Moments stick with us. Take a moment to run through your happiest moments. Take the first one that pops into your mind, hold onto it and realize that it didn’t just happen. Lots of decisions, execution and hard work brought you to that joy. Now, think about the reverse of that. The worst moment of your life saw a lot of decisions and execution spiral into this darkness. These moments are fueled by life choices. And as a writer, a creator, an entertainer it’s our job to create stories that engage an audience in ways that tap into themes everyone can relate to. The most relatable theme – HOME.
When I was younger, I remember playing out in my very suburban New Jersey neighborhood deep into dusk. This isn’t about espousing the “good old days” of when kids used to playy outside; it’s about the moment when it was over. If a parent wanted their kid to come home, they would scream out the back door - “JOHNNY…. COME HOME!” Now, this one friend would always test the limits of when he would answer this call to go home. It always stuck with me because it was a battle of wills on when he would return home even though we all knew when it was time.
What inspired this topic in my mind was that this was the “Go Home” week for WWE’s Payback show. In professional wrestling the term “Go Home” has two meanings. The final show before a major event is called the “Go Home” show. It’s that last chance to convince a consumer that this event is worth your time, money and most importantly attention. The other “Go Home” in wrestling is the moment in the match when the story has reached the important part to bring it to it’s conclusion. Every match has this moment; the art is executing it to a maximum effect to deliver the proper finish. In storytelling, some might say the “Go home” moment is where our hero has lost everything and now must do one final action to “win the day”. In some circles, this is called ALL IS LOST.
If you’re expecting a deep dive on the booking of the “Go Home” week of Payback, I’m sorry that’s not what this is about. I can happily point you to fantasy booking related sites and podcasts who will spend hours on that. I want to engage in a dialogue/discussion on the importance of our own self awareness in our own “Go Home” moments. There are moments in our lives, our stories where major change happens. These moments define the core of our character. Yet these slices of time shouldn’t define us because the change might not be about us. Instead, it’s what we decide to do from this moment. Do we let it destroy us, retreat into an existence of suffering off it or does it to motivate us into the next amazing chapter in our story.
In 2008, my professional life came under major change – causing me to face such a moment. For a short amount of time I slipped into a state of “what do I do now.” Interestingly enough, the entire world faced a similar challenge with the collapse of the housing/finical market that same year. I remember sitting in a Panera Bread in late summer of 2008 having lunch with my friend Kat… stunned at the collapse that was there. One thing I did during that entire year was write; almost every day. I used to get paid to write for my job but not for my soul. That flipped completely and the spirit inside me wanted to communicate what I was feeling inside me. It was this lightbulb switch that I feel my own writing evolved. Even in writing other people’s stories, I was able to infuse a little of my own self into them. I am grateful for the major change my life undertook in that period because I felt I grew inside it
In 2016, I faced another “go home” moment where I knew change needed to happen again. I found that solace again in my own story. It was not a business decision more than an investment in myself. The money is the money. It’s the choices made in that moment to not let these moments define myself but instead lead to great change. The spirit inside me lit up by 2008 is a blaze now in 2017. I can’t tell you if this moment makes me a success. I’m a person, trying to make the most out of moments. Exploring every possible avenue to expand my skills, abilities and chances for success rooted out of my own work. I’m here to tell you I don’t have all the answers. Anyone who tells you they have them all is lying to two people… you and themselves. I simply see such a large shift about to happen again. And this isn’t just about professional wresting. This isn’t about our politics. It’s about media, culture and life.
I literally thought of this post a few days ago as I was driving home from North Carolina. I’ve chatted with various people across many industries about “changes” happening. Actual change takes time and sometimes I read the news making it out like “this internet is changing the world”. The internet is not a new concept, heck I was an early adopter of it back in 1991. The market lets you know when change happens. The execution and adoption of how people use the changing technologies have caused major brands, media companies to see a truly different future.
A few stories stood out to me over the last few days. A funny one was the fact there are still a handful of Blockbuster stores open in the United States. The internet didn’t kill Blockbuster – being resistant to change of the market did. Netflix mailing DVDs was a new idea, one that the major brand Blockbuster scoffed at. We all see the power Netflix has now by being the change there. The other just happened this morning with the layoffs at ESPN. This is truly tied to the change in the way people consume media. Stories abound that less people are watching ACTUAL television. That there is a drop in the hours watched on physical TV. ESPN has seen subscriber numbers drop due to “cord cutting”. This morning, ESPN announced they were cutting 100 employees including on-air talent like Ed Werder. Today is a “go home” moment for Ed and his first public statement tells you what he’s doing in this moment. “I have no plans to retire”.
I hope that this makes you all think about your own moments; the ones we are actually in control of. The choices and decisions we make for our own story. Trust me, we are the writers of our own story. If you don’t think you’re truly in control of your path then you need to put the device down in your hand. I want you to look at the power it has and then take a minute to clear your mind of the stress of things you’re not in control of. I took heavy stock at what I was good at and better yet, what I wanted to get better at. I picked up a camera this year to tell more stories. I am starting to write like this again to tell my story. I am not selling you anything other than a simple idea… you have control. By the way, it will be hard. My business partner and I always talk about the differences in people – some sell their ability to do the work and others can execute; they do the work.
In your “go home” moment, will you do the work?
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