5. 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. Amateurs eventually get defeated and toss in the towel. Pro artists & treps just get frustrated and keep working.

6. “Clear thinking” is logical, predictable, unsurprising and rational. It can also stifle your creativity and dam up your constant free-flowing stream of crazy, genius ideas. Therefore, the very last thing we want when we’re in the zone of creating, designing or inventing, is to be clear thinking.

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

8. Bringing in outside thinking, like a mentor, a thought partner, or an insightful coach, always moves the ball. They provide a unique POV which sparks creativity, ignites innovation, jumpstarts enthusiasm and offers a new perspective on challenging career choices and business decisions. When you’re stuck at the crossroads, ask for direction.

9. Remain aware, awake, mindful and conscious! Have your thoughts, words, actions and heart all moving in the same direction!

10. The most important part of being an “outlier” is an absence of formula. Outliers follow no rules, predicts, manuals or guidelines. Outliers hold on to the trapeze for dear life as they fly without a net! Like that time in 2017, when Alex Honnold climbed the 7500 ft. granite monolith “El Capitan” in Yosemite, with just his fingertips 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?

Important because to dream the impossible dream means we need to fight the unbeatable foe. Which means we need to be willing to march into hell for heavenly cause, no matter how hopeless no matter how far!

A Pointless Pursuit

Everything that makes our awesome, creative, entrepreneurial lives exceptional and worthy, including: our razor-sharp intuition, penetrating insight, spontaneous inspiration, and sudden light bulbs over the head, are all threatened every time we choose to pointlessly and repeatedly rummage the Net, fish Facebook, re-check stats or refresh the news ad nauseam. It’s a fool’s errand, that fools us into thinking we’re actually accomplishing something. Plus, it takes us down a time-crunching rabbit hole, that keeps us that much further away from where we want to go.

Important because on the one hand, I do realize the significant value that distraction provides in our creative process. On the other hand, we need to remind ourselves that unless it has a point, it’s a pointless pursuit.

This Should Be Easy

Whatever it is you’re doing or want to do, you have three choices: Bolt. Dig in. Procrastinate.

Important because if you bolt, it’s game-over. If you dig in, you have a chance to create and manifest something special, something worthy of your efforts and beneficial and rewarding for you and all those involved. If you continue to procrastinate, it will most likely start to stress you out and cause anxiety or depression. Especially if others are involved, or your goals and dreams are at stake. Like I said, this should be easy.

The Long And Winding Road

Pro artists & treps know that objectives are not linear, and our ultimate destination is not a straight shot to the land of milk and honey. It’s mostly a long and winding road. Like California State Route 1, Pacific Coast Highway heading north to Big Sur. It’s a 60-mile stretch of switchback turns, dangerous cliffs, frequent landslides, unpredictable dead ends, blinding fog and multiple distractions along the way. It’s also one of the most beautiful drives on earth!

Rules for driving the road less traveled:
If you get distracted, re-focus your sights on the destination.
If you run into blinding fog, pull over and wait it out.
If you reach a dead end, turn around and find another way.
If you come to an unmarked crossroads, follow your intuition.
If you get stuck or lost, ask for guidance.
When you’re at wit’s end and out of options, create another option.

Important because like I said, from an artist/trep POV, the road less traveled is one of the most beautiful rides on earth!

Puzzles & Promises

It doesn’t matter if you’re an actor, a writer, a working musician or a successful CEO, all you need to start your next big project are two things:

1) A clear vision of exactly where you want to go and what you intend to achieve.
2) A ruthless promise (to yourself and others) that you will get there.

You don’t need to know how you’re going to get there.
You don’t need to know how you’re going to pay for it.
You don’t need to know who’s going with you.
You don’t even need to know how much, how many, or how come?

You just need to stand tall on your own two feet, point a steady finger in the direction you want to go and make an unbreakable promise that “come hell or high water” you’ll get there.

Important because to the degree your destination is clear, and to the degree you keep your promises, to that degree all the important details will noticeably reveal themselves along the way. Not like hopeful positive thinking, more like constructing a tabletop puzzle.

The Ball

Serving the master of convenience does not move the ball down the court.

Important because the “ball” is what’s most important to you. The court is the rocky road less traveled. The only thing that moves the ball down the court is your courageous commitment to reach the goal, and the intelligent choices & decisions you make to get there.

Dancing With Facts

Fact checking is in my DNA. Of all the books, magazines, seminars and workshops I’ve produced and published in the past three decades, none have contained any gossip, rumor or hearsay.

Back in the day, my editorial team and I would gather the info, expel the gossip, analyze the data, poke the evidence, and explore all the possibilities. Then, we would debate the downside, dispute the upside, argue our point, and consider all possible POV’s. Then, I would make a decision.

That said, once you’ve done the homework and you’ve finally gathered all the facts in any situation, whether it’s a business opportunity or a personal challenge, it becomes much easier to make intelligent choices and wise decisions. When you’re faced with the facts, you may not like what you see, but you’re forced to work with them and discover ways to keep moving forward (whereas hearsay will send you down a endless rabbit hole).

And that’s what you and I and other pro artists & treps do every day. We are constantly challenged to concoct creative ways to use the facts we are presented with to keep us progressing forward, in our careers and personal lives.

Important because over the years I’ve learned that facts don’t always kill the deal, however they do always up the ante. That said, when you’re working with others, requesting factual information in any career decision or personal situation is imperative. If that doesn’t work, insisting may help.

While we’re on the subject, this is one of my favorite books: “Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World” by Hans Rosling

Self Inquiry

If you’ve put in your 10k hours, mastered your craft, racked up a history of experiences and have become such an expert in your field you could teach it, but you still haven’t grabbed the brass ring…

If you’ve met so many influential, industry insiders and have an impressive list of contacts and connections, but you still have not broken through…

And if you’ve achieved an impressive level of success in your career but you still haven’t come close to achieving your biggest dreams, then what you’re left with are the stories you tell yourself (and others) about why you haven’t arrived yet.

Sadly, once you start believing the stories and excuses you tell yourself, and once you start to build a case for the extra work you have to do and the radical actions you have to take just to stay relevant, then you’re either looking at the beginning of the end game, or a lot more of the same o’l, same o’l.

Why? Because you’re looking in the wrong direction! The problem is not out there, it’s in here! And no matter how much you try and breakthrough the walls out there, and no matter how much experience you have, knowledge you’ve acquired, or wisdom you’ve attained, you’re still the same person you’ve always been at the core…we all are!

Important because the only walls left to breakthrough are the ones you’ve built on the inside that prevent you from breaking through any further. Only then will the skills you’ve mastered on the outside enable you to advance up the ladder and finally get a firm grip on the brass ring. Not like a therapy session, more like an honest self inquiry.

Clicking vs. Chipping

Many of the artists & treps I know are blessed/cursed with multiple talents, or have so many weighty things going on at once they get hung-up in which tasks they should be working on today. Which leaves them hesitant to proceed with anything until they figure out what to do next. Huh?

Too often we spend too much precious time just thinking about it. Which leaves us entangled in indecision, and lured into the unforgiving rabbit hole of procrastination. Where we joyfully spend more time “clicking” around the Internet than we do “chipping” away at the opportunities that are starring us right in the face just waiting to be seized.

Important because as creatives, the freedom we have to dance to our own drummer is a treasured benefit of the independent, non-conformist life we live. However, the time we spend clicking when we could be chipping is a big price to pay for such a small payoff.

Hungry Like The Wolf

Artists & entrepreneurs love the chase. That daily tug-of-war that keeps us guessing, keeps us edgy and sharp, keeps us impatient and indecisive, and keeps us searching. Like a hungry wolf perpetually on the hunt down for the next great idea, the next creative conquest, the next solution to an impossible challenge, the next opportunity to show the world the best we’ve got.

Important because even though the hunt matters, what ultimately counts is what we produce. It’s what we finally release, publish, launch, ship or express with our unique, extraordinary talent that will determine if our art, service or product can pass the market test. If it does, then we revel in the victory. If it doesn’t, then it’s back to the hunt, for what we think is the best way to show the world the best we’ve got. The good news is a hard-fought chase is worth every ounce of angst when it produces a worthy feast! Thank God every day, you were born a hungry wolf.

“Triumph bows at the feet of any steadfast artiste.” —Apollo, mythical god of music & arts.

I Struggle For What?

I guess we think it’s going to end some day. The struggle.
That if we struggle today, we won’t have to struggle tomorrow.

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

If we had a real job, we’d know when our shift was over. We’d know that after we sent that last email, and checked the inbox one last time, we could call it a day.

However for the pro artist and entrepreneur, there is no end to the shift, and there is no “calling it a day.” Because in our world there are more beginnings than endings, and more starts than stops.

Important because perhaps the word “struggle” is simply a term that we add on top of the challenging work we do, to give it purpose and value. Perhaps we choose to use the word “struggle” to alert others that we’re working very hard, every day, to achieve something extraordinary. However, I think the very last thing we ought not do, is allow the word “struggle” to become our identity.

I Found a Crack!

In my early days as a young, hot-shot publisher I quickly learned not to get so crazy about flaws and imperfections or I would blow a fuse. Whether we were publishing mags, books, newsletters, seminars, workshops or websites, we always found mistakes after we hit the launch button. Then the finger pointing party would begin!

Everything has a crack and most often the people we work with are typically cracked and flawed as well.

So the 1st goal is to continuously refine and mature our communication skills so we can motivate and provoke our cracked comrades to get it right too.

The 2nd goal, is to just keep working it, improving it, and getting it closer to how we want it, until we’re finally satisfied enough to hit the “GO” button.

Important because although it should be clearly obvious by now, it’s still a good reminder that while most cracks and flaws seem like frustrating failures, they’re actually opportunities for improvement.

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

The Way We Roll

You’re an exception, and rules don’t apply to you. It doesn’t matter if it’s stringing your guitar, pitching your idea, or where to invest your money. Rules just don’t apply to you. That’s because artists & treps do their best work in a perpetual state of doubt and uncertainty. Why? Because it’s our job to manifest an extraordinary experience out of nothing, not out of a common formula. That’s just the way we roll! And the only true formula for success for any pro artist or entrepreneur is the one that spontaneously comes to us from in the inner sanctity of our own creative space. Not like magic, more like inspiration that we act on.

Important because we are admired more for the way we did it, not the way we were told to do it.

When Reasonable Minds Meet

Here’s what happens when reasonable minds meet:

— Nonsense takes a backseat to facts.

— Rivalry takes a backseat to respect.

— A tug to teach takes a backseat to a desire to learn.

— Winning the debate takes a backseat to resolving it.

Important because even when the most reasonable minds debate the same issue a clear resolve will always take a backseat to an even clearer choice.

Message in a Bottle

“I’ll send an SOS to the world…I hope that, I hope that someone gets my, message in a bottle…” —Sting

Throughout history, creative artists and risky entrepreneurs are the only ones who have always pointed the way out of the darkness and into the light! Heck, the media won’t do that, it’s not their job! We need creatives like you to use your talent, skills and genius ideas to show us the way, and produce and launch your very best work, so that it shines brightly into the darkest corners of humanity.

Important because the challenging times we live in are inextricably coupled with a profound opportunity 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, producing, and creative projects. Now more than ever, opportunity is starring you right in the face, waiting for you to make your move.

Eyes On The Prize is Not Enough!

While it’s true that a boatload of advertising and a blitzkrieg of promotion on social media will certainly put a lot of eyes on your work, it is also nevertheless true that once the hoopla wears off and the true essence of your hard effort is revealed, the only thing that matters is:

Did your fans love it enough to share it?

Did your reps love it enough to pitch it?

Did your customers love it enough to buy it?

Did your clients love it enough to return for more?

Did your subscribers love it enough to re-up?

If not, then your strategic media blitz bombed!

Important because I think it’s crucial to get “eyes on the prize.” However, it’s even more crucial to create a worthy enough prize.

Resisting The Inevitable

I used to write about how some folks were waiting for the tech train to slow down so they could catch up. Sorry to say, that train has left the station. A conversation about the future of showbiz is now inseparable from a conversation about technology. From the data analytics that Netflix uses to create content, to the way AI can now compose pop songs and symphonies, to the curation algorithms that  point us to specific entertainment choices, which ultimately provoke us to make a purchase. Heck, I saw that a talent agency in Japan uses AI to determine what actors are the best choice for certain movie roles. That means blaming your agent (personally) for the lack of work your getting is no longer an option!

Important because the entertainment industry of tomorrow has never seemed so close to today. Question is, have you done the deep research? Are you and your reps and partners up to speed with how to promote and sell your art and commerce in today’s exponential marketplace? Are you willing to let go of how you thought the industry was operating, and shift to learning and accepting how it is operating today? I think a deeper probe into the business you’ve chosen would be a smart investment of time and energy.

Scaling The Paywall

I remember so clearly back in the day when the internet was just starting to beat its chest and threaten the very existence of trade magazines and newspapers. In those early days many of my cohorts and competitors were scratching their heads, worrying and wondering what to do and how to proceed with this new costly technology. I would have conversations with Tommy Noonan, VP of Billboard, and Robert Dowling, publisher of the Hollywood Reporter and we would kick around our ideas on the subject. Eventually my partner Eric and I decided to publish our magazine online for free and continue to sell subscriptions to the print edition. Plus, at the time, Music Connection was in a rosy position because we had distribution in every Guitar Center in the country! It paid for advertisers to buy ads in our paper edition because at that time there were fewer online readers and so many more print readers.

Jump ahead 30-years and that model has completely flipped. There are far more online readers and far fewer print readers. And almost every major magazine and newspaper has a paywall for the digital version. You’re teased to read an interesting article, then told to subscribe if you want to read the rest of it. Kinda like back in the 80’s when your dealer gave you a taste for free, then when he saw you had a desire for more he charged you up the nose…literally!

The lesson I pulled out of this experience was: quality dictates value and desire dictates distribution. If your art, music, product, or service has value people will buy it. However, if it’s addicting, people will sign on and pay for it ad infinitum.

Important because figure out a way to make what you offer, addicting.

Same Old Song & Dance

Beware of the line: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”

When our best effort isn’t working, many of us get impatient and begin frantically trying more of the same, again and again, repeating what has worked in the past. All that does is compound the problem and leave us stifled in frustration. It also calls into question our unwillingness as creatives to rip the paper out of the typewriter and start over!

Important because it’s not about repeating the same’ol, same’ol. It’s about trusting our talent and mustering the confidence to step out of the box, swing for the fences, and create something different, something better, something worthy.

Bang Head Here

As a result of the way things are today, many of the artists and entrepreneurs I regularly speak with are frustrated to see their staff, bandmates, set crew, actors and even their audience wearing masks again. However, frustration is a good thing because it shows you’re working hard at trying to figure out the most intelligent thing to do.

That said, frustration is also a trap, and left unchecked it eventually leads to procrastination, which leads to apathy. And once you don’t care anymore it’s not only dangerous, it also means you have forgotten, or worse yet abandoned the most important thing of all: What you’re committed to!

Important because while your waiting for the world to return to the way it was you may want to do a little soul searching and remind yourself what really matters, what you have at stake, and what you are truly committed to in your life. Not like an interrogation, more like a meditation.

Discontent

I get antsy when I’m content. I start looking for something to write, or create, or design, or disrupt. It’s in my nature. And as artists and treps I assert that it’s in yours too.

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

Important because the closer we get to understanding why we are the way we are, the freer we become to express who we are, as independent artists and entrepreneurs.

What Must Happen?

Offer these questions as sage advice to anyone you think will benefit from their profound, effective simplicity:

What must happen?

Why do you think it must happen?

How will it happen?

Who will be the one(s) to make it happen?

When will it happen?

What is the intended outcome of this happening?

Important because nothing will happen until you resolve these questions.

Solutions

1) Begin to slowly include a higher caliber of like-minded people into your life. Not necessarily rich or famous or super successful. More like deep thinkers with big hearts and healthy outlooks, who are savvy, wise and aware of the new showbiz landscape, and who care deeply about what matters to them and others.

2) Re-connect with your confidence, and get puffed-up and cocky about it! Confidence is everything! It trumps resistance, obliterates self-doubt, and reinforces any argument, disagreement, negotiation, or pitch presentation.

3) Remain inside the process. When you sit or stand face to face, directly in front of the work you resist the most, inspiration fills the room and fresh ideas float around your head like bright, colored lightbulbs!

4) Invest in your personal and business enterprise by investing in the tech tools you use to make great things happen. Don’t skimp on this one. The tech tools we use today, including phones, pads, laptops, software etc. are by far the most important, essential, invaluable, indispensable items we own. Update your software and upgrade your hardware to the maximum amount you can sensibly afford. And thank God we live in a time where we have great tools to manifest our great ideas!

5) Remain aware, awake and conscious! Be vigilant that your goals, thoughts, words, actions, heart and wallet are all aligned…like ducks in a row!

Important because as a conscious, creative, aware artist/trep, you have access to a remarkable reserve of intuitive knowing. A distinct, unique insight that allows you to see beyond the mundane, directly into the heart of the matter. And the most effective “solution” to any critical challenge for a pro artist or a seasoned entrepreneur is to take a deep look at what is truly and honestly wanted and needed, and simply provide it: in your business, art, music, writing, acting, staff, reps, clients, customers, readers, patients, personal life, etc. Not like new age positive thinking, more like using your own innate abilities and gut feelings to see the truth of the matter and respond to it intelligently.

How to Reach The Next Level

1) Conjure up a vision, notion or visual picture of what the next level looks like to you.

2) Recognize the big distinction in who you are now, and who you will become once you arrive at the next level.

3) Be conscious of the quality of work you’ll be doing and the people you’ll be interacting with once you arrive at the next level. Also, be aware of the difference you’ll be making in the lives of others. Be really clear about this one.

4) Know and accept the fact that no matter how much work and effort you put into it, your head and heart must already be at the next level before you arrive.

Important because there won’t be any big celebrations or fanfare when you arrive at the next level. You will simply be aware that things are much more rewarding and challenging than before, and you will immediately start to think “gee, now that I’m at this level, I wonder how I can reach the next one?”

Geppetto’s Dream

Geppetto’s impossible dream was that someday, his wooden son, Pinocchio, would become a real boy, and Geppetto would become a real father. And he endured a variety of impossible challenges to finally achieve that dream, including being eaten alive by Monstro the whale!

Our impossible dreams just want to be made real too! And it doesn’t matter if we are skilled artists or seasoned entrepreneurs, we should never pull the plug on an awesome idea just because it’s too hard: “Hard” is a way of telling us it’s got plenty of potential.

We should never slam on the brakes of a praiseworthy project just because it’s too costly: “Costly” is a way of telling us it’s an investment that has value and may be worth considering.

We should never turn out the lights on our brightest vision just because it’s too “time-consuming.” Plant the seeds, add water, and let the sun shine in. You know how this works, right?

Important because we should never toss in the towel on our biggest goals and dreams just because we don’t know how to proceed. If we can’t figure out the next step, then we should consult a knowledgable cohort or hire an experienced industry coach to point the way. Don’t forget, no one has ever made it in showbiz without the help from someone else! Not even Pinocchio, because he had the wisdom of Jiminy Cricket to advise him and point the way!

Audacious Risks

It doesn’t mater if you’re a skilled artist or a seasoned entrepreneur. It is extremely frustrating and challenging these days to figure out ways to promote your art and commerce, especially with so many social media marketing choices, and so many so-called experts telling you what to do.

However, like it or not, these are the days of trial and error. These are the days of hit and miss. These are the days of experimentation and exploration. These are the days of conceiving it, building it, packaging it, and tossing it out of the boat to see if it floats!

Important because while these may be tough times for the “prudent,” who busy themselves with the process of getting it right, these are golden times for the “audacious,” who busy themselves with the process of testing new ideas, taking creative risks, and inventing new ways to get their best work out there, any way they can.

Let’s Get Naked!

Nothing shuts up a “know-it-all” faster than Barenaked Facts.

Nothing stops procrastination faster than a Barenaked Deadline.

Nothing will take you there quicker than a Barenaked Commitment.

Nothing will keep you there longer than continuous, Barenaked Improvement.

Important because someone was brave enough (or stupid enough) to tell the emperor he had no clothes. And although that person lost his head, the emperor eventually recommitted to his destiny and changed his amateurish, narcissistic, unfocused ways and went on to become the most respected, well dressed man in the kingdom!

The Shoulders on Which You Stand

You stand on the shoulders of every career choice, every business decision and every showbiz relationship you ever had. You also stand tall on every  success you’ve achieved, failure you’ve endured, battle you’ve won, mountain you’ve climbed and pinnacle you finally reached. Not to mention, every bond you broke, every lie you told, every dollar you stole and every soul you hurt has led you to this very moment in your independent, entrepreneurial career.

That said, for better or worse, never forget who you are at the core:

Your extraordinary talent and acquired skill to create music, write scripts, tell stories, portray characters, direct visuals, lead teams, and produce worthy and extraordinary products and services, overcomes the tug toward the same o’l, every day, unremarkable mediocrity.

Your unique youthful enthusiasm to take a risk and enjoy the thrill of grabbing on to a spontaneous idea out of thin air, then developing it, manifesting it, and presenting it to fans, clients and customers, crushes the tug to take it slow and plan ahead.

Your eager willingness to stand in front of a camera, small group or huge audience, and entertain, motivate, educate or inspire, upstages the desire for mere acknowledgement.

Your insightful awareness to recognize the high road, surpasses the impulse to take the low one.

Important because in my experience, pro artists and entrepreneurs are always smarter than they think, stronger than they seem and braver than they believe. However, with so many uncertain twists & turns and radical ups and downs in your crazy showbiz career, it’s easy to forget who you are, what you’re capable of, where you came from, and where you’re headed.

Let’s Sleep On It

In the early days of our publishing business, when 80’s bands were flourishing, A&R departments were buzzing, terrestrial radio was humming and both Music Connection and Songwriter Connection magazine’s were peaking, my partner Eric and I were constantly being tossed all sorts of unique opportunities: record company perks, trade show co-ops, concert tie-ins, event partnerships, and even co-sponsorships with the City of Los Angeles and the State of California. And we would say YES to almost every offer that came our way. Don’t forget, all this was preceded by the “start-up” years when no one knew or even cared who we were. So when companies started offering to partner with us we felt invincible and cocksure about all the exciting opps that were coming our way.

However, as time went on and the offers of “co-mingling” continued to grow, we began to notice that not every association or partnership turned out to be mutually favorable. And after getting stung a few times, we made up a simple rule: “Wait 24 hrs. before we make a decision about ANYTHING!” Even if we KNEW we would say yes the next day, we would still wait 24 hrs. just to be sure we were making an intelligent decision, with a clear mind, free of emotion. Often it was longer than 24 hrs, and most often after giving it the extra time we would see that the situation wasn’t right for us at all.

As the years went on and we continued to build our company, grow our staff, partner with big projects, purchase real estate, etc. the 24 hr. rule became an invaluable tool to help in our decision-making process.

Important because to this day, neither one of us makes a big decision without giving it the “24 hr. rule.” And over the years this simple rule has probably saved us thousands of dollars and boatloads of angst and stress.

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