The September Reset

It’s Labor Day!

Hard to believe we have been through 6 months of COVID-19. Take a deep breath, and pat yourself on the back. You have been a total rockstar. Adjusting and adapting to a new work-life, new home-life, dealing with lockdowns, canceled vacations, heartbreak, supporting others, protesting injustice, reading the news (ughh).  We should all get an award just for making it to today.

But since we’re here, let’s take stock and maybe think about what’s next for us.

My friend T and I have started a new habit of meeting up in the early morning a few days a week to go for a long beach walk, followed by a swim in the sea. The other day we were at Elbow beach, one of my favorites, and the easy surf was so inviting. We were bobbing along in the calm water talking about how lucky we are to live here, and how perfect the water was, and then the surf started to come up a bit.

Just enough to be fun. Jumping the little waves, still talking about kids and school and life.  And then, the surf came up a bit more.  Jumping the little waves became body surfing—definitely still fun.  And still just hanging out in the same place, chatting as we came back up for air.

But then, in seconds, the waves were suddenly HUGE, and knocking us over, tumbling us under in a way that was more scary than fun.


As we made it back onto the beach and started walking to our towels, they were gone. Weird!  We had left them right up on the rocks where we got in, and there was no one else on the beach that morning.  We looked up and down the beach, and saw them, Waaaaaay off in the distance.


We had drifted.


To us, it seemed we had been in the same place.  After all, we had been standing the entire time we were in the water–laughing, enjoying the morning, happy as could be.  And it turns out, the waves hadn’t “come up”.  We had just drifted into the bigger waves.  Back where our towels were, it was still as calm as could be.


Funny how that happens, isn’t it?


It used to happen to me in my career too.  I was happily bobbing from concert to concert.  One season to the next, students progressing, all happy as could be, until, BAM!  I realized one day I wasn’t where I thought I would be.  I had drifted unknowingly into a place I hadn’t meant to be.


Has that ever happened to you?  I’m going to guess it has. I think it happens to everyone.


I’m all for “going with the flow” and “seeing where life takes you” and all, but I also like to be aware of when I’m doing that.  So I started to incorporate a few habits and routines into my life that would help keep me on track, or at least allow me to pivot and twist and turn on purpose.

Here are a few that I do each and every September.  Perhaps some of these will be helpful to you, or maybe it will inspire you to come up with your own list.


1. I Make All of My Medical Appointments.

Doctor, Dentist, Optometrist, whatever needs doing, I do it in September.  That way I always know when I last saw such and such, or when I last had my cholesterol checked, or my eyes, etc. etc.  As a musician who travels a lot, it’s easy to lose track.

2. I make a list of my top 12 priorities.

You know, family, friends, marriage, performing, teaching, home, health, finances etc. etc. I make a list of them at the beginning of each month in my planner and make sure I spend 10 minutes a day on each one.  There will be days I don’t get to something, but it’s easier to see when something has been neglected for too many days, and I can get back to it.

3. Pick 3 New Things to Learn or Improve 

This one is really fun for me. Each year I choose 3 things that I want to improve at,  learn about, or do.  And I commit to spending 20 minutes a day (yep-that’s it!) to each thing. It’s a total of an hour, and it’s really easy to find 20 minutes here and there throughout your day.

I choose things that don’t necessarily have a deadline so that I never feel pressured to do more than 20 minutes (though, obviously I could if I wanted to) For instance, if I ever decided to train for a marathon (spoiler alert: that will NEVER happen!) I wouldn’t add it to this list, because 20 minutes aint’ gonna cut it.

This year’s 3?

  • Learning two new-to-me concertos. Khachaturian and Walton. 20 minutes can cover a phrase or 2.
  • Figuring out some systems that work for me regarding financial planning/investing/general banking for my business. 20 minutes can be going over my accounts, sorting and uploading receipts, calling my accountant, or doing some research.
  • Gardening. I want to up the game on my gardens this year. 20 minutes could be planting seeds, fertilizing, dead-heading, pruning, harvesting, or planning, or even just browsing the plants at the nursery.


What about you?  Have you ever found that you let a few too many years just roll into the next until you no longer recognized where you were?


What are some things you do each September to hit the Reset Button?



Are you going to try some of these?  Let me know! I’d love to hear how they work for you.

There’s a new Tales From The Lane Facebook Group!  Come and join us over there for some live (and lively) conversations about navigating the world of professional music-making. Click here to check it out! 


Doors have just opened for my 10-week group coaching experience, The Profit Pivot! From October 6 – December 17, an amazing group of professional musicians just like yourself are going to take their “out-of-the-box” ideas and turn them into profit-growing realities. Book a call with me today to see what that could look like for you and to grab one of the limited spots. 

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