As many of you know, the big topic that I’ve been pondering lately, and (slowly) working on a book about, is “Potential”. I wrote an initial blog post about it here, but today I wanted to continue the conversation a bit.
As artists, we have been taught to live up to an ideal of perfection since day one. But assuming that that initial “ideal” is several decades old and that we and the world have changed somewhat, my question revolves around what it looks like in the day-to-day adult world of someone (and someone with a life–relationships, responsibilities, work to do, a household to maintain) who is interested in “reaching their fullest potential.”
I was talking with someone the other day, and he was saying that he knows he wants to do more. He feels in his gut that he was put on this earth to do MORE. But he’s just not sure he has the skills necessary to achieve his vision and has no clue where to even begin. He also laid out the other 2 big ones. He didn’t have the money to take a bunch of classes or go back to school for another degree, and he didn’t have a ton of time left over after his existing duties as a performer, parent, spouse, and soccer coach.
What I told him surprised him and I don’t think he believed me for a long time. Here’s what I said:
I know, I know…sounds like I’m trying to simplify a rather complex notion. But almost every single person who has booked a discovery call with me over the last several years has had some version of: “I don’t have the right skills, I don’t have the money, and I don’t have the time to achieve my dream.”
Until they do it anyway.
And with all of them. EVERY.SINGLE.ONE. (myself, included, btw) all it took at the end of the day, was courage.
And as my clients have learned, courage is like a muscle, and the more you use it, the stronger that muscle gets, and the easier it is to use it. One client who was once so nervous any time she had to have a meeting with the director of her community teaching job that she would go to the bathroom and throw up, now has no trouble holding court in front of the entire board, leading to positive changes for the entire organization!
So back to our day-to-day completely normal adult lives. How do we start moving forward towards those dreams that won’t stop nudging us? That 1 thing that we have said “I always thought it would be cool to…..” but never actually took it seriously enough. Or, you do truly mean to do it…someday…forgetting that we don’t actually have forever.
So let’s get cracking, shall we?
1. Name your dream/idea/vision. Say it out loud, or write it down, or take out an ad in the Times, I don’t care, but get it out of your head.
2. Take the first step. What is the very first tiny little baby step you can take to get yourself one tiny bit closer? Here are some ideas:
Here’s a hint. The first steps are never new business cards, a shiny new website, or headshots. Those will come, eventually. What you need now is a step you can start and finish TODAY.
3. Give yourself positive reinforcement. When you’ve completed your first step, celebrate your win, and plan something small you can do tomorrow. Each day, you can ask yourself “What is my next best step forward?”
4. Practice flexing your courage muscle. Post the reel you made in Instagram (have the courage to post it in spite of what others *might* think of it!) Set some boundaries with a colleague (“I love chatting with you, but I really need to focus right now. Could we find some time afterward to catch up?) Ask for help: “I need a distraction-free hour each morning to get some writing done. Could you be 100% in charge of the kids from 6-7?”
The world has changed so dramatically in the last few years–particularly in the arts. More than ever before, it’s going to be up to us as creative individuals to lead the way forward. Our ideas matter, the new projects, programs, and initiatives, new ways of teaching, and new ways of doing anything, really are going to be what keeps the world spinning now.
And the feeling you’ll get when you take action and start moving forward on your dream? Eventually, it will be a reality, and you will look at it and say “wow! You exist! I did that!” Just like I have seen my clients do over and over again. It’s an incredibly powerful feeling, and one that brings joy, fulfillment, and a sense of both purpose and legacy.
I want that for you, my friend. What’s your thing? I can’t wait to see it.
P.S. Are you looking for some guidance regarding the next steps in your career? Whether that means getting strategies in place to scale things up, or figuring out how to streamline and delegate in order to create more time in your life for the things that are most important to you, let’s talk.
I offer free 30-minute consult calls where we talk about your goals, and what might be most helpful to you right now. I work with both musicians and non-musicians alike, and you can book that call right here.