work hard

Do The Work

The answer you’re looking for is in the work.

Want to be a better performer? Do a hundred shows. Then do a hundred more.

Want to be a better writer? Read and write every single day.

Want to excel at your craft? Work at it, every chance you can.

The answer you’re looking for is in the work.

But you knew that already, right? You know what it takes to get better because you’ve heard it before. The secret to getting better has been there all along, staring you in the face.

You can only ignore it for so long, until you admit that it’s up to you to bite the bullet and do the work.

There’s no secret shortcut or magic pill for getting from Point A to Point B. There’s no life hack or pro-tip that will take you from amateur to expert. There’s no substitute for hard work.

But I don’t have to tell you that. Deep down you already have all the answers you need. Deep down you know what needs to be done. Deep down you’re ready to do whatever it takes to get to the next level.

You don’t need fancy new gear or the latest and greatest tech. You don’t need everything to be perfect. You don’t need someone else’s permission. You have everything you need.

It’s time to stop waiting for the perfect moment. It’s time to stop holding yourself back from what you know needs to be done. It’s time to do what you’ve been waiting for.

It’s time to do the work.

Lean Into It

I have very specific tastes. I only like certain kinds of art or music or books or movies. I prefer things to be done one way over another. And the more stuff I see, the pickier I get.

But - and this is a big BUT - there is always an exception.

For instance, I was never really into rap but I can’t get enough Kendrick Lamar. And I don’t really seek out many musicals but Hamilton is the best thing I’ve ever seen. For every thing I don’t like there is an example that proves me wrong, urging me to rethink my opinions.

The exception isn’t the craft - the exception is the work that goes into it. The exception is the people who fully committed to their craft and worked hard to make it the best it could possibly be.

My favorite artists are the ones who are so full of enthusiasm for what they do that by the time I’m done watching them they make me want to learn more about it. When I watch Neil DeGrasse Tyson most of what he says goes right over my head, but his love for his work is so contagious that it makes me want to dive headfirst into a pile of science textbooks.

It seems to me that you don’t need to cater to the diehard fans of what you do. The musical theater junkies will be camping out for tickets like always and the science nuts will be first in line for the lectures.

It’s not the true fans you have to worry about. If you want to transcend and get people to appreciate your work on a different level, then you have to think about the people who don’t care about what you do at all. Those are the people that matter most.

The best way to get those people to care is to lean into your craft so hard that you can’t be ignored. It doesn’t matter if what you do is silly or serious, cheesy or complicated - it only matters that you work at it so hard that the people who never noticed your genre before can’t look away.

Convincing the cynics to appreciate your work is no easy task. Doing what’s been done before is out of the question. You can’t go halfway, you can’t pander, you can’t patronize. Every ounce of your work has to silently scream “HEY! THIS MATTERS TO ME AND IT SHOULD MATTER TO YOU!”

When I see a cringe-worthy performance the cringe comes from the performer not going far enough. You can sense they want to cringe, too. Instead of leaning into their schtick, they shy away from the moment they’re trying to create. They are ashamed or uncomfortable with what they do and it shows.  But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Either go down a different path or f*cking OWN IT. Embrace the absurd, own the over-the-top, commit to your choices, and force me to care about what you do. Make me become a fan of something I never knew I liked before. I want to, but you’ve got to show me why I should. And there’s only one way to do that.

You’ve got to lean into it.