Be Careful for What You Ask

I read a quote this morning a friend posted on Facebook, that was attributed to Maya Angelou. It says, “Ask for what you want and be prepared to get it.”

Here is a story about that.

For months, everywhere I saw John (not his real name), he’d say, “I need words for my music. If anybody wants to put words to my music, I’ll give them a CD.”

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And what is it I have? That’s right. Words. Lots and lots of words. Finally I said, “Give me one of those CDs, John, and I’ll see what I can do.”

The CD had several very nice compositions. They were well formed. Helped me, as a songwriter, know where to put the words. One of his comps led me to write a song that I felt would have potential for documentaries and film, as well as a single for download.

After I saw how good the song was, I approached John and told him we could move this song out in the above mentioned ways. That he wanted to move a song out into the retail environment was not an unreasonable assumption. I mean, after all, he knew I was in the music business and he said he was, too.

But his eyes got huge, his shoulders crunched inward, his hand flew to his mouth, and he said, “What? I…I…I…I don’t know.”

I then said, “I’m sorry. What do you mean you don’t know?”

His arms and hands flew out and he said, “I don’t know how to make that happen.”

I said, “Well, I do. I’ll make it happen. The question is, are you wanting to do that?”

Then this is when I really knew this was not going to happen with him. He said, and I kid you not, “Well, I wrote this music a long time ago…and…the files are on an old computer…and…it’s broken…and…”

I interrupted and said, “Well, can you recreate it on your new computer?”

“I don’t have another computer.”

And just like that, bam, the boy was gone. The thing is, I try to meet people where they are. You know what I mean by that, right? If someone needs help to get through and make something happen, I’m willing to help out with that. I’ve got limitations; very kind people have met me where I’m at, too. I wouldn’t be where I am without those people. So, I attempted to get hold of John through email, phone, texting.

But after several months I realized that while he’d asked for what he wanted, he wasn’t prepared to get it.

Furthermore, no amount of offers to help him was going to change that situation. What’s interesting is that I’ve met a lot of people like that in the last three years. People who ask, ask, ask, and ask some more, for what they want, and then when it looks like they are going to get it, they simply disappear.

And these people are very talented. And their reasons for not carrying through on that talent are many and varied. I won’t even go into it here. Doesn’t matter. Why doesn’t it matter? I’ll tell you. It’s because the end result is the same. They stop where they are and they go no further.

I’m not stopping. So my job now is two-fold. One: Identify more quickly those who stop, and give them high-fives for their talent, but not align myself with them in business until they prove they are ready to do what it takes. And, two: Identify those who are doers, and make something happen together.

I am not condemning people who stop. I stopped, too, for many years (for various reasons). I get it. But I’m not in that place anymore.
I got to go.
I got to do.
And I am.

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