Knowing Your Passion

“Behind My Scenes”

A little share about something I do “behind the scenes.” I speech coach people. I just got off a Skype session with one of my clients who owns the largest beard products company in the U.S.

I started about 3 years ago and have had a steady flow of amazing clients (CEO’s, bestselling authors, speakers, even the President of a major University). 40 or so clients so far.

Some want help making their stories stronger. Some want helping making their entire talk stronger. All are daring to share their stories with the world.

Anyhow, it’s deeply rewarding to coach them. It’s actually what eventually led me into volunteering at a maximum security Prison coaching prisoners to tell their stories as well. (For a TEDx event from prison coming up this May).

I love, love, love helping amazing people who are doing amazing things tell their story amazing. I get to help them amplify their message into the world.

I never saw this whole speech/story coaching thing on my horizon, but I truly love it. It’s a gift in my life.

For instance, I’m coaching a young woman who runs an outstanding organization that brings art programs to homeless youth! And her story is amazing. She was homeless and sex trafficked as a teen. But she earned her way to college while homeless and started the non-profit. But she didn’t know how to tell her story well. But now she does and it’s glorious because now people can see clearly and emotionally how amazing she is!

I love it when people tell their stories. I fall in love with my client’s stories. And I think everyone should be able to tell their story in a way that helps others fall in love with their story (and them) as well.

Don’t even get me started on the prisoner’s stories! They are blowing my mind and heart wide open and I feel the luckiest man alive to be able to help them get their stories out and well told!

Tell your story. You’ve got a great one. You’ve got a great many. But start with one. Risk being seen for who you are. Embrace your story. Fall in love with your story. Share your story. Your story is not you, but it helps people know you, and like you, and see you.

The question is, What will the world miss if you don’t tell your story?

(The photo is me telling my story)

Celebrating 23 years!

I’m celebrating 23 years of the great privilege of doing talks at Universities, to help students follow their dreams, succeed at their passions and unlock their greatest gifts…. I never imagined when I started doing these talks at 27 years old, that I’d still be invited to do them 23 years later. I love the opportunity more than ever before because more than ever I understand the true value of following your bliss and pursuing your callings…. I say this to you. If you feel you have a message in you of value to share with others, do it! Get started today! The world needs all the hope, inspiration and help it can get and you never know how many millions of lives you may touch!

My Commencement Address

I STUMBLED ACROSS THIS TODAY… The time I was invited to give a college commencement address. I gave it 13 years ago; I’m surprised that I still agree with all the words.

Commencement Address
By Patrick Combs
At William Rainey Harper College
May 30, 2003

“This is the first commencement address I’ll have ever given in my life. It is fitting that it is here because I love Harper students and I’ve spoken at Harper more than any other school in the world. You will find a lot of places in your life where you don’t really fit, and some where you really do. I suggest that you really notice and appreciate the places where you just fit. I think I fit here because I have so much in common with you.

A few years back, I sat at my graduation and I thought exactly what you are now thinking: What’s going to happen to me? Will I find my place in the world? Will McDonalds have me back? Was it smart to highlight all my books with a black felt marker? Should I have at least worn underwear under my gown?

In putting together this little speech – which I promise will be little because that is the mark of a great commencement speech – I decided that I’d like to give you 4 things, that I myself would have appreciated from my commencement speaker, who I cannot remember a thing about:

1. A few words of advice that hopefully help
2. An inspirational story
3. A gift
4. One final quiz

Okay I wouldn’t have wanted a quiz but I’m going to give you one anyway so I’ll move right to the quiz, so we can get it over with. Somebody else made up this quiz – I don’t know who – but as far as pop quizzes go, it’s a goody. You don’t need pen and paper. Just think through your answers:

“1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.
3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America contest.
4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer prize.
5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.

How did you do? The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields. But tremendous achievements are soon forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

Here’s the second part of the quiz. See how you do:

1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through college.
2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.
4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.
5. Name half a dozen heroes whose stories have inspired you.”

The lesson is obvious. Life isn’t about achievement. Life is about the love you give and the love you get. Life is about the love you share. I really mean it. When I first came to Harper, 10 years ago, I was 26 and single. Now I’m 36 and have a child. I make less money now in my 30’s than I did when I was in my 20’s and I’ll tell you why. Because now I only work 3 days a week. I take Tuesday and Thursdays off just to play with my daughter. You have to make a living, but time with friends and family will always be worth more than a raise.

I’ll tell you a funny story that took place on one of my precious Tuesday’s and Thursdays. My daughter, Alyssa, who was two at the time, came out from her bedroom, carrying two little dresses, one in each hand. Her mom had just suggested she ask me which one I like best because Alyssa couldn’t decide which one she wanted to wear. “Dad, which one you like?” she asked holding up a red dress in one hand and a blue dress in the other. I pointed and said, “The red one.” Without saying a word, Alyssa turned and started walking back to the room where her mother was waiting. “Which one are you going to wear Alyssa?” called out her mother. Alyssa answered, “The blue one!…. Daddy is going to wear the red dress. ” Money will never be worth more than precious moments like these, whether they’re between you and your children or you and your loved ones.

Which brings me to the next thing I thought to mention: money. Everyone seems to want to make a lot of money. Everyone seems to want to be a millionaire. And since most people aren’t millionaires, most people don’t ever feel rich. I want you to feel rich, be rich and experience rich, so I’ll share some hard facts with you. Rich isn’t a million dollars. Actually the average household income in the US is around $33,000. And we’re the richest nation in the world. So if you manage to earn MORE than $35,000 in a year, you are making good money. No one around me ever seems to know that. And should you ever manage to have a household income of more than $60,000, you are officially in the upper class. Some of you will achieve household incomes of $125,000 or more, and when you do you are in the top 5% of the wealthiest country on earth. I know so many people who earn more than that amount who do not think they are rich or have enough money. These people are poor. Leave here today knowing you don’t need anywhere near a million dollars to be financially rich. Knowing the bar is much lower than a million dollars is the SECRET to actually living richer. Then you are free to devote your life energy to people, friends, passion and just being.

Of course, you don’t need a cent to be rich. When multibillionaire Sir John Marks Templeton, was asked about his definition of being rich, he said it could be summed up in just one word: gratitude. I couldn’t agree more. Personally, being grateful is my greatest secret to true success. Every night I say my prayers. Then I list all the things I am grateful for. I always fall asleep before I can finish. Even on bad days. A daily attitude of gratitude transforms your entire life, and I dare say overnight. When I feel unsuccessful, gratitude makes me realize I am great. When I feel behind, gratitude makes me realize I am ahead. When I feel alone, gratitude makes me realize I am always supported. When I feel lack, gratitude makes me realize I am rich beyond measure. And there is no level of achievement necessary for gratitude to work in your life. Someone put it this way:

I am thankful for:
* The spot I find at the far end of the parking lot because it means I am capable of walking.
* My huge heating bill because it means I am warm.
* The mess to clean up after a party because it means I have been surrounded by friends.
* The taxes I pay because it means that I am employed.
* The clothes that fit a little too snug because it means I have enough to eat.
* The dishes that need doing because it means I have a home.
* The piles of laundry and ironing because it means my loves ones are nearby.
* The alarm that goes off in the early morning hours because it means that I’m alive.

An attitude of gratitude. Live it and be truly rich.

Finally, since I am the author of book titled Major in Success, I’d like to share with you my favorite success story ever. It’s not in my book because it took place after I wrote it.

It took place during the 2000 summer Olympics in Sydney Australia. A 22 year old named Eric Moussambani, from Equatorial Guinea, swam the 100 meter freestyle, won his heat, and electrified the audience. He was a hero who would not soon be forgotten, but Eric wasn’t a hero for winning gold (he didn’t), and he wasn’t a hero for breaking any records (he didn’t). Eric was a hero for a different reason. Five months before, the OIC, has invited a handful of athletes from small countries to compete even though they didn’t meet qualifying standards. It was the Olympic Committee’s way of spreading sport around the world. Eric, who’d never taken an interest in swimming before, answered the call and began swimming laps. The largest pool in his town was 20 meters and had no lane markers. He swam any way, every day. No one took his Olympic dream serious. His mom thought he must have just wanted to see Sydney. Eric trained and trained for a five months. Then he found himself at the Olympics, on the edge of the pool, competing in the preliminary rounds of the 100 meter freestyle heat. The two swimming against him false started and disqualified themselves. That meant that all Eric had to do to win his heat was swim and finish, but it would be no small task considering the fact that he’d never raced more than 50 meters before.

The gun went off and Eric flopped himself into the water. He flailed, struggled, kept his head above water and swam. But he made it to one end of the pool, did an awkward flip turn, and swam back. He said the last 15 meters were very difficult. He looked like he might drown. It didn’t matter. The crowd loved him and cheered loudly for his success. He made it and climbed from the pool. The crowd went wild. His time was 1:52 seconds, a full minute slower than the fastest swimmer, but he’d won the hearts of everyone who watched. He was a hero for following-through on his dream. A person unafraid to live their dream. A brilliant reminder to all that life is about inner-triumphs, not outer-achievements. Still dripping wet, Eric spoke to the audience through an interpreter. He said, “I want to send hugs and kisses to the crowd. It was their cheering that kept me going.” The following day he declared that he hoped to “find a good coach” and swim in the 2004 Olympics.

I don’t care what rank you graduated. I don’t care about your GPA. I don’t care about your resume. I am standing and giving you an ovation because you dared to follow your dream, jump into the pool and you swam all the way to the end. So you are my favorite Olympians. Family and friends, please say NOTHING WHATSOEVER today to diminish these great graduates, or imply that they anything less than heroes. Please don’t rob them of this great moment by questioning their next step or their ability to get a job. Let today be today and tomorrow be left for tomorrow. Today they are champions and nothing less. Put reverence in your heart for them, buy them a drink, take them to dinner, rub their feet, make them a special meal, tell them you are proud of them, that you love them, period.

Finally, I promised you a gift. Point to yourselves. (People point to their heart) Notice that 95% of your are pointing straight to your heart. We point there because we know that is where we truly reside. Now point to where we manage our careers from and from where we do our To Do Lists? (People point to their heads). That’s the problem. Follow your heart, let it guide your life, and you will be most successful. It is your inner elder.

You are all unequivocally great. I love you for it. Thank you and best wishes graduates of Harper College.”

This is What Success Looks Like

This is what success looks like.

I bought this postcard while overseas. Look at it. Just a simple cafe with six people in it. One of them is looking out the window. Three of them are talking. Another sitting alone.

And one of them is writing – with pen and paper. This is the person of interest in the picture.

She is a single mother. She carries a heaviness in her heart. She is broke and lives in poverty. She is insecure. And she is fighting for her dream at a time in her life when she feels like a complete failure.

She is a single mother because her husband divorced her shortly after their child was born.

She carries a heaviness in her heart because her mother died recently, and her mother meant the world to her.

She is broke and living in real poverty because she is jobless – a fallout from her divorce. She has recently been diagnosed with clinical depression. Somedays she thinks about committing suicide.

She is insecure because she’s always been insecure about her dream. She’s always been afraid it’s unrealistic and that she’s not good enough for it.

If you look close at the picture, she has only one cup of coffee. That’s because she comes to this coffee house and only ever spends 50 cents for a cup of black coffee – she can’t afford more.

Look closer and you’ll see she’s writing with pen and paper. That’s because she doesn’t own a computer of any kind. She has to make do with pen and paper.

What’s missing from this photo is her child who is usually with her in a stroller. She has to bring her child and hope she falls asleep because she can only write when her baby is asleep.

All this, but she’s working on her dream the hard way.

Hard on the outside because she’s so broke. And hard on the inside because she’s so full of doubt, torment and sadness.

Her dream is to write a book. It’s been her dream since she was a child.

She’s living in Edinburgh, Scotland. Outside the window of this cafe, The Elephant House, she has a view of the Edinburgh Castle when she writes.

She’s working on a book for children. She got the idea for this book while riding on a train between Manchester and London. The idea is for a story of a young boy attending a school of wizardry. She has named the boy in the story, Harry Potter.

In this postcard, now you can see it all happening. Joanne Rowling is fighting for her dream… This is what success looks like. Someone believing in themselves.

Manifesto for a Great Life

When I was 26, at the start of my career, I wrote these exact words. I called it my Manifesto for a Great Life. They were meant to help me reach my dreams. Now at 49, I’m astounded at their Truth.

Like most 26 year olds, I had very little money, very little talent but very big dreams. Steve Montaño and I both had summer jobs at Electronic Arts testing video games. We still laugh about that job today.

I was living in the Western Edition of San Francisco, a poor neighbor wherecops told you to not walk at night because of all the shootings. My desk was made of milk crates and piece of plywood I found in an alley. I wanted so much to become a professional, inspirational speaker with a published book. And I dreamed of having a Jeep. And good looking business cards.

So many days and nights I was afraid I wasn’t good enough. And that my dreams might not want me back. I’ll never forget the hard fails on my first talks. HARD FAILS. I had the 7 credit cards I was using to fund. I dreaded the time of the month when bills were due.

But I also had inspiration, courage, and passion pumping through my veins, beating in chest. And one day I wrote out this “Manifesto,” that I hoped would help me to make it to the kind of life I was dreaming of.

I wrote the Manifesto out by hand and hung it on my wall where I worked.

Last night I found it again after years, and as I said at the beginning of this post, I was astounded at it’s Truth. Maybe something larger than me was helping me write these words back then. Giving me guidance.

This morning I thought to make it into a poster to share with you.
Live Brave!
Love, Patrick

It’s About Love, Hopes & Dreams

There’s a great story behind this photo. If you like my stories, I hope you’ll read this one. It’s deeply personal. It’s about love. It’s about parenting. It’s about a father and a daughter. It’s about hopes and dreams, fears and insecurities, disappointments and miracles. It’s about Rob Lowe. And it just happened. It’ll take you 5 minutes to read. 

“Dad! I got invited to a movie audition. Should I go? Can I go?”

My daughter’s dream is acting in movies. She is staring at her computer which is open to the acting profile she keeps on, a movie industry site.

This is the first audition invite from Hollywood she’s ever received.

“Holy heck Alyssa, that’s wonderful, read it to me!”

It’s from a director at the American Film Institute for a short movie. AFI is a really big deal. We google to find that out and we’re both kinda stunned when we do.

“What should I write back? Could I go to Los Angeles for an audition?” she asks.

My daughter has dreamed of acting in movies since she could talk.

We work out a reply and press send.

The next day, she gets another message from the director inviting her to audition on Wednesday at 7:30. Just five days away.

I believe in my daughter’s dream of acting. I always have. I believe in my daughter. And I believe in those whispers that tells us what we’d really love to do in our lives.

Alyssa has long amazed me with how she silently and effectively goes about care taking of her dream, almost never asking for help.

The director sends her a bit of the script, the movie is named Eyes of Dawn, and is about a teenage girl who is bullied at school and lives at home with an alcoholic dead-beat dad. Alyssa does school plays and she never reads her lines out loud for her parents. We always see it first at the live performance. But this time, I say, “Want to run lines with me? Since I’m a dad.” And she says “Sure”. I’m surprised and happy to be sitting in front of the fireplace reading script lines back and forth with my daughter for the first time ever.

In the script I get to yell, “Go to your room!” We say not a word about it, but we both know how I sound when I say the line in real life, but now she get’s a new line to respond with, “It’s a little too late for that.” We run the lines about ten times. She’s doing great.

Alyssa needed this break. This audition. Just last month, she lost the lead role she really wanted in a high school play and instead got what she felt was a bit part. I picked her up from school the day she got the news and she could barely speak the whole drive home. I think she wanted to cry. It was my first time as a father watching my kid suffer the disappointment of your dream not going as you so badly wanted, as you so badly felt you needed.

I had words of advice that were born out of my own disappointments in not being picked, of not getting the gig, of feeling overlooked and not good enough, but for the first time as I shared them with my daughter, I felt like a lousy inspirational speaker. I could see my daughter remain feeling defeated. I took her for treat. That an a hug seemed to work better than words of wisdom. And family. Just having family that loves you no matter what seemed to be far better than any words.

Three days to go before the audition. Alyssa tells me something when she gets in the car after school.

“My drama teacher was so excited about my audition she dedicated the entire class to helping me get ready. And tomorrow she’s going to do the same!”

I hear this and feel enormous gratitude, to the teacher of course, god bless the teacher for such a graceful and generous kindness, but I also feel grateful to the entire Universe. I want a friendly Universe for my daughter. I want the entire Universe to conspire for her to have a positive experience with her dreams.

Two days before the audition.

We call my close and long-time friend Ken Goldstein, an Emmy-award winning director and 20 year Hollywood veteran.

He gets on the phone with Alyssa who has never done any movie audition before. Ken says, “The most important thing is to go in there and enjoy it. Have fun! You’re auditioning at AFI and you’re doing what you love. So don’t concern yourself with getting the part. Just enjoy yourself all the way.”

As he speaks to Alyssa over speaker phone, I see my life choices and my friends now benefiting my daughter’s life, and I am amazed. Never saw that coming. My friend of decades is now mentoring my daughter.

The day of audition.

It’s my job to print out her first headshot. Her friend Lilly took it. When it comes out of the Kinko’s photo machine, I’m amazed. My daughter looks every bit a beautiful young woman but the photo is not what I expected. She is smiling in it. But not a full smile. And her eyes, they say, “I am friendly, but I am serious.” She only needs one head shot. I print a second one for my wall.

3:30 p.m.. It is time to pick Alyssa up and drive to Hollywood. Her audition is at 7:30. Hollywood is a 2 hour drive. We should have plenty of time to get there, but it is POURING RAIN. This isn’t a hard San Diego rain. This is a freak storm sent by mother nature to say, You bet your ass climate change is real, and today I’m going to send a warning to all my little friends in San Diego. I mean it’s coming down Biblically.

I don’t say anything. But I know this rain will massively slow down the drive to Los Angeles. I know this could make us late.

And then, both of our phones sound an emergency alert. And display a warning that certainly has never happened before in San Diego: TORNADO WARNING! What?! It seems almost impossible. We live in a beach town.

God. Please. Not tonight.

While we’re driving in a torrential downpour I make another call. Ransford, please pick up I think to myself. Ransford is the only working actor I know. Met him last year when he became a speech coaching client. Super nice guy with enough energy to power a small city. I would so love Alyssa to get a bit of advice from him. He answers!

Ransford talks to my daughter. Among a stream of great advice, the one that hits my daughter the most is, “Alyssa, just go in there and tell the story. You’re not there to audition. Or for them to like you. You’re just there to tell the story. They already saw something they like in you, that’s why they asked you to audition. Now they’re just hoping you can help them tell the story.” I see this advice both relax and excite my daughter. She feels ready. And she keeps saying she feels ready.

I have a surprise for the drive planned.

“Hey, I thought we could listen to the actor Rob Lowe’s audiobook. He’s got a chapter where he tells the story of when he did his audition at your age for The Outsiders.”

The weirdest thing I did in December is buy and listen to Rob Lowe’s audiobook. I thought I didn’t like Rob Lowe. But then one little excerpt I heard almost accidentally and I buy the thing and listen to it all. Kept saying to friends, “I’m doing the weirdest thing. I’m listening to Rob Lowe’s audiobook. I even paid money for it. I don’t even know if I like Rob Lowe.” Well I did end up liking his audiobook very much. But now as it’s playing for my daughter, and he’s saying things like, “I don’t think actors are great liars. I think great actors are actually great truth tellers. The tellers of their truth, what’s true for them in the words on the script.” I love Rob Lowe, and I want to give him a huge hug.

The car navigation system keeps pushing our arrival time back. It now tells us we’re going to make it to the audition at 7:20. If Rob wasn’t telling us a story, we’d be sweating it. We’re sweating it anyway. We’re just staying positive about it.

But we’re not going to make it on time.

Unless the rain stops.

There’s no sign of it stopping.

Mother Nature seems like she’s just getting started.

And then, the rain stops. Just goes away. Like a miracle.

We make it to AFI at 7:03. Uncle Rob shared Hollywood stories and advice with us for most of the ride.

We park at the American F-ing Film Institute. And I know this is where my daughter gets out of the car, and I be the cool dad who knows to wait in the car. I know she doesn’t want her Dad to be seen anywhere near her first Hollywood audition. I know. But I SO VERY MUCH wish I could go in. I so very much wish she wasn’t 16 yet. I so very wish she was 12 or 13 or 14 even and she still wanted me to go with her because I want to be there supporting her. But I know. I know I have to let her go. She’s 16.

“Okay honey, go in there and have fun. I know you’ll be wonderful and I’ll be here waiting!” I say.

“Dad, I’m sure you can come in with me,” she says asking.

I wrote this whole story to tell you that line.

I just broke out of story to tell you how much her saying that meant to me.

She wanted me to come in with her.

She still needs me.

I am still her Dad.

This is for me, a beautiful moment.

I’m new to being a father. Because almost every day being a parent is a new experience. I’ve never had a 16 year old daughter before. I myself never had a dad. My daughter has never been on this step into her own life, into her dreams, into the actual world. And I’m making it up as I go. Every step of the way. All the time. Constantly. Every new situation, I’m just guessing at how to be a good Dad. Aren’t we all.

And I’m sure it meant almost nothing that she wanted me to come with her, but to me, it meant the world because she’s almost grown. And I’ve got so little time left with her. And I hope I haven’t messed up too much. I hope I’ve done enough. I hope I’ve been okay as a father. And maybe this is a small sign that I’ve done enough right.

“Oh! Ok, great! Let’s go in,” I say. She has no idea.

We go in to AFI. This is hallowed ground. The walls are covered with black and white photographs of AFI award winners and graduates. It is the Who’s Who in Hollywood directing, producing, editing, cinematography and screenwriting. Giant movie posters adorn the walls also, each declaring with placards all the AFI graduates who were involved in making the movie.

My daughter’s first audition, at AFI. This is beyond legit. Thank you God!

In the hallways there are already actors gathered and waiting, my daughter’s competition. Like my daughter, they are all dressed the part. Leather jackets. Doo rags. Torn jeans. Flannel shirts. I’m wondering if my daughter’s freaking out? She looks pretty cool and confident. As a matter a fact, she’s got this HUGE smile on her face she’s so excited. Like best day of her life excited. “How is she not freaking out?” I wonder. We sit in little chairs against the hallway walls near the other actors. I lean into Alyssa and whisper, “Remember, don’t smile so much because you’re playing a girl who’s sad and angry.”

She notices that she is in fact smiling like a school girl with a huge crush and nods. Then the smile disappears. Good acting.

The director, a young woman who all at once seems friendly, professional and impressive calls in the first actor.

There teenage girl goes in and the unexpected happens. Alyssa and I hear her audition through the walls!

Oh that’s not good, I think to myself. Even Rob Lowe says the last thing an actor wants is to have to see other people’s auditions. Francis Ford Coppola casted like that and Rob said it was terrifying. But Alyssa keeps giving me looks to assure me that she’s okay. She’s feeling good.

I’m so proud of her.

And then, 30ish minutes later, the director calls my daughter into the room.

And the door closes.

Now, she’s on her own.

And Dad can only wait. And hope.

Please God, it’s her first audition. Let it be a positive experience. Please God, let her walk out of that room happy. Let her walk out of there feeling that she did good.

There is one more girl in the hall waiting to audition. I decide to say hello.

“Hi, do you do a lot of these?” I say.

I worried I might be interrupting her concentration, but she is clearly relieved to get to talk.

“No, it’s only my third one! I’m so so nervous! You’re daughter sounds great in there and she didn’t seem nervous at all. She must do a lot of these,” she says.

“It’s her first audition,” I inform.

We continue to make small talk and I decide to share Ransford’s great advice with the girl. I say, “You’re in college for acting so I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but the best advice my daughter received was just go in there and tell the story.”

The minute I say it I wonder if in my kindness I’ve just accidentally betrayed my daughter. Maybe this wasn’t the time or place to try and help anyone but my daughter. Damnit, it’s hard to turn habits of sharing off. But maybe I should have.

The young woman, who again was just so nervous, says, “I’ve never heard that advice. That’s great advice! Why don’t they teach me that at college?”

We continue the small talk and then the girl, a perfect stranger 3 minutes before says, “I shouldn’t think this, but the crazy thing is, I honestly hope your daughter get’s the part. I shouldn’t but I do. Because how cool would it be if she got the lead role on her first audition. That would be so great.” She says it with total sincerity.

“That’s so incredibly kind of you,” I reply. Human beings can be awful, but they can also be so wonderful.

Then my attention goes back to the door.

Soon, Alyssa emerges.

Actually, she seems to burst.

And she is smiling.


Thank you God.

She feels she nailed it.

As we head for the door, she is almost skipping. Her hair is somewhat bouncing. My heart is definitely dancing.

And she drops the script straight into the first trash can. Her acting teacher told her never keep an audition script. Throw it away so you have no temptation to wonder if you could have done any lines better.

Alyssa is a good student. She’s teachable.

I’m so happy.

We exit and I say, “Can we take a photo in front of the building?” She is rarely in the mood for a picture with Dad anymore.

“Yes!” she says joyfully.

One the ride homeI find myself giving her a talk about what I’ve learned about following your dreams. I’ve made a living giving this talk for 22 years. But this talk is different. Same advice. Same lessons. But for the first time, I’m not a speaker or a coach. I’m something I’ve never been before.

I’m a dad sharing what he hopes for his daughter to know about following her dreams.

She listens without saying a word.

She falls asleep.

I drive home the happiest father alive.

Believing In Yourself, When It’s Hard

I watched this interview on the Daily Show and pulled the quote myself because I related so much to what J.K. Rowling was saying.

Her words hit at the heart of one of my own life experiences.

Creating my one-man comedy show took bombing in front of audiences, over and over again, for a year. My courage was believing that I could possibly create a comedic show, even when faced with evidence that I was not (yet) funny.

One of the greatest acts of courage is believing in yourself.

Unmotivated for Your Passion?


One of the craziest most misunderstood feelings in life is when you actually lack motivation for your own freaking passion!

What the hell? It’s your passion – it’s supposed to motivate you!

But it’s actually very common to lack the motivation to go for your passion.

I don’t know if you know this about me, but I have lacked motivation for my own passions enough times to write a book on it. But I’ve also figured out the problem, so let me give you the solution.

What’s going on when you lack motivation for you passion?

It’s usually the case of having not crossed one very important internal threshold.

Call it a bridge you have to cross over and until you do, your stuck in quicksand looking at all the fortunate people who are on fire for their dreams.

When you lack motivation for your passion chances are you need a more audacious self-image.

You need to latch onto a much bolder, brighter, grander vision of yourself.

In this video, I explain how to align your self-image correctly with your passion and explodes your motivation.

Most people fail to have the right self-image necessary to live out their passion on the big stage, to do what I call, Accomplish Your Incredible.

Most people’s self-image is about six sizes smaller than it needs to be. And it makes all-the-difference-in-your-world!

How audacious is the vision you have of yourself? How bold is your self-image?

Let me know in the comments and I’ll tell you about mine.

Remember this: You’ve got to See Yourself Boldly to Be Yourself Fully.

Seeing yourself boldly requires you really stretch the way you see yourself. It requires you throw off the shackles of small or medium thoughts about your capabilities – and instead, be so audacious as to create a really beautiful vision of you being really amazing and accomplishing really incredible things that you love.

I set up an entire company to help you live your passionate. If you’re ready to live the most explosively wonderful version of you, check out

Have an epic week. Give your gift.

False vs True Passions

Know Your Passion

Why is it so hard to know your true passion?

It’s because a passion actually looks and feels different than most people guess.

People routinely pick a false passion. We all have chosen something we thought was our passion only to find out it really wasn’t at all.

So let me give you three reliable indicators of your true passion and the single two biggest false flags.

I’m not sure if you know this but I’ve chosen three true passions correctly and three passions incorrectly.

The three passions I identified correctly each resulted in highly successful careers that have lasted each 10+ years.

The three false passions I mistakenly chose each resulted in a lot of time wasted and didn’t add up to anything except valuable lessons learned about how not to choose your passion.

Most people fail to recognize that passion is first and foremost a skill choice, and a choice for a talent you’d most like to master.

Know Your Passion

When this concept and the 3 signposts I share in this video are present, then I know it’s a true passion that I can count on for success.

Passion is not a choice based on seeing things and results that glitter like gold to you.

Who is the last person you saw that made you think, “I’d love to be able to do what they do!”

Let me know in the comments..and I’ll share some of mine.

Remember this..

“I’d love to be great at THAT!” is first signpost.

There are two essential sign posts after that before it’s safe to say it’s a true passion for you. But make sure you’re first identifying your passion by a talent you’d like to master, not a shiny object you’d like to have.

Have an epic week!