I met a woman in Michigan who told me that she performed improv with Second City in Chicago a few years ago.
"Why dd you stop?" I asked.
She explained that she moved north to Michigan for work, and there is no real improv scene in her area. She still loved performing improv when she left Chicago, but there's just no opportunity for her anymore.
"Then you need to create an opportunity," I said. "You need to start something here."
She paused for a moment. Thought. Then smiled. She said, "Yeah, maybe. That's not a bad idea."
"No maybes," I shot back. "Do it. You need to do it now. Don't wait for some other day. Go home tonight and take one small step forward. Choose a name. Create a logo. Make a list of possible venues. Call ten people who might want to perform. Get started today."
"Maybe," she said. "It's a good idea."
"Stop saying maybe," I demanded. "You need to do it now. Too many people put off the hard, important, scary things that could change their lives forever. Don't be one of those people. Don't find yourself five years from now regretting this moment in this hallway when you could've done something great. Go home tonight and do something."
"Help!" she shouted, leaning into the office space adjacent to us. "Some kind of voodoo priest is trying to change my life."
Then she fled.
Two days later, I ran into her again in the same hallway. I repeated many of the same things. She said she was "seriously thinking about it," which sounded pretty terrible to me. Lots of people "seriously think" about things and then live lives of quiet desperation. Fail to make their dreams come true. Lie in their death bed regretting all that could have been.
Instead of "seriously thinking," she needed to be "seriously doing."
"Okay, okay," she said, not sounding as committed as I wanted.
I left Michigan that day.
Three days later I mailed her a two-page letter reminding her that someday is today. "Get to work. Stop making excuses. Stop 'seriously thinking about it' and start making your dreams come true."
Our only guarantee in life is that that someday it will end. The rest is up to us. We need to make the beauty and magic and art in our lives real. We have to stop saying that someday we'll do something and instead make that someday today.
She probably thinks I'm crazy. She might even believe that I'm a voodoo priest. Maybe she's right. I sent a person who I knew for all of three minutes a letter demanding that she stop spinning her wheels and build something. Create an opportunity. Perform.
Maybe I am a little crazy. I don't care, just as long as she starts that improv troop and takes the stage as soon as possible.
Add "voodoo priest" to my already long list of job titles if that's what it takes to get you moving.