Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Fearless- Jimmy Kimmel, Television Host

Recently I was asked to adapt a philosophy of mine to a book on Reprograming Your Life by Sheila Callahan, . You can read the chapter in this blog. However, Two years ago my girlfriend bought me concert tickets to see my hero Joe Cocker at the Greek Theater and he was playing with Huey Lewis and the News. It was a beautiful summer night in the Hollywood Hills. The concert started off great, with Huey Lewis playing his standards with the horn section sounding so sweet, it was magical. At a break in the set, Huey Lewis introduced Jimmy Kimmel who was holding a Bass Clarinet and stated he was going to sit in.

Here is a true example of being fearless. Jimmy Kimmel is an accomplished comedian and “talk show host” per his Wikipedia description, and a renowned one at that. Here he is a talk show host/comedian on stage with arguably one of best pop/rock bands of the mid-80's and in concert with a true rock & roll legend backstage, looking on. I can't imagine what the voices in Jimmy’s head were saying? Here he is holding his horn about to step onto the stage with these great musicians. It would be like playing college football and walking on to the field to be a receiver for Payton Manning during a Super Bowl game with Lombardi looking on.

All eyes are on Jimmy, you can see the questions on the audience member's mind, “is he joking”, "is this a joke", “does he even play?”, more importantly “does he belong?”. I can't even imagine being Jimmy, here he is Clarinet in hand with all this pressure, with the greats watching him, he too must be thinking “do I belong?”.

Then, I witnessed something amazing; when Jimmy Kimmel took the stage he was no longer a talk show host, he was a musician. He wasn't playing a musician, he wasn't making fun of musicians he was playing in the big game. At that very point, he owned it, his persona, his stature, his focus all changed and I saw the transformation into a professional musician. He belonged, he played, looked out and had fun! YES FUN! The most stressful point in someone's life, everybody looking on, not expecting you to succeed and damn if he didn't own it. He no longer looked like a talk show host, whatever that means, he was a full and equal member of the band. Can you imagine the thoughts going through his mind, can I do this, am I going to look like an idiot, and somewhere he had to say the universal prayer, “please god don't let me F___K Up.” This is the essence of fearless. You do it, regardless of circumstances you own it, you deserve it, you perform.

Now I can only imagine the time, commitment, practice and work it took Jimmy Kimmel to prepare to take his place on that stage as an equal member. He is a very intelligent man, he has a lot to lose including credibility if he flops. He could play it off, but he didn't want to look like a flop, embarrass himself, he took his rightful place with the rest of the band.  He projects success, he makes it look easy, but it is work.  Jimmy probably knows that he has to project confidence and success to stay ahead of all comers, everything is planned and played expertly. He just didn't pick up a horn and take the stage, like a scene in American Pie 2, where the lead character plays trombone at band camp to get the girl. Jimmy wasn't a comedian performing a skit. He wasn't playing a musician, he WAS a musician, he owned it. He worked hard for years and when that one chance presented itself, he took it. All the work, hours of practice, and networking got him ready for that one moment. Simply put it takes years of work to be an overnight success. That is living a fearless life! It is work, it is practice, it is being prepared for that moment when you get to take that chance, take the stage, or step to the plate.

Now the people that succeed do whatever it takes to be prepared to take the stage when the opportunity presents itself. It may not be tomorrow or a month from now, or even year from now, but it will happen. You have to be mentally prepared to accept the opportunity when it presents itself, see the opportunity and use that opportunity to prove to everyone including yourself that you belong. It's your one chance to succeed, move to the next level, be what you dreamed of being.