Our children have been lied to. They’ve been told they can be anything they want to be. The world is their oyster. I’ve heard parents tell their children how perfect, special, and amazing, they are. The poor saps grow up believing it. We now have a generation of college educated young people who are walking around dazed, wondering why they can’t even get a job in their chosen field. We neglected to tell them…’oh yes and you have to do your homework, pay your dues and practice practice practice’. And when you fail you have to get up and try again, and again, and again.
But here’s the good news. You really can do anything you want to do, If you work at it every single day. We are all born with certain talents, things we are drawn to, better at, things we really enjoy. But talent alone won’t buy you a Jaguar XF. Talented kids often times fail because they think they have it in the bag. Take a look honey. The only thing in your bag is lunch.Today I am a very successful writer and speaker. There was a time when I had no experience writing anything. I was always the kid making everyone else laugh. But that’s not being a professional, well paid and respected writer/comedian. Once I decided I wanted to be a comedian, I saturated myself in the craft. I went to the comedy club and sat in the back row every night with my note pad. I watched and listened to the pros. I noticed how they walked, their facial expressions, how they used their hands. I studied their timing, their rhythm and their attitude. Each night I’d go home and review my notes and write. I wrote pages and pages of jokes. Out of ten pages of jokes I’d find three gems that I’d work into my act. I wrote every day. Most of it was horrible. I never gave up. I read every book I could find about, by and for comedians. I wanted to know everything.
One day I asked another young comic, Mike Goss to join me in a writing session. The best line came after about four hours of writing together. I said, “OK Mike I have to wrap up here. I’ve got to go home and mow my lawn.” He said, “See Von, that’s the difference between you and me. You mow the lawn, and I cut the grass!” If you could see me and Mike, that line is hysterical, it makes perfect sense. We are so different and yet very much the same. Over twenty years have past but I still remember that line.
So what’s the lesson here? Study. Learn. Fill your mind up with everything and anything that has to do with your goal. Everyday. Hang with people who already have what you want. Practice. Stay positive. Grow. Work for free in order to gain experience, contacts and hone your craft. If you really want something badly enough, it’s worth the time and investment to start at the bottom and really work every day. You may find in the midst of it, that your goals change. Mine did. Originally I thought I’d be a stand up comic. While I was busy training myself to write and perform funny, the world of motivational speaking came knocking and, bingo, I was a perfect fit for it. Why? Because I had spent seven years writing and performing in front of live audiences. I had learned first hand what makes people laugh. I was ready. You can be anything you want to be – but you have to get ready.