Brian Koppelman saved this artist

It’s amazing how a person can notice a piece of art, a product, or a film, and be oblivious to the artist or artists behind the work. This happens every day. After watching the movie Rounders I didn’t immediately look up the writers to find David Levien and Brian Koppelman. No, I went on for years without knowing their names.

It’s Jon Acuff’s fault.

Jon Acuff wrote the book Start. He uses words like “hustle” to describe the way to push through your work. I received an email from Jon Acuff back in December. I don’t remember how I got on his email list, but I had time to read so it didn’t bother me. Jon mentioned things I could expect from his emails (if I didn’t unsubscribe). “Things like the best podcast I heard in 2014. (It was Brian Koppelman on the Moment interviewing Seth Godin)” — this stuck out. This sent me straight to the Podcast app on my iPhone. I didn’t know the name Brian Koppelman at the time, but I had read Seth Godin and listened to his audiobooks. After listening to the interview I subscribed to The Moment Podcast and began downloading other interviews (Tony Robbins, Phil Hellmuth, etc.).

The concept is simple: every successful person has a moment (or several) that defines them. That’s not all. Most people allow the failure, and the fear of future failure, to keep them down. Few people keep moving on through failure and come out on the other side to success.

How do you deal with failure?

How will you deal with multiple failures?

How will you handle success? (If you come out on the other side of failure)

So, I guess I can thank Jon Acuff for giving me this gift. I heard about Jon through Erik Fisher and Michael Hyatt. One of them quoted Jon for saying something like, “90% finished is better than 100% in your head.” Proofreading? Don’t need it. Perfection? Waste of time — not worth the pursuit.

This, of course, lead me back to things I heard from Seth Godin in his audiobooks. Seth often quotes Steven Pressfield (The War of Art) regarding the “Resistence.” Seth also quotes Steve Jobs: “real artists ship.”

I love to avoid shipping.

Teaching has been my art outlet. Teaching, performing cover songs at weddings, and worship music at church. “Those who can’t do teach.” Those who can do, but let fear (or the resistance) grip them, teach or do anything but the thing that’s been calling to them. They settle.

Teaching is meaningful. We need great teachers. I desire the patients, then insight, the gifting to raise up students to the fullness of my potential. But I can’t lead them further than I’ve been.

I had to practice shipping.

One of my students didn’t show for his lesson, so I decided to ship. This was a small step. It wasn’t original, but it was my own arrangement of a classic Christmas song. I hit record, and soon after I hit publish. It wasn’t perfect. But it was shipped. It’s on YouTube. I wasn’t payed a dime, but I shared some art. This only received 174 views. That’s 174 more than if I didn’t hit publish. I shipped.

Has your moment arrived? Maybe it’s around the corner. There’s probably more than one.

What do you need to ship?


John Sherwood is a University Guitar Instructor in Canada.

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