Im Gonna Die MY Way

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My wife says I have the strangest taste in movies. You see, there are movies I can watch again and again, which she couldn't sit through once. One of them is Rhinestone, starring Sylvester Stallone and Dolly Parton.

Dolly plays a country-and-western singer from Tennessee (I know, big stretch, right?) and Sly plays a New York City cabbie.

Dolly is under contract to one Freddie Ugo, a low-life with only two things on his mind (speaking of stretch, you guys have to see the dress she's wearing to start the film). After an argument, Dolly bets Freddie that she can turn any ordinary person into the next "Rhinestone cowboy."

The stakes are high. If Dolly wins, she gets the last years on her contract voided. If F.U. wins, Dolly extends the contract by three years and Dolly has to sleep with him. So let's say both are very motivated.

Now, wouldn't you know, Freddie doesn't play fair. He parades a variety of street people past Dolly as potential candidates. Finally, they agree on Stallone's cab driver.

Dolly figures out that the only way a New York cab driver can become a country singer is to start with the basics. He has to learn to walk, talk, eat and breathe country. So she loads him on the bus and they head for the hills. Of Tennessee.

Stallone goes through some serious culture shock in the Smoky Mountains. After some funny misadventures, Dolly finally gets him on stage in her home town to break the ice. The crowd responds, and Sly is hooked. Goodbye cab driver, hello country crooner.

The night before Stallone's big debut in New York, he has the requisite big fight with Dolly. Then comes the big scene, and the whole reason I'm telling you this story...

To win the bet, Stallone has to make it through one song during the nightclub's amateur night...

Remember Freddie? He's the owner of the Rhinestone, and he's packed the audience with the worst hecklers he can find. As Dolly finishes the warm-up for Amateur Night, the crowd starts to chant...

"Meat! Meat! We want fresh meat!"

Dolly introduces Sly. Sly walk on stage in an Elvis-like black glitter suit. He starts doing exactly as Dolly taught him to do-- strumming his guitar, bobbing gently in time to the music...

And gets heckled into silence before the first chorus!

Oh. No. Dolly goes pale. Freddie starts rubbing his hands together and licking his chops. Sly stares at the crowd, and turns away...

He puts down the guitar. Tells the band to pick up their tempo. Pulls the microphone from the stand and looks out at the rowdy crowd...

"If I'm gonna die, I'm gonna die MY way!"

The band kicks in, up-tempo...

"If you all want to act up a little, let's act up a little..."

Moments later, the crowd is completely on his side. Sly sings the song, his way. By the end, the crowd is stomping and clapping and whistling.

You can probably guess the ending...

Every time I feel like I'm following the right steps, working a formula that has worked for others, and I'm not getting the results I want, I pop that tape into the machine.

At the end, I'm ready to turn around and face the crowd. If I'm going to fail at something, I'm going to fail my way. I urge you to do the same.

Learn the basics, the mechanics of whatever you attempt. Whether that's taking on rabid hecklers at Amateur Night at the Rhinestone, or building a business on the Internet. Then stamp your own unique personality on whatever you do. Take a cue from Stallone's character, face the crowd and say...

"If I'm going to fail, I'm going to fail MY way..."

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