Today, I don’t know where to begin. I have a lot to say.
So I’ll just jump in and hope you’ll join me for a few moments because this is one of the most important announcements I’ve ever made.
By now it’s pretty hard to avoid the panic and the fear all around us. It seems in so many ways to be the worst of times…We may know intellectually that within each failure there lies the seeds for greater success but sometimes it’s really hard to feel it. It’s a full blown “Crisis”.
A wise man once pointed out to me that the Chinese character for “crisis” is a combination of the symbols for “Danger” & “Opportunity”.
As the blanket of Christmas slowly gets pulled up around us and the stories of hardship and uncertainty gather like storm clouds, some of it is hitting pretty hard and close to home. For me personally, the holiday season has always been bittersweet. This year even more so.
In fact the very nature of the traditional Christmas is solemn and beautiful and sad.
A family of meager means, finds lodging in a stable. A child is born without proper medical attention who would soon be the target of assassins, and who would grow up to meet a painful and harsh end.
Even if you are not remotely religious, you can not help but relate to the story.
And so in the face of what can only be called a “major financial challenge” I found myself at the end of my savings. All the marketing and advertising I’d done had basically fizzled. Staring at my bank balance and the pile of unpaid bills on my desk felt really bad.
This wasn’t supposed to happen. I’d learned NLP in order to increase my income as well as to clear the junk that was holding me back from getting my music out. Unfortunately it seems like in order to properly honor NLP it would mean putting my music back on hold.
So here I was not feeling very resourceful. It felt like the end of a road that didn’t take me where I thought it was going to take me. Still there was the glimmer that perhaps it had taken me where I needed to go.
As I sat pondering how to pay my past due rent, how to stay positive and hopeful…
As I contemplated how I was going to feed my 3 kids who were coming to visit next week…
As I contemplated how I was going to feed myself…
I got an e-mail.
It was from my friend and mentor, Kathy McAfee, who had commissioned me to do a video of “Motivation” (the song I wrote inspired by her work). She had just sent it out to her list and one of her contacts, Fran Capo, had seen it and wanted a theme song too.
So I got in touch with Fran and began to learn more about her and what her mission and message is.
Get this: she’s the Guinness book of world records “Fastest Talking Female” she also holds the records for deepest book signing (at the Titanic) and highest book signing (on Mt. Kilimanjaro).
So I got inspired. I wrote her a song in a very short time. Because everything about Fran is about speed, and just getting stuff done. And living every day as if it is your last. I sang it to her over the phone and she loved it. By chance, my recording engineer, Joe Mennonna was available that afternoon so I drove over and recorded it. By 6:00 pm the song was mixed and ready to play.
You can hear it here. Listen To Adventure Girl – Fran Capo Theme Song
But that’s not the point of this post!
For me the message was clear. As I was sitting that morning asking for guidance, I was going back and forth between what I thought I “should” do and what my heart was “calling me to do”.
I have worked my brains out the last 5 years to build an NLP practice and an NLP training program. I’ve helped quite a few people and the work is rewarding. But the business model doesn’t work very well. I help people transform their lives and then they don’t need to come back any more! Many of the people I want to help can’t afford me. And I couldn’t help them for free and still pay my bills…In NLP we call that a “double bind”.
The talk therapy business model where the client comes back every week for eternity is much better (at least for the therapist).
But the fact is that when I asked myself a very specific question the answer got my attention.
Here’s the question: “If I had only 6 months to live what would I spend every one of those last precious moments doing?”
The answer had 3 parts:
- I would record every single one of the almost 400 songs I’ve written that have yet to be recorded. I don’t write the music down so in order to preserve them I need to record them. Even if only my kids were able to listen to them it would be worth it.
- I would get my butt out and perform every chance I got even if it meant going from Starbucks to Starbucks or finding a street corner.
- I would spend as much time with my friends and family as possible.
That’s it. Pretty simple.
And I actually am doing that on a small scale. I’ve gone into the studio a lot recently and I just did my first concert in 2 years. But I wasn’t truly giving it 100% because I was so busy with all the other things…
But the main reason I hadn’t given 100% of myself to it was a limiting belief. It was a belief that I couldn’t make enough money to pay my rent and all the other bills I had by merely singing my songs.
But at this point, all the marketing and promotion and advertising I’ve been doing to attract people to my NLP trainings and Anxiety clearing work wasn’t paying the bills either.
In NLP we have a concept that basically says: “You get what you focus on. So focus on what you want.”
So I asked the universe for a sign. What do you really want me to do with my life? How can I serve the most people in the highest way while taking really good care of myself and my family? How can I honor this gift I have of writing songs? (I mean it’s really kind of a “healthy compulsion”. I write songs like a horse gallops or like a bird flies. It’s just totally and complete natural for me. Duh! :o)
Moments later I got the e-mail that Fran Capo wanted a theme song.
If that isn’t an answer I don’t know what is.
So in the next few weeks I will be packing my stuff away and putting everything I own in storage.
I will be letting go of my beautiful apartment overlooking Wooster square and I will be staying with a series of generous friends and family members (see number 3 above).
And I will be using all of my NLP skills to book myself at coffeehouses, and colleges and churches and libraries and yes…Starbucks.
I’m going to be asking you for your help.
- It may be as simple as asking you to pass a song along to a friend who might need to hear it.
- It might be as affordable as downloading a single song for $2. bucks.
- I’m definitely going to ask you to invest in one or more of my CD’s. And when you do I’ll send you a 2nd one for FREE that you can share with a friend.
Mark Shepard’s CD’s Available Here
- I’m going to invite you to come see me perform and I’m going to ask you to bring a friend. Please join my mailing list at the top right hand corner of this site so you’ll get advance invitations.
- If you have a big enough house, I’m going to ask you to consider having a house concert and inviting all your friends. Together we can change the world. Call me today to get started. 203-804-1208
If you’ve been reading my stuff for a while you know my message is about hope and empowerment and healing and transformation and joy.
Yes, I’m a little scared. Not of performing any more (thanks to NLP that’s totally gone) but of moving out of my comfort zone. And that’s a good thing. We all tend to get comfortable and it soon becomes a rut. Eventually a rut can feel like a prison.
So let’ use these challenging times to challenge ourselves. What would you do if you had only 6 months to live? Leave a comment below and let me know.
And ask yourself honestly “How can I start doing that now? How can I start even in a small way living my life on purpose today?”
Thank you for your support and encouragement!
p.s. Please leave me a comment below and “stumble” or “dig” this or e-mail it to a friend.