I love creativity!
The sudden burst of a creative new idea electrifies me.
It’s an orgasmic rush to feel the birth of a new book, or song, or product, or online course.
I love it!
But there are a lot of misconceptions about creativity and being creative.
For one, most people sit around and wait for inspiration to wallop them over the head with an idea.
And they expect the idea to be fully developed and ready for release to the public.
But is that how it actually happens?
When I had my private songwriting lesson in the home of rock icon Melissa Etheridge, she advised, “Never write without being inspired.”
But how do you get inspired?
She went on to explain how she gets inspired.
She walks in nature, reads biographies, reviews songs and poems, and more.
In other words, she invites inspiration.
Jack London was more macho about it.
He said, “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”
Considering he wrote over 50 books, and some (White Fang, The Call of the Wild, Martin Eden) are considered classics of literature, he knew what to do to nail creativity.
I’m a fan of inviting creativity, too.
I read, listen to music, allow my mind to reflect, sit in the hot tub and look at the stars, meditate and more
But here’s the thing no one seems to get.
Receiving creativity is one thing; developing what you receive is another.
For example, I was reading the new book The Creative Curve by Allan Gannett and began to get the idea of writing this post.
My mind was “ignited with an idea” and I let it float through my mind.
But then I went here and started explaining my idea.
I started writing.
In other words, the sudden inspiration for an idea is a birth; but you have to grow and develop the idea into something that you can share.
Melissa Etheridge also told me that after I got an idea for a song, I “get” to develop it with music, melody and more.
She stressed the word “get.”
Some people complain that they have an idea for a book or a business, but now have to do the work to bring it into being.
You don’t “have” to do it, you “get” to do it.
It’s a shift in perspective.
With this very blog post, I’ll probably rewrite it fifteen times, or more.
Because receiving an idea and developing an idea are two different things.
For example, according to Gannett’s book, Paul McCarthy worked on his famous song “Yesterday” for almost two years. (!)
He didn’t just receive inspiration and release a song.
He wrote. Rewrote. Wondered.
Pondered. Worried. Stressed.
And worked some more.
The result is considered a masterpiece.
But it didn’t arrive in his mind as complete and finished.
All he received was the seed.
According to Gannett, “McCartney became obsessed. While he worked on it, the people around McCartney became sick of hearing about his ever-changing song in progress.”
After twenty months of this process, he created what we all know and love as the famous song, “Yesterday.”
Mozart didn’t receive finished music, either.
That’s another fallacy.
He got flashes of ideas and then worked at the keyboard to grind out what worked and didn’t.
I remember reading that the late Leonard Cohen often worked on a single song for ten years.
The shocking truth about creativity is that getting an idea is simple birth; you still have to raise it, much like making a baby is a thrilling explosion of delight, but now you have to change the diapers, feed it, raise it, and send it to school.
If you really want to be creative, you have to invite inspiration, and then go to work.
Take the seed and grow it.
When Daniel Barrett and I wrote the book, The Remembering Process, we wanted to share a new way to invite creative expression and creativity.
But after you receive a vision, or an inkling of what to do, you still have to develop it.
The creative idea isn’t the end.
The creative idea is the beginning.
And that’s where you “get” to be the parent of creativity.
For example, when I stated an intention to create the album, Sun Will Rise, I had to use everything to receive the ideas for each song.
But then I also had to write and rewrite those songs.
And then I had to get my Band of Legends together and record those songs.
And then we had to tweak and improve those songs in the studio.
And then we mixed them, and mastered them.
I didn’t just “get an idea” and quit.
This is the shocking truth about creativity.
Let me give you a maybe more startling example:
Back in 1997 or so I wrote a little booklet called Spiritual Marketing. I wrote it for my sister. I got the idea that maybe I could help her by explaining a process I had learned that took me from homeless to wealth. The little booklet explained a five step formula for attracting wealth. I never promoted it, and I kept it secret; only handing it out among friends and people I met and trusted. One of those friends was Bob Proctor, who convinced me this little booklet was a gem.
I could have stopped there.
A new print-on-demand publisher approached me around 2002 and asked if they could print something of mine. I gave them Spiritual Marketing. But before I did, I rewrote it, expanded it, added more content to it, and developed it into a more mainstream full length book. That book became an Amazon bestseller and was mentioned in a New York Times article.
And I could have stopped there.
Then, around 2005, a major publisher approached me about publishing Spiritual Marketing. But they didn’t like the title. So I changed the title, rewrote the book, added even more content to it, and released it as The Attractor Factor. It was that very book that got me invited to be in what became the hit movie The Secret.
But this evolution of an idea didn’t stop there.
The publisher loved the book but wanted to print a newer, expanded, more workbook oriented edition of it. So I again added to the book, enriched it, added quizzes and worksheets, and saw it published in 2008. That book is still a bestseller today.
Do you see how this process works?
I didn’t receive an idea and stop.
I received it, developed it, and kept developing it.
What I keep preaching is that life is a co-creation.
It’s a dance of energy.
You receive an idea or inspiration.
But it will just sit there unless you take action to breathe it into being.
I’m told I’ve written over 75 books.
I’m told I’ve recorded over 15 albums.
They all began as ideas from being creative, from allowing creativity; but none of them would be available had I take not taken action to create and manifest them.
So, how do you be more creative?
How do you practice creativity?
By inviting inspiration.
And by acting on that inspiration.
Now go forth and blossom.
You have work you “get” to do.
Go do it.
PS — Enjoy!
Jaime Vendera is a famous vocal coach who challenged me to write a book on using Law of Attraction and mind power etc for musicians. I threw the challenge back at him. The result is our new book, already a bestseller, titled Mind Over Music. Here’s my introduction, which explains the back story:
Why Anything Is Possible
An Introduction by Dr. Joe Vitale
One day I checked Facebook and there was a curious message from Jaime Vendera. I knew Jaime from his books on singing, which helped me with my own vocal technique. I had gone from zero to musician in the span of a few years, and Jaime was one of my never-met coaches along the way. I had bought and read his books. I knew he was a badass vocal coach. His ideas had helped me, and still do.
So I looked at his message. He wrote:
“Listen up, Vitale, the Universe smacked me again to put this in your brain…and I am pretty sure I told you this a few years back:) You REALLY need to write an “LOA/Ramp up your music making mojo” type book. It’s not a book about the art songwriting, but more a book lining out the steps to get a musician off their butt and finishing their songs and recording/releasing them… You are THE perfect person to write this considering what you’ve accomplished!!! If you don’t write this, that voice in my head will never leave me alone. It will pester me to pester you until you hear it too;) There, I told you, just as I was instructed to do. So now please write the book so it will make the voices stop, hahahaha;)”
I admired his playful audacity. I’ve written over 70 books and Jaime knew it. He also knew my expertise in self-help methods, as well as the Law of Attraction, applied to would-be musicians, would be a hit.
He also knew that my appearance in the hit movie The Secret, and my books on the Law of Attraction (LOA), made me qualified to teach musicians.
But I also felt that this idea was his, not mine. I suspected he was just tossing a monkey at me and hoping I’d adopt it. I already had enough monkeys.
So I wrote back to him saying:
“hmmmm Maybe it’s in your head and not mine so you write it and i add to it to be coauthor…”
Seemed like a fair counter offer to me. Jaime could blow me off but at least I didn’t dismiss him. I was acknowledging his idea but turning it back in his direction. I was sending the monkey home. To my surprise, he accepted my challenge.
He wrote back saying:
“Hahaha well that will work then. I just had this image of you explaining how you knocked out so many songs so quick. I’m knocking out 4 new products right now but I’ll start writing soon.”
He did, too. Not only did he start writing, but he caught on fire and wrote the entire book by himself – in only four days.(!)
A week later he wrote to me saying:
“Just letting you know I never back down from a challenge;) I am writing three new books, filming two new videos, two new audio programs, and writing/recording as we speak, and it is all part of the focus of this book. feel it should be called MIND OVER MUSIC and show the musician that Writer’s block is only a state of mind, as well as teach them how to get it out of their heads and recorded in record time. So, I had a quick question for you. Do you have a musical bio I can copy/paste. i want to mention the day you decided to become a musician and record and ALL the albums you have released since then. I am blown away by your energy and what you’ve done. It is soooo refreshing.”
He was referring to my becoming a musician with 15 albums recorded in about 5 years. That seemed impossible to most people. But I teach “Anything Is Possible” (and wrote a book titled that very statement.) I sent him the material he wanted and he inserted it into his book. Then I read the book.
Now it was my turn to be blown away.
He wrote the book with a passion I rarely see in other authors. And he gave steps and secrets and insights along the way. He included me and my story of becoming a musician, beginning with zero experience, and going on to record numerous albums, study with rock icon Melissa Etheridge, and even overcome terror to sing on stage with my Band of Legends.
In short, he had created the very book he wanted me to write. And he did it without me.
But being the kind and generous soul that he is, he wanted my name as coauthor because he said I inspired the entire project. He wanted me to have credit. That’s the kind of loving person he is. So I accepted.
The good news for you, the reader, is you get to benefit from the combined experience of two authors, teachers, coaches, and musicians: us.
I’m living proof that you can dissolve blocks and get in the studio and on stage, no matter who you are, where you are, what your level of experience, your age, or much else.
And Jaime is living proof that when you adopt his methods, you will shine in the studio and on stage, too.
All in all, you are about to read an illuminating guide to getting past the excuses and blocks and into the studio and onto the stage. Bright lights and applause await, as well as the deep satisfaction of sharing your music with the world.
And now, curtain up…
PS – Our bestselling book, Mind Over Music, is more than Law of Attraction and self help principles; it is about facing fears and overcoming doubts so you can get in the studio or onto the stage. It is on Amazon for Kindle and in print at https://smile.amazon.com/Mind-Over-Music-Through-Blocks/dp/1936307456/
I’m not actor Bruce Willis, and I’ve not met him yet, but I know something he may not.
Let’s call it “Bruce Willis Manifesting.”
It’s a way to use your mind to attract what you want.
It’s something you already do when you think of your favorite celebrity, and it’s something you can consciously direct to manifest what you want.
It’s actually a very cool way to speed up the manifestations of your goals, desires and intentions.
Let me explain:
Recently a woman was about to interview me, but couldn’t calm down.
“You’re a legend!” she kept repeating. “You’re a legend!”
She was going gaga for me.
I certainly know the feeling of being star struck in the presence of a celebrity.
I was that way with rock icon Melissa Etheridge.
I was that way with actor James Caan.
Same when actor-bodybuilder Lou Ferrigno came to my house.
I met President Jimmy Carter twice and couldn’t speak either time.
If and when I meet Bruce Willis, I’ll probably be star struck with him, too.
At least for a few minutes.
I propose the reason you and I are in awe of stars we like is a clue on how to manifest what we want faster.
So give me a moment to explain.
Last year I was invited to act in my first indie movie.
A woman came to my music show last July at The Townsend in Austin.
She heard my Band of Legends and me and afterwards invited me to act in her movie.
I haven’t acted since kindergarten. I was one of the three little pigs in a kids’ play.
But I told this delightful woman I’d do it.
And I did.
It was the movie Cecilia.
When you see it, you might experience the manifestation strategy I’m wanting to discuss here.
But even if you don’t see that movie, maybe you saw me in the movie The Secret.
If not, I’m in about 15 other movies, with three more coming out this year.
And of course I’ve been on Larry King Live national television, twice.
All of this public exposure is making more people recognize me.
And when they do, some are star struck.
I remember landing in Peru and a bunch of people ran up to me.
It spooked me because some of them were security guards.
I thought something was wrong.
But no, they wanted to meet a star from a movie.
They wanted photos.
At baggage claim.
So let me get back to explaining:
We watch a movie we like.
We see a star we like.
There is emotion.
Our brains “brand” this emotion onto our minds.
We “link” the visual of seeing our favorite star with the emotion of what the movie is triggering in us.
Then, if we ever see our star on the street, the mental switch is triggered.
And we go gaga.
If you don’t know a celebrity, and he or she walks by, you won’t think anything of it. That star hasn’t been inputted into your brain to have any meaning.
There’s no “programming.”
There’s no emotion.
There’s no “link.”
But if you see a celebrity that you go gaga for, that you watch in all their movies, that you feel love for, you will flip out.
This is “Bruce Willis Manifesting.”
The movie star has activated the Reticular Activator System or RAS in your brain.
Your RAS responds to emotion, imagery, and repetition.
Anything you think about with emotion, imagery, and repetition will act as a new program in your brain.
And you will unconsciously use the Law of Attraction to bring it into your life.
So, if I see Melissa Etheridge on stage, and on television, and on DVD, and I watch her moved by the emotion in her songs and her performances, and I do this repeatedly for two decades, then the day I meet her is going to feel like lightning struck my spinal cord.
And that’s what it felt like when I went to her home for my songwriting lesson with her.
I was star struck.
My RAS had been “Melissa Etheridge” programmed
So let’s take this concept to a deeper level.
I’m a huge fan of actor Bruce Willis.
I’ve seen all his movies, bought all his music, and follow his career.
His movies, from Die Hard to 16 Blocks to Death Wish, all do something for me. (16 Blocks is one of my all time favorite movies.)
Whenever I get to meet him, I’ll probably be star struck and silent, at least at first.
Because he’s branded in my brain with the three ways you engage your RAS: imagery, emotion, repetition.
This imagery, emotion and repetition has wired Bruce Willis in my mind.
But you can use this “gaga” switch of the mind to attract more of what you want.
And this is where you should take notes.
You can use this “Bruce Willis Manifesting” Secret
I’ve written about this formula in numerous books, including the brand new one, Anything Is Possible.
You have just used the three step system that stars innocently use to get in our heads: imagery, emotion, and repetition.
It’s also the same three things that your RAS requires to make a change.
So we can thank our favorite stars for showing us a way to control our mind.
Your Mental Movie
One way to make this formula work is to create a mental movie of what you want, complete with the sensory experience of imagining that it is all complete and real.
In other words, when you watch a film on television or in the theater, your mind is being programmed.
You are seeing a visual, feeling emotion, and repeating the experience throughout the film.
But you can use this same technique to program your mind intentionally: by creating a mental movie.
By Creating a Mental Movie!
And instead of feeling like a star struck little child when you meet your favorite star, you can thank them for showing you a way to manifest what you want.
And now you know something even Bruce Willis doesn’t know – “Bruce Willis Manifesting.”
What will you create next?
Make a mental movie of it and step into it.
And then, Expect Miracles.
PS – Here’s Bruce Willis showing you how it’s done with emotion, imagery and repetition:
In late 2014 I challenged guitar builder Tony Nobles to create a visionary Dream Guitar.
But I didn’t want it to be my dream guitar.
I wanted it to be HIS dream guitar.
Three years later, Tony succeeded.
He announced, “There is no guitar like this on the planet.”
I’ve now seen it.
And played it.
And he’s right.
It’s a masterpiece.
Let me tell the story behind it:
Tony has been building guitars for almost thirty years. He’s made them for celebrity musicians such as Joe Walsh, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Alejandro Escovedo and others.
He’s also made them for lesser known collectors and players, like me.
I have a collection of a hundred old and new guitars by great luthiers, known and unknown.
Some of them (to name drop) are Bean, Baldwin, Collings, DK, Manzer, Maton, Versoul, D’Angelico, Veillette, Bacce, McElroy, Teye, Oxbow, Huss & Dalton, PRS, Santa Cruz, Fylde, Gigliotti, Trenier, Tesla, Trussart, and Zemaitis, as well as vintage Martin and Gibson models.
I’ve also seen impressive private collections, like that of rock icon Melissa Etheridge.
Guitars are playable art.
And sometimes a good investment.
I love them.
And no, you can never have enough.
I suspected a luthier with Tony’s decades of experience might be open to a bold idea.
I wondered –
What if I acted like a patron saint of the arts and commissioned him to create something visionary from his own mind, not mine?
Tony accepted the challenge in 2014.
For the next two years he read, thought, dreamed and wondered.
He also came to my home and spent a day examining my own collection, from the Fylde guitar made out of a former Scotch whiskey barrel, to Danelectros with their lipstick pickups, to an Oxford Guitars baritone electric made from gem stones and prehistoric wood.
I would also supply Tony with coffee table sized books about some of the greatest guitars of all time.
One book in particular became the resource for what would become the Dream Guitar.
The book was a hefty volume called Archtop Guitars: The Journey from Cremona to New York.
It displayed artistic photos and inside stories of museum quality guitars from three legends, D’Angelico, D’Aquisto and Monteleone. I had bought it from Rudy Pensa, the author and owner of Rudy’s Music in SOHO in New York.
Tony would later tell me, “Whatever I created had to be of the caliber of these guitars in this book, else what was I doing?”
Fast forward to October 20, 2016.
After almost two years of research and incubation, Tony showed me a sketch of an idea.
It was a light pencil outline on a torn off sheet of butcher paper, but I could see the vision being born.
The 1970’s Ibanez “Iceman” guitar inspired Tony. Paul Stanley of KISS made the Iceman electric famous.
“I like how that guitar sits well on your knee,” Tony explained. “Builders often forget the guitar has to be comfortable.” (Tony is a player, too, being in the band The Beaumonts.)
But that was only the beginning.
He knew he wanted an archtop, like those in the Pensa book, and he wanted an electric pickup.
My only request when I commissioned this guitar was a Bigsby or whammy bar. I love them.
Otherwise, Tony had a blank canvas to create per inspiration and will.
Tony was now off and running.
Using sinker log redwood, rare Brazilian Rosewood, and more, he began to carve and build what would become the world’s first Dream Guitar.
“I wanted the fret system to be different,” he says, “so I used what’s called True Temperament.”
Those are “wiggly” shaped frets that look odd but help the guitar stay in tune better and longer.
Things got even more unique when it came to the pickup.
“The Austin Sidewinder pickup was made specifically for this guitar by Bob Palmieri of Duneland Labs in Chicago,” Tony says. “I’ve never heard anything like it.”
When I finally saw the Dream Guitar in late December 2017, right before Christmas and just days before my 64th birthday, my jaw dropped.
But then I held it.
The guitar is feather light.
I thought of the term “floating guitar.” Tony says it’s less than five pounds. It sat on my leg as if it was tailor made to fit my knee.
Playing it was a surprise, too.
Each note has a distinct ring, and a sustain that is clear, rich, and drawn out.
The odd shaped frets weren’t even noticeable as anything different as I played, and may have made my chord fingering easier.
Guitar Monk Mathew Dixon, who I’ve made several bestselling instrumental albums with, was with me for the unveiling of the Dream Guitar.
He said, “Tony has undoubtedly created a masterpiece.”
I play the guitar every single day.
It’s already inspired two new songs.
And it’s inspired a new instrumental album that Guitar Monk and I have started “allowing” to happen.
The Dream Guitar is, well, a dream.
I saw that Tony had stretched in making this guitar.
Tony told me, “The little push you gave me down the path of uncertainty really did spur some growth.”
For me, seeing a man exceed his perceived boundaries and go pass tradition was inspiring and gratifying.
My books, music, coaching, mentoring, and presentations are all encouragements to do more and be more, to dream and achieve.
Even the album I made with Grammy nominated singer Ruthie Foster, and producer Daniel Barrett, was all about stretching, so much so that we called it Stretch.
And the new book I have coming out soon about strongman feats of strength, titled Anything Is Possible, is all about exceeding what we think is impossible.
I feel I succeeded in inspiring a builder to stretch, just as his one-of-a-kind Dream Guitar is now succeeding in inspiring me to create and play new music.
What would you do if you forgot tradition, perceived limits, and everyone’s expectations of what was possible – including your own?
PS – Tony Nobles can be reached at https://www.facebook.com/tony.nobles.5
Note: The professional photos of the Dream Guitar were by Rodney Bursiel.
Bonus: Here’s a 23-minute video about the making of the Dream Guitar:
Almost everyone is interested in overcoming fear – or should be.
Whether you want to speak in public, open a new business, talk to potential dates, do stand-up comedy, climb a mountain — or anything you haven’t done before — you’re bound to feel fear and want help in overcoming fear.
Well, how do you do it?
After recording six albums of songs, my Band of Legends politely nudged me to perform live.
While I’ve spoken on stage numerous times over the decades, I never sang on stage.
Thinking about it brought up serious fears.
A friend remembers me saying I would NEVER sing in public.
I had to overcome panic attacks, anxiety ambushes, and near nervous breakdowns to overcome the fear of public speaking.
But public singing?
I didn’t even sing in the shower.
Childhood memories of being humiliated when I tried to speak or sing stayed with me.
I overcame the speaking one.
But I refused to even touch singing.
It felt too vulnerable.
I managed to do it in the studio for my six albums, by basically managing my adrenaline, but I couldn’t accept ever singing on stage live.
But I did it.
I did it!
And it was a huge success.
I was strong and confident, owned the stage, and led my Band of Legends into a triumphant performance.
It was a historic moment.
It was a personal breakthrough.
And it will live forever in my mind as a moment of greatness for me.
So, how did I go from terrified to terrific?
I’ll share my own process, as it will illustrate the art of overcoming fear. I’m sure you can be inspired by this adventure.
I of course did all the standard things that I teach, from practicing ho’oponopono (as I wrote about in my books, Zero Limits and AT Zero) to rehearsing in the studio and in my mind.
But two months before the show, I also —
A basic rule of self-improvement is this:
You can accomplish more if you have someone who believes in you almost more than you believe in yourself.
I first saw that insight in the home of Jerry and Esther Hicks, of Abraham fame, decades ago. Jerry (who has passed on and I greatly miss) told me he first heard it in an early television western. I don’t recall the name of the show, but I do remember the impact the principle had on me.
I started Miracles Coaching more than a decade ago for that reason – to give people someone who could believe in them.
To help them overcome fear.
To help them attract miracles.
I’ve had a lot of people support me and coach me in performing:
Jen Sincero is a badass author of two NY Times bestselling books, You Are A Badass and the recent You Are A Badass at Making Money. I discovered her first book years ago, knew it would be a hit, and interviewed her. We stayed in touch.
I had lunch with Jen when she came to Austin for a book signing. I knew she had been in a band at one point, so I told her my dilemma. She told me that I had already done the hard part of singing.
“You sang for Melissa Etheridge,” she explained, referring to when I had a private songwriting lesson with the rock icon last November. “Singing one on one is harder than singing on stage, and you sang for an icon you idolize and adore.”
The last time I saw Melissa Etheridge, just for a moment after her show in San Antonio in June, she told me she loves my latest album, The Great Something.
She said to “Keep at it.”
I dedicated that album to her. There’s a song on it I wrote for her.
Her encouragement helped me stay motivated.
She once told me, “Feel the fear and do it anyway.”
Sarah McSweeney is a singer-songwriter who is on my first album, Blue Healer. She was the first person I sang for.
We met and she told me she always feels nervous before getting on stage. But she thinks of herself as a messenger, not a singer.
That reframe made the idea of singing easier.
“I am a messenger,” she said. “I focus on the song’s message.”
That insight helped me drop the idea of being a singer and adopt the idea of being a messenger. It helped me relax a little.
Meghan Sandau is a new friend. She has promoted big music events. She wanted to see me do a concert. She said she likes my music.
Her belief in me helped make me more secure.
In fact, none of this would happen without her.
She set up the event for my Band of Legends to perform.
She held my hand and encouraged me.
Meghan also suggested I do an energy clearing session with Nicole Pigeault of Los Angeles. I love energy work and do clearings for others so I leaped at the chance to hire Nicole.
Turned out to be one of the most powerful esoteric washes ever.
The hour session helped me release fears and settle into confidence.
But she wasn’t the only person to support me.
Guitar Monk Mathew Dixon has been coaching me for years now. We’ve made numerous instrumental albums together, such as Invoking Divinity.
He stayed in my corner, listening to me rehearse, listening to me confide my fears, and urging me to hang in there.
Then there’s Patrick Stark in Canada. He’s a filmmaker making a movie about overcoming fear.
It’s called “One Life: No Regrets.”
He interviewed me for it. He plans to sing on stage with the band U2. But it will be the first time he’ll sing on stage EVER.
The first time you sing in public anywhere is on stage with U2 and thousands watching.
Well, if Patrick can drum up that kind of courage, then so can I.
I found preparing for the event mainly a battle with my mind. Most of my thinking was negative. It was all, What if it goes bad?
But Mindy Audlin came to visit. She teaches what if up thinking.
She wrote the book What If it All Goes Right?
She coached me in other ways to think: what if it is a breeze? What if I love it?
It also helps to see people successful in one field try their hand in a completely different field.
James Altucher tried stand-up-comedy. He’s a writer. He’s doing something out of his comfort zone.
But he’s willing to do it for the experience, and he’s sharing his learning curve to inspire others.
Though I haven’t met him, knowing he was stepping out beyond his fear fortified me to do it, too.
Of course, my beautiful Nerissa (above) believed in me, too.
She and I practiced “The Remembering Process” that Daniel Barrett taught me: we talked about the live show as if it had happened in the past and we were remembering how great it went. (See the book Daniel and I wrote: The Remembering Process.)
So the first thing I did was gather people who could coach and inspire me.
To prepare for my show, I attended an online Masterclass with David Mamet, and another with Usher.
Both were astoundingly good.
Mamet is a Pulitzer prize-winning playwright and screenwriter. I think he is a genius.
He said most people are afraid to be bad to be good.
You have to be bad first to start being good.
You have to start someplace.
I reminded myself of this as I prepared for the live event.
While I wanted to step out on stage and be “perfect,” Mamet reminded me that I will probably step out and be bad.
But bad is where you start. You can’t get to great without starting at bad.
Usher said to prepare, to be confident, but to expect something to go wrong.
Don’t expect perfection.
He told a story of a performance where he injured himself at the beginning of a two-hour show, and had to keep dancing and singing despite the pain.
His insights and pointers were priceless in helping me create a mindset for success.
And I bought a set of audios called The Relaxed Musician. It’s a 14-day course in exploring limiting beliefs.
It helped me realize I had a big belief that if I looked bad as a performer, it would hurt my reputation in other areas, such as an author or speaker.
But like most beliefs, it didn’t hold up.
I could forget all my lyrics and totally wash out on stage and it wouldn’t even dent my image anywhere else. Most people forgive and forget.
In fact, a miss on stage could give me a terrific story about how I bombed and lived.
But I didn’t stop there.
I read a terrific book on how to deliver an unforgettable live performance. I liked the book so much, I read it twice.
It was called, The Musician’s Guide to a Great Live Performance.
It became my bible. I read it on planes, took it with me on my iPad, and shared it with singer-songwriter friends.
And I read a wonderful book on overcoming fear and panic, titled You 1, Anxiety 0.
Author Jodi Aman helped take the mask off of fear so I could see what it really was: an illusion. I soaked up the wisdom in this book. It really helped me.
I also read a 1950 book by Vernon Howard called Word Power.
It was about how you talk to yourself, as well as to others, effects your behavior and your results. It’s not so much affirmations but self-talk.
Pretending you are fearless by saying “I am a fearless performer” is a way to begin being a fearless performer.
And I read a recent book, called Succeed.
It explained that just visualizing success is a plan for failure unless you also visualize planning for setbacks.
In other words, thinking the show will go without a flaw is not realistic, as Usher pointed out. There is no such thing as perfection.
But visualizing success, and understanding there is work to do to get there, can almost guarantee the result you want.
That was a mind-spinning insight.
I did more, too.
With Meghan’s urging, I wrote out a script of how I wanted the show to go.
I focused on my feelings, not anyone else’s, so I could focus on what I could control.
The script was a type of Nevillizing (which I write about in my book, The Attractor Factor): feeling as if the event already happened, and happened the way I envisioned it.
I wrote the script from the point of view of the next day, after I performed on stage.
I read and re-read it every day for a week before the show.
I got massages, I got plenty of rest, I drank lots of water, and I went into a flotation tank at The Zero Gravity Institute for 90 minutes the day before the show.
I was doing whatever I could to be at peak form when I stepped on stage.
I was taking care of my body and mind.
I was getting ready for my moment.
Faith doesn’t always mean something religious.
Faith in yourself, faith in other people, faith in my practice and prep, faith in my Band of Legends – all of it gives a level of confidence that allows the best to surface.
As a slogan I coined says, “It is what you accept.”
I accepted that the moment would be perfect, even in any imperfections.
It would be “perfectly imperfect.”
And, after two months of preparing, what happened?
My Band of Legends and myself performed on July 21st at The Townsend in Austin.
I’m the luckiest musician alive to have a band of this caliber: Drummer Joe Vitale (yes, same name as mine), bass man Glenn Fukunaga and lead guitarist Daniel Barrett.
These incredible musicians encouraged me, supported me, and brought my songs to life.
We raised the roof and tore down the walls.
We shook the earth and wowed the crowd.
Talk about overcoming fear!!!
I gave everything I had in me, delivering my messages with energy, enthusiasm, electricity, and a sense of fearlessness and fun.
At the end of our set, we got a standing ovation.
A standing ovation!
I did it.
And I loved it!
Now, what do you fear that is time for you to do?
Isn’t today a good day to begin overcoming fear?