Seeking Transformative Growth

Seeking Transformative Growth

“I’m frustrated, tired, and stuck. And I don’t feel like doing anything about it,” she said.

This comment struck me as familiar. Probably because, indeed, I had heard it before, from the same friend.

Her and I went on to discuss the personal development program we were planning to take – both for different reasons.

She because she felt irreversibly stuck in her business, and me because I felt like a fire was being lit right under my butt.

I don’t feel stuck myself, I just feel like progress has been incremental and slow as of late. As someone who has experienced breakthrough, I know the difference between slight improvement and exponential growth. And it’s hard to be happy with the former when you know what the latter feels like.

As I see my friends continue to engage and advance, I can’t help but feel a responsibility to keep on myself. I started a chain reaction of transformative learning back in 2018. If I hadn’t gotten into the program, it’s quite possible my friends wouldn’t have either.

Growth is Not Comparable

Since 2007, I have engaged in personal development daily. Which doesn’t prove anything in and of itself, except that I have consumed my share of books, podcasts, courses, and so on.

Because growth is not comparable. Someone will take three courses and create fortune enough to buy a yacht. Others will take 10 courses and will have only moved from a small home to a slightly bigger home.

Progress isn’t always measurable in material things alone. Growth can come in many forms, be it personal fulfillment, better quality of relationships, increased vitality, or otherwise.

And what people desire to create is not uniform. We each have our own visions of what “breakthrough” could look like in any area of life.

But if you go as far as you can see, you will see further.

The question I have, though, is “how do we get out of this insanity?” How do we curtail feeling stuck in our lives without relying on more transformative programs? Is it necessary to fall into a rut every single time before we realize the need for more courses? Or is ongoing, continual, never-ending engagement in transformation par for the course? What makes the difference?

Needed Context

I have more questions than answers.

And this post is more rant than content. More free flow than form.

If there’s anything I do know, it’s that I have not produced all the results I seek to create in life or business, despite diligent, persistent, tenacious, hardworking effort.

I have accomplished some big goals to be sure. And I’ve created a degree of freedom once only dreamed of. But I have scraped and clawed for all of it. There was little luck involved.

Looking back at where you were only one year ago, or five years ago, can offer needed context and perspective.

And I can see that I was not at the level I’m at now only a year and a half ago. Which goes to show that, indeed, I have grown tremendously.

I do wonder, though, if I have yet to find my exact calling. I’m close, but I don’t know that I’ve hit the bull’s eye.

People say I’m doing a service when I create resources for musicians. But it’s a complex and nuanced market to promote to. Without the daily grind, results aren’t exactly forthcoming.

At one time or another, I have been excited about everything I have worked on. But some of what used to fire me up doesn’t have me jumping out of bed in the morning anymore.

Passion can be a moving target. So, maybe that’s beside the point. Because, as I said, I haven’t stopped growing.

What I would like to know is whether the life I desire is more scraping and clawing, or if there is another way that isn’t just more of the same, long walk in the desert?

I would like to know whether it’s possible to feel good about life and work without having to constantly go for a “mindset refresh” or relying on yet another resource that’s supposed to be the “answer” but is sometimes little more than a placebo.

Final Thoughts

Don’t worry for me too much. I’m thinking aloud.

My personal development journey is far from over. And I hope I haven’t deterred you from yours.

What I’m looking for is a lasting breakthrough. Something more than momentary elation. A sense of wholeness.

Maybe that’s asking for too much. But I’m not sure my search will be over until I find it.

For more inspiration, be sure to sign up for my email list.

Life Lived in Bullets

Life Lived in Bullets

Most articles, guides, eBooks, books, and even courses can be boiled down to a few bullets.

Even this blog post can be summarized in a few bullets.

In a world where we over-complicate and over-explain everything, this realization can hit you like a bolt of inspiration. Begone, information overwhelm.

It’s not that we don’t need long, descriptive paragraphs to get a concept.

It’s not that a book isn’t a useful tool in helping you stay with an idea long enough to understand it in depth and to have greater realizations.

But we don’t remember most of what we read anyway. So, if we want to retain what we read, if we think it’s going to be any value to us, we should be thinking about whittling what we read down to its key elements.

If we’re reading just for fun or entertainment, then it’s okay that we forget it.

But if what we’re reading is going to impact our careers, or help us be more efficient in our businesses, or cause breakthrough results in our projects, we should take notes.

Maybe it’s a list of tools to check out. Or a few action steps we plan to take. Or a few quotes we liked that we might want to reference later.

As I’ve been watching my business coach in action lately, it struck me that he has a knack for checklists and mind maps.

So, when you’re able to organize a large amount of information and chip away at it until you’re left with just the pieces that make a difference, you have information that’s easy to remember and share.

And the benefits are obvious. You can use this information in blog posts. You can share it with your team. You can present it in front of an audience. You can turn it into a product. It continues to take on additional utility until it’s completely obvious or outdated.

This is not a methodology that makes articles, books, and courses obsolete. It’s a survival skill. It helps you remember and retain key learnings. It helps you action and implement. It helps you avoid unnecessary distractions that take you away from the steps and projects you’ve already committed to.

Try living life in bullets. See what happens.

Be empowered in your music career and separate yourself from the pack. Pick up a copy of The Renegade Musician eBook.

The Renegade Musician

It’s Time to Embrace Your Shadow Self

It’s Time to Embrace Your Shadow Self

According to the mirror principle, everything that occurs outwardly is a manifestation of what’s going on inwardly.

What we see outwardly is mass hysteria. Division. Mistrust.

Some say we are facing a health crisis.

What we’re really facing is a crisis of identity. And that’s as result of what’s been going on inwardly.

For a long time, there’s been an aspect of ourselves we’ve been unwilling to face. Psychologically, it’s the part of you that you don’t want to admit to having. It’s your shadow side.

All this time spent in isolation and “lockdown” has brought that unconscious part of yourself forward. Try as you might, you can’t bottle it up or shove it back down.

And that causes discomfort.

But your job isn’t to change or even heal that shadow side. And projecting onto others isn’t productive either.

The truth is, you have always had a shadow side, and you always will.

The only thing you need to do is acknowledge it. Sit with it. Understand that it’s there for a reason. Learn to love it even.

Dismissing it, ignoring it, or trying to medicate it is only going to cause more inward turmoil. Remember – what manifests outwardly is a result of what’s going on inwardly.

You may have been able to keep it contained to this point. But we’re at a new crossroads now. Humanity is awakening.

If you have been feeling discomfort, then know that you will continue to feel it until you embrace your shadow self.

You may think that someone else is responsible for the ugliness you see in yourself. That’s not true, because you are the one witnessing it.

We are much too quick to label emotions as good or bad, when emotions are just human, and they are often pointing to something we need to face or pay more attention to.

A year ago, there was no urgency to engage your shadow self. Now, it’s urgent that you do.

Disclaimer: I am not a psychologist. If you need psychological help, please seek a qualified professional.

Pay what you want for the first issue of my digital magazine, The Renegade Musician.

The Renegade Musician

Let Your Self-Esteem Lead the Way

Let Your Self-Esteem Lead the Way

Is there anything you’re doing in your life right now that seems like a gigantic waste of time?

As someone who is constantly experimenting, I can honestly say I’ve had more than my share of projects that have gone nowhere or have only grown marginally over the course of years and even a decade or more.

The Value of a Project

Now, the value of a project is in the eye of the beholder. And there can be rewards outside of monetary compensation that call to you, be it fulfillment, connection, impact, or contribution.

The value of a project is in the eye of the beholder. Click To Tweet

And you can never truly know the impact you’ve had or are having on your audience. You can’t know the difference you’re making in everyone’s lives.

Those who choose to be a part of the conversation are generally in the minority, and there are bound to be dozens or even hundreds who are silent in relation to those who express and voice their opinions.

Medium is the same way. We are all part of a community, and we “clap” or leave comments on each other’s articles – and it’s easier to get engagement here than on your own self-hosted WordPress blog – but you’re still not going to hear from everyone who reads your articles.

So, there can be many reasons for starting or sticking to a project. And it’s important to be mindful of those before we call it “quits” on anything.

What Happens When Your Sense of Worth Shifts?

But there’s a strange thing that starts to happen as your self-esteem increases.

When you don’t feel great about yourself, you tend to do things out of a sense of duty and obligation rather than excitement and joy. You stick to something that hasn’t yielded the expected results and keep saying to yourself “maybe tomorrow” when there may have already been hundreds or thousands of tomorrows behind you.

But when your self-esteem increases, and you begin to recognize that you are worth so much more than you’ve ever given yourself credit for, your sense of priority begins to shift.

You may feel inclined to put certain projects on pause and to stop working on others completely.

This is exactly what I’m looking at doing.

The Renegade Musician

At the top of March, I published my first newsletter/digital magazine in the form of The Renegade Musician. I have been promoting it non-stop and have been sharing a promotional video across multiple Facebook and Twitter accounts. Not to mention, I’ve referenced it in dozens of articles already.

It is perhaps too early to say, but so far, I have only had a few takers, and being a “pay what you want” offer, it has not generated any money.

The fact that I could have spent the same three to four hours cranking out two high quality News Break articles and getting fair compensation for them gave me pause.

Now, I see great potential for The Renegade Musician. It could educate my prospects on my business and the products and services I offer. It could become a great retention and referral tool.

But become is the operative word. And considering I have spent the last 12 years building an audience for just such an offer, the take up rate is just too low to be worthwhile. It is obviously a mismatch for an audience I thought I knew and understood well.

Now, every failure is a lesson. Which is why I’m not salty about this. And I have plans for The Renegade Musician, although not the plans I originally had for it. I will be talking more about this in a future story.

To be fair, you never know what the results of the campaign will be until it’s over. I’m going to give myself until the end of the month before I make a final judgment call.

The point is that the same three to four hours could have gone to something that would have had a guaranteed payoff. In the past, I may not have even made such an observation. But now that I have an increased sense of worth and confidence, I’m seeing things a little differently.

Time is not unlimited. Experimentation is worthwhile, but it’s fair to say not all experiments will have a payoff.

Letting Your Self-Esteem Lead the Way

Can you let your self-esteem lead the way?

It’s so easy to doubt yourself. And the more you doubt yourself, the less you trust yourself with future decisions. This is exactly what I was trying to communicate when I wrote As the Spirit Moves You.

If we want to increase our sense of worth, we must learn to trust ourselves more. That begins with following through on the commitments we’ve made to ourselves – big or small.

Beyond that, it’s about letting yourself take the leap, even when it seems risky.

Your next move might seem illogical to your supporters, contributors, collaborators, or even team. It might seem insane to your mastermind group, coaches, or mentors. But maybe your intuition is trying to tell you something. Maybe it’s leading you in the direction you ultimately want to and are meant to go in.

Maybe your new ideas aren’t just a flight of fancy. Maybe there’s value in letting yourself explore and experiment, even if it’s only to confirm that your new ideas don’t work.

Conclusion

I know you’ve seen me flip flop on this. Focus or experiment. Stay consistent or follow your passion.

The truth is there are different tools for different situations. And with the situation I find myself in now, I feel to let my self-esteem lead the way. I feel to trust myself.

What is something your self-esteem has led you to do? Did you follow through on it? What happened?

Let me know in the comments.

Pay what you want for the first issue of my digital magazine, The Renegade Musician.

The Renegade Musician

Doing the Work (Even When You Don’t Feel Like Doing it)

Doing the Work (Even When You Don’t Feel Like Doing it)

Starting a project is the easy part. It’s exciting.

Finishing a project offers a sense of relief, fulfillment, and accomplishment.

And the first time you make a sale, you will be hit with an unexplainable feeling. It’s like gratification, humility, and anticipation all rolled into one. And it’s positively addicting. It will make you want to do it all over again.

It’s what happens in between that’s hard.

I’ve called it the “hard middle” for years. It’s possible I stole that from somewhere.

Once the “honeymoon phase” is over, the real work begins.

Some days, you will wake up tired, uninspired, or sick.

You may lose sight of why you were so excited about the project to begin with and lose enthusiasm for it.

You may even start to experience some personal or familial challenges – relational, financial, or physical.

In my experience, this happens like clockwork any time you’ve made a big commitment to yourself (and your collaborators or team).

And just because you know something’s coming doesn’t always make it any easier. You will be presented with seemingly insurmountable challenges.

There will always be that “make it or break it” moment. And you will find yourself at a crossroads. You’ll be tempted to take the exit.

This is just the universe testing you, of course. But when you’re down in the valley, quitting starts to look like a better option than it ever did.

What is easy to forget in those moments is that this is where growth happens.

When things are great, there is no reason to grow, so we’ll often put it off.

But when we lose our sense of certainty, trite inspirational quotes suddenly appear as though an oasis amid an expansive desert. They water our soul.

Make no mistake – we can always join the masses who took the exit. That is always an option. But if finishing things were easy to do, everyone would be a finisher. Everyone would have a trophy on display.

If finishing things were easy to do, everyone would be a finisher. Everyone would have a trophy on display. Click To Tweet

You separate yourself by showing up and doing the work, even when you don’t feel like it. And there’s a sense of self-satisfaction that comes from consistency that no trophy can ever replace.

Maybe you won’t do your best work on those days when the desert seems to stretch out forever. But even if all it does is nudge you an inch closer to the finish line waiting for you miles away, you can at least say you did what many are unwilling to do. You kept going when you didn’t feel like you could.

Pay what you want for the first issue of my digital magazine, The Renegade Musician.

The Renegade Musician

Finishing Things

Finishing Things

Look around your environment.

Do you have a stack of unread books sitting on your nightstand?

Notebooks strewn about with records of half-finished poems, songs, or project ideas?

Documents unfiled, sitting loosely on your desk, table, in the closet, and anywhere else they’ll stay comfortably out of sight, out of mind?

The reality is that, as a creative or creator, it’s perfectly normal to be surrounded by the incomplete.

As a creative or creator, it’s perfectly normal to be surrounded by the incomplete. Click To Tweet

Life itself isn’t ever complete, and, even if you manage to get to inbox zero, there will be new emails waiting for you tomorrow.

If you stop and think about it, you’ll probably notice that you think of yourself as an unfinished project, wondering whether you should hit the gym more often, or maybe change your hairstyle. A wardrobe overhaul would sure make a difference!

When I got out of bed this morning, this is exactly what struck me about my world. I saw that I was surrounded by the unfinished.

I moved to a new city and new house a little over a year ago, minimized my belongings, and only brought with me what would fit in my car. I left behind old projects, and whatever followed me over to the new city had an expiry date too.

But here I am, accumulating more things, coming up with more ideas, and of course, there’s a new, small stack of books staring back at me each day.

We live as though there will always be time to work on what we care about most. Even when faced with crisis and uncertainty, we believe in a brighter future.

It’s easier to begin than to finish. It’s easier to think about what it would be like to have what we want than to bring the vision to fruition.

But finishing things is being kind to yourself and those around you.

Finishing things is being kind to yourself and those around you. Click To Tweet

When you finish things, you close open loops. You create new flow and space in your life. And you’ll find yourself able to focus better on what remains.

When you finish things, you give others more space in your life. You can share your creations with them and even bless them.

There will always be more on the other end of finishing things. That is the cycle of life.

But when you free yourself from the stack of unfinished, you’ll have the presence of mind to be able to pick and choose what you want to invite into your world next. You can be more conscious about this process.

When you finish things, you get to check things off mentally, and that creates a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction that will never come from a life full of incompletes.

Incomplete is life’s default state. Completion is a superpower.

Incomplete is life’s default state. Completion is a superpower. Click To Tweet

Pay what you want for the first issue of my digital magazine, The Renegade Musician.

The Renegade Musician