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Why Not You?

Don’t give up, because you never know what’s just around the next corner.

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Have you ever looked in the mirror and thought “Why not me?”

If you haven’t, you should try it. It’s the first step toward making the impact you were always intended to make, no matter your age or your circumstances.

A few years ago a young aspiring filmmaker, the daughter of a good friend, asked me if I would be in a documentary she was making with her college film school team. On a bright and cheerful Thursday morning I arrived at the University of Texas studio. The lights went up, the cameras rolled and she asked this: “You’re 60 now. When you were 20 like us, how did you know you’d be here doing what you are doing now?”

Great question.

I answered honestly. I told her that I didn’t know that I’d be here because I didn’t know there was a ‘here’ here. But even at a young age I knew what being here felt like. And, as much as I was able to throughout my life I said no to things that didn’t feel like ‘here’. I told her that going forward from my 20’s that it seemed like a very broken road, filled with speed bumps, road blocks, disappointment, joy, success, you name it. But looking back on that very same road today it looks as smooth as glass, like it was all meant to be to bring me ‘here’. Nothing was wasted. Not a single thing.

For example, I started out my professional life as a songwriter and recording artist. During those years as a musician I served as my own publicist and was in the media often on TV, newspapers, radio, etc. I didn’t know that I was in training for a job I would do many years later for others. But that’s exactly what I was doing. I was preparing for now almost 40 years ago.

I made a few records and worked very hard until one day I discovered that I could never do the travel that major recording artists do and be away from my family for that long.

So, I pivoted.

I went to work for The Gallup Organization, got an MBA, and started writing more prose. I became a Senior Staff Writer for Gallup and it was like being in graduate school all over again. I was unafraid of failure. I tried everything they asked me to do. I am grateful for those people and those years.

And, after 13 wonderful years, I left Gallup to start my own company. Today, I wake up early and do a job I absolutely love. I am 64 now. I do publicity and communications for a small roster of gifted and mission-minded authors. Their success feels like my success. We rejoice together with each media appearance we land.

I have written two books of my own and am working on a third. I’m even trying to write a screenplay for my first book, a memoir.

My friends sometimes ask me when I plan on retiring and my answer is always the same:  “never.” If I had my wish, I would die on a Friday night so that I could finish one more week serving my clients and relishing every minute of it before I move on.

I have learned a great deal through my travels down this broken road. For one thing, regret is a lot worse than failure. You can’t fix the things you never tried in the first place. If  I fail, I can pick myself up and dust myself off and start over again. I can live with that. I can’t bear the thought of not even trying and always wondering if I could have done it, whatever it is.

I have also learned that age doesn’t mean anything unless we pay attention to it and let the naysayers slam on our brakes for us. The culture would lead us to believe that our tank is empty when we reach a certain number of years, but that’s not true at all. We know more. We have more and deeper relationships. We’ve built our reputations. People will take our calls. We have great value. We have the wisdom and perspective that years bring.

The bottom line? You and I are not done yet. Not by a long shot.

Through the years I have continued to write songs, almost 500 in total now. Some have been recorded by others, some by me. I still love chasing down a good song as much as ever.

I’d like to close with the lyrics to a new song of mine, Why Not Me? It has been recorded over the past few weeks by Tony Mantor, a 64 year old Nashville veteran producer/singer and it will be released to radio very soon. He thinks it could be his first personal top 40 hit after decades of terrific work.

Lots of lessons there, but the main one is don’t give up because you never know what’s just around the next corner.

Keep creating. Keep sailing.

Why not you?

                                   Why Not Me?

There’s a mountain wide and high. It reaches halfway to the sky

And in my heart I know that I’m supposed to climb.

The fears down in my soul tell me that I might lose control.

But no matter what they say…I’m climbing anyway (cause)

CHORUS 1

Why not me? Why can’t I? I’ll never know if I don’t try.

 Yeah, I might fail. Or I might fall.

But it’s just a mountain after all.

So why not me?

There’s an ocean deep and blue. It stretches out in front of you.

And on the other side is everything you’ve dreamed of.

So, say a prayer and then set sail. Stay the course and you’ll prevail.

And when the doubts start whispering just lift your voice and sing

CHORUS 2

Why not me? Why can’t I? I’ll never know if I don’t try.

Storms may rage. The sea might roar.

But it’s just an ocean nothing more…so why not me?

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