• Success is a language. If you aren't around other people who speak it fluently, you'll never learn it. #Success

    Let's say you speak English.  You have only spoken English your entire life.  Everyone around you speaks English and everywhere you go, everyone speaks English.

    One day, you decide to go to France.  When you go, you don't go to the widely populated and diverse areas of France.  No, you find a small villa...a top a hill...over looking the ocean.  It's beautiful there: lovely homes, wonderful views, excellent food...chocolate...and not a single person who speaks English.  They don't speak English because they don't have to.  Everyone there speaks French. Now...there isn't anything wrong with English.  There isn't anything wrong with French.  But, if at any time you think you might want to leave the English speaking people, places, and things you know, and walk among the French, you may have to spend some time with the people who speak the language and leave your native tongue behind.

    Success is a language.  There are many dialects and accents of Success, spoken differently depending on the region and the purpose.  Success is, in fact, a language of mind, spirit, body, and communication.

    Yesterday, I had an experience where it was clear I was attempting to speak a language I had not yet learned.  I had a meeting with a producer/investor who expressed interest in my superhero film, "Genesis".  In our meeting, he spoke of money, wealth, trips, meetings, experiences that left me in awe. Not awe like "wow", but awe like "aw sh!t, he's speaking and asking me questions I've never asked myself because I've never thought to ask myself such questions." Ok...let me back up and get you to this point.

    Two days ago, my friend Red Summer and I were sitting outside, after work, at South Cobb High School.  We were reflecting on our lives as artists and educators and how we love what we are doing but is it enough?  We spoke of wealth, larger homes, reliable cars, freedom (financially and time) to travel...hell, plainly put, we spoke of money.  We want money.  We want financial independence.  We want to not have to worry about whether it's gonna be the gas bill or the cell bill THIS week.  Frustrated and rather 'done' with the conversation, I decided I would leave and go to the gym...swim out my frustrations.  Red's phone rang.  She put up her finger, said wait, and answered her phone.  I stood there for a moment and listened to her struggle to figure out who was on the other end.  See, the call that came in had no name attached to it and Red didn't recognize the number.  She spoke, waiting to see if some clue would reveal itself and she'd know who it was, meanwhile, I started to walk off again, whispering, "I'll just see you tomorrow."  Red out up her finger again and said, "no, stay."  I did.

    The call then changed.  Red finally knew who the caller was and looked square at me. It was more like a "baring down" on me.
       "Yes...Ummmhmmm...Yes.  Well, the film I wanted to tell you about that day is a black superhero film.  Yes.  Ummmhmmm.  Genesis.  Yes...ummhmmm.  Well no, not me, BUT...ummmhmmm.  Yes...the writer is standing right in front of me. Yes...ummmhmmm...right..."
    And then she handed me the phone.

    Standing confused and even a little annoyed, I took the phone.
         "Hello?"
    The voice on the other side was a man...with incredibly few words,
         "Hi. My name is.....and I understand you have a film I need to know about. Go."
    And after a brief moment of surprise and a tinge of annoyance still lingering, I 'went'.  I pitched "Genesis" in the phone to this man I knew nothing about.  He followed my pitch with "email me your business plan, budget, and let's meet."  We set our meeting for 1:30pm...yesterday.

    I hung up the phone and handed it back to Red.  Red and I just stood for a moment looking at each other like, "Ok...well...that just happened."  See, she met this guy  6 months prior and hadn't heard from him since. Even the original conversation didn't leave her with the impression that she would hear from him again. We left the parking lot, heading for our respective homes, me KNOWING it was going to be a long night as my business plan needed a major overhaul and I had no real budget for the film.

    After one hour of sleep, I left my home for work the next morning, ready to teach my class and then head to midtown Atlanta for this meeting.  This meeting would change my life, not just regarding "Genesis".  I was asked the following questions:

         - If it comes up as the best option for you, how much are you willing to sell the rights or license "Genesis" for?
         - How much do YOU want to make in this deal?
         - If I'm able to get you, say, $40 million dollars, what would you do with the money?

    His FIRST question was:
     - What is your goal for "Genesis"?

    Now, I began to answer the question the way I have always answered it...the way my heart answers it:
         "I want "Genesis" to inspire people. I want to be able to make parts 2 and 3 of the trilogy. I want children..."

    And he stopped me.  He asked the question again.  I looked at him like maybe it was too loud in the plaza we were sitting in and started down the same 'emotional' path.  He stopped me again.  "This time," he said, "start with a number...with a dollar amount." And I promise you, I had no idea what he was asking.  I mean, I did but I had never been asked to visualize how much money do I want "Genesis" to make?  He then continued with the following statement,
         "Look...I'm not an artist. I don't know how to turn a camera on. And I don't want to know. I know money. I know how to get it. I know how to use it. I know how to make it. And I don't speak or live in terms of tens, twenties, hundreds, or even thousands.  I operate in millions.  And at some point, with THIS project, you will too. That time is now."

    THEN he asked me the other questions.
         - If it comes up as the best option for you, how much are you will to sell the rights or license "Genesis" for?
          - How much do YOU want to make in this deal?
          - If I'm able to get you, say, $40 million dollars, what would you do with the money?


    He looked me in the face and asked, in the kindest voice,
        "How much money do you want to make?"
    And I cried.
         "I don't know."
    He smile and said,
         "I've met a lot of people with a lot of things going on. I've never met someone as humble as you. How much..."
         "I don't know. I have never, under any circumstance, have had the question asked, how much money do you WANT to make?  No one has ever asked me that.  I come from people who work incredibly hard and the balance of hard work and financial compensation have never match, the scale always tipping down for 'hard work'.  It hasn't been a part of my conditioning or experience to speak or live in millions."

    In that moment, I knew, I had to learn a new language.  I need to be surrounded by other people who spoke this guy's 'success' language, fluently.  I needed to be in environments where 'success' isn't a catchy hook in a rap song the rapper knows NOTHING about or measured by a group of chairs behind a rope at the local club mislabeled 'VIP'.  We reflect the conditions we are in AND the conditions we WANT to be in.  If you are only around people who are struggling ALL the time, you will struggle ALL the time.  If you're a student, and you hang around people who make bad grades and never strive to do better, it is highly unlikely you are walkin' around with a 4.0 grade point average!  If you hang with people who only eat fast food and never workout, you maintaining a healthy diet and working out four days a week makes you look like a judgmental asshole. You speak the language of the people in the environment around you. If you don't like that language, or if that language doesn't suit your needs or goals, YOU have to learn a NEW language.  The new language and those who speak are NOT going to find you. They don't have to. Remember? They're off enjoying oceans and eating chocolate.

    I need to learn a new language...now.

    We went on with the meeting and I felt a little more comfortable with thinking about my worth as a writer/producer and the value of "Genesis" in a terms of money and wealth.  This is not to say I'm dropping my emotional connection to my work, but in order to "do business", I've got to be able to speak the language.  I was given homework even.  I have to address those afore mentioned questions for myself and give myself PERMISSION to change my life.  The man who gave this homework and this great lesson on the day, saw me beginning to write the questions in my journal on pages I had been taking notes.  He stopped my hand from writing, turned the page to a clean sheet and said, "There."

    Je m'appelle Terésa.


    Learning a new Language.
    Photo courtesy of Red Summer

    AND...

  • 3 comments:

    1. Yes! What an awesome story. I had to start adding money goals to my dreams! Turning passion to profits. Best to you! You're on your way! Blessings!!!! xoxo

      ReplyDelete
    2. Thank you for sharing.... Thank you. I wish I had other words to say other than thank you... But right now, I don't.

      Thank you. You are loved. You are blessed.

      -Beautifull

      ReplyDelete

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