One thing I had no issue with when I was younger was taking risks. If I saw something I desired, I went after it with my whole heart and didn’t stop until I attained it. I had grown accustomed to pursuing many things with full force, achieving them, and then I started to get comfortable only pursuing goals that felt easy to achieve. I also started to get really complacent, until I was challenged by a few life events that shook me up in a good way and made me become hungry again- literally and figuratively!
I recently watched this amazing video of Denzel Washington speaking to a group of college graduates. He began the speech by saying, “Fall forward. Don’t create a plan to fall back on; fall forward and go after your dreams with full force." This really resonated with me.
When I was younger my father, a retired Military man, would tell me how much he believed in me as a musician, but he would also say that he didn’t want me to struggle financially. He felt that I should split my artistic efforts, and get a “real job” to fall back on when things get rough musically. It was a major point of contension in my relationship with him because it made me feel as though he did not really believe in me or my talent. Also, the idea of a “fall back” plan didn’t make sense to me because I felt like everyone I knew that fell into more “secure careers” were merely slaves to their jobs and were unhappy. At that point in my life, I told my father that I would rather struggle financially and live every moment doing what I love, than to fall back.
Listening to Denzel’s words reminded me of this declaration I made, and they inspired me to reevaluate my career pursuits. I knew that I wanted to create a new album with a new sound and a new band to tour with. I also really desired to step out more as a bandleader and create opportunities that reflected the artistic visions that I have for myself. Even with all these goals within reach, I was afraid, or better yet resting on my laurels, operating solely within my comfort zone. I also questioned if what I had to say, musically was relevant. I questioned the level of financial investment necessary to make this shift in my career possible. Ultimately, it was this burning sensation inside of me that I could no longer ignore that forced me to act. And I realized, going forward in pursuit of my goals was more comfortable than staying in a position of personal mediocrity. In my life, when I refuse to be my best, it’s almost like I am inviting a high level of mediocrity into my life, because to ignore truth is to fully embrace a lie. Listening to Denzel's speech helped encourage me to fall forward, because even if you fall down at times, falling is still forward movement. We may not always have a clue of what circumstances and destiny are mixing up in the pot of life, but the goal should be: to fall forward!
What’s been so wonderful is that once I decided to take that step, the universe began to surround me with opportunities that affirmed my choice, and continued to help me find new levels of comfort.
So the new theme and sound of my life is to Fall Forward.
Look out for the album this August!