Aside Posted on Updated on
Yes, I know it’s been a long time.
I’ve been under the gun.
Yeah, the joked sucked. Let’s get on with it…
I’ve been a bit of a nervous wreck. In the past few weeks, I’ve not only released a new book, started a new job, started performing in a new show, and been actively watching a brand new show I co-wrote get produced, but I’ve also had to do adult things like pay the bills and pick up dog poop.
Alarmingly, I’ve found that adult life has a lot to do with poop.
Needless to say, I’ve been something of a wreck. It’s great to have people ask, “Wow! How do you do it all?” It’s another thing to actually have to do it all. I’m convinced it can’t be all be done either.
I am writing this just after having returned from a particularly fun, yet nerve-wracking experience. Tonight, I watched a private dress performance of a new show I co-authored entitled Baggage. It’s a vignette comedy about, you guessed it, baggage. Though it is a blast to see it get put up and I always love working with the stage, seeing a show you’ve written be performed is a lot like the fear of somehow being naked in front of people: you feel exposed, nervous, and you hope that nobody laughs at you. You’re putting yourself out in words on stage, plain and simple.
As an actor, there’s a certain level of control I have over my nerves before I perform. I know that I can go out on stage and have complete control over what I do and that if a problem arises, I can be there to do something. As a writer, I get to sit among the crowd and watch it happen. I don’t get any level of control. We (co-author Gary Head and I) divorced our connection with control when we let the directors adopt the script. We have only the cast, crew, and directors to rely on when it comes to the final product; them and whatever confidence we have in the words we wrote.
So how’d it go? Spectacular. Yet I had nothing to do with it. I just happened to be in the room when it all unfolded. The cast got it. The directors nailed it. The audience enjoyed it. I can’t really claim any of that.
You see, I do get asked a lot, “How do you manage to do all of these things? Write books, plays, perform, work, research, etc… how do you do it?” The secret it simple. I don’t. I’m learning that the less I do, the better. The more I simply do my part and trust others with their part, the more of an impact we make on the overall thing.
I owe the actors and directors a huge debt of gratitude. I owe my co-author, Gary, a HUGE debt of gratitude. I owe my wife a truckload and a half of gratitude. These people listened, watched, read, and encouraged me to contribute to this new work. It has little to do with me and so much more to do with the team and the vision of this project.
You see, I’m learning a hard lesson to learn. Trusting a team means really trusting them. After seeing what my team did tonight with the show, the knot in my stomach is gone. They are smart, talented, capable people. I’m just the guy lucky enough to know them all at the same time. Likewise, as with anything – life, family, marriage, relationships – we are bound to people as a team. If we don’t trust them with their talents, then it means we are the ones who have to get it all done.
And trust me, you can’t do it all. It would take too long.
I owe a lot more people a lot more trust for what they do. I owe my coworkers trust that they’ll give me the data I need to do my job effectively. I owe my family trust that they will communicate to me the issues that are most important to us. I owe my wife a TON of trust, to let her be my equal, to let her have the reigns sometimes. We all owe people trust. And trust me, trust isn’t necessary for relationship. Plenty of relationships have existed – some very “successfully” – on mistrust. Trust is a tool we give the other person in order to get our issues fixed. It’s a choice we make.
So, tomorrow, when I must leave Baggage on its own, I leave it in the hands of a capable and talented cast and crew. When it hits the road and goes to contest without me, it goes in the hands of very capable and talented people.
Dr. Kathy Crockett, a super-smart and enthusiastically genuine leader and professor, once told me, “If someone can do something 80% as good as you, it’s time to let them have the reigns.” I think in this case, the crew does the job 110% as good as me! Such is the case with a lot people, including my brilliant and talented wife, my forgiving and compassionate family, and my encouraging and yet nutty friends.
Now, all I gotta do is let go of the reigns.
Bon voyage, Baggage. Here’s to a fantastic showing!
If you would like to see “Baggage,” you’ll have two chances to see it! Baggage is being performed at Lubbock Christian University, Feb 28 & March 1 at 7:30pm. Tickets are $10 adult, $5 students, available at the door. Theatre located in the CDC, south side of campus.