Passion. I live by it.
It is both my blessing and my curse. I can be passionate to a fault. It drives my personal and professional life in a positive way, yet can also get in my way. Learning to control it is all part of finding my balance.
Whether it's as a father, playing sports, managing my diabetes to live as normal of a life as possible, moving across the country to make my music dreams a reality, or building my company Michaels Entertainment Group which now encompasses a growing staff and layers of products and opportunities, including the Life Rocks Foundation, passion has driven my quest and created opportunities.
Passion propels us to challenge ourselves; it is the thing that forces us to keep going when it might be easier to throw in the towel. For example, when I was living in Los Angeles, determined to make it in the music business, I lived in the back of a Laundromat for three years. I lived well below the poverty level—think sleeping bags, cockroaches and lots of Top Ramen. My Father, a Navy Veteran who has seen a lot in his day, came to visit me in LA and was shocked by my living conditions. He strongly suggested that I move back to Pennsylvania purely out of fear that I would not survive as a diabetic. As much as I respect my Dad and his opinion, I opted to stay, accepting the risk and possible rewards. Was it the easy thing to do? Absolutely not! So, why would I choose to stick it out? Passion combined with determination is a lethal weapon that does not let you give up.
The US Military exemplifies this. As you know, I'm a big supporter of those that serve. Did they sign up for the job? Yes. Could they have opted for an easier path? Definitely. Why then, would they choose a career that puts them in harm's way and takes them away from their family? Because they are passionate about keeping our nation safe and free. That's why they have my utmost respect.
My new album, "Jammin With Friends" released on Tuesday, is another example of putting my all into a project. I have worked on this album for over two years and it's the result of collaborating with people in the industry who are not only legends but my friends as well. It contains a little bit of everything from rock to southern rock to country and yes, even dance and hip hop. I was honored that so many of my friends joined me to create this amazing album. I could have released it in a shorter period of time, but my passion to make it more than just another record release and instead, have it be something truly special, was the driving force.
My Dad once told me the difference between try and triumph is just a little "umph". Success is different for everyone and I tell people frequently: Don't measure your success by someone else's. Find your passion. That, in itself, is half the battle. When people have it, it's easier to keep going when the roadblocks arise—and trust me, they will.
If you know what you love, find a way to do it. Pinpoint the level of success you're comfortable with, and how much time you can devote to achieving your dreams. And most importantly, keep going.
Passion. I live by it.