When we look at our work, our art, or any value we’re adding to the world, at some point, we have to ask, “Would they miss me if was gone?”

This isn’t a life or death hypothetical. “They” can be customers, “me” can be a product. But regardless of what type of creative space we’re in, we need to know where we stand with our audience.

Ask yourself: “Who’s looking forward to what I do next?” Put another way: “Do I matter or am I being tolerated?”

Because of all the metrics we use to measure success—how much we matter is the most important.

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Leonard Cohen’s first album, Songs Of Leonard Cohen, turns 50 this year. The late, great Zen poet was a master of his craft and a man who never let his creativity stop moving. When I listen to his lyrics or read his words, I can’t help but think, “Man I wish I’d written that.”

I can’t go back and steal his poetry, but I can use his philosophies for being creative. Cohen made a lot of beautiful music, but he also shared plenty of wise words on the craft of songwriting. Here are 11 laws of creativity I stole from Leonard Cohen:

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Doing 5 minutes of stand-up comedy is on my life’s bucket list. I can’t think of anything more terrifying than standing in front of a crowd of people that are watching and waiting for you to make them laugh.

I don’t know what I’d say. I don’t have any jokes!

With stand-up, it doesn’t matter who you are, who you know, or what your net worth is—if you tell a joke that doesn’t work, it’s painful. Painful for you and the audience. I get so uncomfortable watching a stand-up bomb that imagining being the one stage makes me sick to my stomach.

Steve Martin wasn’t actually born standing up, but he did dedicate 30 years of his life to perfecting the art of telling jokes on stage. 10 years of learning, another 10 years of floundering in tiny clubs, and finally, 10 years of growing success.

By 1978 Steve Martin had become the biggest concert draw in stand-up comedy history. By 1981 he walked away from stand-up altogether. His life’s work! He reached the top, looked around, and decided he was ready for something new.

His memoir, Born Standing Up, is a story of perseverance and tenacity. Here are some lessons from the wild and craaazzy guy:

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