Extraordinary Joes Session 5: What I Learned - Lance Weiss, Comedian, Encourager
Session 5 of Extraordinary Joes featured comedian and encourager, Lance Weiss. This session was particularly important for me, because Lance, whether he knows it or not, was instrumental in helping me get started with the podcast. He had just started his own podcast, Party With Lance, and he had some great insight and encouragement for me as I planned out Extraordinary Joes. Here's what I learned during our chat:
One of the things I appreciate most about Lance, is that he is completely and fully himself. Some people might be obnoxious about this, taking it to the extreme, forcing themselves on others, being loud about it, and disregarding the needs and desires of others. As Lance would say, "I do not endorse this approach."
What impresses me about Lance, is that he doesn't try to hide who he is or fit himself into someone else's expectations to the point of sacrificing himself. He is extremely curious, caring, honest, and his mind runs a mile a minute, or maybe even faster. And all of that showed up during our session together. He's carved out his own path in life by being himself, and I have a great deal of respect and admiration for his approach.
I think we all need to be more of who we are. We all, from time to time, try to suppress things about us that we may not want others to see. Or, we don't want them to see the whole thing. So we keep things hidden from the public, and downplay some of the things that make us, us. My encouragement for us all is to make a concerted effort to live into the gifts we've been given, to be open about the things that make us happy, or joyful, or excited, and to more frequently share those things with the world around us.
We will be more successful personally, professionally, and in relationship when we are authentically living into who we are and who we hope to become.
The Importance of Focusing on What's in Front of Us
Lance gave me an unexpected answer when I asked him about his start in comedy and what he enjoys about what he does. I guess I don't really know what I expected, maybe I should have done a better job, and not expected anything, and just listened for the answer. Maybe his answer wasn't unexpected, but instead, impressive.
Lance talked repeatedly about how he tries to focus on the individuals in the audience when he is doing his comedy shows. Rather than focusing on himself, the stage, being the star of the show, he works hard to recognize the different people that are in the audience, and the impact that he can make on them individually.
Some of the most meaningful comments and experiences that Lance has had have come from people after the show that have approached him and told him their story, and how having a laugh that evening was exactly what they needed. So Lance has focused on the fact that in the audience is full of different people, with different stories and different backgrounds, who need a little laughter in their lives. If he maintains the focus he's working towards, he can focus on the individuals in front of him.
It's easy for us to wonder about the big picture for our lives or worry about what the future holds for us. Some people, like me, might get caught up in trying to make a big impact, on more people. Lance reminded me how important it is to focus on what is in front of you, especially on the people right in front of you.
Get the Reps
When Lance was getting started, he focused entirely on writing and getting on stage. That's it. Over and over again, write and get on stage. Anywhere that he could get behind a mic, and anytime he could write and work on his jokes, that's what he did. He's been working on his craft for a decade and a half. Now he's to the point where he has made a career of it, but it didn't happen overnight. And...while he is certainly more selective now, as his career has progressed, he is still getting the reps in as often as possible.
When I was coaching basketball, in what I thought was a pretty clever arrangement of words, I would ask our players, "Do you want to be better or do you want to get better?"
Most of them wanted to be better. In fact, I think most of us, as adults, want to be better. But it doesn't work that way. Things take time. And more than time, improvement takes reps. It takes mistakes. It takes learning. It takes trying over and over and over again. If we aren't getting the reps in, in whatever field or venture or area of growth we are pursuing, we aren't going to get any better. Many times, that can keep us from even starting at all.
If we want to get better at some thing, we have to do the thing. That's the only way. Don't worry about being better, right now. Focus on getting better.
I'm pulling for you,
Thanks for listening to Extraordinary Joes! Check out the episode here: www.bryanhendley.com/podcast
If you have any Extraordinary Joes you think would be great for the show, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.