“You have more in you. You MUST share it. You have no choice and I will not allow you to continue until you do.”
Have you heard this voice before?
It may sound frightening, and to be frank, it is.
But that is the voice in your soul talking. Are you willing to listen?
The other night in Orem, UT, as I performed to my first of 2 sold-out shows, I looked out over the audience.
The entire first row was sound asleep.
Why would I admit this to you, when you usually hear me talk about all the good things that happens in life, the standing ovations and accolades?
Because, I’m the only one who knows the truth, the only one who can share this secret with you, and it’s important you realize what we all go through during life’s performance.
Whole row – asleep – while I gave them my all.
Now granted, they were old, probably the youngest person in that row was 97, and it was 8:10 PM, so like 3 hours past their bedtime, but it is the truth.
And being that it was an older group in Utah County, the only drinking that had gone on before the show was perhaps purified water, prune juice mixed with metamucil…on the rocks.
I had just performed a show that I had never done before, not in that format, not that style, and even did 4 Original Songs, told many stories, and literally rocked these folks to sleep. I have been working on this show for a few months to be ready.
My ego was hit.
My kids waited backstage to be introduced as little raptors, and yet I almost called off the family bit to save them the humiliation of being my children…however, went through with it and had a wonderful moment on stage with my favorite people.
After the first show I went off stage following the very lukewarm standing ovation, in preparation of the next audience filling the seats for Show #2, I paced backstage in a prayer to God.
“What am I doing? Why did I do this show this way? Why did you tell me to do it that way?”, I pleaded.
How much easier it would have been to have simply done what worked before, delivering to them exactly what they came to hear? Easy sell, killer show, the standing ovation no questions asked show.
The answer was simple – it came forcefully to my mind:
“This is how you will share the message from now on. Get used to it. Sharing your own voice is the challenge for you, it is foreign to your audience, you have accustomed them to hearing you do voices of others, it’s time to integrate and also share yours. You’re 40 for heaven’s sake. Trust me.”
It is one thing to get on stage and perform or speak, just the initial challenge is enough to drive most who try away.
To have a shtick, a bit, routines, skits, that makes a difference. I know the singing impressions sell that I’m good as a performer and worth watching. I’m very good at it. Yet, it’s a dying art. There are only a handful of us still living that make a living as a one-person show doing voices of others in singing form. It is important I keep delivering it.
And yet, introducing to an audience, who have paid to come see me sing like other people, the notion that I’m doing my own songs, own stories, own creations, along with the impressions, that is out of left field.
And yet, it’s time.
Have you heard this calling before?
“Release The Kraken!”
It is The Promise in full force.
It’s the Promise to make better promises to yourself, in your heart, and not back down when the whole front row is asleep as you venture into the newest and latest performance that is your life.
It is Your Calling.
Not to say I’m done doing singing impressions, I mean, it’s a very unique gift and one I will use forever. But at this point it isn’t the whole performance, it can’t be, it’s just an arrow in the quiver.
Yes, amazingly I did 4 original songs, a few I rarely have ever performed, one I never have. And yes, there are many more to come.
Is this a broken promise to the audience? The paying customer? No, because I still delivered the main pieces they expected, and yet this time gave them even more they never knew was an option.
The second show confirmed these songs, this path, is the right route.
My friends, peers, new attendees who had been dragged along, were all raving about the spectrum of the performance. Some liked the impressions, but most talked about the stories, the RV and Motorhome experiences, inclusion of my children, and the original songs and my own voice they had never really heard.
They asked to buy the songs!
A few years ago I felt this calling strongly, to learn to speak to an audience, rather than simply monologue and do a performance.
When the doctor tells you your voice will wear out if you don’t change what you’re doing to it due to certain impressions damaging you, that’s when you start redefining what you do with it.
Speaking has become an unlikely gift.
Another arrow to the quiver.
And then I saw the Mr. Rogers documentary…and wept like a baby.
I returned to the theater multiple times to watch it, alone, in awe of the courage of this man.
Mr. Rogers is The Promise personified.
When I was a kid he was my favorite. He was a lot of kids’ favorite.
For years, and even still in some cases, he has been something of a punchline.
And yet it is so wonderful to regain that excitement for his work and realize how ahead of his time he was. His work is more important now, even after his death, than ever before.
I feel a strong kinship with him. Not that I’m like him, but hope to be someone like him for families, for youth, for those looking for another answer in their entertainment and learning.
I write this post as I fly out of town from Pittsburgh, PA, where I paid homage to Mr. Rogers at the many places celebrating his life and influence around his city. Legendary collectibles from his TV set, hand knit sweaters his Mother made, puppets who taught me life lessons that defined my youth, and a statue so beautifully overlooking the skyline, your neighborly neighbor always ready with a smile.
Fred Rogers was a Legendary Leader.
We must embrace The Promise and dare to become a punchline, or potentially, a hero, in order to make a difference in this world at large.
Personally, the shift is happening. I step out onto the tightrope and continue to alter what it is I am known for, even when what I’ve done has worked so well. It is natural progression and it is necessary, even when many don’t like it, somehow many more actually do.
Why do I spell this all out for you in such a long blog post?
Because I’d like to give you permission to listen to that voice inside of you that is telling you to live your Promise at the same time as I listen and heed it’s voice as well.
Perhaps it’s a promise you feel you never made. But let’s be honest – you did make that Promise a long time ago – in another world, sent here with gifts and talents only you can offer.
Share your voice.
God whispers in your soul to remember what you said you’d do with your time here.
Be brave enough to keep The Promise for yourself, even when that might shift your audience for a bit.
Keep your values, character, morality. Perhaps this reaffirms it. But find that place once again if it’s been lost.
What scares you like a sleeping front row of people at a show for me?
What do you know you should be doing but have put it off for too long?
When you read these words, what calls to you, what provokes you to do something greater with your life, your work, your time?
In business, in leadership, in relationships, in family, with co-workers, for yourself.
Thank you for living it with me, because it is terrifying and exhilarating all at once.
And that’s when you know you’re living at the highest level of engagement and experience, that is The Promise.
Jason Hewlett, CSP (Certified Speaking Professional), CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame, Keynote Speaker for the largest corporate events in the world. His primary message, The Promise, is the philosophy for “Creating Legendary Leaders”, meaning every person in your organization is a Leader. His presentations are intended to provoke you, not just inspire. You will be entertained by one of the most celebrated performers of the past 20 years in Jason’s uncanny performance of music and comedy, while equally discovering your personal differentiator, uniqueness, leadership qualities, and how to improve workplace enjoyment while driving sales to legendary heights. jasonhewlett.com
Please click here to learn about how Jason Hewlett, Speaker Hall of Fame, introduces the opportunity for you, or someone you love, to have the gift of learning how to create a Career From the Stage and begin moving toward fulfilling a lifelong dream as a full-time speaker, performer, or entertainer.