Possibility is never razor sharp. It’s always a bit blurry and out of focus.
When we imagine what’s possible in our life and career it looks a lot different than looking at it through the lens of reality. It also has a completely different impact on the choices and decisions we make (when we act on what’s possible instead of the same o’l song & dance).
And while others strive to live in predictability, artists & entrepreneurs spend their entire lives surrounded by uncertainty, which is where possibility lives, which is actually very familiar territory for us. Kinda like when King Arthur asked Merlin the Wizard why he always wore robes with moons & stars on them? Merlin replied, “Why it’s because everywhere a wizard goes he is always at the center of the universe.”
When we finally come to realize that possibility and uncertainty are at the center of our universe, we find ourselves standing in a limitless, unbounded creative space, from which we can pivot at the drop of a hat, and perform our work from an absence of formula. That’s what makes us different from the others. Not better, just different.
Important because fortunately for us, living, navigating and operating our creative lives in the space of possibility is actually how we come to discover what’s possible in the first place.
Today presents a profound opportunity to revel in your win, succumb to your loss or sit frozen in your fear. Huh?
Today also presents a profound opportunity to wake up your creative spirit and harness your emotions, whether they are excitement, sadness or anger, and express your unique talent, produce your best work, flaunt your best art, and exploit the very best version of your creative, independent self!
I’ve said this before, this is what artists and entrepreneurs do: we use our emotions and “gut feelings” as a lens to see what’s missing, to see what’s wanted & needed. Then we use our precious gift of creativity and our incredible talent to provide it and manifest it.
Important because “I’m thinking in a brand new way…I’m starting up a brand new day.” —Sting
There is a reason why us artists, writers, musicians, actors, editors, directors and creative entrepreneurs are eager for this current political season to end. And it’s not about money, or the pandemic. It’s about truth. All of the creative work we do is about truth. Creativity itself is all about expressing and manifesting your truth through your creative skills, talent and expertise. Heck, most of us rely on expressing our truth for our livelihood! And we all crave it like a drug. Especially during these dark days when fiction, falsehood and cock-and-bull stories are so transparent, making it clearly obvious who’s trustworthy and who’s not.
And if we want to send a clear, personal message to the current leaders of fabrication then voting is the best way to do it. So if you haven’t voted yet, go out and vote like you’ve never voted before! Vote like the future of your awesome creative lifestyle depends on it. Vote like you would vote if you were the only one voting!
Important because turnout is everything and your POV matters. And we’ve all learned the hard way that it’s not only about who votes, it’s more about who doesn’t.
Some interruptions are necessary, some pauses are helpful, and an unexpected break in our routine can be valuable. However, some other disruptions really suck! Like career setbacks, money loss, project flops, personal heartbreaks, pandemics, politics, media overwhelm, etc. And getting our motor running again, at top performance, during a dramatic, drawn-out slowdown can be an effort. Why? Because the brute called “mayhem” will keep you wallowing in the mire, and the thug called “resistance” will stop at nothing to prevent you from doing anything about it!
Important because if you can just get your head on straight and remind yourself what is most important to you, and reconnect with whatever it is you are committed to, then your ability to navigate the mayhem becomes effortless, and your resolve to push through resistance becomes ruthless. Once that happens, getting back in the groove becomes exhilarating…actually intoxicating…actually “heady!” And if you’re really smart, the choices and decisions you make during your big “slowdown” should actually put you further down the road than you were before. Why? Because you’re not starting from the beginning, you’re starting from HERE.
—Asking for career direction, especially in the entertainment industry, doesn’t mean you’re a new kid on the block. On the contrary, it could mean you’re a seasoned pro and you are once again, standing at the crossroads of choice.
—Asking for tech support doesn’t mean you’re unskilled or tech deficient. On the contrary, it could mean you’re eager to learn something new, or figure something out so you’ll know what to do next time.
—Asking for more info on how and where to vote, or where to drop your ballot doesn’t mean you’re dance’n in the dark. On the contrary, it could mean you just want to get it right, so you can finally move past the rhetoric and move on to the results.
Important because asking for help doesn’t mean we’re not ready. On the contrary, it means we’re ready to move on.
If we wasted money the way we waste time, we’d all be busted, broke and bankrupt!
Important because we can always make more money!
(Inspired by experience)
Of course it’s about the journey!
But “The Journey” sounds like a Sunday drive in the park, a pleasant Hawaiian holiday, or cruising up Highway 1 with the top down, listening to “Panama!”
That popular comment is usually made after someone slams into brick wall and a supportive friend tenderly says, “don’t forget, it’s all about the journey!”
Why don’t they say the truth? “Don’t forget, it’s all about the bumpy Jeep ride through the forbidden jungle of doom!” Or, “it’s all about the rubber raft ride up the root canal.” Or better said, “it’s all about a glorious quest, fighting an unbeatable foe, and dreaming an impossible dream!”
Important because while “the journey” promises an experience, which promises a boost in knowledge and wisdom, a “glorious quest” promises adventure, achievement, and a march into hell for a heavenly cause…no matter how hopeless, no matter how far!
The Los Angeles Lakers just won the NBA Championship! It’s like a Grammy for best group vocal. It’s like an Emmy for best series ensemble. It’s like an Oscar for best picture, and it’s like winning the World Series. And LeBron James also won the MVP award. It’s like being voted best artist of the year.
King James joined the NBA right out of high school at age 18 (he’s now 35). He’s played 17-seasons, and 14 have gone to the playoffs. He just became the all-time leading scorer in the history of the NBA playoffs, surpassing Michael Jordan for the top spot, and he broke his best friend Kobe’s record for most career points scored. He also has four world championship rings, and he’s not done yet.
During a postgame interview LeBron was overwhelmed with lights, cameras, reporters…and emotion. And when asked what motivates him to keep playing, keep pushing, keep climbing, and keep reaching for that brass ring when he already has so many of them? King James paused, and then said, “The thing that motivates me the most is doubt.”
He went on to say that he reads all the reviews about how great he is, and what a champion he is, and how he has become the greatest player of all time. But he said deep down inside he doesn’t feel that way. He still has the same feelings he had when he was a kid shooting hoops in the park. “That some day I’ll make it. But not today, I still have more to learn. I still need to improve.” He said that doubt motivates him to work harder to be a better player, a better teammate, and a better man.
Important because for whatever reason, it’s hard to get that our heros have doubt, or they procrastinate, or they question their talents or abilities. We place our heroes one level above ourselves, and then we are surprised when they reveal a side of themselves that is well…just like us. And the more you listen to the acceptance speeches of actors, musicians and champions, the more you realize that doubt follows artists & treps around like a fly on honey. A reminder to all of us, that the main ingredient in the DNA of every artist and entrepreneur is honey.
“Me and all my friends
We’re all misunderstood,
They say we stand for nothing and
There’s no way we ever could,
Now we can see everything that’s going wrong
With the world and those who lead it,
We just feel like we don’t have the means
To rise above and beat it.
So we keep waiting (waiting),
Waiting on the world to change,
We keep on waiting (waiting),
Waiting on the world to change”
— John Mayer 2006.
That song reached number 1 on Billboard’s Hot Adult Contemporary chart, and remained there for over a year. It is Mayer’s most successful single to date (both in sales and chart positions).
When you listen closely to the lyrics of the song, it’s spooky. They are as profound today as they were in 2006. In fact, more profound today. That’s the difference between something good and something great. The moment greatness is recognized by the herd, it jettisons to the top of the heap, and stays there indefinitely. Doesn’t matter if it’s a song, screenplay, video, book, performance or product. If it’s great, word spreads fast and we all clamor for more.
Important because throughout history, even in the darkest of times, people were inspired and enriched and often dependent on art to help get them through tough times. And thank God we have an abundance of great art and plenty of outspoken, higher-conscious artists & treps, like you, to help us get us through the tough times we face today.
“Hi diddle dee dee, an actor’s life for me,
A pot of gold in a sea of glee,
It’s great to be a celebrity,
Hi diddle dee dee, an actor’s life for me!”
—Song from the 1940 Disney movie, Pinocchio.
Sorry Jiminy Cricket, Pinocchio was right: The independent life of an artist/trep is truly an extraordinary, worthwhile adventure. Actually, a lifetime career in any area of entertainment is more like a magnificent, meaningful mission. A mission that is filled with unpredictable chutes & ladders, which lead to an illusive, ungraspable brass ring. Like the song says, it’s a great life, and the only life for you and me!
That said, every single minute of every single day during this dark time, we have the choice to either sit it out and watch, wonder and wait for our industry to recover and our lives to reset. Or, we can re-adjust our focus, modify our circumstances, and start making the tough choices and decisions that will ultimately manifest our own new future. Not like Marvel fantasies or Disney magic. More like every wobbly stand we take, and every uncertain choice we make sets off a chain reaction of interrelated events that ultimately link together and determine the outcome of our goals and dreams. No wonder people are always so fascinated by, and in awe of artist & entrepreneurs!
Important because while you’re manifesting your destiny be sure you are registered to vote!
The problem is not that you’re not talented enough. In fact, by now, you’ve probably mastered your craft, and your level of talent far exceeds the level at which you are currently playing. The real problem is a personal, deep-seated trepidation that has always stopped you from going any further, playing any bigger or making it to the pinnacle of your particular profession. And if you’re not willing to take the plunge into the deep end of the pool and discover what it is that’s really blocking the road forward, then you’ll forever be parked on the side of the road where you’re sitting right now, which for some may be further down the road than others.
Important because where most people stop has less to do with gatekeepers, management, timing, age or connections, and more to do with some long-standing, deeply personal reluctance to advance to “the bigs.” And now is the perfect time, while we’re in the midst of this pandemic, and while our awesome industry is in the midst of reinventing itself, that you could take steps to reinvent yourself too. Only from the inside out! Perhaps you could go deep with a trusted confidant, a reputable coach, or a personal consultant. Anyone but you! Because the last person you should consult with about this is you!
Someday, it will happen. At least that’s what we tell ourselves. It’s the mantra of every artist/entrepreneur: “Work hard, never quit, and someday I’ll get there.”
Back in the day, it was the gatekeepers that got in our way. More recently, it’s the challenge of mind-numbing, non-stop, exponential technology, and the total transformation of our entire industry, caused by the disruption from the global pandemic.
However, for an aging artist or entrepreneur it’s the challenge of time—the push to achieve our big goals & dreams before we run out of gas. Many artists & treps find themselves growing older with an ever increasing fear that the biggest opportunities have already passed them by, and the only thing left to do is settle-in or toss the towel. To others it’s no longer about getting there, it’s now about staying there. Even the word “dinosaur” has shifted from a jurassic zoo animal, to a personal insult to anyone approaching 50.
That said, I think the biggest time-wasting mistake we make is waiting; waiting for the economy to turn around, waiting for a vaccine, waiting for new leadership, waiting for the kids to grow, waiting for the phone to ring, waiting for an offer, waiting for things to return to normal, or waiting for that breeze to blow in, and that ol’ second wind comes along!
Important because maybe it’s as simple as changing our mantra, from “What’s in it for me?” to “How can I continue to be relevant and offer my best work, to those who continue to want it?” Truth is, you may not have an audience of 100k, but you still have an audience. Your video may not get a million views, bit you still have viewers. Your company may not have 50k customers, but you still have customers.
In the meantime, Elton John continues to shout his own timeless mantra from the mountaintop: “I’m still Standing, better than I ever did, Looking like a true survivor, feeling like a little kid.”
This year, for many, Rosh Hashanah will be acknowledged without the close embrace of family. Perhaps, making it an even more profound experience, since it is a time of personal introspection and private reflection. Kinda like when you’re sailing in the ocean at sunset, and no one else is in sight…not even land, when your mind starts to deconstruct the day as it slowly reconstructs a new tomorrow.
And as an independent, crazy, creative artist/entrepreneur, reconstructing a new tomorrow is what you do best. And only you can motivate yourself to get up in the morning and construct something that matters. Then, at the end of the day, at sunset, it’s only you who truly knows what creative angst you’ve been through that day, what “inner” battles you’ve won or lost, who or what has challenged your efforts, and whether or not you caved in to resistance and vacillation, or stood your ground and followed your truth.
Important because this extraordinary, creative, independent, life we’ve chosen is truly all about self-motivation, self-dependence, self-discipline, self-confidence, self-validation and self-awareness. And Rosh Hashanah is the perfect time to take a solo dive at the deep end of the pool and rehash our failures, rethink our wins, and reload our impossible goals…whether we’re Jewish or not.
Whatever pisses us off is precisely what we should be chopping away at (not chipping)!
Like a great idea that can’t catch fire, an annoying problem that won’t go away, a project (or a career) that’s been stalled in its tracks, or a critical breakdown in need of a triumphant breakthrough.
Important because unfortunately, it often takes getting pissed to make right an obvious wrong, or to bring to life a worthy idea.
Inspired by civil rights activist Helen Singleton
My art teacher told me, “Don’t draw past the finish line. There is a point when the picture is done. Be careful not to over design it.”
Makes me think:
Don’t over compose the song.
Don’t over write the story.
Don’t over sell your righteous opinion.
Don’t over think your big problems.
As crazy, genius, artists & entrepreneurs, we are all victims of the last minute whims of our inner muse. Just when we think our best work or great idea is finally ready to launch she offers yet another option, another new idea, another POV. And as beautiful as our muse is, her ONLY job is to consistently feed us unlimited options, NOT to tell us when the project is finished or the job is done.
Important because I think being aware and conscious of where the finish line is, is just as important as knowing how to cross it (whether it’s in our work or personal life).
We set goals, make plans, and with great enthusiasm proclaim our boldest intentions to the universe (and those around us): “this I shall do!”
Then we allow paltry distractions to rob our focus, divert our attention and easily tempt us off course, leaving our “bold goals” stalled on the sidelines. Do this too often and we’ll never reach our destination…ever.
Important because we are fools to forget what really matters, as distractions abound and time goes by…
It doesn’t matter if you’re a songwriter, a screenwriter, an artist or a CEO, if you want to make something happen, take a minute and answer these five simple questions:
1) What must happen in your life, career or business?
2) Why do you think it must happen? Why else?
3) How will it happen? How else?
4) Who will be the one(s) to make it happen?
5) When will it happen?
Important because nothing will happen until you resolve these questions.
It’s hard to remain motivated and excited about our big goals and future dreams when there are so many exciting and thrilling nightmares happening all around us!
That said, here are a few reminders that you may have forgotten in the heat & hoopla of these challenging times:
— Progress, growth and success are simply a consequence, an upshot, a byproduct of relentlessly doing the work.
— It’s what we are not doing that could move the dial and make a difference. It’s the confronting work we resist that could produce the breakthrough we so desperately crave.
— Change is not a sin. Denying it is.
— 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.
— 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.
— Behind every great jaw-dropping success there’s an artist or entrepreneur who faced a difficult internal struggle at a critical moment of choice: choose risk, and possibly become a legend. “Flinch” and possibly become an unexceptional footnote.
Important because in the heat of the hoopla, never forget who you are as a crazy, creative genius. And lean on 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 crummy situation.
Right in front of us, staring us right in the face, is an entertainment industry that is currently in the process of intentionally disrupting itself; rethinking, reinventing, reimagining and rebuilding a 21st century global show business aimed toward world domination. And there are crazy, committed showbiz geniuses with unlimited resources, who are right now gazing into a future beyond the pandemic, and building a bigger, stronger, more tolerant, more profitable and more (politically) influential industry. And while the dazed and doubtful scratch their heads and wonder what to do next, those crazy committed showbiz geniuses are at work extending their reach, forming partnerships, growing global relationships, improving and refining the craft of making great entertainment, in all it’s forms, and hunting and gathering compelling, impactful content to produce, record and distribute to a prepped, primed and eager global audience.
Also, right in front of all of us artists & treps, starring us right in the face, is an unexpected chance to move forward. A chance to move up. To define our new normal. To return to our work with a renewed purpose; a chance to begin producing, performing and writing songs, scores, screenplays, scripts and visual content that reflect the plight of our times and the mixed feelings and jumbled emotions that we, and all of those around us (and in the world) are experiencing today.
If ever there was a time to be involved, entangled and embedded in a career in show business, today is that time. And you should be proud and excited to be part of it. And you should take advantage of these unprecedented, historical times to step up your game, master the new elements of your craft, and study, research and learn every aspect of our new, expanding entertainment empire.
Important because throughout history, even in the darkest of times, people were inspired and enriched and often dependent on art to help get them through tough times. Not just as an entertainment experience, more like a spiritual uplifting. And I think all artists, entrepreneurs and crazy, wealthy showbiz geniuses are being called up to a higher purpose at this time of global darkness. Not like a heavy responsibility, more like a profound opportunity.
Wall Street says, “The trend is your friend.”
But the buck doesn’t stop there. Whatever the trend is it will continue in your life until YOU alter its course.
If money and good fortune gravitates to you, most likely it will continue.
If inspiration, creativity, and good ideas easily bubble up for you, chances are they will continue.
If you enjoy the company of many friends, that trend will continue.
If good health always follows you around, it’s very likely that will continue too.
It’s not about being lucky, it’s about being aware.
Important because unlike the stock market where you are at the mercy of social, cultural, industrial, political and global trends, YOU are in control of directing or redirecting the predictable trends in your creative career and independent lifestyle.
In the past five months of the Covid lockdown I’ve Zoomed with lots of clients, friends, family, artists, treps and geniuses. The only person I haven’t Zoomed with yet is Billy Zoom! Here’s what I’ve learned:
If you Zoom with musicians you’ll learn that practice is paramount, success is illusive, who you know is everything, and if your audience can’t come to see you perform, you should figure out creative ways to bring, stream or present your live performance to them.
If you Zoom with actors you’ll learn how to bond with your agent, live with rejection, and embrace home-casting and self-taped auditions. You’ll also learn the true value of Masterclass!
If you Zoom with graphic illustrators or painters you’ll learn about that deep compelling tug that provokes pro artists to create with total abandon. Then you’ll be envious.
If you Zoom with a screenwriter you’ll learn more about creating a great pitch than creating a great character.
If you Zoom with agents or managers you’ll learn more about behavioral development than career development.
If you Zoom with an Attorney you’ll walk away pondering “what if” for the rest of the day.
If you Zoom with a business owner you’ll realize why tiny beads of sweat dance on their upper lip when they try to explain why it’s not working.
If you Zoom with a marketing expert you’ll long for the good ‘ol dinosaur days when simple magazine advertising worked.
Important because we should Zoom with artists & treps who are looking forward to trying new ways of doing old things. We should avoid Zooming with people who can’t wait for things to go back to the way they were.
“May you live in interesting times.”
Actually it’s not a Chinese curse at all, it’s an old English expression.
Nevertheless, we happen to be alive during a very interesting time when our awesome industry is (nearly) shut down and yet our desire to get back out there and do our best work is stronger than ever! Trouble is, the formula we used to get out there is now obsolete, and the rules that have always defined how the showbiz game is played are suddenly okay to break! Huh? Not only that, the insider “go to” people who always pointed the way are as clueless as everyone else!
Important because it’s not hopeless. There’s a new Chinese curse: “May these days of doubt and uncertainty provoke you to look outside the boundaries of a once reliable box that no longer contains the answers.
Your plight is no different than any other hard working, pro artist or entrepreneur, who constantly questions and doubts their own choices and abilities, and who is tempted off course, almost every day, by the seduction of distraction, and the tug toward vacillation.
The common wage earner knows that the road they’re on will lead to a predictable destination. However, YOU walk the road less traveled, uncertain of where it will lead, yet confident you’re headed in the right direction. All the while knowing that even if you’re on the right road you’ll get run over if you just stand there.
Important because during these days of uncertainty and doubt, we need to use that one extraordinary talent that is exclusively reserved for artists & treps: the capability to imagine and conceive what’s next, in every area of our life and career, then create or invent a way to manifest it. Not like that ability is a learned skill, more like it’s embedded in our bones.
— Take a look around and get to work on fixing what is broken. You can do this. You have the intelligence to do this. You have the inner wisdom to figure this out. You have the ability to “create” a way to fix what is broken; in your career and in your life. Not like wishful thinking, more like taking a profound stand that “enough is enough!”
— In gathering collaborators, investors and support, focus on “what’s in it for them.” This will garner their attention, and inspire their intention to respond to your call to action.
— We do our best work when we’re on the court calling the next play and moving the ball forward. Not sitting on the sidelines wishing and wondering how to get back in the game. Stop being afraid of making the wrong move and start moving things around. That alone will get the balling rolling to the winning side of the court.
— Remain aware, mindful and conscious! Have your thoughts, words, actions, heart and wallet all going in the same direction.
— Truth is, having too many irons in the fire becomes fuel for distraction and food for resistance. The only iron you should have in the fire is the one that will bring you closer to the dreams and goals that are most important to you. The rest of those irons are just a great excuse for why you haven’t arrived yet.
— Be generous. Your scarcest resource is your time and when you spend it helping other people, you reward yourself, others and your business. “Gimme your heart make it real, or let’s forget about it!”
— The deeper we dig to find the truth in our art and commerce, the greater it will be, and the more people will relate and respond to it. Why? Because great art has zero competition.
— Remain vigilant and aware of those signs that tell you when it’s time to change direction, and be willing to proudly toss in the towel. While “never quit” may be our mantra, there are times when changing course is the only real intelligent thing to do—so you can recover, regroup, reorganize and reinvent a new game.
— Having something at stake is the greatest of all motivators. It gives purpose, grants meaning and provides reason. It also sharpens focus, validates intention, beefs up resolve and pumps adrenalin through your veins. Not to mention it brings doubt to its knees and knocks the wind out of procrastination! Not having anything at stake provokes the question: Why are you doing it?
Important because every choice we make, every step we take, every move we make, and every bond we break provokes a domino effect that will ultimately end at the foot of our fate.
Ask any crestfallen musician, discouraged business owner, frustrated manager or confounded writer and they’ll tell you endless stories of the way things were, and recite countless reasons why their antique formula is still the only way that’s been proven to work.
Ask any Gen Z young’n and they’ll show you detailed algorithms on where things are headed, endless data to prove that continuous disruption is inevitable, and a daunting warning that you better catch up with the technology, or stand aside.
However if you talk to other like-minded pro artists & entrepreneurs, who are currently hard at work, knee-deep in the hoopla of their career, they will tell you how the biz is operating TODAY. They will share with you how to navigate the obstacles and circumvent the challenges of TODAY. They will give you an accurate narrative direct from the muddy playing field TODAY.
And while others sit in the bleachers and “rant n’ rave” about how better it was, or how different it’s going to be, it’s the creative artists & treps like you, who are hard at work, day after day, pushing the envelope, taking the risks, and building a dream.
Important because when you need advice or direction, ask someone who has their feet firmly planted in today’s industry. Ask one of your own kind.
While Chipping away gets us closer to the end zone, dumping excess baggage will get us there quicker. Here’s what we should dump:
— Everything that doesn’t align with our commitment to advance and succeed.
— Daily activities and behavior that waste our precious time, steal our focus and slow our progress to a crawl.
— Our resistance to change.
— Our Chronic indecision.
— People who consistently bring us down.
— Resistance to reach out for advice or guidance.
— Every petty step we take, and every promise we break.
— Any stupid or ignorant activity that could put us or anyone else in harms way.
Important because what’s left is everything we should chip away at.
Many of my clients get hung up on whether they are working on the right project, headed in the right direction or making the right choices. Why? Because most of them are blessed/cursed with multiple talents and interests, and often get stuck on which specific project they should be giving the most attention to.
For the especially talented pro artist, every choice is plagued with an endless, agonizing stream of perpetual possibilities. And for the super-smart, risk-taking entrepreneur, every decision is overwrought with limitless, time-taxing, number crunching options. It can all be so overwhelming that most often, important choices and decisions remain on the back burner, cooking in a stew of indecision.
Based on research, the number one reason for chronic indecision is fear of making the wrong decision. And while that may be true for others I don’t believe it’s true for artists & entrepreneurs. The number one reason for chronic indecision for a&e’s is chronic creativity! The angst we go through when we’re manifesting an idea from nothing is not as much fear based as it is perfection based. This is who we are. This is how we work. We stand in front of our unfinished canvas and fret over which color to use next. It’s not an indecisive problem, it’s a creative challenge. It’s the process a&e’s go through. And even though that process may take a bit longer than others would like, and may look to some like fearful indecision, it has nothing to do with fear and everything to do with freedom. The freedom to choose our next move independent of a premixed formula. The fact is, pro artists & treps work in a total absence of formula! Hence, the indecisive nature of our work.
Important because give yourself a break! You are not chronically indecisive! On the contrary, you are particular with your work and meticulous with the process it takes to produce it. Give yourself permission to be a crazy, genius, creative person and embrace your chronic creative, indecisive process. Not like a disregard for responsibility, more like a high regard for accountability.
The truth is, after you’ve read the latest self-help books, watched the current TED videos, taken your third MasterClass, attended your umpteenth Zoominar, and finished reading your favorite blog. And after your pastor gives his blessing, your Rabbi says Shalom and your Guru offers Namaste. And after your eyes have closed, your mind has opened and your last stick of incense has burnt out, the only thing you’re left with is a choice: Play it safe, or raise the bar. Stick to the road you’re on, or take the high road, which may be bumpy but yields higher benefits. Or, you could also step out, way beyond where you are, and reconsider where you want to be.
Important because Every day, actually every minute, we artists & treps have the opportunity to take what’s already there and accept it, or take a look at what’s missing and manifest it.
Depth of focus is a skill that all pro artists & treps must eventually master. Kinda like that precision focus you need when you’re standing in front of an audience, or your staff, or a camera. Kinda like when you’re pitching buyers, or writing dialogue, or composing a soundtrack, or searching for the right lyric. Kinda like when you’re so lost in the creative zone, nothing else exists because your focus is so fixed. Kinda like deciding what to do next.
Important because the truth is, everything is not #1. Divide your to do list into Urgent, Essential and Constant. It’s probably best to do this on paper, not between your ears. If you’re ruthless and disciplined about this, it becomes obvious where and how to adjust your depth of focus.
If we expect our devoted fans, clients and customers to respond with likes, hearts and happy faces, then we should continue to give them whatever we think will achieve that goal. However, if we expect them to respond with greenbacks and credit cards, or if we want them to share our videos, stream our music, read our stories, hire us, or purchase our hard work, then we need to give them what THEY want, give them what THEY need, give them something that’s missing in THEIR lives, give them something to help them through this pandemic predicament, give them something that doesn’t sound or look like everyone else, or feel like all the others. Give them something they need but don’t know it yet.
Important because we often get trapped in thinking that WE know what’s best for our cohorts—which is usually the same o’l cookie-cutter version of what we’ve been offering infinitum. The way out of the trap is to take a deep, honest, humble, selfless look at what is truly wanted and needed, then simply provide it. For your clients, customers, agents, managers, fans, followers, friends, family, and anyone else in your circle of influence. Not like a blind gesture, more like an insightful one.
Today presents a profound opportunity to trust your gut-feelings and harness your emotions, whether they are sadness, anger, fear or excitement, and help us all get through these extraordinary times with your extraordinary talent and creativity. We’re certainly not depending on our leaders for that! That’s what artists and entrepreneurs do. We use our “gut feelings” as a lens to see what’s missing, to see what’s wanted and needed. Then we use our precious gift of creativity and incredible talent to manifest it.
It’s your job to look forward into a non-existent future—a future that we depend on YOU to create and provide for us. A future filled with great songs, exceptional videos, inspiring stories, phenomenal performances, encouraging books, award winning screenplays, amazing art, breathtaking architecture, eye-popping apps and jaw-dropping products & services that help us move forward and reach further.
Important because you chose the path of the independent, creative, artist/trep. And we’re relying on YOU, the writer, director, producer, songwriter, musician, actor, designer, and courageous risk-taking entrepreneur to create, manifest and contribute your best art and commerce for the benefit of all of us! If you build it, we will come.
Just because so many articles and blogs point to “do more now and get ready for later,” doesn’t mean you should feel pressured to spontaneously be creative and impulsively come up with extraordinary ideas.
Just because you may have more time on your hands doesn’t mean you should feel pressured to fill every hour with your genius greatness.
Just because others appear to be progressing further than you doesn’t mean they are. (And why should that matter anyway?)
And while it’s true that the global pandemic itself is like carrying the weight of the world on our shoulders, it’s also nevertheless true that we should lighten up, slow down, and give ourselves some mental and emotional “thought space.” So we can create our art, run our business and manifest our ideas on our own terms, and in our own time.
Important because our routines have changed significantly, and every day now looks like the weekend. Therefore, there’s no reason why we can’t release some of the pressure and give ourselves permission to enjoy some of this new found free time.
“When you can’t do what you do, you do what you can.” —Jon Bon Jovi
If you zoom out into the future, then turn around and look back, ask yourself these questions:
— What did I do every day while I was quarantined?
— What did I accomplish?
— How far did I advance my career? My business?
— What progress did I make?
— Did I sit at my computer, just clicking away, pretending to look busy?
— Did I reconnect with friends and family?
— Did I abandon anyone?
— What am I embarrassed about?
— What am I most proud of?
— How did I help? Who did I help?
— What would I do differently?
Important because the future is coming, and when it arrives there will be a few unanswered questions that we will have to reckon with, for the rest of our lives. That said, it might be a good idea to get a head start on the future today. Not because we want to defer accountability, more because inside all of us, there is a desire to do our best work, and at the same time make a difference in peoples lives. We all know that desire is there, because we can hear it…every day…screaming to get out!