Friday, February 21, 2014
With the Daytona 500 on the horizon I thought I’d share with you my love affair with this sport. It doesn’t take people long when they meet me to realize I’m a huge NASCAR fan. I enjoy lots of sports, football, basketball but my number one is racing, especially NASCAR. My first race, I've been told, was when I was 2 months old and as I lay in my mother’s arms at the Columbus Motor Speedway I, apparently, was hooked. My aunt and uncle would travel every year to Daytona for the race and for hours I’d listen to their stories of watching the likes of the King, the Silver Fox, the Alabama Gang and many others of who we now consider legends. Along with the stories, there are many lessons I've learned over the years of following this fast paced sport.
Lesson one is DRIVE. The stories are things of lore now, but back in the early days of NASCAR, Hall of Fame driver, Lee Petty would drive the family car from track to track each week. Once he would arrive, some quick modifications would be made then the race was on. Following the race, he would transform the car back into the family sedan and drive home. This was the story of several of the early guys. They had a drive in them to compete, to be the best at what they did and they stopped at nothing to achieve it. Even today the drivers are driven to excel. This is a lesson to all of us who have a dream we desire to make into a reality. Dreams are achieve when there is drive.
Lesson two is SACRIFICE. This is one lesson that sneaks up on a person. When I watch a race on television all I see is the driver wheeling the car around the track until he is lucky enough to receive the accolades that come with victory. There’s the magazine covers, the cameos in music videos and even the occasional movie. What isn't seen is the practice laps, the trekking across the country and sleeping in hotels. There’s the business and team meeting that take up the first part of the week. This is just the tip of the iceberg of the behind the scenes demands that cause them to sacrifice time with family, friends and even fun many of us enjoy. When you ask any of them, a celebrity or any person who has achieved great success they will tell you it was worth the sacrifice (with the exception the time away from family – but when you watch a race you will notice the drivers have their family with them).
Lesson three is TEAMWORK. It’s the drivers who often get the praise and the glory however, each driver when interviewed is quick to point to the fact that he couldn't do it without his team. The engine builder, the jack-man, the tire guys and a whole garage full of people supporting him as he takes the checkered flag. NASCAR is a team sport, like football, baseball and many other sports. When success is showered upon one person, a closer examination will reveal they couldn't achieve it by themselves there is always a team of folk supporting them
Come Sunday when you are watching the Great American Race pay attention to the lessons you can learn and realize there is a lot more to NASCAR than just turning left.
Friday, February 14, 2014
Let me tell you what I’ve got going on today. I was up at 6:30 this morning (I slept in a little) so I would be ready to take my youngest to school and get her there on time. I remember my mom getting up so early and thinking, “Why?” The older I get the more I see the wisdom of the morning and getting the day started. The wisdom of the morning is its quiet (the kids are gone), its still, and cool. I can just sit and enjoy the stillness or put on some music. With a hot cup of coffee and marking off items from the ole “To Do List” I’m feeling accomplished and creative. My mom was right, the early mornings rock.
Then I came home to write my three morning pages. I really enjoy this morning ritual and more than I thought I would. If you don’t know what morning pages are allow me to explain. It’s kind of like writing a journal each morning, but a little different. With a journal/diary you write what’s on you mind, events, stresses and joys. Morning pages is more of a “brain connected to pen” type of writing. Although the previous stuff can be a part of it, the true purpose of it is to get the creative juices flowing. It doesn’t have to make sense or it can. The point is to write…just write then let the creativity out. Many of my blog ideas have come and will come from this. A lot of what makes it in are whatever is going on with me whether it’s a new gig or a fight with my daughter, I really look forward to it each morning. I’ve heard about this my whole life and now I kick myself for not doing it sooner. I am convinced I would be a more creative and better performer if I had.
I’ve also done a little promotion of my March 8th show in Cross Lanes WV at the Mardi Gras Casino. This is a constant part of my mornings and not just for this show but for every show. It just so happens someone on Facebook mentioned they bought tickets to this particular show as a Valentine’s gift for her husband. A constant part of my life is booking and promoting of shows. Many think I only work about 2 hours or so on the weekend when I am standing on stage. What they don’t see is all the hours put in to get this show or any show for that matter. Emails, phone calls, and mentions on all the social networks all go into that 1 to 2 hours. Although I really like the applause, laughs and the celebrity aspect of the weekend (and I really REALLY like it), it’s the stuff during the week(s) prior I enjoy. It’s the challenge, the creativity and the feeling of accomplishment that gets me going every day. When you are doing something you genuinely love, then work isn’t a bad four-letter word but one you look forward to each morning.
Now I am writing this blog I hope everyone reads. I love writing and think I am pretty good at it. Before the invention of blogs (and my discovery of them) all I had was to write for journals hoping to get published. Now I write and self-publish, still hoping a journal picks one up or hires me to free-lance but if not, it’s ok. I do this because I love it and hope you do as well. This is my morning in a nut-shell. I hope your day begins each day as great as mine does.
Good Morning! Let’s accomplish something today and make a difference.
Friday, February 7, 2014
I was packing for yet another trip to make people laugh for the weekend and came across some interesting items in my suitcase that got me to thinking. As I was packing my boxers, I noticed I have a lot of superhero shorts, Justice League, Batman & Superman but it got me considering strengths. Each of the Justice League members have their own set of strengths which make them unique and valuable members, yet each can stand on their own to battle the largest of foes. The Flash has his speed, Batman his wits and Superman, well he’s the Man of Steel for goodness sakes. Then I started to consider my own strengths? What do I have to contribute? If I have any, how can I use them to my advantage?
Marcus Buckingham wrote the book, Now, Discover Your Strengths which discusses this very idea. His premise is everyone has strengths but often times spend too much time developing weakness rather than putting energy into where they are the strongest. His words resonated with me, especially when he said our weaknesses will never become our strengths. Very profound statement, especially when you consider where you place all of your energies. Too many of us place our energies into our weakness seeking to make them our strengths. All this does is lead us into frustration, discouragement and a lack of confidence in ourselves.
Consider placing that same energy into your strengths and see if that will take you farther than you have ever been. The first step is to see where your strengths are. Think about what you are good at and you will most likely notice it’s where you have found the most satisfaction. Remember however, to truly be honest with yourself about this step, for it is the foundation to finding your success. An example of this would be me wanting to sing. Anyone who knows me knows I love music, especially Country Music, but I don’t have even a thimble full talent for this. No matter how much I tried when I was younger, I am just not good. Think about what would happen if I just kept expending energy in developing my singing. Here is what would happen. I may get better but it will always be a weakness and never a strength of mine. So my only course of action is to be honest with myself and discover my strengths then focus my energies into making them stronger.
As I examine my life, I discovered my strengths lie in my abilities to talk and write. I have always been able to stand on a stage and perform be it a speech or doing comedy. I am at home there so it’s a strength of mine. I have also developed a sense of writing to which I have been published on several occasions. Does this mean I am great every time? Of course not, because I have my lazy days just like anyone else where I just “mail it in.” Knowing I have a tendency to procrastinate I have to protect my strengths from this kryptonite. In order to do this I have decided, in my personal life, I am going to focus on my strengths to make them stronger and just not worry about my areas of weakness. Everyone, especially me, will be better served.
So I encourage you to go now, discover your strengths and then reach for the stars. You can do it.