When was the last time you did something for the first time?
Chances are good it was when you were completely out of your comfort zone, took a chance and went for it, quaking in your shoes, but nonetheless stepping forward, both literally and figuratively.
I had just that night. The jet landed, I hopped in a cab and was whisked off to the Hilton Las Vegas, my first time there, marveling at all the flashing lights and massive buildings. Once there, the private elevator carried me up to the penthouse suite, the one that Elvis spent decades staying at. But, tonight it housed Ronnie Dunn, of country music fame, Brooks and Dunn. Quick backstory, Ronnie was given a belt buckle from me as a gift for being an MC at a large fundraiser in Nashville, and by some stroke of luck began buying my buckles. One thing led to another and here I was, invited out to pitch creative ideas for their final tour, Cowboy Town.
I knocked on the double door to the penthouse, quaking in my best pair of cowboy boots. On the other side I will never forget hearing the clickety clack of Ronnie’s cowboy boots on the marble floor as he walked toward me. I wanted to turn and run. But wait. Breathe. You got this I kept telling myself. I was greeted by Ronnie himself, more humble and down to earth than I could have ever imagined. Me, acting like I did this every day as I boarded the elevator with Ronnie and Kix down to the dressing room where the band would all meet and prepare for their show that night.
Sitting around a posse of men about to go on stage, Ronnie told them I was their creative director for Cowboy Town, as if I wasn’t nervous enough! I sat there, freaking out on the inside, calm, cool and collected on the outside. Or at least I want to believe now.
Thoughts in my naysayer brain going off in my head…
“who do you think you are”, “fraud”, “You’re a silversmith, not a concert designer”….and on, ad nauseum….
But then a strong voice in side my head came from somewhere else and said,
You are a CREATIVE.
Period. End of story. You can be whoever you want. Want to be a concert designer. Then be one! You’ve done your work. Show them.
Despite the monkeys having a party in my head flinging banana peels everywhere, I took the storyboards out I had made and showed them. The room went silent as I began to describe the arena as the lights went down. I explained the video on the giant screen; Ronnie and Kix walking through the deserted town, past the falling down billboard welcoming them to Cowboy Town. I explained they would finally end up in front of an old saloon with the swinging doors. As they entered the stage lights would come on and the would immediately be playing the concert, the stage set up like the inside of an old saloon.
Ronnie suddenly jumped out of his chair slapping his leg saying, “Dammit, Sweetbird, I knew you’d nail it!”
The rest is history, as they say. In fact, they did go on to use my vision for their final tour. And that buckle, it made it to the back of their album, Cowboy Town.
As I walked around that huge city of lights, through many a casino watching so many gamble I realized I too came to Vegas to gamble. Not the gaming type, but on the biggest game of all, the game of life. Flying back that next morning I marveled at how I had just won the lottery by taking each little step forward into the light.
Take That Risk Sis,
Nancy + Team Sweet Bird