My best friend Gair Maxwell is reinventing himself, as the King Of Reinvention, which makes him my hero right about now.
You might say I’m a “serial” reinventionist myself. Been doing it my whole life. I’ve repeatedly come full circle on the career front and the creative front. They are both important to me, commerce and creativity, and you’d think owning an ad agency would be the perfect convergence of those two. With three dozen clients across the US and Canada, I get to travel…and strategize and ideate…create…participating in new challenges every day. And we do pretty good with it. After everyone gets a paycheck and the bills get paid, I get to keep what’s left. God bless America.
But through the years, I’ve alway looked at different career paths and creative supplements. I’ve run my own weekly newspaper and been as assistant manager at an ice rink (yes, I can drive a Zamboni). Early on as a freshman at UT, I did like so many and started up a band, my beloved Zero Tolerance. But the truth is that I was better suited toward the PT Barnum side of the music biz, as I wrote about once in the Austin Chronicle, when I mostly hung up my guitar to be a concert promoter with Jim Ramsey. And when that petered out, I found myself immersing myself again in radio (that mistress who, for 25+ years, keeps calling me in the middle of the night…and I always come running).
That’s what makes this current phase of reinvention so peculiar. Throughout my adult life I’ve mostly identified myself as a radio guy. I think most people—if they know me at all—they know me for my escapades at KNNC or 101x or up in Tulsa at The Edge. Some folks remember my stints at KVET and KASE (two separate tours of duty) and 8 years at KUT. But for the most part it’s been about being some incarnation of Raydog on alternative rock radio, most recently at 105.3 The Fringe.
And that’s what messing with me on this newest chapter of Here I Go Again, tugging at that eternal question of “what I really want to be (do) when I grow up.”
(I’d also be remiss if I didn’t include the cumulative weight of losing my mom in January, a few months after one of my very best friends, Corey Mitchell, and a few months before another, Roscoe Shoemaker. I’m just now starting to come out of my grief and bereavement over a parent, two long time best friends and a radio station which at the time I loved more than any I’ve been a part of. That’s a heavy load, yeah?)
Which brings me back to my best friend Gair, and reinvention. Gair and his partner Dana Zilic loaded up their belongings and relocated from maritime Canada to southern Ontario. Seems like trading up, to me, but it’s still a bit intimidating and ride the wind, cross Canadian style, and begin anew. And like I said, Gair isn’t just reinventing. He’s reinventing himself directly in and ongoing study *of* reinvention. This newest pursuit in thought leadership, from Canada’s TEC speaker of the year. It’s going to be an exciting ride and I’m glad I have a good seat.
See, I’m not sure if I’m a former radio guy at this point, or just a radio guy sifting through a mourning/refractory period, after which I’ll fully bury the dead and be able to get it up again. The good news is that I don’t have all the answers, but I love asking the questions. And I’ve got the resources and bandwidth to embark on any number of new adventures, limited only by my imagination and whether I’m willing to get outside my comfort zone.
So hey, If you’re like me–and Gair—and you’re wondering what’s next for you too, let me start by saying “welcome.” I truthfully believe our greatest gift is often the gift of each other. And that the therapeutic value of one reinventionist helping another is without parallel (LOL).
Hope to catch up soon. In the meantime, check out Gair’s ongoing pursuit to crack The Reinvention Code.