It’s so easy to copy someone else’s rhythm instead of explore your own. And it makes sense, right? You see someone doing something great and think: I want to do that!
And this isn’t necessarily bad thing. We can all learn from each other! But sometimes, we begin to lose ourselves in following other people. We forget to look inside ourselves and ask, “What makes me unique?”
It’s safe to be mediocre, so we often avoid that question.
But the truth is – there is something that you can do better than anyone else. We all have our unique skill sets and passions that prepare us for greatness. What’s yours?
On this episode of The School of Greatness, I had the pleasure of speaking with an insanely talented musician, Randy Jackson, and he had a lot to say about mastering talents, embracing differences, and changing your lifestyle for the better.
Success can come from a lot of places, even on Randy Jackson Health Problems.
Sometimes, people are discovered by being talented in the right place at the right time. Others slog away for years at their craft before they suddenly hit a stroke of luck and are called “overnight successes.” There may also be some completely unknown forces at play that simply pluck great people out of obscurity and launch them into the stratosphere.
But while success can begin from many places, it rarely sustains itself unless there’s another force at work: Dedication. Recognition can come quickly. But hard work is all that sustains it once it arrives.
Few people know the value of persistence and dedication better than my guest on this episode.
“I always say, it’s not who you think you are. It’s not who you think you want to be. It’s who you actually are that’s going to lead you out of the darkness, and into the forever light.” – Randy Jackson.
Who is Randy Jackson?
If you’ve been awake at any point in the last 30 years, Randy’s larger-than-life reputation precedes him in a big way.
Randy first entered the music industry in the ‘80s as a for-hire studio session bassist. His skill, easy-going personality, and never-say-die work ethic saw him appearing on stages and records with world-famous acts like Journey, Madonna, Bruce Springsteen, Kenny G, Aretha Franklin, Maze, Jean-Luc Ponty, Billy Cobham, and Tracy Chapman.
But the more Randy worked in recording studios, the more technical skills he picked up. He soon made the transition to the production end, working first in mixing and eventually full production.
As good as Randy was at playing the music, he seemed to really hit his stride bringing it to life. The list of artists he’s produced is a straight-up who’s-who of popular music for the last three decades. Acts like ‘NSYNC. Whitney Houston. Céline Dion. Fergie. He was even Mariah Carey’s musical director for years.
Still, although Randy was legendary in the music industry, it took a little show called American Idol to make him a household name. At its peak, Idol was reaching nearly 40 million viewers every week, meaning a staggering one out of every seven people in America was tuning into each episode to watch the country choose its next favorite singer.
If Simon Cowell was the show’s villain, and Paula Abdul was its heart, Randy’s place in the original iconic trio of judges was its grounded soul. His rock-solid practical advice to contestants week after week helped launch an entirely new generation of superstars like Kelly Clarkson, Adam Lambert, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson, and Chris Daughtry.
Since his Idol years, Randy has kept plenty busy. He serves as the host for radio’s “Randy Jackson’s Hit List,” worked as executive producer on America’s Best Dance Crew, and continues to produce chart-topping hitmakers.
His current passion? Working with dietary supplement company Unify Health Labs to get the word out about their products – all of which Randy credits with helping him stay happy and healthy during his ongoing fitness journey.
This was one of the more fun, upbeat conversations I’ve had in some time. Randy Jackson is famously equal parts fun to be around and deeply knowledgeable about his craft. I had a blast talking to him about the ins and outs of fitness, his industry, and all he still plans to do.
Never Block the Blessings: Embrace Opportunity
Randy’s achieved an extraordinary amount of things in his life and continues to do so. He likes to MOVE. “Staying put” is not an option. Being close-minded isn’t either. If you’re not willing to take chances and move out of your comfort zone, the list of things you achieve in life is going to be small.
“So, I always say to people, make sure you’re a sponge, and make sure you’re open, so that you can receive and learn something. Never block the blessings.” – Randy Jackson
This doesn’t mean you need to abandon your values or sacrifice your brand – it just means that to make a name for yourself, you have to be open to trying new things. Through every new experience, good or bad, there is a lesson learned. You just have to listen.
Randy grew up listening, and it’s what made him a great musician and producer. He was raised in southern Louisiana in the midst of several music cultures: Dixieland, Creole, and Zydeco, to name a few. He was a jazz kid, a church kid, a R&B rock kid, a country music kid, and later he became a jazz guy. It’s typical for jazz listeners to become exclusive jazz listeners – which is a nice way of saying “music snob,” but Randy wasn’t interested in being close-minded.
Close-minded people operate out of fear. You know why? Because they feel like they have to know everything to be safe. Randy said he doesn’t want to know everything. Knowing everything honestly sounds miserable. There’s joy to be found in learning something each day.
Never block the blessings. Never stop learning and trying new things.
Make Your Own Brand
Okay, so now let’s say you accept all those blessings. You listen, you try new things, and you’re starting to make a name for yourself. You want people to pay attention to you, because you have something incredible to offer.
So, what do you do when you’re competing with a bunch of people, who have the same skills as you and might even be a little better? I asked Randy how he got all the big opportunities when the other potentially better bassists didn’t get them.
He said the first step is to “find where you fit.” What do YOU do better than anyone else?
Take my brother, Christian Howes, for an example! When he was 18, he was one of the best classical violinists in the country for his age group. Then he went to prison at 18 for selling LSD to an undercover cop at Ohio State. His sentence was between 6 and 25 years. During his time there, he joined the prison band, and the older guys taught him blues, hip-hop, rap, R&B, and jazz. He got out of prison at 4 and ½ years on good behavior and became the best jazz violinist in the world. He found his brand. He explored it. He mastered it.
For Randy, a huge part of his brand was his passion. When he plays, he doesn’t just focus on playing every note correctly (and plus, a lot of jazz is improvisation, anyway!). He focuses on the feeling. Notes without the emotions are nothing.
If you’re an inspiring artist who’s working on your brand, you’re going to be tempted to copy what someone has done. You can definitely learn from other people, but there’s going to come a time when you need to break off and do your own thing.
Be authentic. That’s another thing that made people pay attention to Randy. He listens, he says what he thinks, and people immediately recognize his energy. People love Randy Jackson, because he’s genuine, talented, and has a whole lot of heart.
Randy Jackson Health Problems
Growing up in the South, almost any food Randy ate contained a lot of butter and sugar. His favorite treat was pecan pralines, which are basically just pecans coated in sugar and butter. They taste absolutely delicious, but after years of eating food like that, it begins to take its toll. In 1999, Randy found out he had type 2 diabetes and had to make some lifestyle changes.
He underwent what he likes to call “a food divorce.” It’s as painful as it sounds – cutting out carbs and sugar – but he didn’t have a choice. In 2003, he underwent gastric-bypass surgery which led to him losing over 100 pounds. Since then, Randy has changed his diet and exercise routine, and it saved his life.
Randy believes that you also have to find your own brand when it comes to your health. Someone else’s exercise routine might not be the routine for you. You might not like running, but you may love to dance. Find something that you enjoy doing but that’s also going to challenge you. The most important thing is, you gotta move.
As part of his transformation, Randy started Unify Health Labs, his own health supplement brand. He partnered with some great doctors, tested different products, and came up with a supplement that helps both men and women improve their gut health.
It really all comes back to the gut. If your gut isn’t healthy, you’re way more prone to disease, and your energy levels are way down.
If you take care of your gut health, the changes you’ll see are amazing. Randy said that now he is able to think much clearer and even be more creative! He’s always been a happy person, but now, its like that’s been even more dialed up. He said that sometimes he feels like he’s just gotta jump up and dance.
It’s great to focus on your career, your family, or other things in your life, but don’t forget to focus on your health too, because your health affects everything.
Why You Should Listen Right Now…
I really appreciate Randy for the amount of work he’s done on himself. He’s gotten to the top on so many different levels – first in sports, then in music for decades, then as a producer, executive producer, creator. He could have easily said, “I’m good. I’m done.” But he keeps moving forward.
In short, he’s just a great human being. He’s got an amazing heart that wants to help people achieve their dreams, whether that means becoming the next big thing or having more energy to do the things they love.
His definition of greatness is this:
“[It’s] when you’ve achieved massive success in whatever endeavor you want and still are living your life with the utmost compassion and humility. It’s not what you achieve, it’s how you do it.” – Randy Jackson.
Randy is definitely living up to that.
Whether you’re an artist type or not, I would encourage you to listen to Episode 907. Randy’s wisdom on “making your brand” can be applied to so many areas of life. There’s something that you can do better than anyone else. You are a unique person, with unique abilities and talents. Get out there and make your own brand – don’t copy someone else’s rhythm.