If there is one thing that drives me crazy it’s all the excuses people make up. Maybe I just notice it more now than I used to, but I’m seeing it everywhere, especially from people in their 20′s and early 30′s. I don’t remember if I was the same way, but I fear I probably was.
There are a lot of people watching and waiting for you to do anything so they can tell you that you’re wrong. You’re not as good as someone else. You’re not as good as the person you replaced. You’re not photogenic. You’re not smart enough. You don’t have the right degree.
I get it, it’s scary. Standing up and saying, “this is me” takes a fair amount of courage. “This is the best I can give you” is a terrifying sentence to say, because we fear that the person we’re saying it to might reply, “it’s not enough.”
Spoiler alert: That person doesn’t matter.
You’re a work in progress, we all are.
My friend Martin Smith has stopped making excuses. Martin is a friend and a mentor, a storyteller and a marketer, a worker and a thinker, but most of all he’s a tugboat.
That’s what Martin does. He is the catalyst that we so often need in life. He’s the guy that reminds you that you’re a better person than you give yourself credit for. He’s the guy that reminds you just because it hasn’t been done before doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea. He’s the guy that reminds you that the critic is lazy, and we are powerful change agents.
Together, as part of a team, we can make the impossible, possible.
It’s okay if the team is only two. Martin is not afraid to the first guy dancing at the Sasquatch Music Festival.
The question is, who are you? Are you the second guy joining in, the third guy? Sadly, most of us are only joining in when the rest of the crowd joins, when it’s safe. When we no longer have to risk people judging us.
I’m joining Martin now, and I don’t care if you come along or not. I know you don’t have the time. You don’t have the resources. You already have plans. You have to get paid for your expertise, you can’t just give it away. You have kids. You already have a full-time job.
Martin has a full-time job as the marketing director at one of the fastest growing web development firms in the United States. His part-time gig is fighting off cancer with another round of chemotherapy. His third job is donating his salary from his first job to fund his third job – his idea to fund cancer research a la carte style. The third job led to his fourth and fifth jobs like riding his bicycle across the country to raise awareness and money to donate to Duke Cancer Hospital and starting the Cure Cancer Store. Oh, and he also took the time to make sure almost all of this runs under a charitable umbrella called the Story of Cancer.
This isn’t some giant billion dollar non-profit asking you for a $25 donation at Christmas. This is a man who has decided that he would rather spend his third act doing what most of us only dream of doing… something that really matters. Not something that matters to our boss or our kids or our spouse, but something that matters to humanity.
How would you like to be part of the group that funds a researcher who finally isolates the cancer gene?
When they’re writing the story of cancer and how it’s cure came about, would you like to be part of that story? In 2012, the citizens of the United States spent $2,100,000,000 on Easter candy. Can you spare a peep?
When the artist Robert Rauschenberg died in 2008, his obituary in the NY Times had a great quote in it:
“Everyone was trying to give up European aesthetics,” he recalled, meaning Picasso, the Surrealists and Matisse. “That was the struggle, and it was reflected in the fear of collectors and critics. John Cage said that fear in life is the fear of change. If I may add to that: nothing can avoid changing. It’s the only thing you can count on. Because life doesn’t have any other possibility, everyone can be measured by his adaptability to change.”