The Wheneverly Blog

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Let me say at the outset, this blog will be an unlikely marriage of my thoughts on guitar, comedy and entertainment; as well as personal development tools and tenets, and occasionally spiritual matters. That’s because my shows, and really my life, are that same unlikely marriage of all of the above. Road stories, rants and ramblings. Like most things I find that you get a basic concept going, launch, and let it take form as it progresses. To that end, here we go…

I talk a lot about the power of goal setting. There is incredible power in simply deciding what you’d like to do or want to happen, writing it down, committing to it and taking action. In fact, my only mistake has been not using this enough. I’ll talk more about how to set goals, secrets of goal achievement and that sort of thing coming up. Today, however, I want to share with you a huge, 35 year goal that came true this past week.

My all-time favorite band is Lynyrd Skynyrd. Always has been, always will be. In the mid 1970’s they released a live album called “One More From The Road.” This was a truly seminal album in my life. That live version of Freebird (no requests, PLEASE), was a huge deal for me as a guitarist. It’s how I learned to play slide, and Allen Collins’ amazing solo at the end was how I learned to play faster than basic eighth notes.

Anyway, it was recorded at the Fabulous Fox Theater in Atlanta, GA, and I swore someday I would play the Fabulous Fox Theater. That was that, I just would. This was an absolutely unreasonable, crazy goal. Later, in my first year of college at Western Carolina University, my English 101 professor had us write our own eulogy (weird assignment). I wrote that I had died on stage at the Fox Theater. So, you get the idea, playing the Fox was a big deal to me.

So, though I didn’t think of it in this context at the time, I had set a goal. A POWERFUL goal. One I REALLY wanted. Had I listened to and heeded my father’s fears and warnings, not to mention countless other naysayers, I’d have gone on to some other career that was “safe” and “secure,” or “reasonable.” (Tell me, is ANY career safe and secure?) and my goal would have remained a pipe dream. But I didn’t, and I have only God to thank because, I really don’t know what possessed me. That first year of college – while studying to be a shop teacher, no less – I made what was probably my first adult decision. I decided that I had to go for a music career all the way… or not at all. I could live with trying and not making it or not being good enough. I couldn’t live with not trying and not knowing. So I transferred to James Madison University to study classical guitar and music business, and never looked back.

Fast forward 30 years… My career has gone better, albeit quite differently, than I could have ever imagined. Probably 85% of my shows are these really cool corporate and association functions. My best client, Wells Fargo Advisors (the financial management side, not the bank) has a series of events called Second Half Champions, where they honor 3 people in a given city who’ve done something amazing after the age of 50, and then I close the evening with a hybrid of my keynote and entertainment shows. I LOVE these events.

A few months ago, Laura, from WF, called and said that their February event in Atlanta would be at some place they found called “The Fabulous Fox Theater.” My jaw dropped.

Tuesday night, Feb 15, 2011 that dream (or goal) came true! It was a crowd of about 2500 and the hall was amazing. A number of great friends, both old and new, came to the event to support me and be a part of it. I did my show, had a BLAST with the audience, and the evening was topped off with a standing ovation. I am humbled and thankful for ALL of this. (Very special thanks to my Atlanta friends Dan Thurmon, Seegar, Miki, Cathy and Tommy; my HS friends Leigh, Lisa, and Brian; and NSA Atlanta for supporting me).

So, would this have happened had I not set that goal? Maybe. Or maybe not. But I’ll tell you, playing Carnegie Hall, the Fox Theater, getting my own show in Las Vegas, and countless other humbling events were all totally unlikely, totally unreasonable, but they happened, after my setting a goal. I’m thankful beyond measure, and I’m a believer. Like I said, my only mistake has been not using this enough.

Oh, one other thing… goal achievement feels great! Every time I think about that night at the Fox, as well as many other things that have happened in my career, I get this stupid grin and I just laugh to myself in some combination of joy and amazement at all God has in store for us.

Points to remember:

1. Life is short, set big goals.

2. The difference in a dream and a goal is a plan. Make a plan.

3. Fears are valid, but NOT a good basis for major life decisions.

4. Quit being reasonable. Very few of the great things that happen in life are reasonable.

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