At my core, I'm a music enthusiast. I started playing music when I was ten years old, and I haven't looked back since. Music is such an important part of my daily life, my ritual and routine, that I create at least one new playlist each month to feed the hunger for music that is within me. Music serves as my motivation to #GoDo. It is a reflection of my spirit and a means of sharing my message through another form of media.
Music has been my teacher for the better part of my life. Through music I've learned not just about scales, theory, and performance, but invaluable lessons that I am passionate about sharing with you.
My Music Story
At the age of 8, I already knew I was an entrepreneur. Then, at the age of ten my mother convinced me to play the saxophone and I fell in love with music. The discovery of music finally allowed me to combine the activities that I love most - growing businesses and creating something from nothing.
My career in music began young and took me into my post-college years. By the time I was 17 I was playing professionally, both writing and recording in the studio and onstage with world-renowned music producers, DJs, and recording artists. I spent my first summer after college at sea working as a professional musician for Carnival Cruise Lines, and the next year I landed a prestigious post in the Disney Collegiate All-Star Band at Disney World in Orlando, FL.
I was getting paid to do what I loved most! Dreams do come true with a little (or a lot of) #GoDo.
With an undergraduate degree in music performance added to my resume, I decided to continue my studies and passion by enrolling in the Music Entertainment and Industry Studies program at the University of Colorado at Denver. At the time, this was one of the few universities that offered the study of Music Business - my two passions rolled into one.
I ultimately earned a degree in audio engineering and music business which grew my entrepreneurial spirit, furthered my passion for music, uncovered my strength in business and polished my knack for strategy.
My life has been a constant journey of exploration and an unfolding of skill, and the lessons I have learned from music and business are the same lessons I use today to reach new goals and constantly #GoDo.
1. Progress Is Perfection
By the time I reached college, I was practicing five to six hours a day! Not quite the college life I had envisioned, but: it taught me that practice led to progress and progress was perfection.
Each day that I walked into a practice room, I expected to walk out a better musician, performer, and person. As long as I put in the practice (ahem, did my #GoDo) there was no such thing as a day that didn't equal progress. I learned that as long as I was progressing towards my goal, whatever it may be at that time, I was exactly where I needed to be. Even then, I was a #goDoer!
To this day, I use the same strategy I used in those practice rooms to reach my musical goals as I do today to reach other business or creative goals.
Reminder: Practice makes progress, progress leads to perfection.
Or, said another way -- #goDoing makes progress, progress eventually leads to getting whatever the hell you want.
2. The Rewards Are Found In The Effort
This is a big one. I used to be singularly focused on the end game or goal I was pursuing. Because of this, fulfillment often felt out of reach and the effort was draining.
Eventually, I realized that the effort I was putting into music was actually my reward. Rarely was the reward found in the accomplishment of a sole end goal. It was the effort -- the hours of practice -- that shaped me and made me stronger and more capable. The effort is where both lessons and fulfillment are found, and when you seek satisfaction through the effort rather than the end goal, the effort becomes much less of a chore.
I see and practice the truth of this lesson daily. Effort is an essential ingredient to #GoDo success. Those who put forth the effort are the ones who reach their goals. These are the #GoDoers of the world.
3. Visualize Something Before You Have To Realize Everything
When I was in sixth grade, the nearby high school band visited my elementary school to perform for us tiny tots. Little did I know, this was their recruiting strategy. And boy did it work on me.
Instantly, I fell in love with the idea of performing in front of an audience -- I am a true Leo in that regard. After school that day I pleaded with my mother to let me join the band and play clarinet. Luckily, my mother persuaded me to play the saxophone because, "it was so much cooler" -- an opinion I would also eventually adopt. (Clarinetists, you know what I’m talking about. Saxophonists, you do too).
It wasn’t until late in high school, when I began to compete in local and regional competitions, that I started to sound like a real saxophonist. I had this one private lesson instructor who turned me from a squawking bird into a real musician.
How did he do it? What was my tipping point?
Before each competition, my private instructor would dedicate one of my lessons to teaching me how to perform through my mind. I would sit in the chair next to him while he played a pre-recorded version of the piece I was scheduled to perform at the competition. He would ask me to close my eyes and imagine that I was the one performing in the recording we both listened to. And so I did, and It was magical.
We would do this two or three times in a row until he could sort of tell I had integrated the music, performance and vision into my own performance. In this way it would become second nature, almost like reality.
For even more confidence and insurance, he encouraged me to do the same as I was tucked into bed, ready to drift off into sleep. Again, I would walk through the entire performance in my mind. From beginning to end, I would imagine myself walking into the competition room, performing flawlessly, and then walking up to the judges to receive my first place prize! I can’t begin to tell you how many times this worked, and how many times I walked away with a first place medal.
This instructor taught me that envisioning success is insurance for success. It is still a crucial part of my strategy today.
This stuff works -- it works like a charm!