Acting Like Nobody Cares – Climbing The Ladder From The Very Bottom

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Faith.  Self-control.  Integrity.  Respect.  Wisdom.  Self-reliance.  Depth.  Those are my top seven core values, courtesy of Scott Epp and his core values game, courtesy of Abundance Coaching.  These top seven came from four categories of Love & Relationships, God & Spirituality, Work & Finance, Health & Well-being.  

There are 360 core values spread out over these four categories, and with each step in the game you whittle down the values until you are left with your top seven.  You might be asking yourself why I would start by telling you my core values with such a gloomy title and from having a gloomy outlook on things lately?

It’s a fair question.  First let me say a special thank you to those of you who have recently decided to like and follow my comedic exploits.  It’s very much appreciated and humbling at the same time.  Now, when I first started this blog almost 4.5 years ago I wanted it to be an insight to the world of stand-up comedy for my friends, giving them an inside look at the world of comedy.

Once I realized how much work actually goes into comedy, I was kind of blindsided by it.  Also, once my personal life started going sideways at certain times, it affected my comedy, or the material.  I have always been the type of person to wear their heart on their sleeve.  I don’t walk around with a phony smile all the time bullshitting the world.  That isn’t me.  Now, that isn’t to say I’m a miserable human being to be around, it’s actually quite the opposite!  I tend to be laid back, try to roll with the punches and not let the highs get to high, or the lows get to low.

So when life started going sideways I had a decision to make, and it was an easy one at that.  I decided that I would be honest with what’s going on in my life if it affected my ability to do comedy.  If you give a shit about your comedy and work at it, then your life (at times), when things go sideways, should affect your ability to perform or at the very least affect your perception of your material and how you deliver it.

I would rather be honest than stupid.  For the most part my life is an open book and I am not afraid to talk about most of my struggles or what’s happened.  Having said that, some people think that my life is complicated or that I invite nothing but negativity and drama into my life.

That isn’t the case.  Remember, we live this thing called life.  Life is full of these things called ups and downs.  Nobody in the world has a perfect life where they are always happy.  It doesn’t work that way, ever, unless you get some really kick ass drugs from your doctor or from the sketchy guy in the back alley.

Maybe I am a bit too honest in talking about my struggles, but I feel like they define me, especially in my comedy career.  I like talking about my struggles because with each struggle I’ve had in comedy, there is a moment where I picked myself up off the ground and achieved the impossible.  I have had friends of mine say that I inspire them, because if I can get up on stage, tell jokes and shit the bed, repeatedly, and keep going back for more, it gives my friends the confidence within themselves to try something new and not be afraid to fail.  That means a lot to me.

When it comes to the struggles in comedy I talk about them openly and with a sort of pride, like a badge of honour.  When the deck seems stacked against me the most, those closest to me wonder if I will finally pack it in, give up and quit.  My friends I’ve talked to said that they would have walked away from comedy if they were in my shoes, because all that struggle for such little to show for it at this point just isn’t worth it.

But that’s where I’m different.  That’s where these core values come into play.  Let me break it down from a comedic point of view.  Keep in mind that these values can seep into my personal life and usually do carry over.

  1. FAITH –  The definition of faith is the assurance of things hoped for, for things that are unseen.  If I didn’t have the belief that I could do it I would have packed it in a long time ago and burned my bridges so badly that I’d invite more drama into my life than I need.  On October 4, 2011 I tried comedy for the first time because I had faith that the tools I already had within me would lend themselves towards comedy.  Even when I get left off of shows because I am the least consistently funny of all the comics, I still have that belief that one day will turn it around and shove it firmly up the asses of my critics.  The tricky thing about faith is, God never tells you ahead of time when your faith will be rewarded with success or the desires of your heart.  That’s why faith is a daily process, a commitment to yourself to keep going.  If I quit comedy tomorrow, in my opinion I don’t believe there would be one person I know of (outside of my comedy coach) who would convince me to keep going.  Everyone else would probably be like “well, I can understand why you are quitting”, but they won’t be the first ones beating down my door telling me I can’t afford to quit.
  2. SELF-CONTROL – This one can be tricky, especially when things don’t go my way or if I get left off shows, or getting trashed on stage.  My self-control I am pretty proud of.  I’m able to most times not make a big scene when something happens, realizing there is always a tomorrow.
  3. INTEGRITY –  A good definition of this word I heard is an adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.  I’m honest in my assessment of things, and that keeps me grounded and humbled.  It might have me create heightened expectations for myself, but since when is that ever a bad thing?
  4. RESPECT – This is something that doesn’t come my way as often as I give it out, but that is to be expected when you deal with people in life sometimes, especially creative types.  I’ve always tried to treat others the way I want to be treated.  When you’ve been bullied enough throughout your life, you understand how highly you should value respect.
  5. WISDOM – Wisdom is an ongoing process, to have discernment or insight.  I believe finding my comedy coach helped me further along this journey of wisdom than I originally thought.
  6. SELF-RELIANCE – Since comedy is a singular exploit you definitely need self-reliance as you usually have to do everything, from writing the jokes, to making travel arrangements and finding gigs.  I find it’s easier to get the most out of self-reliance when you are at the bottom having to climb your way up.  That’s when you have those moments of inspiration that make you wonder why you hadn’t thought of it sooner.
  7. DEPTH – I suppose one could get deep with their comedy, but for me I’m not so sure that would be to my advantage.  When you get too deep I think you’d miss the obvious misdirection created by the laugh triggers, at least for my comedy.  Being deep is good, but for me it’s easier to get my point across if I can relate to my audience through my own daily struggles.

Sometimes life has a way of backing you into a corner where you have to become real honest with yourself about who you are, and about who you want to become.  It was in those moments a couple months back when these core values came to light.  Some of these values I never had before as results from this game, but in the end they are values I’ve always held on to and tried to enhance, whether I realized that I possessed these values or not.

I had to revisit these values this week to remind myself that all is not lost.  There is a light at the end of the tunnel.  Sometimes I like to play up the struggles in comedy a little bit, not only to motivate myself, but to also bring those struggles to light to I can place those in front of my core values.  Those values are at the core of who I am, and they shall defeat any darkness that comes into my life, any enemy, any struggle.

The core values game is real, and it does work.  If you would like more information on the core values game, I can put you in touch with Abundance Coaching.  They offer you a free one hour introductory session.  You’d be surprised what you can uncover in an hour.  Give it a try, you’ll be glad you did.  Scott and I have had a relationship now for almost five years.  Very proud to call him a friend and part of team Trevor Dean.

Enjoy your weekend, and be blessed!

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