The Holy $hit Moment
Barry Katz, who has manages performers like Jay Mohr and Dave Chappel, has some great advice for people in show business, but they apply to the business of life as well. Barry's thoughts are so interesting, he was persuaded to do a podcast of his own called Industry Standard that you can find in all the usual places, such as iTunes. Listening to his interviews reminded me of one of my own "Holy Shit Moments". It happened about 8 years into my musical career. I few lines on a slip of recycled paper would change my life.
I was staying with a fellow musician and his girl friend, who thought herself to be poetic. I returned home one day to find a scribbled note next to the phone:
"Larry _____ called with a gig that he thinks you will dig."
I called my friend back to learn that he recommended for an album recording with a famous band, followed by a European and then an Asian tour, about 8-12 weeks in all. This was definitely an HSM! It would lead to a big career boost, pleasurable experiences traveling the world playing to large, appreciative audiences, and I suppose to sum it up in the terms of the time, "Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll".
Faced with such strong opportunities, one also has doubts. Can I do this? What if I blow the audition (or interview)? What if I can't fulfill the expectations of the group or even of my friend? The negatives were horrifying. But faced with a HSM, you can't let yourself go there.
What did I do? I applied an idea a friend told me about. It's a kind of positive thinking that uses a very simple technique: visualization. Mentally repeating to yourself an affirmation like, "I am ready to accept this good thing that has come my way." While that thought is floating around, I pictured myself in the recording studio, playing my ass off. I imagined what it was like on a stage in front of an audience of thousands in Rome, Italy, the cheers and applause, the young women wanting to hang out with us, experiencing for the first time fine European restaurants, going to exotic places like Kyoto, Japan, any and all things positive that I could conjure as a vision. Had there not been a concrete opportunity involved, this would have been delusions of grandeur, immature daydreaming but because it was actually totally in the realm of possibility, this was affirming "I can do this!".
So if Barry asked me about my HSM, this is the story I would tell him. That it came to, I confronted it with the knowledge that I was ready for it, and went on to do it. Rome was our first concert, and as we stepped on stage to applause and cheers before a single not was played, and as I strapped on my guitar and looked out at those faces, I felt a chill. At that exact point in time, I saw the entire Holy Shit Moment play out, from the note, the phone call, the recording and rehearsals to the stage in Italy and the leader counted "One, tow... one two three.."