But here's the thing. Sure there were plenty of f-bombs and crude jokes but there was a lot more. The guy was actually likable, he was self-deprecating and really connected with the audience. He had a slide show and built his story around images. The visual part wasn't polished but it was real. The show was totally different from anything I had expected. And he was funny.
But inspirational? How could that be? I was stunned. The killer part of his presentation (or at least for those of us with heavy nerd tendencies) involved sharing his Social Security Earnings Statement. Oh yes he did. He put that baby right up on screen.
It's that report you get in the mail that makes you either depressed or thrilled. It shows your earnings each year since the ninth grade (my Dairy Queen job) and how much you have paid to Social Security over time. It gives you a sense that you will need to keep working until you are 105. It's normally not presentation-worthy material.
Adam used that little report beautifully to tell the story of his life. He uncovered one year at a time as he moved through periods in his life, matching story to earnings.
He talked about his career ups and downs including a few zero earnings years when he was not doing what he loved. He spent the early years working construction and eventually managed to make a decent enough income. But then he showed the year it all changed. That was the year he followed his passion. He started doing stand up comedy and teamed up with Jimmy Kimmel and let's just say he was way above the Social Security maximum for that year. He earned 100 times more than he had in some of the prior years. It was amazing, impactful and funny.
Follow your heart and live your dream. Adam Carolla says it, Hugh MacLeod has written two books on the subject, and Gary Vaynerchuck is living it. Just do it. I am.
And save that Social Security earnings statement for proof of just how far you've come when you hit the big time.