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executing the Performance

by | Feb 27, 2021 | execute, Perform (Executive Presence), Sammy Davis Jr

So who are you… really?  A jarring way to start a Saturday conversation, but one that could be well-timed.  Freed from your 9-5 commitments, what do you pick up and execute … first?  As I have mentioned repeatedly, doing is what I do… Performing and acting.  Resting happens only in the process of actually executing something to be completely honest.  A weekend is best ended when there are activities that have been completed, things built, people entertained… you get the idea.  Performing and execution go hand in hand in my world…

Today is the third song that Mo Rocca used to describe Sammy, and another one that became completely his.  It was originally written for Steve Lawrence and a show on Broadway, Golden Rainbow, that lasted less than a year.  Give him credit – he knew this was a perfect song for Sammy, particularly in 1968, called him up and said he had to record it.  If ever there was person that embraced every element of this song, it was Sammy…

… who had broken about every standard there was to be him – dating a white woman (Kim Novak), marrying a black woman to keep from being executed by the Mob for doing that, converting to Judaism, then actually marrying a white woman, portraying that on stage in states where that was illegal… and now on the downward spiral of alcohol and drug abuse from much of that…

I spend my days with people who are at varying stages of their life and career, and one thing that is common with all of them is the perennial question, “Who am I?”  There is the Family System they have grown up through, the educational systems that formed them in one way or another, and now the steps of a “career” that have brought them to my doorstep with… mostly questions of who they have become and is that who they actually are?

The luggage usually includes expectations of others, but that is actually fairly easy to dispense with.  The harder questions are who they wanted to be… separated from those expectations of Performing for others, the hard work is knowing how to then step into who they either are… or now want to be.  And the good news is that in the study of the brain, thinking way out there – 10 years from now, it triggers the right chemicals in your brain to actually help you step into that exploration.

In my own story, I was always raised to be different – it was celebrated in my extended family system.  Along with execution – achieving, doing, producing … a habit, to be clear, that is very hard for me to break – even with my new professional skills and tools.  And I have learned of late to balance that with grace… for me.  Acceptance is not resignation – it is actually being able to step forward into the next step of growth – where you can pull off the masks that are not serving you, and start to let the right people see the real you.

In my work, I try to use easy-to-remember markers for important things… Feeding the Bear, All’s well that Ends, etc.  This one is a Princess Bride reference: The Pit of Despair.  Real change starts there… at the bottom, where all the other things that have been attempted are stripped away, and it is just you…. And hopefully, someone like Steve Lawrence steps in and says- here is a hand up.  A number 1 hit in 1968 and the title of the album that helped bridge his career into the ‘70s. Turn this up – way up.  Not like a rock song – like an anthem to march into this day.  There is no better time than a Saturday to execute this and declare and sing this amazing theme for all of us…. I’ve Gotta Be Me.

Whether I’m right or whether I’m wrong
Whether I find a place in this world or never belong
I gotta be me, I’ve gotta be me
What else can I be but what I am

I want to live, not merely survive
And I won’t give up this dream
Of life that keeps me alive
I gotta be me, I gotta be me
The dream that I see makes me what I am

That far away prize, a world of success
Is waiting for me if I heed the call
I won’t settle down, won’t settle for less
As long as there’s a chance that I can have it all

I’ll go it alone, that’s how it must be
I can’t be right for somebody else
If I’m not right for me
I gotta be free, I’ve gotta be free
Daring to try, to do it or die
I’ve gotta be me

I’ll go it alone, that’s how it must be
I can’t be right for somebody else
If I’m not right for me
I gotta be free, I just gotta be free
Daring to try, to do it or die
I gotta be me

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