I haven't sat down to write in what seems like quite some time. While I have been a bit busy with a move and travel, I've also been struggling to find inspiration in the midst of chaos (I know some of you feel me!). This morning, I found inspiration in what you might consider an unlikely place: I found it in Country legend, Garth Brooks. Now, while I'm not a huge country music person, I think it's a crime not to love Garth (in fact, I only have a short bucket list of folks I'd like to see live, and he's one of them!). I remember sitting in the audience at one of my first dance recitals and watching as the "big girls" (who seemed like mystical stars during my childhood) tap danced to "Callin' Baton Rouge" and hoping one day that I could be like them. Nowadays, I want to be more like Garth Brooks. Here's why:
Currently, my great city of Austin, Texas is hosting a two-week tech and music extravaganza known as South by Southwest (SXSW) - a massive event that draws thousands of tourists and is known for overtaking the city grid.
Here's how Garth comes in. Yesterday, Garth announced that he would perform a FREE concert for Austin city residents (sponsored by Amazon Music - read more here). In addition, Garth casually popped in to iconic Austin honky tonk, The Broken Spoke to perform last night. Now, I know what some of you are thinking, Garth probably didn't fund his trip to Austin or the performances himself (Yes, these were all likely funded by his partner, Amazon Music, but at the time I posted this blog, I couldn't find any instances of Amazon Music self-promoting this event...more thoughts on this later). For a moment, let's ignore the simple fact that Garth Brooks is a country superstar and probably has more money than most other folks we know. Let's instead, think about the heart of what Garth is doing. He is passionate about and devoted to his craft. He has a skill that brings joy and inspiration to the lives of others. While he could withhold this gift (he doesn't need to do concerts any longer), he actively shares it with others. In a post I shared on Instagram earlier today, I wrote about how I hope that one day I, like Garth, have something important and inspiring to share with the world and that I am reminded to share this gift with the same love, passion and generosity that Garth uses to share his music. To me, this - the ability to share something you are passionate about with others in a way that impacts them - is what life is all about.
This brings me to a point one of my favorite authors and mentors, Marianne Williamson left with me. Marianne recounts lecturing to groups in LA early on in her career, where many of the attendees were aspiring actors. Many would ask Marianne why they weren't manifesting their dream acting jobs though they were praying and saying all of the right affirmations. Where was the dream role they were longing for? Her response was simple and brilliant: if you want to act, act! Nothing is holding you back from sharing your gift and passion with others. Go to nursing homes and perform for the elderly or join a theater group - the opportunities are available. While the current opportunities may not be what you are dreaming of, selflessly sharing your gifts and passion will pave the way for bigger things.
So, the lesson is this: Even if you aren't a mega-superstar who is able to put on free shows for folks like Garth Brooks, take your passion and find ways to share it with others. You don't have to perform for sold-out shows to make a difference in the lives of others. Don't wait until you have a following on your blog, or social media, or wherever. Find a way to share that passion with others now, be it big or small. You never know where you will find someone who needs to hear what you have to say or who will be inspired by what you share. This is the purpose of our work. We all have the ability to make an impact on others through sharing what we are passionate about. For me, as someone who loves to write, I enjoy volunteering to mentor youth in their writing. How do you explore your passions?