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The Versatility Challenge

Updated: Jul 13, 2022

This post is going to set the stage for what I want this blog to be all about; helping you to expand your creative horizons. So, if you are a creative - a writer, musician, actor, or artist of any sort - knife thrower - whatever - this challenge is for you.

Hold on. Here we go.

BTW, I did that thing with the ropes at my gym. It's not as easy as it looks. I think they use fake ones in the movies and on TV.


Now, I'm not talking about people who are at the top of their game. Being a creative has its ups and downs professionally. Deals fall through. During COVID, tons of productions got nixed and were never brought back to life because the money dried up or the financiers went elsewhere or bankrupt. Bands couldn't perform live. Chefs could only serve takeout. I'm not trying to make you live through the pandemic again, but my point is, for many creatives, the last few years have not only stalled our artistic careers but caused disappointment and setbacks.


As a professional development specialist for the last twenty-three (now) years, I've helped employees realize their professional goals. One of the tips that I give employees is the importance of being versatile. You have to be willing to try new things.

I learned this from taking my detour into food writing and it has paid off. Do I have my own cooking show? No. I am making money writing about food and developing recipes. Twenty years ago, I ordered take-out ALL THE TIME. In fact, my brother asked me, "Where the hell did you learn to cook?" Mom wasn't a great cook. Mom did warm-up.

BTW - I also create really cool Christmas villages, but I don't think there's a money-making opportunity there.


I started to think about popular celebrities who took OR are taking a detour and are doing well at their new or other endeavors. I am not talking about the rock star from the 70s who shows up on "The Masked Singer," or the actor who tries his hand at "Chopped," although those are good ways to keep your name out there in the spotlight. I am taking about full-blown detours and sidelines.

10-time award-winning Trisha Yearwood and Valerie Bertinelli both host successful cooking shows and have written cookbooks.

Joey Fatone went from the boy band to "My Big, Fat Greek Wedding," to hosting a game show. In fact, Joey is listed as one of the most successful television personalities in the world - and he's definitely been versatile. He even has his own food truck business. He brings the truck here to Clermont from time to time and I hope to meet him. I think his dad lives around here somewhere.

Jimmy Buffett - who would have thought the guy who still can't find that shaker of salt after all these years would branch out into other creative ventures including restaurants, resorts, merchandise - acting.

"Oh, yeah, MK. He's rich so he can brand."

True. But remember there was a time when Jimmy ventured into writing novels. And they were pretty darn good reads. At that time, he mostly had a cult following with his music. Did you know, Jimmy Buffett only had one Top-Ten hit on his own? Yet he's managed to turn himself into that "brand" by being versatile. And his concerts are wicked fun. I've been to three. I spent my birthday at one of them in Vegas - was it 2005 or 2006? No comment about my level of sobriety.

If you have success and some name recognition, with all of the streamers out there, you might come up with your own idea for a reality show. Maybe you didn't get that big role you wanted. Maybe your single didn't do as well on the charts as your hoped, but if you're handy with a hammer. Might you pitch HGTV?

Example Pitch: Celebrity Architect to the Rescue. A celeb with a degree in architecture learns the fate of a homeowner/fan, shows up, unannounced, and redesigns the weathered home the family or person needs to sell. The celeb creates the design for free and drafts fans and townspeople who will do the renovations at no or little charge to help the cancer patient or other hardship survivor out of their financial jam.

Kitchens and bathrooms also sell homes. So, a musician could pitch the same type of show as Rock Star Kitchens and Baths.

Note, this isn't a show I would pitch because it isn't in my wheelhouse.

Do you have a second talent you could showcase? Maybe you're a singer, but you're also into travel. A show on a streamer about music and travel?


Maybe you're not a household name. There are still detours you can take that will allow you time to work on that one thing you really want to do. Here are a few ideas:

If you are a writer, write about another skill you have - cooking, gaming, playing poker - there is a huge market for these types of books. In fact, I'm working on an idea right now for a non-fiction book about how you learn how to cook. See, I do take my own advice.

If you're an artist waiting for that big break (show), maybe you can partner with a writer and create a graphic novel. I have an old friend who was writing action novels for years and I recently saw him online at a convention selling his latest graphic novel. Hi, Randy, if you're out there reading this.

A chef who can write might blog about how to get cast on cooking shows.

The key here is to take what you already do and send it down a backroad. Or you can showcase another talent that you have. You don't have to be a renaissance man like Joey. Creative people tend to be creative in multiple ways.

OR - draw from something that happened in your life where you might help someone by speaking or talking about it. Go to a speaker's booking agent and get set up as a keynote. Start a podcast. Start a YouTube channel.

But what if it doesn't work out? So what? I tell the people who I train, there are no failures, only outcomes.


Here's my challenge to you - and I'm going to do this with you as I create my book idea. Whether you've had success or minimal, or maybe you're waiting for your big break, over the next thirty days, I want you to think about something else you can do with your talent or other talents. Write out a plan and - in thirty days - just do it. Write that book. Write that song. Create a Pitch Deck and pitch that reality show idea. And then lather, rinse and repeat. Try your hand at it again or try something else.

Who knows - that new thing might be the real thing - or it might be a nice way to keep your creative juices flowing or even make a little money while you go for your dreams???

Nobody makes it in this world by being narrow-minded. Those people who live well into their 90s and 100s usually have many stories to tell.

Who is all in?

Oh, and keep me posted on your progress.

All the love,


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