Episode 001 – So Many Beginnings
“There comes a point where you stop overthinking, stop your preparation and simply…begin the next beginning.”
If someone asked you to tell your life story in five-hundred words or less, could you do it?
That’s not a lot of words. How do you decide what to put in or–more importantly–what you’re gonna leave out? And where do you even start?
At the beginning, most would say. But that’s the problem. There are just so many beginnings.
How are you with new beginnings? How do you handle change?
Does the fear of criticism keep you from beginning at all?
Is there something you’ve been wanting to do for a long time, but simply haven’t because procrastinating is so much easier than actually putting your butt out there?
How do we keep ourselves from getting snared in the dreaded comparison trap?
I talk about all of that and more in my first ever podcast episode. Episode 1 is a new beginning for me and while it’s scary as hell, I decided to fight through the internal BS and launch!
If you like what you’re hearing, subscribe and share this show with your friends because it doesn’t go anywhere without you.
Until next time, be nice and do good stuff.
Monday morning. Freddie usually arrives around 6. His metallic blue transistor radio announces his arrival long before I hear the gate combination.
He tries to be quiet, sweeping up ficus leaves from the stone patio outside of our one bedroom apartment.
Today’s a big day. It’s a new beginning for me. And It doesn’t matter that I might not be ready.
It’s gonna begin – with or without me.
Let me explain. Actually, maybe posing it as a question will be better.
If someone asked you to tell your life story in 500 words or less, could you do it?
That’s not a lot of words.
How do you decide what to put in or…more importantly, what to leave out.
Where do you even begin?
At the beginning, some would say. But that’s the problem. There are just so many beginnings.
There’s the growing up in Philly beginning. The Nashville beginning of 1990 which kicked off the next 20 years as a songwriter and artist.
The 2012 beginning after I sold my house and nearly everything I owned and moved onto a 35-foot sailboat to write books.
Marrying the love of my life in 2015…a great beginning
Which lead to the beginning of 2019 after we sold the boat, our home for nearly a decade, and moved to Mexico.
In March of 2020, all of our beginnings were put on hold.
I guess that brings me to right here, episode 1 of this podcast. The beginning that I’m not ready to begin.
Wow…I need some coffee.
[FADE MUSIC BED- FADE UP COFFEE PREP]
You see, when I was younger and full of piss and vinegar as they say, this was much easier. Beginning something new or leaping headfirst into unfamiliar territory never really bothered me. I said yes to a lot of opportunities I had no business saying yes to.
Naive…reckless? Maybe so.
But I felt that I’d be more disappointed with myself if did’t attempt something because of fear than if I tried and it didn’t work out.
These days, it’s quite the opposite. I’ve been overthinking a lot. Especially the launch of this podcast. The name, subject, length and overall tone of the show.
When I read recently that there are almost a million active podcasts and over 48 million episodes floating around there in the universe, my overthinking kicked into overdrive.
Because let’s face it, there are two things the world doesn’t need more of, lawyers and opinions.
What can I add? How can I help and not simply add to the noise? Not having an answer to those questions kept me from launching this podcast for over a year.
I began to see this beginning…as daunting and terrifying rather than exciting and full of possibility.
Daunting because the space is crowded and growing more so every day.
Daunting because of the competition.
This podcast, Episode 1, is competing for your attention alongside podcasts that have been in existence for 20 years with hundreds of episodes under their belt.
NPR’s Radiolab: Their first episode aired in 2002. 1.8 million listeners tune in for EVERY episode.
This American Life with Ira Glass
WTF with Mark Maron
You get the point.
We can always find plenty of excuses to not do something. But the comparison trap might be the most destructive one of all.
The Danish philosopher – and let me just stop and say, I will rarely if ever quote Danish philosophers on this show – but Søoren Kierkegaard pretty much hit the nail squarely on the head when he wrote, “The greatest impediment to creativity is measuring it against other creativity.”
Just imagine If every person who ever launched a creative project first created a graph or spreadsheet measuring their effort with those that came before, nothing would have ever been published, exhibited, or performed.
Think about it…if Dylan decided that Woody Guthrie was the final authority on the human condition, there’d be no Blood on the Tracks. Without Velázquez, the Picasso we know today might not exist. Without Fredrico Felini, there may have never been a Francis Ford Coppola. No Godfather. No Apocalypse Now.
The mountain of legendary creations is un-scaleable. So why try?
So, what changed? Why step now into an over saturated space where there’s no financial benefit and most likely, at the beginning, very little critical feedback or engagement?
Well, it’s been a rough two years. Shortly after the release of my fourth book, things ground to a halt and I hit a creative wall.
Now, I’m not blaming the pandemic for that wall, but being shut down and closed in for as long as we all were made it very apparent that I was stuck and getting nothing accomplished.
I questioned everything. My writing, my effort, and at times…my sanity. This is not a place anyone wants to be and I just decided it had to stop.
During the time I was mired in all of this mental crap…which I will admit was mostly self-inflicted, I thought, if I’m going through this and my friends are experiencing this, and people I see on social media are going through this, maybe we can talk our way through it…together.
Yes, there are a million podcasts out there, but there are a million coffee shops in the world and nobody ever bitches about that.
I don’t. I’m just happy to have a cup of coffee when I want one. I don’t find myself saying, man, there are too many coffee shops… I’m not going in there.
The more positivity we pump into this crazy freaking world the better things get.
So, what’s the deal? What’s it about?
The Mind Unset is about the process.
This process of life, creativity, and happiness even when we aren’t feeling the most creative or the happiest.
I’m talking less about fear and more about possibilities. I want this to be a space where people come to be inspired, supported, and encouraged to take action to change whats no longer working.
If it’s all working and you don’t need to change a thing… hang out anyway.
Sometimes I’ll invite cool guests. Sometimes I’ll be talking to myself.
It’s an entirely new format for me. I want it to develop and grow through changes I make and from input I get from you.
Here’s the thing. I live and record this show in very small town in Mexico. And, while it may be small, it’s pretty loud. The tamale guy drives by on his moped, humming birds chirp, dogs, roosters…Freddie. there’s likely no way to take it out of the recording.
I simply have to embrace the chaos and get something done.
At this point, after 30 years in the business of writing and performing, I’ve arrived at the notion that perfection is a myth. A unicorn. Sometimes the end result of pushing through the imperfection is the closet we ever come to perfection.
Maybe this is all bullshit. I have no way of knowing. You see, I’m fighting this out in real time. With you.
Fear is real, but so is triumph. Awe. Wonderment.
I am hitting the reset button. But before we can reset, maybe we have to unset some of the crap we’ve been telling ourselves for a very long time.
Telling any of our stories in 500 words or less might be a tall order.
And starting at the beginning is way more complicated than I ever imagined.
There comes a point where you stop overthinking, stop your preparation and simply…begin the next beginning.
Join this conversation. Subscribe. Share it. I know at this moment, I’m speaking into a black hole. Let me know you’re out there. Talk to me. Talk to your friends. Tell them about this show because it doesn’t go anywhere without you.
Until next time. Be Nice and do good stuff.
Get on the email list →
Be the first to know when new episodes drop, new merch added, and other cool happenings.