About the Author
Steve Mazan. Man? Myth? Legend? Some people say he's none of these. Steve is, however, one of the hottest comedians and speakers in the country and a veteran of the US Navy. Critics have described his act as 'brilliant,' 'goofy,' and 'exceptionally clever.' That reputation has landed him on the most coveted stages and numerous television shows, including The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. Steve's journey to try and get on the Letterman show has been made into an award-winning documentary that's been called 'inspiring' and 'side-splittingly funny.' A former writer for Ellen Degeneres, Steve has also appeared on Last Comic Standing, Byron Allen, and The Bob & Tom Show. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Denise, and his dogs, Wrigley and Kuma, and currently travels the country to film festivals where his documentary is racking up critic awards and audience acclaim. For more information on the movie Dying to Do Letterman and about Steve and his latest book, visit www.stevemazan.com and www.dyingtodoletterman.com.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Hello, I'm Steve Mazan. I'm a comedian. Nice to meet you. I hope that introduction wasn't too awkward.
Obviously, what you are holding is a book. But my hope is that what it will really become is a wake-up call. Maybe you can even put it on your bedside stand next to your alarm clock. One will wake you up to your day, and the other to your dreams.
This book tells the story of my own wake-up call. The story of a dream I had since I was a kid, and how I kept hitting the snooze button on that dream because I thought I had plenty of time to reach it.
I never shared my dream with anyone or chased it with all my heart until my wake-up call arrived, blaring at me. But once I started going after it and started telling others about it, an amazing thing happened: people began to tell me that I had inspired them. People I knew my whole life. And people I had never met.
It was obvious I had tapped into something. Most―if not all―of us have some dream we've put on hold or suppressed altogether because the routine of life has taken over. That's just how it goes. But I believe life would be better if we all picked up those dreams, if we all started inspiring one other. Is there any doubt the world would be a better place if it was full of inspired people rather than the uninspired?
The more people I encountered, the more stories I heard about shelved dreams. I wanted to encourage people to reignite their passion and then tell others about it. My own journey taught me that an important part of a dream is sharing it. No dream is reached alone. You either need emotional support or direct help along the way. In most cases, both.
To urge people to share their own dreams, I came up with an idea for a button. A button people could wear that reads, 'I'm dying to . . .' and has a blank spot where they could write their goal. A version of the button is on the cover of this very book!
Made ya look! The button on the cover just asks the question, 'what are YOU dying to do?' But the ones I hand out to people at shows or screenings of our documentary have a blank where I personally write in what that person is dying to do. To get a button, people have to tell me their dream. I won't hand out blank buttons. I have personalized thousands and thousands of these 'I'm dying to . . .' buttons.
Filling them out and hearing people's dreams inspires me. I love it. But the sad thing is, most people don't have an answer for what they want me to write. They have to think about it. Even after waiting in a long line to get the button, they haven't figured it out.
After a minute or two of talking to them and trying to help them figure it out, I let most of them off the hook. I coax a short-term dream out of them like, 'I'm dying to drink,' 'I'm dying to eat pizza,' 'I'm dying to party,' or 'I'm dying to see a good movie.' And then I give them some homework. I tell each of them they have to go home and think about what they are really Dying to Do.
Maybe you picked up this book because you already have a dream in mind. You already know what you are dying to do. Great! Then read on about the incredible things that unfolded once I admitted to myself and everyone around me what I was dying to do, and I chased it with a passion.
If you picked up this book not knowing what it is you are dying to do, I hope you will think about it as you read about my journey. Give it even more focus when you are not reading. Make it your number one priority to answer that question. Not for me, but for you. Fill in that blank.
Knowing what you're dying to do tells you what you are living for.
One note on this. I've met many people along the way who think they've achieved everything they could ever want to accomplish. They tell me they aren't 'dying to do' anything. They've got a great life, a great family, a great job. It's as if admitting they have some dream they have ignored is a condemnation of the life they've lived. It's not. You might have reached several dreams in your life―congrats! But old and completed dreams need to be replaced with new ones, otherwise the inspiration goes missing. And we all know what kind of life that leads to: an uninspired life.
I believe this book can really help a lot of people. But it's not set up like a self-help book. There are no lists of what you need to do. No secrets to success. No strategies to implement to change your life. Instead, it's just a story. A bunch of stories that make up my story to date. But I've seen this story inspire people. In fact, the editor of this book, Michele Matrisciani, called me after reading the first draft and told me she was quitting her job. I asked, 'Was it that bad?' (I thought I had driven her out of the business!) She told me no, the story was that good. It woke her up. My story had inspired her to finally chase a dream she had: to open her own editing/writing/publishing consulting business. And after helping me edit this book, that is exactly what she did. I was touched, astonished, and inspired right back. Michele admitted what she was dying to do and started chasing it. She filled in that blank.
Now it's your turn.
Fill in that blank. And read on. Enjoy your wake-up call. And don't even think about reaching for the snooze button.