What Lady Gaga taught me about creativity, life, and mental health.
For the past few years, I have stiff-armed anything Gaga. That would be Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, also known as Lady Gaga.
I watched my wife drool over her night and day and somehow mustered the strength to stay in the room every time her music was playing.
I just couldn’t stand her. At all.
But everything changed a few weeks ago when someone shared a link to this video. I honestly can’t tell you why I choose to click it that night, because as I said, I couldn’t have been any further from #TeamGaga.
I clicked the link. And watched it. All of it.
In case you don’t have the full hour, I encourage you, at the very least, to watch the point I linked to until the 12:00 mark.
After watching the video, I went to iTunes Music and downloaded the A Star is Born soundtrack. It has been on repeat ever since.
I also jumped over to Netflix to watch Gaga: Five Foot Two, which documents the events around the production and release of her fifth studio album, Joanne, and her halftime performance at Super Bowl LI.
I’ll be the first to admit how wrong I was about Lady Gaga. What a shining light and beautiful soul. Probably one of the most inspiring and intriguing artists of our day. A creative angel indeed. (via Twitter)
In the interview at Yale for the “Emotional Revolution” Summit, she said some things in particular that resonated with me:
“What helped me the most, that I want to impress upon all of you, is that I realized part of my identity is saying ‘no’ to things I don’t want to do.”
She goes on to say:
“It is your right to choose what you do and don’t do. It is your right to choose what you believe in, and what you don’t believe in. It is your right to curate your life and your own perspective.”
The Problem with Perfectionism
This past week I have had several conversations with creative entrepreneurs who are experiencing burnout. For one, it is borderline crippling.
According to Forbes, entrepreneurs work an average of 67 hours per week.
It’s no wonder that my friends—as well as myself at times—feel the way they are. And I’m reasonably sure they are not alone.
One contributing factor is something that affects me daily and might be the leading cause of workaholism among entrepreneurs: perfectionism.
Creatives know this like no other, and it’s a bittersweet thing. I create some of my best work during seasons of perfectionism, but it also contributes to weeks of complete inaction.
You see, there’s a problem with being perfect and it’s no small thing.
Michael Brustein, a clinical psychologist in Manhattan, says his perfectionist clients tend to devalue their accomplishments, so that every time a goal is achieved, the high lasts only a short time, like “a gas tank with a hole in it.”
Crafting a Life You Want
I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t want my life—creative or otherwise—to feel like a gas tank with a hole in it. I think back to what Lady Gaga said at Yale, and realize that I am in full control.
- I have the power of saying “no.”
- I have the power of saying what I do is “good enough.”
- I have the power of deciding what I want (and don’t want) to do.
Joshua Becker, a mentor and very close friend of mine, says “The first step in crafting a life you want is to get rid of everything you don’t.”
Not only do I embrace this ideology in my personal life, but I also look for ways to pare down responsibilities and obligations in my business life.
I don’t have the time to be perfect or to get caught up in the “rat race.” There are simply too many things I want to do outside of it all. Life is too short.
As I work towards the relaunch of Authentik as a community-focused destination, I will not do it alone. I am enlisting the help of others who are smarter than me, better than me, and more creative than me.
The vision I have for Authentik began more than two years ago, and it has taken me some time to find clarity and the direction I want to take it. It has also taken some time for me to realize this vision—which is much wider and deeper than what you have seen to date—will require a team.
So, I have chosen to work with my peers to get things done.
This agency is working with me on designing a new logo and branding, and the initial concept I have seen is awesome—far better than I could have ever come up with. For real.
I will also work with one of the most talented designers I know on custom illustration, website design, and other design resources that I am incapable of creating on the same level as him.
While I will continue writing here for “the blog,” I am also working with some brilliant copywriters such as Allie, Hillary, and Kayla on establishing evergreen content that will help creative entrepreneurs succeed.
There will be practical business advice given through the lens of real people who have experienced real problems and are capable of providing real solutions—Authentik solutions, if you will.
I have never been as excited about a project the way I am right now. I think there is such a need in our space for something like this, and I hope to spend the years to come building into it. Besides, the Authentik.com domain cost me $10,000, so I have a fiduciary duty to cover the cost.
Friends, one is the loneliest number. My goal is to help you find your people.
You don’t have to do #AllTheThings or be #AllTheThings.
“If you want to go fast, get some damned help. If you want to go far, find a community…and also get some damned help.” — Sonia Simone
As we head into 2019, these are my 3 words: Create. Inspire. Connect.