SORRY MOM & DAD: The importance of being earnest

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First Posted: 9/15/2013

My best friend from college had a baby last week. On the same day, I had a hangover. Both the baby and I had to be held and suck on a boob before we stopped crying. I guess, when I really think about it, we were crying for the same reasons. Neither one of us were where we wanted to be. The baby wanted to be curled up in a uterus, and I wanted to be living anywhere other than my parents’ house.

“How long do you plan on staying here?” badgered my mother as I hauled my hungover ass to the kitchen for some remedying pickle juice and Tylenol to cure the aftermath of my poor decisions from the night before.

“You say you want your own TV show,” she continued, her eyes still glued to a basement makeover on HGTV. “Go get one! You’re not going to be on TV by managing a bar and living in Carbondale! Besides, I could use the space.”

I actually kicked off my summer by presenting my second television pitch to a major production company in Los Angeles! I was certain that my idea for a show called “Whatever It Takes,” which would follow me coaching and inspiring the Millenial generation to go above and beyond to reach their goals, would be a smash! As someone who brought a marching band to apply for a job, who better to create and host a show like that?

I could see, feel, and even taste the impact this show would have if it were picked up. When I met a group of filmmakers during my stay in Cali, my vision was even more solidified.

“We got a private tour inside theChive office today!” they screamed when they saw me at the hostel we were staying at together. “All because of you!”

“We asked for a tour. They said no,” one explained.

“However,” began his buddy, “I said we need to do whatever it takes like Justin would!”

They went into further detail by telling me they borrowed a guitar from a performer on the Venice Beach boardwalk and started playing a song outside about why theChive should let them in – until they came outside and actually did.

That enthusiasm was matched with the members of the development team I met with the following day at my pitch meeting! They loved it.

After discussing it with the rest of their development team, I received an e-mail back.

“We just adore you!” the e-mail read.

Then, it said they were so sad to inform me that they had to pass.

“It borders on too earnest,” the e-mail noted, “which can be deadly when selling a show.”

I was never called “too earnest” before, and it confused the hell out of me. I felt defeated and stopped focusing on my dream.

“You know the difference between winners and losers?” I was recently asked. “Nothing! Both fail. Winners just get back up.”

So, for all dreamers, the believers, the doers, the twerkers with their heads in the clouds and their asses bent over on the dance floor: be reckless, be earnest, be yourself, and follow your dreams. I’m going to. Third pitch is the charm, right?