Good morning and happy Sunday to you.
I just spent the evening with two of my sister and I am so incredibly grateful for that. I love them so much and we rarely get an evening where it’s just the three of us and I can’t tell you how many times last night that I just stared at them both with such love and appreciation and gratitude.
Who are you grateful for on this beautiful Sunday morning? Let them know how you feel. It’s a beautiful gift you’ll give to them and yourself.
SPEAKING OF GIFTS I love the Olympics.
They changed my life forever. No exaggeration.
In 1984 I was at the lowest point of my life. I started a business with my best friend a few years earlier that became wildly successful. My best friend/partner had anticipated our success so when he set up our corporate charter, he left me off it. This way if anything ever went sideways, it was all his.
Things did go sideways so I ended up suing him for half of our company. As soon as my lawyer saw the business charter and what my best friend/partner had done he said, “You’re screwed. He screwed you and ready? There’s no law against a shrewd business man.”
I told him I didn’t care what he had done. Right is right. And he said, “Not in a court of law. In a court of law, legal is what’s right and he has a legal document that trumps your verbal agreement. You’re screwed.”
I spent the next two and half years suing my best friend/partner who screwed me.
In the end I did get screwed and lost millions of dollars. But the biggest blow was I not only lost my best friend, I was betrayed by him. I had a few girlfriends betray/cheat on me at this point in my life and trust me, this was wayyyyy worse.
After the settlement I sank into a deep depression. This was 1982 and honestly, I never even heard of the word depression much less experienced it.
But I had it and it had me and away we sank.
THE COMEBACK By 1984 I had spent so much time, energy, and $ on therapy with no success. They didn’t have meds for something like this back then (or of they did they didn’t hand them out like they do today) but if they had, I would have taken every single one of them.
Instead I tried to crawl out of this deep hole with no ladder or rope and believe me, it was a dark, deep hole and very scary.
So, the 1984 Olympics come along while I’m sitting in my tiny studio apartment cave/hole/(self-created)dungeon and over the next two weeks I watched the opposite of my life unfold.
I saw brilliance. I saw courage. I saw not just hard work but work ethic (BIG difference)
Most of all, I saw happiness and joy. These people loved what they were doing with their lives and even better, they loved their lives.
Man, was it an ugly mirror for two weeks but by the end that mirror, those Olympics, those stories of setback after setback and then incredible resiliency to overcome it all, changed my life.
You see, I sat there bawling tears I didn’t know were inside me and I said to myself. “I want to feel that way about my life. I want to love my job and I want to love my life.”
And thus began my comeback – my dig out, dust off comeback.
It was not easy and I was not always graceful or confident that I would find my way but man, was I determined.
And it led me “home” – to my life’s purpose and to me. The real me. I figured out why I was here and that was to be an actor, a filmmaker, a storyteller, a rabble-rouser, and an ass-kicking dreamer who somehow would help other dreamers as well.
33 YEARS LATER When I tour and teach I often say, “You’re looking at one of THE most successful actors you’ve ever seen. You don’t recognize me. I’m not rich and famous BUT I make a living at my dream and I love my life and I wouldn’t trade my career with any actor alive.”
And the cool part is I really mean it and that’s because I’m really clear on my definition of success.
SO WHAT’S THE POINT There’s a bunch of them I’d like to make and I can tell btw, that this topic is going to continue for the next several newsletters so I hope to see you next week because I believe there’s much here to harvest.
For now, here are a few key points the Olympics and going after my dream have taught me:
#1) Follow your heart and trust your gut. I started my dream at 29 years ago with no training, experience or connections. Only a few people thought this was a good idea (very few – like 2) but the key, I was my biggest fan and I didn’t care what the world thought. I WAS GOING TO DO THIS.
#2) Work ethic. Man, have I worked hard at my dream (often, too hard so I get out-of-balance and start to strangle it all but that too is a topic for another day) but just working hard is not the key – consistency is the key.
Chop. Chop. Chop.
You see, I heard it was kind of competitive and I also heard starting late was not such a good idea.
And 29 years later I have chopped my way to this incredibly blessed life.
#3) RESILANCY. This is the key of keys (but you have to do the other keys to even get here J).
When life “screws us” we have a choice. Even if it feels like we don’t have a choice, we do. We can either:
- Get knocked down from that low blow, take a knee, regroup, get up and be better for it
- Get knocked down, stay down for the count but regroup and go another day
- Get knocked down, stay down, bitch and moan about how shitty that low-blow was, how screwed we got, how cheated we were, and stay down. In other words, quit
33 years ago life knocked me down and I stayed down for a looooonnnnnnggggg time. I bitched. I complained. I hung on to being right so played the victim card for several years. Hell, I even quit for a while.
But finally, FINALLY I crawled off the matt, picked myself up, regrouped, owned it all and began taking full responsibility for me life and this allowed for my comeback and my break-throughs which have led to the most blessed life a dreamer has ever had.
Has life knocked you down hard lately (or a while ago) and have you been slow to recover?
Are you stuck being stuck about a screw job/low-blow? Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired?
I understand. Believe me, I get it.
Go watch the Olympics this next week and be inspired by their example of trusting their gut, their work ethic, and their resiliency.
And most of all, be inspired by their extraordinary example of a life well lived.
If anything here resonates for you please let me know either by hitting reply or going to your Artistic Family Facebook page. Also please let me know what else you’d like me to talk about on this topic and I will do my best to integrate it over the next fee weeks.
Until then, to quote Bruce Springsteen and to celebrate every single Olympic athlete, and you as well, “Dream baby dream. Come on and dream baby dream.”
Sweet dreams, Jim
SPEAKING OF DREAMS We had a beautiful video teaching last week about the keys to creating your dreams, your breaks, and your good fortune. Thank you all who participated. I had an amazing experience and from your feedback, it’s clear you did too so yay for us!
If you weren’t able to join us, a video recording of the teaching is available for the same fee as those who registered – $20. If you’d like a copy just hit reply and we’ll send you the payment link and after that, the teaching.
Of course, if you’re not thrilled I’ll give you a full refund –no questions asked.