I hope that title grabbed your attention. This is a very serious article about how Gene Simmons saved my soul. No bait and switch. Really. It's also about business: Your business and mine. The founder and frontman of KISS, the man behind the mask, the man with the jewels and the tongue, the bigger-than-life rock star whom I imagine myself to be like when I'm singing and driving alone--it was he who gave my soul redemption. Let me explain.
Gene was scheduled to be the guest speaker at the Equities.com Small Cap Stars at Nasdaq conference. My company, Dian Griesel International, was sponsoring the event, so I wanted to be sure to read Mr. Simmons's new book, Me, Inc.: Build an Army of One, Unleash Your Inner Rock God, Win in Life and Business (Dey Street, 2014). As life would have it, I didn't get to read it before the event because I had hosted the annual holiday party for 200 in our loft that same evening and was too busy. Then, the next day, I took a spill, knocking myself out. (Important note: Life is full of synchronicity if you're open to recognizing it. There is important symbolism that should not be ignored when the universe delivers you a smack in the head. I will expand on this in another article.)
My concussion made it difficult to look at a computer screen. So it was in a severe state of "connection withdrawal" (not officially--but I'm a Google Doc(tor), so I know the symptoms) that I picked up Me, Inc., by the one and only man who could have written it: Gene Simmons. I read chapter snippets when I could--before my headache would return. I was hooked by the foreword, written by the legendary John Varvatos (who just happens to be my favorite suit jacket designer). The only thing I'll share about Mr. Varvatos's chapter is this: Hard work built his empire. No handouts, except maybe toilet paper in public restrooms that he might have grabbed to wipe the sweat off his brow when he was running all over the world building fashion dynasties for Calvin Klein brands, Ralph Lauren, and ultimately himself.
Then Gene's message begins. It rattles the brain like a steady bass-drum beat with the same amplified intensity as a KISS concert. Honestly, I don't know what hit me harder--the doorjamb that sent a tsunami to swirl my brain or the jarring wisdom in Gene's book. It is bold, brash, confrontational and ... exactly what I (and likely you) need to hear.
I'm not going to give a chapter summary or list all the points that are worthy of your forking over the $26.99 to own your own beautifully bound copy. What I am going to tell you is how Gene Simmons redeemed my soul. And--guaranteed--he can save yours, too.
I've been happily married since 1999. I'm the mother of two kids, preteen and teen. I very actively manage the day-to-day services at my public relations firm. I love my family. I love work. I don't love the guilt that I have felt when I am more drawn toward work that satisfies my self-esteem on countless levels and in ways that nothing else can or ever will. (Gee, just writing that was hard. I'm getting anxiety as I think about going to print with this.) It is the God's honest, soul-searched fact that work is my salvation. When my kids think I know nothing, my clients think I am brilliant. You likely understand--especially if your children have hit their teenage years.
Yet just a few chapters into Me, Inc., Gene Simmons made me realize that work is the way. Work first is how life should be. Gene clearly drilled into my brain, page after page, that it is OK to admit you love your work. Not only is it OK, it is also crucial to admit it--even when sometimes it feels like you love work above and beyond anything else. The joyful rewards of personal accomplishments are great. Yet as we try to juggle work, family, friends, and life ... man, oh, man ... the guilt can build. Are we selfish?
"Be selfish," says Gene. "Work comes first." Yes. Even before family. Shocked? Maybe deep down in your heart of hearts you knew this. But to say it out loud? Whew! That's not easy to tell your significant other or anyone else you love.
But his rationale is simple: Think about how all those relationships would change if you were miserable with work, not performing, and the money dried up. Now that would certainly rock (hard rock ... negatively, that is) those relationships.
So, today I echo the words of the Master: "Unleash your inner Rock God. Take your core values, self-determination and self-restraint along with your 'street smarts' and enjoy your work happiness ... without the guilt." Redemption can be yours, too, thanks to that maniac we all know and love, Gene Simmons.