Now I might be little biased since I know this Friday's feature personally, but if you asked me what he does, I still can't fully describe it.
Jay Menez is a bit of a renaissance man. He's had so many different career paths that he's been able to find unique connections between them, launching his life story into one that deserves its own movie.
We'll try to keep a running tally on his titles, beginning with director, since he's currently working on a feature film.
I learned about his movie idea one day in a restaurant in Los Angeles, when he also taught me a term to describe, "someone with mastery in many different areas of intellectual study, like the arts, literature, science, and music."
The term was polymath.
It's like being the LeBron James of life - pretty solid at everything. Except Jay isn't known for his basketball skills (ironically, his movie will be about basketball).
"The modern interpretation of polymath," Jay explains, "extends to a wider variety of subjects and describes someone who has expertise and skill in several distinct areas. Often we call them generalists. In this day of specialization, its become more popular—and profitable—to niche down as narrow as possible."
Jay Menez with someone in his impressive network of friends, Jim Kwik
Jay definitely has a point, because from social media to skillsets, the advice I keep hearing is to specialize. It's nice to hear that it might be advantageous to do the exact opposite.
"The polymath or generalist can be even more valuable than a specialist BECAUSE he/she brings talent from different areas," Jay goes into detail. "By identifying areas of convergence or overlap between two or more subject areas, the generalist may be in a better position to identify innovative solutions to issues that previously stumped narrowly-focused specialists. The outsider can look past blind spots and dogma, in that way better equipped to disrupt an industry."
Disrupt. That kinda sounds like being unpredictable.
Maybe I should have used Kobe for those basketball references
Speaking of unpredictability, who remembers 2008?
"There’s a pivotal part in my life where everything changed at once," I think you know where Jay is going here. "I had been in finance for a decade, chasing money, and accumulating the trophies of my childhood dreams—houses, exotic cars, hot women, and a fat bank account. Then a big real estate crash occurred, where I was heavily leveraged, and it wiped out my business and most of my personal assets. I could have easily rebuilt in finance or real estate, but my gut told be that I needed to shake things up— again. Call it a serendipitous push into Hollywood filmmaking, it became the best reinvention for me ever. Now I get to tell stories that help people build their businesses, think more about personal development, and make empowered decisions about their lives. The sense of contribution is incredible, and something that had been missing since my days in public service."
That was a long story made very short. But there's definitely some smaller moments where even a DaVinci is challenged.
"I learned early on a sense of “figureoutability.”
Boy, I know some co-workers who could use that skill...
"It's the ability or confidence of knowing that whatever situation is thrown our way, we’ll be able to figure it out and resolve it with the best outcome that could be achieved by anyone in the same position."
Even LeBron? Yes, anyone.
Photo provided by Jay Menez
"In my first real career as a police officer, unpredictable situations were a predictable part of the job, and performing under pressure could lead to life or death consequences. But it isn’t about having the right answer instantly, it’s about being able to maintain a cool head under pressure and keeping things in perspective. Luckily for me these days, rarely are the stakes so high. So I find its best to ask myself if the worst case occurs, how will it affect me a year from now and can I move on. Most of the time, its a non-event."
Well, I guess that means things aren't as bad as Khloé Kardashian makes them seem. You'll probably be alright this time next year, honey.
Jay continues to be a close mentor, and one of the four people I know in LA who aren't the "what can you do for me" type.
And I know a lot of people in LA.
Photo provided by Jay Menez
As if the cop/director/pilot (although not mentioned in detail, yep he's that too)/mentor/storyteller/finance guy wasn't unpredictable enough, he leaves us with one thought:
"Being unpredictable comes with the ability to pivot, transform, and reinvent at will. It’s an empowering feeling that means instead of life happening to us, we have the freedom to make life happen for us."
Oh, add author to the list. He has a book too.
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