The Inefficiencies of Anger

Unknown-3Around the WPA offices, I am sometimes called Obi-Wan.  I try not to take this as the old, decrepit and hooded Alec Guinness of Star Wars, but rather, the sage, father figure and hooded Alec Guinness that is all at once serene and powerful.  I suppose we all tell
ourselves the stories we need to hear.

When I was a young agent in New York.  Well, a younger agent, I was prone to getting angry about the weirdest things, little things, big things, anything really.  One day, I actually got a call from the head of the agency in Los Angeles, informing me that if I kept throwing my phone headset against the wall and breaking it, I would have to supply my own.  Fair enough I thought at the time.

I’m not sure when I realized what a waste of time my emotions were becoming or when I realized the amount of mistakes I was making sans calmness, but at some point I turned over a new leaf. As I think back, I wonder if it was inexperience that made me angry or my fear of failure when I found myself in unfamiliar territory, or an addiction to the drama of it all.

I think I calmed down for good when one day, on a negotiation I said something out ofimages-1 anger to a producer, who instantly used it as leverage and not only beat the hell out of me in the deal, but then he (of course) used the comment to deride me to my client. I ended up losing that client, even though what sparked my outburst in the first place was my feeling the client was being insulted and taken advantage of.  Hard lesson.

Once I turned the corner, I was left with a few undeniable philosophies:

  1. We’re making movies, not saving the world.  We’re white collar executives, not Seal Team 6.  No one dies in what we do if we are close to competent. In the movie industry, it’s only the extreme hubris of a Ryan Miller that will kill a Sarah Jones. 99.999 percent of the time we are perfectly safe.
  2. If your client will walk away from a negotiation, you can go hard because you have all the leverage.  If your client is desperate, you’ll have to accept what they give you and there’s no use in being upset about it. Supply and demand.
  3. At this point I’ve seen so many people get into trouble through their emotions that it’s hard to miss the lesson.  I have passed on so many clients after hearing their reputation as a screamer on set or unreasonable in negotiations.  It means at the least that they don’t understand principles 1 or 2. At the most, they are just assholes. In a business based on repeat business, they will have a short shelf life. Sometimes, they are in the “so talented, they’ll be around forever category.”  But, that just puts them in my “life’s too short category.”

I’m left with the image of Abe Vigoda’s Tessio in the Godfather as they put him in the car to drive him to his execution.  They told him it wasn’t personal.  It was just business and he understood with a resigned calmness.  For him, it was life and death, well pretend life and death anyway, but again, in the end it was just business.

images-3Now, when things start to get heated at work, I take an imaginary step to the left and let the other person’s emotion pass by me instead of through me.  If there’s one thing I know for certain, it’s that the person who is more emotionally invested ALWAYS loses a negotiation. It’s a simple success model, be the calm one.

 

Scars

stapled-scar-resultsI have a scar on the knuckle of my left thumb.  I got it when I was in 7th grade and it was the first of many. It’s very faint now 40+ years later but it’s still there.  There was a kid in my neighborhood named John Coakley.  He was two years older than me and he had a penchant for terrorizing younger kids.  One day, outside a store in town, I came upon him pushing around a friend that was a year younger than me.  I stepped in the middle and told him to stop it.  He asked: “What are you going to do about it?” I hit him with a solid roundhouse from the left side and I caught him square in the teeth. Unfortunately for John, he didn’t expect that particular answer from a smaller kid, but he also wore braces and I think he assumed the unwritten law of “no hitting kids with braces” was in effect.  It wasn’t.  So the blow ripped open the inside of his mouth as well as my thumb.  He ran off yelling at me with blood flowing into his hands.  He never bothered us again.

All these years later, I have plenty more scars.  Physical, emotional and even spiritual I suppose.  I was reminded of it this morning when I got out of the shower and looked in the mirror.  I had surgery for a separated shoulder three weeks ago so I have a beauty now.  About 4 inches long, red and angry looking.  It runs from the top of my shoulder down almost to the top of my chest.  The result of another misadventure between man and horse.

I have some on my right shoulder from a Labrum repair, a few on my stomach from Gallbladder surgery and others here and there that I don’t even remember how they came about.

It begs the broader question: what are the cost of my scars?  See, horseback riding is a contact sport. Contact with the ground, with hooves, with dicey terrain and gaps in my horsemanship. The Gallbladder scars?  Bad eating habits. My emotional scars are from incessant worrying about my wife and children, the death of my father, mistakes, rejections, business failures and stepping up to do the right thing when I knew it would hurt my business and my finances.

But, now I realize that every scar means something to me. It’s the cost of standing up to a bully.  It’s the cost of having the sense of adventure to get back on horses that invariably will throw you into the woods now and again.  It’s the cost of doing business with integrity when others can’t or won’t, and those people will find the justification to call you inhuman, ruthless and worse when you show them the door.  They will multiply your scars by poisoning what they can long after. It’s the cost of loving someone who won’t be here forever and that particular scar will be where no one else can see or understand it.  That scar is on your heart.

I’m proud of my scars. I’ve earned them.  They mean that I tried.  They mean I stood for something. They mean I’ve loved some people and said goodbye to others.  They mean I had courage and I wasn’t afraid to fall down and fail.  And all those things put together ultimately lead to a successful life.

So, a big thanks John Coakley.  I hope you learned something from your scar too.

 

I Am A Citizen Of The World

I have decided that I am a citizen of the world. Coming off of St. Patrick’s day where my Irish American wife and my Irish American self scoured the southern California countryside for a decent corned beef and cabbage (and settled instead for King Crab legs) I have decided that I am not Irish.

My beautiful picture

Clara Riordan

Even though my great grandmother Clara Riordan, arrived from County Cork in the 1890’s I am not Irish. Even though my great great grandfather Jacob Jacob arrived from Prussia in the 1870’s I am not German or Jewish as he probably was. I’m not Italian like my great grandfather on my Mother’s side Joe Rosso, or even Canadian/American (is that a thing?) as would make me as my Dad’s mother, Myrtle Beck was born in Montreal, her grandparents (the Hoopers) were a British immigrant and Italian immigrant to Canada. With so much other stuff in me I’m not even sure I’m American.  Well, I am technically American as I was born just outside of Boston and at last glance it was and still is a part of the USA. It’s just very confusing and I can’t commit to it any longer.

My beautiful picture

Joe Rosso

I was brought up Catholic, though I gave it up for Lent one time and never started up again. I played music in Evangelical churches for years, but it turned out that I’m not Republican enough, fundamentalist enough, conservative enough nor insular enough to really make a go of it. I did have fun with some Methodists for a time, they’re cool.  I like Rumi and Lao Tsu and meditation, but I’m pretty sure I would wash out of the monastery life very quickly.   I am a Citizen of the World.

My beautiful picture

The Hoopers – James and Gabriella

I don’t want to “Make America White Again,” I mean “Great Again” as the idiot child of moron parents, Donald Trump wants to do. The message is Fascist, oppressive and makes people want to hit each other. His policies (if one can be accurately located) are probably in and of themselves the reasonings that my dear ancestors were escaping from in their homeland and making their way to the new world in the first place. Can you hear the hum of the millions of immigrant bodies spinning in their graves all over Brooklyn? I can.

This is a business blog right? What does this have to do with anything? Only everything. I’m an International Business Person. I travel abroad regularly. I have clients and partners all over the world. I have to think multi-culturally and globally. I have to get along in different environments with people who have very different backgrounds than me, and do you know what?  It’s not hard, because by and large, people the world over think the same way and want to get to know me, understand me and do business with me.

I’m still learning of course.  I got in trouble at a fancy London social club a few years back because I had improperly placed my silverware on my plate at the end of the meal. This resulted in the Lebanese waiter rebuking me on proper British table etiquette, which resulted in my British hosts getting really (yet politely) pissed at the waiter.

Conversely, the first time I was in Poland, I went in search of Pierogies. I pointed to the real thing on a menu and the non-english speaking waitress flagged down someone to tell me that if I ate what I had chosen, it would make my Gringo stomach drop through my shoes.  She chose something lighter in the Pierogi family for me and I felt like Chopin on a Saturday afternoon break. She was beaming that she had saved me from death by potato dumpling.

Do you know what I like?  Advertising with inter-racial families, same sex families and that PSA where people are looking at a giant X-Ray of other people behind a screen that turn out to be all kinds of combinations when they come out from behind.  They are all as much of a genetic, nationalistic, spiritual Mutt as I am. As we all are.  After millions of generations, aren’t we all just this caldron of DNA goo?  The same stuff in slightly different variations?

So there you have it. I renounce every bloodline corpuscle in my body in pursuit of being a Citizen of the World.  I don’t want to have to fit into the box of being American or Irish/American or Italian, German, Swahili/Eskimo, or whatever else worked its way in there over the eons. I’m a Citizen of the World.  Maybe I’m naive to think it’s possible, but if enough of us start to think this way, do business this way, maybe life and business will be in better shape.  Maybe xenophobes will have a harder time coming to power.

If I’m wrong? If Trump wins? I’m one quarter Canadian. I’ll write you from Vancouver, eh?

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Two Men Walk Into a Bar – The Story of WPA

imageTwo men walk into a bar. Ok, not a bar. Two men walk into a lunch place on Sunset Boulevard.  They talk for twenty minutes. The conversation stops when one glances out the window and notices a competitor stumble by drunk as hell.  They debate for a minute if it’s really him.  They concur that it is.  They continue talking. Before the competitor can weave around the corner and out of sight, the two men in the lunch place realize that they are inextricably linked to each other for the rest of their careers. And here begins the story of WPA.  Admittedly, before they walked into the bar, er.. lunch place, both had been thinking of getting out of the business.  One to be a Lawyer in Europe, the other to be a Luthier. I know, no one knows what a Luthier is. I’m tired of explaining it, Google it here for Chrissakes.  Anyway, they talked about the agency business. They agreed it could be done better.  They agreed that they were now working in a global marketplace. They agreed, boutiques didn’t work anymore because the big agencies now used them in Hollywood and abroad as talent farm teams to be shaken down when clients reached a certain level.   They agreed a global brand presence was possible. They agreed the big agencies treated their employees like nothing more than chattel to be traded upon. They agreed there was room in between for an agency with the roster size and power of the big agencies, but with a culture that allowed for humanity, development, free flow of information and closer relationships between agent and client and agent and agent.  They agreed on a lot. They walked out of the lunch place with a lot to do. The next weeks were a blur of activity.  One had gone out on his own 8 months before.  He had to convince his clients that it was a good thing to double the size of the agency.  The other had to dissolve a dysfunctional partnership and move on.  He had to convince his clients to free fall with him.  They met on a Saturday morning two weeks later and in 90 degree heat, loaded furniture into a horse trailer.  Yes a horse trailer.  They set it up in 3 tiny rooms on a back lot.  Why a backlot?  some say smarts, but the reasons were more practical.  It was free.

Molly manning the books.

Molly manning the books.

There were other intrepid warriors, Kristen, Trevor, Louiza and Molly.  Young, full of energy, passionate and ready for the fight.  Kristen named the place Worldwide Production Agency when we couldn’t come up with a name.  Trevor had left marble encrusted ICM just a few months before and now found himself smashed into a corner with his face plastered against the window wondering WTF. And Louzilla, well the name says it all. In the early days, Richard had dinosaur roar sound effects on his computer that he fired off liberally whenever Louiza made a deal. Molly, well Molly kept the unruly crew in line and finances headed in the right direction.

Trevor moving his elbows.

Trevor moving his elbows.

We started signing, we started booking, we started building. Megan, Derek and Amber joined us. The studio decided to move us across the lot to a bigger office.  Now instead of 3 tiny rooms, we now had 3 small rooms. Trevor wasn’t plastered against the window anymore. Now he could even raise his elbows when he worked. It was tight, but our culture was born there.  Everyone could hear everything anybody did. How could you not?  No matter where you sat, there was somebody literally 3 feet away.  We developed a style and working rules based on transparency, free flow of information, honesty and respect. We realized we were different.  Starting humbly had bound us together as a tribe.  We had our brushes with each other, sure. But, there was no door slamming,  because in truth, there were no doors to slam.

Kristen & Derek on Derek Appreciation Day.

Kristen & Derek on Derek Appreciation Day.

We also found we all had another thing in common.  An appreciation for Korean Bar-B-Q.  We started having appreciation days for whoever was the low man on the totem pole.  We had them for interns and receptionists.  If there was a reason to appreciate someone, it was off to Korean Bar-B-Q.  To this day, one of the interview questions for potential employees is the direct question: “Do you like Korean Bar-B-Q?”  There is only one acceptable answer. We grew and we grew.  We outgrew the 3 small rooms.  There were now 9 of us and and Trevor’s face was plastered against the window again.  We had been looking for an appropriate space for months and months and finally we walked into a space that all made sense.  3500 square feet with no walls.   Plenty of room, floor to ceiling windows, a garden courtyard on one side, a proper reception area, a conference room

Louiza on the BBQ

Louiza on the BBQ

and did I mention no walls?  Working right next to each other had become our trademark and our comfort level.  why not scale it? You see, the big thing with big agencies is that information disappears behind closed doors.  Everything we’re against. Our philosophy demanded the open space, the honesty and the 24/7 discussion that had brought us this far, this fast. Enter Adrienne. imageAdrienne worked tirelessly building us the open space, that all at once is serious and elegant, while at the same time being welcoming and comfortable.  In August 2012 we moved in and things really took off.  I mean REALLY took off.  We will forever be in her debt. Was it us? Was it the space?  Was it the philosophy?  Was it a commitment to client centric service without the Hollywood bullshit? In truth, it is all of it.  One thing led to another, fed into the next.  The openness bred imagesomething bigger than the sum of it’s parts.  The space Adrienne gave us was more than a space.  It tied it all together. It defined us.  It gave us confidence.

Frank Balkin

Frank Balkin

But, something was still holding us back.  We felt out of balance.  Something was missing and we knew it.  We were always strong in Features and strong in Commercials, but weak in Television.  We needed balance.  We needed Frank and Brian.

Brian Goldberg

Brian Goldberg

Like the mate who you chase for years knowing that you’re destined to be together, we pursued them.  They were the perfect fit and we knew it. Finally, they made the jump.  Things exploded, we had balance.  Barely a year later, it’s all humming along nicely.  But, we have never trusted nicely.  We have never trusted status quo.  As I’ve said before in this blog:  You’re never standing still.  You’re moving forward or backwards.  Status quo is an illusion.

Barnaby Laws

Barnaby Laws

So, here we are. What’s next is here. London. Meet Barnaby. Substantial and social, I met him first last November at Cameraimage in Poland. It was the same feeling as when I walked into the lunch place and met Richard. I could just tell. When I talked to the others, they could just tell also. I would say it was strange, but it’s not. We’d been here before and we knew the feeling. Richard was on his way to London to visit clients. We agreed he should look up Barnaby and ask if he might be interested in working with us at some point. It turns out that his contract was up and he would be available as of February 1st. When you build things correctly you have options. Lots of options.  You have to have criteria for culling through them. Our criteria have always been to look past the opportunity and directly at the people involved. Options will show you opportunities for fast money, for fast growth and power in the marketplace, but you have to brush all that aside and look at the people. Are they a fit?  Skill set is teachable, market knowledge is teachable, deep seeded philosophical values are not.  So we don’t ask: are they like us? That’s far too low a bar as you can always find something in common. The correct question is: do they have the same basic values and life philosophy that we do? imageBarnaby was a fit.  We had figured maybe Barnaby and London in a year, but in a month?  We go by the maxim: Go slow when you can, go fast when you must as the right fit is very rare.  As of today, WPA-United Kingdom is in operation. There will be more adventures, for that’s what it is, an adventure.  We’re not just building a business.  We’re building a lifestyle together.  Our clients, ourselves (we’re 16 employees strong now and growing) and our philosophy.  We’ve done it better, the marketplace is global, there is room for humanity, honesty and transparency. There is room for power, flexibility and exponential growth. So, that’s the story of WPA and it all started when two men walked into a bar, I mean a lunch place. image

It’s a New Year and I’ve Been Thinking

UnknownOnce again, it’s a new year.  OK, a little past New Years.  I’ve been kind of busy lately (I’ll get to that in a blog post next week). Anyway,  Is it going to be a fresh beginning?  Is it going to be more of the same?  Well, that’s always the question isn’t it? Maybe not for some people, but I think that if you can’t point to lessons you’ve learned and acknowledge that wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, you’re learning. If you are paying attention, you can avoid making the mistakes of the past.  If it seems like you’re not learning, you’re just not paying attention.

Over the holidays, I take time to reflect.  Not just on the last year, but I think about what I’ve done over a course of many years to get where I am (wherever that is). It’s a process and there have been victories and mistakes.  Every once in a while you have to take stock and hone things down to a few concepts you know have worked for you.  In that spirit, here’s what I’ve been thinking about that has worked for me.

Invest in Yourself.  Here’s why: no one else is going to do it. At least not in the long term.  People will invest in you so long as their short term needs are being met and so long they maintain their profit margin.  So, be an owner, and if that’s not possible yet work towards being an owner.  How do you do that? Invent your job and when you’re done inventing your job, reinvent it.  You do that by doing way more than your job description. Own your position and commit to your evolution within it.  I’m not just talking about business. Invest in your physical well being, your mental well being, your spiritual well being. Own it all.  If you are not doing the investments, own it and change it.  If you are doing the investments, own the process, own the failures and successes equally.

If you’re already an owner, a freelance entrepreneur, an Artist: Examine your investment.  Are you constantly making it more valuable with everything you do? Or are you undermining it with time wasters, vamping, avoiding issues or excuses? Be honest and make sure you are on track.

Casals

Study and Be Curious.  When the world famous cellist Pablo Casals was 90 years old, someone asked him “why do you still practice 4 hours a day?” he replied: “because I think I’m making progress.”

When I’m not studying I notice.  When I’m not studying I have the nagging feeling I am falling behind.  Why do I care so much? Because this isn’t a frickin dress rehearsal.  I’m on stage right now. My career is happening right now.  I’m mentoring those around me right now.  I’m building a business right now.  

What are you trying to accomplish?  Are you seeking out the best information to accomplish it?  Are you stretching your mind and your skill set?  People who know me well, know that I am a big fan of listening to business books on my commute.  I am always looking for new ideas.  If I could do it all over again, I would have started and maintained my discipline of studying whatever endeavor I was involved in a lot sooner than I did. If you are not constantly bringing new ideas into your life, if you are not practicing what you choose to master, you run the run the risk of maintaining your own status quo.  Essentially, status quo doesn’t exist.  It’s against the laws of physics to stand completely still.  You’re always moving in one direction or the other.  Make sure it’s forward.

Trust Your Gut – When people say “my gut is telling me…” they are usually right.  You’re gut is the outward extension of your subconscious.  Our subconscious is much more in tune with how we are really feeling, because it’s not susceptible to the constant brain chatter we engage in.  The key with gut feelings is to separate them from excitement and fear.  After you work through your reasoning on a decision, take a moment to breathe and be silent and let your gut weigh in.

Feel Like an Imposter – I am driven by fear, I admit it. I’ve also found that it’s a good place to be.  So long as fear doesn’t paralyze you, it’s good to worry that you might be “found out.”  It’s good to feel not as smart or talented as people think you are.  It’s the trait I find most prevalent in successful artists.  It makes you humble and focused. Fear handled correctly will make you study harder, practice harder and be more driven. Confidence is great, over confidence breeds mistakes.

6a00d8341c630a53ef013480b8a92d970cTake Risks  “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” – Wayne Gretzky.  Usually attributed to Michael Jordan, but indeed he stole it from Gretzky.  This one is very tough, especially if you have a lot of responsibility.  It’s easy to stay where you’re at, do the things that got you to where you are now and maintain. You have to force yourself to step out of your comfort zone and try things that just might not work.  We have two parts of the brain, our modern brain, which reasons and our primitive brain which controls our fight or flight response.  Our primitive brain hates taking risks, because back when we were living in caves, if you took a risk that didn’t work out,  you usually died.  Our primitive brain doesn’t know the difference between a lion and making a cold call.  You have to push through the physiology and risk failure. You also have to fail a lot to succeed.

In my youth I knew the theater impresario Hal Prince quite well.  He once told me that only one third of the shows he produced over his career made money.  It wasn’t lost on me that he he had to produce 9 shows to get 3 successful ones.  He had to work on every one for years to find out if it was a success or a failure.  That is commitment to process.  That is knowing the math and accepting it.  So, accept the math,  get out there, take some risks, fail a lot and start realizing some successes.

Road-Perspective

Look to the Horizon – When I was learning to drive, I remember the instructor teaching us the concept of looking as far down the road as you can see and let your peripheral vision handle what is directly in front of you.  That way you can see problems as they develop long before they reach you.  This also pertains to opportunities.  I’ve always been interested and excited in the future.  The excitement of what’s coming.  I’ve always looked down the road, it’s just now that I’m realizing how well it’s served me.

Have Some Things in the Pipeline – This is the game of what’s next? In the music industry, you can have a song, an album, a tour, but you’ll never get a record deal if you can’t tell the label what else they can sell after they’re finished selling what you have now.  For every deal I’ve got, I have two more that are gestating in the background. For every move I make, I have two more long range ones that I’m working on. Some will work out in the long run, some won’t, but that’s not the point.  Things worth the trouble take a long time to develop.  You have to put in time on a variety of options and that’s hard when you’d like to have some instant gratification.

And Finally…….

The truth never lives in what you say, the truth is always found in what you do – This is the most important one of all.  People say a lot of things.  I say a lot of things. Sometimes I’m thinking or fantasizing out loud.  I do a lot less of that now, because as a leader, people tend to believe me when I say something and they expect it to happen. So, when I say something I have to back it up with action or lose my credibility. I’ve found it’s very powerful to put yourself in that position. The need to act based on my words will eat at me until I throw down and do something about it.  Declarations may set a standard to be held to, but what you take action on is how you will be judged. What you take action on will determine your success.  What you take action on tells the world your values, your standards and your true intent.

Good luck out there this year.  Make some magic!

Push, Grow, Rinse, Repeat

I’m feeling more and more these days that life is supposed to be a grand experiment in how much we can learn, and I’m finding it’s not always easy.  Sometimes it’s downright painful. But, more often than not, the pain and frustration leads to exhilaration.

4349Any attempt to grow will undoubtedly reveal our shortcomings.  All the reasons that we should maintain our status quo start screaming at us like Janet Leigh in the shower scene in Psycho. But, to achieve a well lived life, to advance, to become smarter, more capable, we have to move ahead despite the inner protests.  We need to push. I mean, that’s what they tell women at the end of childbirth to do right? PUSH!  Any endeavor, any growth, any attempt at bringing new energy to ourselves, to the world requires us to push.

I just did something absolutely frightening.  I took what is a relaxing hobby of mine and brought it to the next level. I love taking pictures.  I take them everywhere I go and I go a lot of places.  Even when I’m not traveling, I will sit in my backyard and take pictures of the birds or the sky or my feet or whatever strikes me. Taking pictures for me is a meditation. It takes my mind off of things and puts me in the moment.

But recently, on a lark I submitted some of my photos for a group show in New York.  I forgot about it and went about my life.  Then suddenly one night I got the email.  Three of my photos were chosen for the exhibit.  Then came the hard part.  They needed to be printed, framed and shipped within five days.

The photos that got into the show.

The good feeling of being chosen quickly gave way to panic, doubt and bad internal dialogue. “It’s going to cost alot. Maybe they just can’t find any good pictures so they picked mine. Oh, why bother, it’s just a hobby, it’s not really what I do anyway.” And the big one for me: “I represent visual artists, what if they think I suck, or worse, what if they think I want to do what they do and not what I do.”

All my thoughts were untrue, except the cost a lot part.  It cost a lot.  But, I found that growth comes at a cost and sometimes it’s a lot.  Not just financially, but emotionally, spiritually and even physically.

I figured it out.  I asked a client who does gallery shows where to go for printing.  The printers knew a framer. They lined it up and also handled the shipping. I gave them files on Tuesday, they printed, framed and shipped on Friday.

Adrienne and I flew to New York on the folllowing Monday.  Thanks Adrienne, you kept me sane!  On Tuesday, I stopped by the gallery to make sure all had arrived intact. Luckily, it had.  There were things I was unhappy with.  One of the photographs was printed too contrasty for my liking (I was now becoming the picky, petulant, ever unsatisfied artist,) the frames were good, but not really what I wanted, etc.  I was just picking it all apart.

Mind you, I had approved everything before it left LA.  I realized this was just part of the angst of the push. See, pushing is never perfect and it’s never comfortable.  It’s just about growth and I was 2nd guessing it all. Everything from submitting the photographs, to the cost, to taking the pictures in the first place.

The opening was Thursday night.  I was a wreck. My nervousness subsided once things got going.  There were so many people there and so many people that I had invited showed up to support me.  I had relatives, friends and whoa… clients.

The show was appropriately titled.  It perfectly described my angst.

The show was appropriately titled. It perfectly described my angst.

It was all well recieved.  There were other photographs in the show that were really great, but I didn’t get all judgy about it and didn’t get all crazy about people being judgy about my work. No one thought I was trying to be something I wasn’t.  I was just there learning what it’s like to be in a group show in a gallery. Nothing more, nothing less. Another experience and another opportunity to learn something.

When I was a kid, I hated school.  I wasn’t good at it. I resented all of the forced learning I had to do.  I just wanted to live, play and have a good time.  What I’ve come to find well into my life is that learning (even forced learning) is what it’s all about.  Learning actually is the living, playing and having a good time.  If you’re not learning and actively participating in your growth you’re just watching your life drift by.

Embrace the push. Embrace the pain.  Embrace leaving your comfort zone. Embrace failing and embrace trying again. Embrace the imperfection of a first attempt, a second attempt, any attempt, because so many people won’t attempt at all.  Embrace getting through it. Embrace the joy that comes from knowing there are people loving you through it and rooting for you to succeed. Embrace the learning and the growth.  Embrace the push.

Not that much worse for wear after all that pushing.

Not that much worse for wear after all that pushing.