MY CORE STORY
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, rituals and routine that I create at least one new playlist each month to feed that hunger for music that lives within me. Music serves as my motivation to #goDo more and I share it with others to inspire them to #doGood. It also serves as a reflection of my spirit and is a means of sharing my message through another form of media.
Music has been my teacher for the better part of my life -- it has taught me about scales, theory, and performance but, more importantly, it afforded me with three skills that I use to get whatever the hell I want.
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.
Since then, 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 + #doGood.
1. PERFECT PRACTICE IS PERFECT PROGRESS
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. I also learned that perfect practice was more important than just putting in the time.
For a great resource on perfect practice and the accelerating effects it can have on results, consider reading The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle. In the book, there are several examples of how slowly perfecting your skill through slow and mindful practice leads to the creation of myelin. Myelin is the webbing of the brain that sends signals to the brain.
He found that there’s a pattern common to all of them — certain methods of training, motivation, and coaching. This pattern, which has to do with the fundamental mechanisms through which the brain acquires skill, gives us a new way to think about talent — as well as new tools with which we can unlock our own talents and those of our kids.
- Daniel Coyle
Each day that I walked into a practice room, I expected to walk out a better musician, performer, and a better person. As long as I put in the practice (ahem, I committed to #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 to help me reach business, financial, and health goals.
Reminder: Practice makes progress, progress leads to perfection. 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 that I was pursuing. Satisfaction was prolonged until the goal had been successfully achieved. Because of this inversed approach to success, fulfillment often felt out of reach and the effort that was going into achievement was, at times, draining.
Eventually, I realized that the effort I was putting into music was actually more rewarding than the goal. Rarely was the reward found in the accomplishment of a sole end goal. It was the effort -- the hours of practice and the commitment to my keeping my word -- that shaped me and made me stronger and more capable. The effort was where both the lessons and the true rewards were are found, and when you seek satisfaction through the effort rather than the end goal, the effort becomes much less of a chore. The effort becomes the goal. The effort is the reward.
I see and practice the truth of this lesson daily. Effort is an essential ingredient to #goDo success, and those who put forth the effort and find joy in it are the ones who reach their goals. These are the #goDoers of the world.
3. VISUALIZE SOMETHING BEFORE YOU 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 a private lesson instructor who turned me from a squawking bird into a real musician. I feel so bad for my family who had to struggle through those cringeworthy days.
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 with 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 next competition. He would then ask me to close my eyes and imagine that I was the one performing in the recording, as we both listened. The experience was magical, as it transformed me into a virtuoso in minutes! You see, the brain cannot tell the difference between what you imagine mentally and what you do in the physical real world.
We would do this at least 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. He was teaching me how to integrate the performance and desired results into my nervous system, which later led to these revealing themselves in the real world.
For even more confidence and insurance, my teacher encouraged me to do the same thing as I was went to sleep at night leading up to the performance, 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 before it happened was a skilled I could leverage at any time to achieve success. This is still a crucial part of my strategy to this day, and one that I pass on to clients, colleagues and friends.
What if you took ten or fifteen minutes before a phone call, physical workout, or important experience to visualize it first? How could you #goDo + #doGood more for yourself and others just by seeing what you want before you get what you want?
Give it a try. Give it your #goDo. Then #doGood by showing others.
This stuff works -- it works like a charm. Mean it.