Selfishness is inherent to humans. It has to be for survival, the preservation and promotion of the self. At the end of the last century, it appeared to reach an all-time high particularly in my U.S. of A. A generation even wore the "me" moniker proudly, taking pride in selfishness to an entirely new level.
It's odd, because my business, my only product, is me. I'm an entertainer and a writer. Every product I make, I create, from scratch, and from, well, me; my thoughts, ideas, the way I deliver them or the way I lose all of them and become someone totally else for a moment. And as TMZ or any other website will attest, entertainers are often very, very selfish.
Yet, today as I watched President Barack Obama meet with and lighten the load for small businesses by loosening restrictions on credit and opening new avenues to free up capital amongst community banks and small businesses, as I hear the story of people like a woman disabled in one job, who then goes on to form a marketing company to help companies market to the disabled or others who got fired, laid off, company disappeared who then reinvented, selfishly I turned inward. Because a week ago I thought something right before sleep that surprised even me, and it stuck.
It's not about me any more.
Not that I don't love me. I do. I never thought I'd make history in talk radio, or change state law for gays and lesbians in my state. I never thought I'd love a wonderful man until his passing for almost 12 years or form a family with him that lasts to this day. I never thought I'd talk to every major celebrity or politician in the world either on a red carpet or in my studio. I never thought I'd be on TV for a couple years as part of series and make a friend out of guy that would go on to be a huge TV host. I never thought people would actually buy my book but they did and I certainly never thought I'd be a columnist for Billboard, The Advocate, The Huffingtonpost or on and on and on. And I was busy concentrating on myself and my career doing it all myself in many ways (I don't have an agent or publicist, never have, as none would ever say yes when I asked so I just did things myself), thinking of myself, well, in this century I realize, it's not about me at all any more. I care about success because of what it will do for everyone around me. I strive each day to expand my radio show because of the message, the fun, and yes, because it's my job. But...
In November of 2008 when the engineer left my mike on and I had Joe the Plumber verbal leakage, I didn't know what to do in the economy. Thousands of talk hosts were becoming unemployed every day, who was going to give an loud mouth openly gay loose cannon a shot to endanger their license? At least that was the vibe.
I then realized, no one. So just start doing a show and see if somebody wants it. San Francisco's Flying Bear Media came on board and put me on Energy 92.7. Then KRXA came on board. And as that happened, I needed an engineer. Job. I needed a producer/call screener. Job. I needed news at the top of the hour. Job. I needed an Internet reporter to give me all the #1 stories each hour. Job. Ads have to be placed and sold. Job. I needed new pictures. Job. The show needed equipment. Economic stimulus. My little tiny show has almost 10 people involved in putting it on air, selling it, promoting it. Each able to make a commission or a salary (if all goes according to plan).
I am pitching a fun show to the networks right now. The show is calledThe Food Group.tv. I already filmed the pilot at my home, Park Howard. To do that required a production partner. Job. His assistant. Job. My makeup and hair. Two jobs. Four camera people. A tech crew of 30 for two days setting up and breaking down. We rented a Expedition to bring the guests for the show. We rented equipment. Over 40 people and thousands of dollars spent. I had the "leave behinds" done. Hired an editor for the "sizzle reels." Job. We shipped back and forth. Money. I designed great promotional pieces, utilizing a printer of restaurant menu cover. A wonderful woman I met did our logo printed on chocolate as a fun leave behind. Money, jobs. All because in a doctor's office one day I had an idea for a cute show. And if it gets picked up, more jobs, more money. And I want it to. Because all those people need it to, not just me.
In my career now, each and every person I meet, that works with me, for me, helps me in some way either through a service or a product, from the servers at the Rrazz Room at the Hotel Nikko who are there serving the two drink minimum when I do my live show to the camera man at CNN Los Angeles that greets me when I'm there to do theirs.
And let's not mention that if any of this works I stay employed and able to keep my home which keeps my gardener, plumber, solar panel company, utility companies, property tax assessor and Wells Fargo quite, quite happy and all that they touch. And let's not forget the 16 legs and four bodies known as Alley, Angel, Atilla and Harvey, they need kibble and such, and the vet, and insurance, and the million things pets need, each attached to someone's job or product.
No, my success and my family's is no longer about me or them. I need these things to work, my show, my TV endeavors, my book, my DVD because each one touches somebody else, from a printer to a company that needs a venue to advertise their product, from photographers, camera people, writers, lighting crew, to one day hopefully a staff at an agency and management company.
And the same applies for everyone now. Each of us must be sure we are doing all we can to keep striving, as Dhory says, "Just Keep Swimming." None of us can give up, because when we do, so many things around us suffer as well. It's not just about us. Our failure in whatever we do brings down many, including our family and friends. And the failure isn't losing a job, a house, or a company; it's in not getting back up, moving forward, no matter what. Because when we move forward, people around us move forward as well.
If I had sat around after getting fired a lot of people would not have had the chance to do their thing as well. By me getting going, even in a small way, I helped a few others keep going, even just a little. Remember that, it can be powerful. Put something in motion each day, anything, and it will pull not only yourself, but others along with it.
Maybe I'm blind and I'm excusing my selfishness, the fact that under it all, it is, truly all about me. But I could not imagine being me without the support, either paid for or given out of love or belief, that being me entails. As Dolly Parton once said, "It takes a lot of time, money and people to make me look this cheap..." Well, it takes a lot of people to put my voice on the air, record it for TV or produce it in a show.
If I stop now, I let them down. Just like you. No matter what your career or vocation, whether you work at a job or not, stagnating is not an answer, not now. Move forward, some how, some way, and others follow.