Empty Pockets

Empty pockets“Them that’s got shall get
Them that’s not shall lose
So the Bible said and it still is news
Mama may have, Papa may have
But God bless the child that’s got his own
That’s got his own

Yes, the strong gets more
While the weak ones fade
Empty pockets don’t ever make the grade
Mama may have, Papa may have
But God bless the child that’s got his own
That’s got his own”

                                                                          ~Billie Holliday

                                                                         “God Bless The Child”

Empty pockets affect how we feel about ourselves.

This is even more true when we’ve had it and then lost it.

As the song points out,

Money, you’ve got lots of friends
Crowding round the door
When you’re gone, spending ends
They don’t come no more
Rich relations give
Crust of bread and such
You can help yourself
But don’t take too much

When I was younger, often I would cry myself to sleep because I was afraid of having no money and not knowing how I would pay my bills. I was living high with a gorgeous apartment that, in retrospect, I couldn’t afford, a great car in Manhattan that there is no need for, entertaining people who I have not spoken to now in at least 30 years.

I started to figure out that instead of crying I had to keep going.

Desperation became my driving force.

I acted like my hair was on fire trying to figure out how I could do my next sale.

I was listening to an interview with Jerry Seinfeld where he spoke about how he does his writing. He said that on the first day of writing you should treat what you did like a little baby. On the second day, you should treat it like Lou Gossett Jr in “An Officer and a Gentleman.” If you’ve never seen the movie, he plays a drill sergeant like no other drill sergeant.

Start asking yourself the question at the end of your day.

“Have I tried my best today to . . . “

You know what it is you need to have tried your best to do. Ask yourself whether you tried your best. Rate yourself on a 1 to 10 scale. Track your answers.

At the beginning, treat yourself like a baby. You’re doing and learning something new.

Babies fall, right? Babies make mistakes, right? Babies forget things, right?

Babies have coaches to remind them to do things until they become second nature.

Have someone to check in with, especially at the beginning.

It may take years for this to become a habit.

There is no reason to Lou Gossett yourself, especially when you’re just starting.

You need support not criticism. Hire it, if necessary. You don’t have to do everything by yourself.

Set up tools to remind yourself to do it and do it even if you don’t want to. Do it even if you have a bad day doing what you say that you want to accomplish.

Do it anyway so that you don’t wind up with empty pockets because they never make the grade.

As the song ends,

“He just worry ’bout nothin’
Cause he’s got his own.”

Ⓒ The Big Game Hunter, Inc., Asheville, NC 2020


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is Career Angles | Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunterthe host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 2000 episodes, and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

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