How to be fantastic at what you do

I was watching Jerry Seinfeld’s Netflix show, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.  

This show is mostly comedy for me but there’s always some great business/personal development nuggets in there.

The episode I watched last night featured actor and comedian Garry Shandling.  

Garry and Jerry were talking about deceased comedian David Brenner.  Jerry was saying how sad it is that all of Brenner’s great comedy material died with him.

Gary was more focused on Brenner’s life and not his work.  Their exchange went like this:

Garry:  That [Brenner’s] material and your material is purely a vehicle for you to express your spirit and your soul and your being, and that’s why you’re fantastic. 

Jerry:  It doesn’t have any value beyond that?  

Garry:  It doesn’t have any value beyond you expressing yourself spiritually in a very soulful, spiritual way.  It’s why you’re on the planet.

In Jordan Peele’s interview with Oprah Winfrey (and in her book The Path Made Clear), Peele says:

“You know, I will continue to make movies—the movies that I want to see.  If I want to see it, I have to have trust that other people will.  And if they don’t, I have to accept that’s what it is.  But for me, the biggest reward of all of this has always been the fact that I get make another movie.”

When you do your art (teaching, consulting, training, coaching, painting etc.), you’re only brilliant at it if your inner and outer purpose is aligned.  That’s why Megan Mecedo’s Artist Paradigm question is so profound.

“The guiding question is not “What will generate a profit?”  The guiding questions is, “What’s worth doing even if it fails?”

When you are in TOTAL alignment with your purpose you will figure out how to make the money.  

All the hacks and short cuts most people preach nowadays usually short change you.  It keeps you away from the work.  The math doesn’t work because the work is everything!

The work takes you closer to bliss.

The work takes you closer to your goals.

The work fuels our purpose and fulfillment because (as Shandling said) it is the vehicle for you to express your sprit and your soul.

Don’t try to attain success.  DO the work and BE successful.  

I had that backwards for far too long.


I’m being mean to kids again

I did something today I don’t do very often.  I said ‘no’ to a children’s charity.

Someone I knew was seeking donations for an auction that will raise funds to support “Arizona’s children.”  

Requests like this are reasonable, and I usually help out if I can.  

But I didn’t. 

Does that make me bad?  


Am I sipping my cold brew right now with my pinky finger up thinking about all those kids out there that I hosed out of an opportunity? 

No.  And well, hell no.  

I remember Oprah telling the story about how she always gave to everything and every one because she “had it”.  Her first REAL ‘no’ was when Stevie Wonder asked her to help a charity.  From then on Oprah got clear on what she supported and what she did not support. 

I was marginally good at this but after reading Lynne Twist’s book The Soul of Money, I got super clear on this too.  Lynne wrote:

“No matter how much or how little money you have flowing through your life, when you direct that flow with soulful purpose, you feel wealthy.  You feel vibrant and alive when you use your money in a way that represents you, not just as a response to the market economy, but also as an expression of who you are.”

Clarity is everything.  

In your life, in your business, in your giving.

Adam Street

Dining on two day old French fries

Before there was Instagram and many of the social sites artists use today to show their work, there was  

You could find and follow great artists from all around the world!  It’s still one of the most popular sites for artists online.  

One thing that I always found interesting was…  

When artists developed a bit of a following and accepted commissions on the site, they seemed to focus all their time and energy into doing what the commissioner wanted.  

And doing what they THOUGHT would-be-commissioners would like.  

I was in many conversations on this topic and most of them could be summed up to this…

“I can’t make money drawing what I really want to draw so I have to draw this other thing”.  

I get it.  

When I was younger I thought that way a little.  

Draw what sells!  

Focus on what’s hot right now!  

But doing this made my insides squirm.   

What is true for artists is just as true for everyone else.  If I was to break it down for you, it’d sound like this… 

Don’t let the outside world control your inside world.

In comics we used to call copy cat artists “hacks”.  Nowadays I prefer Seth Godin’s definition of a hack, “a hack is a professional who doesn’t care.”

Seth says, “the hack has been beaten up enough times that he has emotionally disconnected. The hack has a short-term view, able to do what the client asks, without regard for how it will impact the culture or his long-term prospects.”

We all start somewhere but do the work that energizes you.  The work that you are curious and passionate about.  The stuff you love.

Treat other people’s opinions and desires like two day old french fries.  You can consume them if you’re desperate but it’s best to leave them alone.


Slay procrastination with one question

Like many creative ADD types my brain is like a Ferrari.  

Which is great when someone with a sound mind is driving but other times it’s like an licensed teen boy is behind the wheel.  Other times, no one at all!  

When I need to get something done, I end up…

Checking emails obsessively.

Going on YouTube for one thing and being on there an hour later.

“Researching” on Google for WAY longer than I need to be.

If I’m not careful procrastination rears it’s ugly head like a Kaiju from the Pacific Rim movies!  I don’t want to draw or type anything.  My energy level drops to the floor so now I need coffee or an energy drink.  

Return a phone call?  Nope.  I’m too busy because I have so much to do!!!

But just one more TikTok video before I go…

I may be a little ‘extra’ but this can happen to anyone.  Recently I’ve been able to calm my mind and cease doing this nonsense by asking myself one question.

How may I serve?

Instead of thinking about MY schedule and what I FEEL LIKE doing today.  I look at my client’s request and I think, how may I serve you?

My energy totally changes.  My imagination activates and I visualize the first best right action to take on a project.  I even did this last week when I drew at a live event. 

Procrastination gone.

Low energy, gone.  

Tiktok, well…  Gone too.

Everything shifted when I used all my energy and intention to focus on the needs of my client.  

Try it!


Use or lose it

Imagine you drive an old beat up 1972 Ford F100 truck, but it usually starts everyday.

You really want to buy a shiny new Ford F-150.  You’re qualified for the loan but you just haven’t gotten around to pulling the trigger.  

For people like me like it makes sense to man up, find an F-150, and buy it. It’s new, it looks better, feels better, and it has the new car smell.  Ahhh!


Everyday you drive the old F100.  It smokes, sometimes it breaks down on you, but you’ve driven it for years and you’re used to it.

This is what so many of us do with our marketing.  You get comfortable in your box and it becomes harder and harder to step out it even though something better is out there.

The fastest way to “better” isn’t necessarily in taking a course, reading a new book, or copying one of your competitors.  

It’s using your creativity and accessing it through your imagination.

Ralph Waldo Emerson  said, “the imagination and the senses cannot be gratified at the same time.”

Gratify here means to indulge or satisfy.  When you try to fix a life or marketing problem with the senses (looking around, reading, listening to videos and podcasts, etc.) it’s too easy to miss the boat because your imagination isn’t active, it’s passive.

On the other hand when you use your imagination you move from reacting to creating.  

Steve jobs said, “creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while.”

The prime times to access your imagination is first thing in the morning, last thing at night, during meditation, or getting in the shower.

You can also access it driving, moving your body (dancing, hiking, exercising, etc), cooking, all sorts of other ways.

Find a way that works best for you.

And don’t forget Napoleon Hill’s words in Think and Grow Rich.  “The creative faculty becomes more alert, more receptive to vibrations from the sources mentioned, in proportion to its development through use.” 

So uh…use it!