It was the early nineties. I was just a dreamer. Long before I began in stand-up comedy, I dreamed of being an actor. One morning, while eating breakfast at Bickford’s in Framingham, MA, I looked up and saw Mike Farrell. You might remember him as the actor who played B.J. Hunnicut on M*A*S*H.
Instantly star-struck… I politely stalked him. I waited until he was leaving and followed behind him. I worked up the courage and asked him for any advice for my non-existent acting career. He thought about it for a few moments, looked me straight in my eye, and said, “Know who you are.”
My immediate reaction after my chin dropped was “Wow… what the heck does that mean?”
Who are you? Do you know? Have you ever thought about it?
Clarity on that subject is good. It helps you have direction and saves you from wasting time & energy and having too much stress. Many people think I’m a World Champion. Honestly, that may be an accomplishment, but it really is just a side effect of who I am. Who I am is just a persistent guy who doesn’t give up. A guy who was willing to work hard, look foolish, and fall forward.
Many speakers find themselves challenged by the current economic conditions. People who earned much more than I did a few years ago, are now coming to me for advice. I’m happy to help. Most of them were kind and helpful to me when I was growing up in this business. Some “speakers” forgot who they were and didn’t change quickly enough. When other speakers’ businesses went down in the last few years, mine went up.
I’m not a speaker. I’m just a guy who helps other people get what they want. I listen to what people want, and help them find new ways to get it. Zig Ziglar said it best…
“You can get anything in life you want,
if you help enough other people get what they want.”
I’m fortunate enough to have some of the best friends in the world. I surround myself with good people and I’m just glad they think enough of me to let me hang around.
If you were to tell me in 1992 — when I picked up Judy Carter’s book Stand-up Comedy the Book — that some day I’d be sharing the stage and teaching beside her, I would have laughed my butt off. Guess, what I’m doing today? Somebody pinch me!
In my early days of stand-up, I remember Vinnie Favorito pulling me aside after a set and saying, “What are you doing? Profanity? Just ’cause other people are saying it, the audience ain’t buying it from you. That’s not who you are.“
Sometimes we need a reminder who we really are. I realized years ago that I’m not a comedian. I’m glad I did it and learned, but it never really felt right to me. I love inspiring. I love inspirational movies. I live for seeing the “ah-ha” in the eyes of others.
Who are you?
P.S. Thanks for continuing to read this. I’m delighted that my thoughts and effort are worth your time.
P.P.S. I really want to thank Craig Valentine, Ed Tate, Mark Brown, Patricia Fripp, and Mike Rayburn for being true professional and great friends. Also, especially Cynthia Lay and Chey Burns for helping me get my content out there, putting up with me, and still being friends. Thanks. ;-]