You Never Know Until You Ask

Available Opportunities
Expanding Growth
Passion vs. Talent
Talents & Skills

I’ve been at my career (life) for a long ass time. I’ve had some really amazing moments along the way.  I’ve learned a ton. I developed an insane network of incredible people.

At this point in my career you might say, “I made it”.  Made it?

Ummmm Yes, I’m proud of what I’ve done. I have even surprised myself with the things I’ve been able to accomplish and be part of.

But, “Made It”?

Made what?

As many of you know setting a target for achievements comes at a price. If you’re not constantly adding to those targeted achievements you’re going to drop into free fall once you’ve achieved a single target. Achieving a goal should only be viewed as a step not a landing.

Here let me explain.

When I was younger I wanted to succeed at playing in a band. I kinda sorta accomplished that or at least to the point I felt like I had achieved a degree of success. 

Being in bands led me to recording studios and live performance. Once exposed to that I set my sights on becoming a recording and live music engineer. Which lead me to tech. Which lead me to… blah blah blah… which eventually that lead me to the producing in the broadcast industry. That’s where I fell in love with visual storytelling and the collaboration process with a diverse team brilliant creatives.

Over time I set a few lofty goals, some I reached, others were near misses and other goals came unplanned. I ended up in places I never thought about and became involved in events beyond my comprehension.

Most of these came from other people asking for my involvement and me being excited to be part of something new and the opportunity to learn a ton of new skills.

As I aged up, I became viewed as a senior member of the industry with a reputation of success and achievements. That reputation, as flattering as it is, many times becomes limiting.

People began to perceive me and other industry veterans like me, as having a specific set of talents and unapproachable when they wanted to share or collaborate on new ideas out of my perceived skill set.

They believed our skill sets to be too specific based on our successes, or we are Too Big or Too Busy.

That perception of us, Too Big or Too Busy, is usually wrong and many times could limit the potential of the new project’s growth, by excluding our experience and insights. It may also limit the veteran’s growth by not being involved in new ideas with people with fresh perspectives.

Let me share a quick story that many of you know but it illustrates this point perfectly.

My oldest daughter, Valerie, was born with Down Syndrome.  The first five years of her life had a profound and positive effect on my life. I felt I needed to share with the world the enlightenment I had found.

So, I collaborated on a song about my experiences with a friend and Sony Music producer, Bobby Wooten. We composed the song as a male / female duet targeting two major artists we had access to at the time.

Around that time, I was with a dear friend and mentor, Ray Charles.  I had mentioned to Mr. Ray what I was up too.  He was taken back that I had written a song about my daughter and did not ask him to sing it.

Here comes the point of the story.

Because he was RAY CHARLES the legend, I would never have considered asking him. 

I assumed, “Why would he every consider doing this project”.  He is Too Big and Too Busy!

Thankfully, Mr. Ray was more than willing to record the song and offered to shoot the music video.

I share this story as an illustration because it lands on the two main points of this writing.

  1. Mr. Charles NEVER stopped growing his talents by offering his gifts if he could help a friend and the greater good. Never Too Busy or Too Big.
  2. When the opportunity presented itself, if I had hesitated to ask Mr. Charles for his contributions, our song and subsequent video, would never have become as impactful as it has over the years. 

My mom had a phrase she shared whenever I was afraid to be rejected, “…it can’t hurt to ask”. I will add to those words of wisdom, “You might be surprised to find out the person you’re asking might be grateful you asked and excited to be part of something new and different”. 

You never know until you ask!

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