I hear this a lot.
I’ll hear it at least a half-dozen times next week when my wife and I visit San Antonio for the International Water Quality Association convention to deliver the opening keynote address.
My wife says it’s because sometimes I make it look too easy, so it makes others feel like they can quite naturally get on stage in front of a thousand people, too, and speak from their hearts about their ‘passions.’
And no one will throw fruit.
You want to do what I do?
Get up earlier than you want. Not just tomorrow but for years.
Read for about two hours a day. Not just blogs but books and not just business books but book books.
Especially book books.
Turn off your television and keep it off.
Take an acting class. Then take them for ten years or so. You’ll be terrible at first, and it’ll be the most awful hot feeling in your face you’ve ever felt. You’ll lay awake nights recounting your profound ability to suck.
But it’ll get better. Slowly.
Write every day. Write when you don’t feel like it.
Especially when you don’t feel like it.
Find someone who will read the stuff you wrote and talk to them.
Tell ‘em some more stuff. They won’t pay you any money for this.
You probably won’t get paid money for a couple years.
But, if you have something to say, and you say it interestingly enough, not only will the audience stop throwing fruit, but someone in the audience will know another group who would like to hear you speak or a business that would be willing to pay you a little bit of money to help them.
Be prepared to lay awake at night knowing the infinitesimally remote possibility that every one of your clients could fire you tomorrow is still a possibility. This especially happens alone in the countless, nameless hotel rooms you’ll come to call home way more than you’d like.
Do your best to ignore the trolls, gutter snipes and booger eaters who’ll do their best to dismiss you, steal your stuff and stab you in the back.
But, also be ready to admit you’re doing the best you can and, thank God, you’re curious enough and determined enough (and possibly stupid enough) to never give up the dream of doing this.
Whatever ‘this’ is …
Be prepared to have awkward conversations on airplanes and in queues and even at parties with your friends about what it is you do, exactly.
Oh, and you’ll have this conversation with your mother, too.
And it’s all worth it. I think – to do what it is I do.
After all, I’m writing this in my underwear, wearing unconscionably nice headphones, and I was able to long ago move out of my parents’ proverbial basement.
I do get to spend a nice week in San Antonio with my wife and two of my best buddies. That part’s cool.
We’re able to provide every possible opportunity and resource for our special needs child.
You just try to focus on doing the next right thing.
But it all started with getting up early and reading and writing and reading some more and then doing.
It’s a long way to the stage.
But, most days, the view’s pretty good from up there.
I hope I get to watch you someday.
I promise I won’t throw fruit.