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Your Best Autumn Ever!

MONDAY BYTES — August 31, 2015

If you’re sorry the summer’s ending (that was Big Sur in June), it may help to engineer your best autumn ever!


By scheduling in a weekly two hour block for future opportunities. What I mean is to give yourself sanctioned time to brainstorm, research, and network for future projects and possibilities: time to dream bigger and do something about it.

Why build this time into your already packed schedule?

It’s all too easy to focus exclusively on the immediate, urgent present. But when we only take care of the present we forfeit shaping our future and by default we let the status quo continue whether it’s what we want or not.

In my book, Beyond Talent there’s a section on time management in which I tell the story of the terrific flutist Alexa Still. We were classmates at grad school at Stony Brook University, and even back then Alexa already had the habit of scheduling in what she called her “naval gazing” time (Friday afternoons I believe) to think about her future, read what was going on in the music industry, and research performance opportunities. She was very successful in booking her own performances even back then and she’s been incredibly productive in her career, so clearly, she was on to something!

Here’s the best reason to schedule this time for yourself: it can energize you for the rest of the week. The focus on the future typically fires you up because we’re investing in yourself instead of just doing the same old grind.

But without a system and a habit, something else will always get in the way. Put the scheduled time into your calendar as a weekly appointment so that you get in the habit of scheduling around it. Don’t forfeit your future.

Question: How will you choose to use your 2 hours of Future Opportunities Time this week?

For info on working with me: details are HERE.

Monday Bytes archived posts are HERE.

Dream Big, Plan Smart, Live Well!

What’s that Worth to You?

MONDAY BYTES — August 24, 2015

Musicians are typically uncomfortable talking about money—whether it’s fees, salaries, contracts, or budgets.

My book Beyond Talent has sections on managing finances, booking performances, and scripts for pitching and negotiating. All to help you get your best work out into the world.

Unfortunately, having these tools and skills doesn’t necessarily translate into action. Some musicians find themselves stuck, seemingly unable or unwilling to “put themselves out there.”

At the root of being stuck is of course fear of failure. But something else underscores and intensifies the inertia.

It’s our essential relationship with money. For most of us this is the longstanding and unexamined elephant in the room.

What’s your money attitude?

Does the size of the fee earned signal the worth of the artistry?

In the back of our mind are we equating money with security, esteem, artistic success?

Is getting paid stopping you from gaining the performance experience you need? (Getting the experience and growing your fan base may be the the better priority).

Is money getting in the way of you doing your best work? Does it need to?

As Seth Godin points out, “In our culture, making more money feels like winning, and winning feels like the point.” And of course, that’s not the point, is it.

This week: Read the Seth Godin post on the confusions we have around money—try on a new conceptualization of money this week. See how it feels and what you notice as you transact value: spend, earn, save, invest.

For info on working with me: details are HERE.

Monday Bytes archived posts are HERE.

Dream Big, Plan Smart, Live Well!

Your Manifesto?

MONDAY BYTES — August 17, 2015

Got a manifesto?

The messages we tell ourselves are operating instructions for life.

It’s our unexamined self-talk that shapes our self esteem which in turn guides our behavior, for good or ill.

So what would happen if we replaced the negative messages that undermine our progress with practical and positive messages to motivate our work?

The time to challenge your self-limiting beliefs is now. The best way to do this is by replacing negative messages with positive, reality-based focused on practical ways to move ahead.

This is NOT about telling yourself fairy tales and expecting these to come true.

It IS about challenging inaccurate and damaging messages with reality-based perspective on your actual strengths and abilities.

Artists U is a grassroots planning and professional development program run by and for artists, and on their site is their manifesto, a statement of their core principles (adapted below). What’s fun is they show what they stand for and the artists’ common negative beliefs that they are displacing.

Which of any of these fit what goes on in your head? (adapted from the Artists U manifesto):
Replace. . . Success will either happen to me or it won’t.
With  . . . I am building an artistic life, not an artistic career, step by step, thinking long-term and staying responsive to changing circumstances.

Replace . . . No one cares about my work.
With . . . Offering a strong artistic voice as widely as possible, I give citizens a chance to get close to my work.

Replace . . . I am competing with other artists for scarce and finite resources.
With . . . The success of other artists is good for me. And mutual artistic support is worth more than money.

Replace . . . I need I need I need I need I need.
With . . . My skills are needed in the world.

Replace . . . The future is scary and I don’t have time to think about it.
With . . . With limited, regular planning, I work toward the art, the values, and the life that I believe in.

Replace . . . What I do is frivolous and I am lucky if I get paid for it.
With . . . We are highly trained professionals, and the work we do, collectively, is essential in our culture. I expect to be compensated fully and fairly.

Replace . . . I never have enough time or money to make my work perfect.
With . . . With the time and resources we have for each project, we will do the best we can.

Replace . . . I have to do everything I possibly can for every project, even if it kills me.
With . . . No opportunity or work of art is worth the well-being of the people involved.  I can say no.

Replace . . . I have to work all the time, with no time off.
With . . . I schedule down time in my day, my week, and my year, essential to my well-being and artistic growth.

Replace . . . No one cares about art.
With . . . The world is hungry for noncommercial experiences, for moments of focus, connection, and insight instead of the profit-driven distraction provided by the entertainment industry.

Replace . . . My career hasn’t followed the trajectory of Blue Man Group-Julian Schnabel-Bjork-Twyla Tharp-Kanye-my best friend.
With . . . I define success for myself, and trust that impact does not correlate with fame.
(PS: Artist U also offers a free PDF book, “Making Your Life as an Artist.”)

More Manifesto? My friend and colleague author and consultant Peter Sepllman, offersTHIS.

Challenge for the week: Try writing down the negative messages you most often find circling in your head. (such as I’m always %$#@-ing things up . . .or   I’m so (incompetent, stupid, uncoordinated, etc.) or I’m a failure . . . or This is never going to work . . . ).

Then take each message and write a counteracting replacement message that’s positive, practical, and reality-based, such as “I’m working hard on this and making progress” or “I’m building on my experience and past successes” or “I’m focusing on the work that needs to be done, one step at a time.”

Want more help? Other posts on self esteem are HERE.

For info on working with me: details are HERE.

Monday Bytes archived posts are HERE.

Dream Big, Plan Smart, Live Well!