This past weekend left me feeling all sorts of inspired. I ventured up to Los Angeles; the City of Angels. I was inspired by the city, yes, of course. Cities inspire me. Especially that one. But it was at the end of the night that I was truly moved.
The main reason I went up to LA was to see my favorite comedian, Dane Cook, on his Under Oath Tour. During his encore skit at the end of the show, he started off as he often does, telling us a story. It was the story of how we first got started. As a guy who grew up in Boston, he finally got a gig in a rinky-dink place in NYC. He got the 3am slot and was liked enough, even if it was a minuscule audience, to have been asked to come back, and this time... to start at 2:45! That night, when he was leaving (walking, because he couldn't even afford a taxi) he stopped in front of Madison Square Garden and said, "I'm going to play you one day."
The crowd went wild.
Because, if you're familiar with Dane, he was the second comedian to ever sell out Madison Square Garden, where he performed Rough Around the Edges back in 2006.
But at the beginning, he continued going back to the small venues time and time again where he was called "Dance" Cook because the guy working there didn't even know his name was Dane. He bombed night after night but never gave up because he knew stand-up was what he wanted to do. The night I saw him, at the end of his line-up and a "Thank you so much, Los Angeles!" he looked out at us and I saw something. It was different from the normal bow and run off the stage you often see. He was there, thanking us. You could see him take it in for those few short seconds before touching his hands to the stage and exiting stage right.
While he was up there, talking about the struggles his family went through, the repeat failures he endured at the start of his career, not knowing whether he'd make it or not, I thought pretty in-depth about it all. About success. About passion. About purpose. About perseverance. About the naysayers.
These days, we see a lot of overnight success. We see the viral YouTube videos that make it onto the news. We see the fashion bloggers who get sponsored by big-name clothing companies in less than a year. We see the contestants on American Idol who never took a voice lesson in their life and end up with a record deal at the end.
But let us not forget about the ones who worked their butts off. Year after year. The ones who FAILED. Over and over and over again. Katy Perry for example, while trying to make it in LA said, "It was five years of living in L.A. with no money, writing bad checks, selling my clothes to make rent, [and] borrowing money." She had three record deals fall apart before finally signing with Capitol. You'd never know it looking at her now!
LA is a city of dreams. A city where people flock from all over the world to follow their passion. It's where many dreams live and many dreams die. But I left Hollywood and the City of Angels knowing I am only just beginning...
That night, while watching Dane, I made a couple decisions, like he once had done, about things that I am going to accomplish one day. This brand new month of October holds a bunch of huge, exciting things for me as I step out into the world of my dreams. I'm making some big moves before the journey officially begins in November. I'm bound to get discouraged or doubtful but when those moments happen, I'll remind myself of this past weekend and the proof that true success comes to those who never give up on their dreams. Thank you, Dane :)