I’m a half-full kind of guy. As a proud alum of “Up With People,” I believe that world peace is within reach and gas at $20 a gallon is not. I think there is more right with the world than wrong and have the same perspective about my professional life. I believe the best way to fix a brand is to find what’s inherently right about it.
An empty stage is a magical place. It can be transformed into anything you can imagine. A dramatic opera. A Broadway opening. A symphony. A ballet. The loudest rock band. The quietest mime. A child’s first recital. A declaration that changes history.
The stage is simply a metaphor for life. You can make it anything you want. It’s yours to create and produce, but breaking a leg on this stage is not about what you do or what you have. Rather, it is about what you find.
First, find your character. After all, you are in every single scene of your show. Be honest with yourself about what you want and what you do well. Think less and do more. Don’t ever allow yourself to be paralyzed by the fear of being wrong. Trust your gut, as a bit of overconfidence can go a long way. For me, breaking a leg for my character was about accomplishing three things. Two I will share now and one I’ll come back to:
1. Having enough money to have, but still want.
2. Raising kids that blur the line between parents and friends.
Next, find your ensemble. They are your co-stars. Your base. Your glue. Your best friends. In a world of what you do, they are the why. Look up from your phone. Live life in person and invest in building critical relationships. Be aware that love is easy and overrated. Like your co-stars—really like them—because liking the people you love is pure magic.
Then, find your light. This is the way you tackle the plot twists, because there will be plot twists. Life is way too short for darkness. Learn to laugh – A lot. Laugh at yourself so you don’t take yourself too seriously. Laugh at situations to remove eggshells. When I can get my girls to laugh so hard that they pee in their pants (just a little bit) there are suddenly no wars, no hunger, no hatred. All seems right with the world.
Finally, find your direction. Don’t ever be afraid to change scenes. If you are comfortable in the life you are leading, get yourself uncomfortable. Change location. Change traffic patterns. Change social media feeds. Someone once said, “everyone should move at least three times in your life.” I’ve done that and it is amazing how life re-awakens. You notice things you never would have before. What is most important is to always run to things, not away from them and know where you want to end up.
I mentioned two of my three goals before: To make enough money to have but still want and to blur the line of friendship with my kids. The third goal has always been to live a life “TED worthy.” Not in a climb a mountain, lose a limb or swim with sharks kind of way. Just in a finding extraordinary in the ordinary kind of way through the lens of the people I love.
This post is an edit of a talk I was asked to give at TEDxTU in February of 2015 after being nominated by my daughter. It was the day my leg, indeed, broke.