It was 1995 and I was booked at Hiccups Comedy Room in Rochester, New York. The comic before me was very dirty. He got major laughs. I went up and tarted my set. I was afraid I wouldn’t get any laughs unless I was dirty, so I did some material that I’d never done before. I tossed some curse words around in the attempt to get laughs. Larry Miller was the headliner that night. After the show he asked if he could talk to me. He said, “You don’t need to be dirty, because that’s not who you are. Tell the stories of your family. That’s funny an that’s truth. Dirty won’t advance your career, but funny will.” It was great advice. He said, “Be honest. Be yourself. Be funny.” Larry went on to have a very successful career acting in The Princess Diaries, Boston Legal, Pretty Woman, The Nutty Professor and more. I never forgot his advice or his kindness.
I’ve built my entire career around his wise words. Just be yourself. I’ve found that life is pretty darn funny as it is. There is no need to make stuff up and ‘try’ to be funny. Just look around. See the funny and then make a note of it, because sooner or later you’ll be able to make a joke out of it.
As a business person, parent, neighbor or friend, look within your self and take note of who you really are. Ask yourself if you are being true to the real you. Or are you trying to please someone else? Are you doing what you think is expected? Are you working hard to offer what is wanted?
Life is so much easier and so much more profitable when you can relax and truly be yourself. I say profitable because as Larry taught me, truth sells. People will buy into you when you are being truthful. Sales person, doctor, preacher, teacher or motivational speaker; you will only be successful if you are being honest about who you really are. You may experience some small successes but lasting success will only come from honesty. Here’s my question: are you fooling anyone? Don’t be a fool, be yourself.
Yvonne Conte is a corporate culture expert, motivational humorist, professional speaker, and coach. She has Humor Advantage, Inc. offices in Warners, NY, and Fort Myers, FL, and is the founder of the Day of Joy conference. Her clients include small, medium, and fortune 500 companies. In addition to being a radio and TV personality, Conte is the author of six books including ‘Serious Laughter.’ Find more information online at www.yvonneconte.com/blog.