The Man Who Flipped Everything I Knew About Hustle On It’s Head

One cold winter morning I met a man who’d flip everything I knew about hustling on it’s head. For the next several years he schooled me on the importance of living a life and not just a career.

Every morning, come rain, sleet, or snow he’d hop on the Metro North from his home in Connecticut and commute to mid-town Manhattan. For the next 10 hours he’d audition, teach, or take classes. Just before his late foray into acting he abandoned the peace of mind that comes from supporting a family on a well-paying and steady job.

Each time he saw me get worked up over a blown audition or complain about not seeing the fruits of my labor realized he’d remind me there was more to life than being on Law & Order. He taught me you can want something without needing it; a realization that not only liberated me but also made the work more enjoyable. Not surprisingly, the minute I stopped trying to bulldoze my way to my dreams I started to book more work.

Over the years I saw countless plays in New York. Broadway giants like Frank Langella and Tracie Bennett left me in awe, inspiring me to push the envelope in my own work. Still, their performances paled in comparison to how this man lived his life off-stage. He beamed when he spoke about his children, took the work seriously but never himself, and always responded that he was, “awesome,” when asked about his wellbeing. But the greatest lesson he imparted was being satisfied while striving towards your dreams wasn’t a form of complacency. It simply meant joy couldn’t be postponed for some professional achievement.