We got there early and snagged a great table overlooking the stage and slightly behind David. I could see his fingers moving a million miles an hour, using each and every key, even the first one and last one.
It was a great performance, and here is what made me smile and has stuck with me. He was playing so hard that the piano was shaking. I had never seen that before, but he had the big black beast jiving to his beat.
David Benoit has been around a while and he’s playing many of the same tunes. Even so, when he plays he is on fire. He was working harder and with more enthusiasm than his three band members combined. These were young guys who should have been playing their hearts out. But it was not their music. Not their legacy. Not their names on the tickets. They were very good, by the way, just not like David. So ownership - extreme ownership - has something to do with it.
Why do I share this story on my little management blog?
As I was watching David shake his piano I thought about the things that I felt that strongly about. Those things that I would be willing to “do” for the thousandth time with passion and energy.
For me, the list contains serious and silly things including:
Air conducting (I love doing that)
Coaching a willing person
Creative nonfiction writing about a topic with which I am fascinated
Driving a bit too fast on a beautiful day with the top down or on my motorcycle (cool jazz playing)
Savoring great chocolate
Brainstorming new ideas
Traveling to new places
Taking on new challenges at work - so foreign, that one should wonder if I know how to begin
No job - with a company or my own - will offer these experiences all the time.
No life - regardless of the money I make - will offer these experiences all the time.
Nor does David Benoit’s.
Along with the opportunity to play to an eager audience, he has to do PR interviews, spend lots of time on airplanes and in hotels, and I am sure there are other hassles. But it’s all for those moments when he can play HIS stuff.
In a way, he ought to enjoy those times, otherwise the crappie hotel beds and endless runway delays would not be worth it. Right?
So what about us? Do we ensure that we experience the great parts - and enjoy them fully - so that it all works out to be a great life? I think many of us (present company included) don’t do enough to make sure we are still shakin’ the piano.
What’s on your list?