Thursday, July 25, 2013
The other day I was enjoying a casual conversation with a friend about her recent successes in taking a Zumba class. She relayed to me, in her mind, she was great at the dance moves that is until she saw herself in front of the wall sized mirror and realized she didn’t know who the person was she was looking at but it wasn’t the same one in her head. Then we joked about how when the music stopped her body didn’t. She has a balanced perspective on who she is and is taking the time to invest in herself for a healthier life. A true lesson for every one of us to learn is, we need to take time to invest in ourselves. Put our money where our mouths are so to speak.
Physical investment is only one part to investing in ourselves, there is also the mental aspect to our lives. What do you do to keep yourself not only sharp but also from going a bit crazy? As I write this, I look around my office and see bookshelves lined with several hundred books most all I’ve read. On my desk alone are six in my “books to read” stack. They range from a book on recovering my creative self to one on ghost stories from New Orleans to a biography on Frank Sinatra. Needless to say I like to read. I also like puzzles from crosswords to brainteasers to seek and finds. This is, in a nutshell, how I like to keep my brain active and sharp (well as sharp as I can get it).
Have you ever felt like “Atlas” carrying the weight of the world on our shoulders or “Sisyphus” pushing a boulder up a mountain only for it to roll back down and having to start over? With the pressures of life and work we need ways to keep from going insane and letting life control us. For me, I keep it simple but varied. I’ll grab my fishing pole and head down to the pond or I work in my yard (shhh…everyone thinks I hate yard work). I tend to my roses (yes I know…shut up) or go for a bike ride. These are just a few ways I use to escape and rejuvenate myself. You need to find your own insanity stoppers and when you do trust me when I say you really will become more productive and focused.
Do you remember the old movie, “All Dogs go to Heaven?” It’s a funny movie that gives a spiritual aspect to the K9 world (notice it said nothing about cats…and for good reason). Without arguing theology, this movie lets us know we are more than just physical and mental but we also have a spiritual part to us. Now I come from a Christian perspective and approach this area in my life from that world view. So to invest in this part of who I am, I’ll read the Bible, devotionals and variety of materials that help me keep a “love my neighbor” attitude. I also attend church to worship my Creator. When I read those self-help books, they get strained through this filter.
I know investing takes time, effort and sacrifice and many say they can’t afford to invest….but I say, YOU can’t afford not to!
Friday, July 19, 2013
Growing up in Kentucky, some of my fondest memories was the times spent fishing. Think Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn and you’ll get a glimpse of what summer was like for my brother and I. As the morning sun began to shine through the oak trees scattered through those Kentucky hills, two redneck boys could be found walking to a pond with fishing poles in one hand and bait in the other. Most mornings it wasn’t too long before one of us was bringing in a catfish which would immediately go on a stringer so we’d have it for supper that night. We would sit there all day telling stories about school, our buddies, and of course girls all while hauling in the fish. Those were some of the best summers of my life.
When the fishing slowed and the afternoon sun began to beat down on us, the daydreaming would begin. Staring out into the water with the birds fluttering and the squirrels playing in the trees behind us, many thoughts…dreams…would invade our minds. Although I never asked my brother about what he was thinking, I dreamed of great things. Thoughts of celebrity, being rich and having a mustang filled my mind. Those are still the dreams I’m pursuing in my quiet moments with a little variance but still, they’re my dreams. However, the fun really began when I would catch my brother in a trance, like he was in a whole other place.
My brother, Mike, loves fishing as much as I do…perhaps a gnats hair more. So when I’d catch him sitting there off in his own world I did what older brothers do…it’s in our job description...I’d trick him. I would pick up a small rock and toss it in the water just out of his line of vision. The sound of splashing as the rock hit the water always brought him back to the real world and the words, “Hey, was that a fish?!” were uttered almost immediately. Once he caught on to what I was doing, it became a rock throwing contest. Who could throw the farthest, the biggest or make the biggest splash. The fish weren’t biting anyway, so why not.
Soon we began skipping rocks, counting when the rock touched the water to see how many times we could make it skip. Who would go home that day as the best Rock Skipper of Boyd County? What a great way to spend a lazy summer afternoon. If you’ve never skipped a rock across a pond then quite frankly your childhood has been robbed of a great memory. It’s such an accomplishment to see a rock you’ve thrown skip 12 or 14 times across the water. As we played I noticed each time the rock hit the water it would make an impact. Ripples would spread across the water and it didn’t matter how small of a rock, there was always a ripple. That’s when I realized everything has an IMPACT.
Over the next several blogs I am going to write about how each of us can have an IMPACT - An IMPACT on our own lives, on the lives of others and especially on our careers, specifically as a comedian. IMPACT will be an acronym for Invest, Motivate, Purpose, Authenticity, Communication and Teamwork. Come back to see how YOU can I.M.P.A.C.T. the Pond You Are In.
Friday, July 12, 2013
The great philosopher and Jedi Master, Yoda, once said, “Do or Do not. There is no try.” That in a nutshell is the difference between Dreamers and Doers. The above quote was given when Luke Skywalker only dreamed of being a Jedi Knight and was struggling with putting in the work it required. When asked to get his fighter jet out of the muck he simply said, “Ok. I’ll try.” It even goes deeper with him, though. Just moments before, Yoda reprimands him for being so negative saying, “Always with you it cannot be done.” Only when Young Skywalker decided his dream meant more to him than his comfort did he move from being just a Dreamer to becoming a Doer.
Often times we hear people say things like, “When I win the lottery…” or “If only I were rich…” But they never play the lottery or put themselves in the position to become rich. They are simply dreamers. There are many who dream of becoming a movie star or American Idol winner but never go to a single audition for either, they just sit back and dream, taking no action to accomplish them.
Have you ever woken up and thought, “That was a great dream. I wish I could remember what it was.” Then you go back to sleep hoping to re-capture it but you don’t….it’s gone. Dreams can be stolen from us because we simply wake up from our sleep. The same could be said with the dreams you have for your life. They can be stolen when you are awoken back to the “real world.”
There are many dream stealers in our lives. It can be those family and friends who say to you, “Why are you doing this? Why don’t you just get a regular job and start enjoying life?!” Never realizing it’s because of your dream you do enjoy life. Have you ever told someone your dream only to have them look at you like you’re being silly or childish? They are dream stealers. However, I think the one of the biggest dream stealers is our own “Lack of Commitment.”
Larry the Cable Guy, tells a story of when he was starting off as a comedian and getting known via the radio. He said in an interview that after a show when the other comics would go out to party, he would retreat to his hotel room and write new material not only for his stand-up routine but for his radio spots which were beginning to be heard around the country. Today, according to Forbes, Larry is one of the Top-Earning Comedians of 2013 and it’s because he’s not just a Dreamer but a Doer.
Accomplishing your dream requires effort, hard work and a commitment to it. You must be willing to do and doing, many times, comes with sacrifice. So today, my question for you is this, Are you simply a Dreamer or are you a Doer?
“Do or Do not. There is no try.”