I haven’t written in a really, really long time. I miss it. A lot.
One of the revelations that I recently had is that for someone with a degree in Communications, I am often a terrible communicator. Let me rephrase: I’m a terrible overcommunicator. I talk in a very unfiltered, stream-of-consciousness type of way. Shockingly to those who have recently met me – I’m actually a LOT better than I used to be with censoring at least SOME of my thoughts. I’ve learned that my brain works a lot differently than most people. Sometimes it doesn’t shut off, which is why I am writing at 5am.
Just about everything about me is non-conformist. I am my own boss, I work my own hours, I rarely do what other people expect, I rarely wear pants. I wouldn’t change those aspects of who I am for any amount of money in the world. However if I am honest with myself, I need to accept some failures that I’ve had along the way, and use them for personal growth and a positive outcome. I do my best work when I’m backed into a corner. The trick is maybe not getting myself backed in quite so damned often.
So I think I figured out how to do that. The weird thing is, it’s the same thing that I constantly preach in business: Focus on your strengths, minimize your weaknesses, learn how to delegate, etc.
In a nutshell, I’m great at business, and terrible at people. I think I finally understand the relationship between the two. To be as successful as I have been in business, sometimes I have to ruffle feathers. Sometimes I have to be selfish. Sometimes I have to be the bad guy.
I’m sick of being the bad guy.
I’m living my dream. Every day that I wake up is the happiest day of my life. That’s no bullshit – That’s where I’m at. I have love, I have happiness, I have support, I have a small group of people who take care of me. For years I worked so hard with the band because I worried that somehow I’d wake up and the gigs would stop coming. Venues would wise up. Some bar owner would say to himself, “Wait.. We are paying this guy to come out, sing some songs, drink some Jagerbombs, and have a good time?”
My failure is in trying to force other people to live my dream instead of helping them live theirs. The self-centered part of me is grateful that I’ve had upwards of twenty talented people help me live my dream over the past six years, but Walk of Shame is MY dream.
We played a gig at a bar down in WV a few weeks ago, and the owner pulled me aside and said, “You know, you’ve played here a bunch of times now. Do you just show up with a different band every time?” – And I realized that quite literally yes, I did. In the four times that WoS played that bar, I played with ten different people. Now, the ego in me is happy that I can show up with any guys off the street and for all intents and purposes, those guys are Walk of Shame in that given bar on that given night – But THAT part isn’t my dream. That’s the shitty part. That’s the part that holds the band back. That’s the part that holds ME back.
I look at the business of what I do, and I’m so proud. I’ve been able to take a band that started out playing dive bars around Pittsburgh in 2008 for beer money and to impress girls into a nationally touring act. If you block out 2011-2012 because I don’t remember most of those shows (Thanks Jager!) we’ve always done well at places. I’ll say this – At 5am when I can’t sleep, one of the things that always keeps me awake is the thought of where we COULD be if I was just better at sharing my dream – If I was just better at people.
The cool thing now, finally, is that I know what needs to happen. It might require a complete reset, but to paraphrase the guy destroying my former profession, sometimes you just have to do what is “best for business.”
So this weekend I get to go out and play some gigs out in Ohio, and then I get to go to Dewey Beach and Ocean City for a week to play shows. Yeah, that’s my job. They pay me to go to the beach and play songs that make people happy. I have a nice house. I have a nice car. I have a nice life.
And Life Does Not Suck.