Too Legit to Quit
I think a lot about quitting. Mainly because I'm a wimp and this job can be tough sometimes. On the surface it's glamorous; nice hotels, see the world, making people happy. But there is a mental tax to only being as good as your next show. I sometimes envy film actors in that sense. They do a take ten or twenty times, and then the performance is out of their hands.
Being rather introverted and quiet offstage, it's a challenge to relate to other performers in my field. Many are outgoing class clowns who seek attention on and offstage. Maybe that's why guys like Steve Martin always stood out to me. When the curtain came down he wasn't the 'Wild and Crazy Guy' anymore, he was just another guy named Steve.
This isn't a cry for help or public plead for encouragement. I express that to my lovely patient wife and family enough. Rather, it's just a comment on how the grass is always greener. When I am feeling down about work, I often think back to Penn Jillette's philosophy, in that the hardest day for a performer is nothing compared to the easiest day for someone who is; in the military, a teacher, a waiter, or (insert any service job ever here). Keeping that in mind puts my work frustrations in perspective.
I often think back to one of the worst shows I ever did. I'll spare the details, but performing in the corner of a giant banquet room for three hundred unimpressed people who can't really see or hear you, and then making three trips through said audience while you lug your equipment alone, doesn't always work out well. I felt so terrible about it that I called up my mentor friend Michael, and asked him, "When is the time to quit performing?" He said, "Well, imagine yourself being happy doing any other job. Then that is the time to quit."
That was six years ago.
Ups and downs are natural with any profession. And learning how to distance yourself from over thinking every mistake and failure is important. I keep going because, regardless of what I tell myself sometimes, I do enjoy this stuff.
"If you quit on the process, you are quitting on the result."
-Idowu Koyenikan, Wealth for All: Living a Life of Success at the Edge of Your Ability