April 9

Same Old (Stuff)

I recently had the opportunity to see the Piano Man himself, Billy Joel, in concert. He put on a remarkable two-hour show, playing hit after hit and enthralling the audience with banter.

At the very beginning of the show, he paused between songs and proclaimed, “Well, we don’t have anything new for you guys. Same old [stuff]! But,” he continued, “we’re pretty good at playing it by now.”

I’d have to imagine there are nights when Joel really doesn’t feel like performing some of the songs he’s played thousands of times in his lifetime, but it doesn’t matter. It’s not about him. The work has taken on a life of its own.

Once you put work into the world, it no longer belongs to you. It now belongs to others, which means that their response, interpretation, and celebration of that work matter more than whatever your original intent was. Your work is not about you; it’s about others and how they receive it and interact with it. Your work is a gift.

Your work is not for you. It’s for others.

Is there any work that you do or have done that you hold onto too tightly, or don’t want to allow to take on a life of its own?

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