Photo: Alex Soucho
August 25, 2018: Paris, France
Yep, that’s right. I wrote “Paris, France”. Why? ‘Cause I’m a loser who thinks it sounds romantic, like Hemingway in his expat days, to write from abroad. But it’s true. That’s where I am. Working. And I think it’s a great place to start this little ramble I’m about to hurl at you. This will be my first, ever, official blog post. It will be stream of consciousness, so bear with it. The grammar will likely be okay. The thoughts may meander and go down some random streets, but I’m confident they’ll all end up driving toward some relatively specific goal.
10,000 No’s, Keep on Keepin’ On
Perhaps we should start with why I’m writing on this particular blog. It was “commissioned”, I guess. But that’s really a BS way of saying my cousin’s sister-in-law, Roni, happened to hear an episode of my podcast. We connected on social media and she said, in a nutshell, “I started this blog, Shine On And Glow. It’s based on the same thing as your podcast: inspire people to keep on keepin’ on and be the best version of themselves.” I said, “Boom. Done. Count me in.” That was this morning.
No More Wishy-Washy, Commit To A Purpose!
These days, I like to act fast. No more wishy-washy. Make a decision and go. Want me to write? Sure, what’s the topic? You see, I’ve spent more time than I care to admit, just hemming and hawing over tons of things I dream about doing or want to do. But recently I realized that the only difference between those who do and those who talk about doing, is the actual doing of said activity. Sounds simple? It is. That doesn’t mean you’ll do something well the first 100 times out of the gate. But if you truly commit to it, you will likely get better. Once you get better, and others see that you have committed, they’ll come out of the woodwork and aid you in your endeavor. They will give you nourishment for your quest and lodging for your journey. That’s because people are looking for leaders. They are looking to be inspired!
Your job, your obligation to yourself, is to inspire yourself. To commit to a purpose. To commit to yourself and make a promise that you won’t let yourself off the hook, that you will fight tooth and nail to stand for something larger than yourself. Once you do that, you don’t need an alarm clock anymore. You don’t need people hounding you to go to the gym or pick up your pen and write. You will want to do it. You will need to do it…for you! That’s the catch: make it about others, serving them, and it will end up being the best thing possible for you! It’s selfish to be selfless.
Main Ingredient To Success?
Ask any successful entrepreneur their ingredient to success and they will tell you, “Provide better service to more people than your competition does and you will succeed.” Serve. Help people help themselves. In any market, with any product. Automobiles? Give them a more comfortable, reliable ride with systems that make their life convenient. Fitness? Teach them how to transform their bodies so they are no longer in pain and can handle fun, adventurous activities. The Arts? Teach them how to access deeper parts of themselves, and utilize their instrument more efficiently. So they can express themselves more deeply and more precisely, and thus move more people with their performances, paintings, poetry, etc..
Matt Del Negro in Sopranos Photo by Barry Wetcher – © 20 January 2002
Failure Is Just Opportunity In Disguise
So why did I begin with the Paris thing? Well, because it’s a trip to me. I don’t mean a trip, as in a voyage (though it’s that too). I mean, a trip, like “Holy crap. Pinch me. Someone is paying me and flying me to Paris for work?!” Recently, on social media, someone reached out to me and asked if it was too late for her to start acting. I asked how old she was and she responded: “13”. Thirteen?!!! Too Late?!!! Wow! Shocking! I responded that I had no clue I wanted to be an actor until I was twenty years old. No clue. I had one tie to “the business”, and zero experience besides a two night performance in a lecture hall at Boston College. So, to be sitting here in Paris, 26 years later, is a trip. “How’d they let me in?” “How’d this happen?”
Truth is: I do know how it happened at this point. It happened because I committed. It happened because I made sacrifices. It happened because I was willing to go on stage, and get up in classes, and go on film and be bad. I was willing to “fail”. Because, luckily I had learned a valuable lesson from my parents, and from sports, early on. My Dad used to say, “Failure is just opportunity in disguise”. Without failure, we can’t test the boundaries of our limitations. So we need to be willing to go beyond our comfort zone consistently if we truly want to grow. Not just once in a while! We need to take risks! In my humble opinion, “playing it safe” has been vastly overvalued in our society today. I know plenty of people who have “played it safe”, only to appear to be “successful”. Yet, they feel like they are not really living, numbed somehow by the boundaries with which they have surrounded themselves. I do not want to be one of them.
Just Do It
Okay, I could go on for days about this, but I’m writing about “truly living” and I’m sitting in a hotel room in a foreign city on my laptop when I could be out exploring. So, I’ll end with “au revoir”. I hope these words, in some way, help you to get off your *ss and go fight for that dream you have. Get you to go chip away, until you master something you previously thought impossible. It ain’t rocket science, folks – it’s just a matter of doing it.