The Starving Artist
by Jimmy Hays Nelson
Way before health and fitness entered my life, I was an artist. A true performer at heart. Just ask my parents! Creating puppet shows, drawing my own cartoon characters, or doing impromptu Michael Jackson Thriller choreography in the living room. You name it, I just loved to create and entertain. The first thing I ever remember wanting to be ‘when I grew up’ was an animator for Disney. Then in high school when I couldn’t get into the art class I wanted, I ended up taking a theater class and auditioning for the school musical…mostly because all the cute girls in school were always in the musicals. In fact, I wasn’t super confident in my skills to even audition but I had a buddy say that he stood next to me in church quite a bit and he thought I had a good singing voice. I appreciate that vote of confidence because it opened a whole new world to me.
As I look back on my humble beginnings as a performer, sometimes I am shocked I ever got up in front of anyone at all since I was always so uncomfortable in my own skin. Not sure if you can relate – my years growing up as the fat kid was dominated with uncomfortable moments, but I knew I had something that burned inside me to impact other people. Laugh, applaud, cry, think, scream – I knew I was supposed to create an emotional response in others.
As I have gotten older I am constantly reminded how important those primal emotional responses are in our society.
Due to my success with P90X, I was able to star in a musical in Dallas called Bat Boy that asked me to sing, dance, climb around in a cage, and actually be shirtless on stage for the first time ever. Something I never imagined I would do! But thanks to taking action on the part of my life that was the most uncomfortable, I was given the power to pursue what I was designed for with reckless abandon. After the success of that show, and the encouragement of friends, I was ready to make the jump to New York City. If I wanted to do this for a living, might as well jump into the ring with the big dogs right?
My wife and I moved to NYC in 2006. My four years in NYC were by no means a failure, but I didn’t achieve many of the goals I had set for myself as far as ‘commercial success’. There were times in the midst of my NYC stint that I definitely felt like a failure because I was measuring my success on if I booked a Broadway show or was the newest star on network TV.
But as I look back on it, I grew tremendously as an artist in those four years.
Just being around the best in the business, I had no choice but to raise my game. I have learned that is the case in all areas of life. If you want to be better at something, swallow your pride and surround yourself with people who demand you to step up!
This weekend, we returned to NYC. Walking around, being able to look thousands of people in the eyes as I stroll through the city, I am convinced that the role of the artist is needed more now than ever. The gift to be able to touch someone’s soul and produce an emotional response is in high demand. Why? Because people are walking around in a coma zombie-like state. Not just in NYC, but all over the world! So many of us just go about our day to day with no real focus or reason why we do what we do. We live in a haze of reaction. Instead of being proactive and conscious about our choices we just kind of sway back and forth where the waves of life dictate.
I think everyone has a starving artist in them. They have a dream, a passion, a purpose that they have let fall quiet because that power within them hasn’t been fed in a very long time. Starve something long enough and it will die. What in your life did you used to have a burning passion for? What was it that you felt you were designed to do? Did you stop pursuing that because ‘life’ got in the way? I totally understand that. For me, both my passion to be an animator and later to go to school to learn how to be the best actor/singer I could be were interrupted because of finances. Lack of money, family support, confidence – there are so many reasons we let outside factors starve our inner artist.
I challenge you to revive that inner artist within you. Grab your own personal defibrillator and shock life back into your passion. It doesn’t always happen in one dramatic moment. So I’m not telling you to up and quit your job so you can be a professional street musician, but find a few simple steps to at least feed your starving artist a few times a week. For me, that means dedicating an hour a week in a voice lesson, going to see a play, or spending time in an art gallery. I don’t know what type of food your passion will grow with, but I do know that any huge changes in our lives always start with the power of one simple step.
If you are ready to wake up your starving artist, then leave me a comment. Tell me what your passion is and what you are doing to feed that passion!
To bringing back your inner fire – Coach Jimmy
Jimmy Hays Nelson Beachbody Coach is a self-proclaimed ‘former fat guy’. In his mid 20’s he was an overweight college dropout, who found himself living back at home with his parents. Knowing something had to change, he took action.
Through his transformation journey he lost 100 pounds, started his own business, was featured in the Shaun T workout series INSANITY, and has been seen multiple times on QVC with his buddy Tony Horton promoting P90X.
He founded NELSONGY FITNESS with his wife Kelly to reach out to give hope and support to those that are dissatisfied with their current situation. Whether you are lacking physically, emotionally, financially, or nutritionally we are here to help you see REAL RESULTS!