Closing the Chapter on 2021

Closing the Chapter on 2021

“You can declare completion with anything. You are the most powerful person in your world.”

As my coach took me through a completion exercise, I finally gained closure on sadness that had built up over the course of years, maybe even decades.

This wasn’t one of those high-priced, lay down on a black leather couch and regurgitate your life story over the course of months while paying through the nose for someone to listen to you kind of sessions. It was done rapidly, over the phone, in a manner of minutes.

Completion can happen that quickly.

As a champion of artists and an avid adventurer in search of new things that will support you on your journey, I prescribe a regimen of yearly closure, be it the method that follows (originally crafted by leadership trainer Michael Hyatt), or another. Either way, it will become an integral part of your yearly routine if you let it.

7 Questions to Close the Chapter on Another Year

These seven questions form the foundation of your thinking and reflection time and once completed, prevent you from dragging last year’s baggage into this year’s. Best not carry the stench of yesteryear into another, because 2022 doesn’t want to hear about 2021 anymore.

Use my answers as a starting point for generating your own.

If the last year were a movie in your life, what would the genre be?

Martial arts drama (like The Karate Kid). I signed up for a yearlong leadership program in June and completed two quarters. I’m currently in my third quarter.

Hours upon hours of calls, meetings, and work went into new initiatives like Elite Players: All Access Pass, Members Only Audios, The Music Entrepreneur Code – 2022 Edition, my forthcoming album, Back on Solid Ground, and the forthcoming book, The Music Entrepreneur Companion Guide. That’s still just scratching the surface.

It’s a bit of a blur looking back, so an 80s training montage seems appropriate, and it’s far more entertaining for the audience, too, in lieu of watching every painful pushup being knocked out.

What were the two or three major themes that kept recurring?

When I signed up for the yearlong leadership program, I enrolled in a rollercoaster ride, plain and simple. The program is designed to overwhelm with calls, meetings, and requests. At times, I dragged my feet like a whiny and spoiled child looking for an escape, at times embracing and rising to the challenge of a full life – much fuller than I ever thought possible.

Another major theme is that of rediscovering my passion and purpose. And I see now my inner performer is breathing a prolonged, silent death as the world succumbs to insane, irrational, draconian restrictions hatched by scheming elites and politicians who are bent on collapsing the economy to replace it with a better system of slavery.

I will never be fulfilled just being a writer, marketer, and entrepreneur. And I will never be fulfilled just being a musician. The two are inseparable, and they make my world go around. The performer in me is starving for an outlet.

What did you accomplish this year that you are most proud of?

What do you feel you should have been acknowledged for but weren’t?

I have received acknowledgement in virtually area of life, except for:

  • In my continued efforts to champion artistic success
  • In implementing and following a new exercise and diet program – results forthcoming

What disappointments did you experience this past year?

  • I’m thoroughly disappointed in the hundreds of musicians who come to my websites, and don’t believe in themselves enough to take the next step in their careers with a book, course, or coaching program. I don’t come cheap, but it’s a minimal investment for a lifetime of inspiration and results (i.e., “It’s all my fault, I suck at selling”).
  • I’m thoroughly disappointed in the young ladies who pass up an opportunity with one of the most desirable bachelors to ever exist (i.e., “It’s all my fault, I suck at dating”).

What was missing from last year as you look back?

Besides the above: Travel, food, fun, and performance were all missing to greater or lesser degrees.

What were the major life-lessons you learned this past year?

  • You can convince yourself that you can only stretch so far, only to discover that you can stretch much further. My plate is fuller than ever, but I’ve embraced the practice of moving multiple projects forward with great urgency.
  • Structure is good. Life feels like it’s moving when your calendar is full. You feel like a ship without a rudder when it isn’t.
  • You don’t rise to the challenge unless there’s a challenge to rise to. Whether it’s publishing daily or taking on an intensive yearlong leadership program, new challenges have presented themselves, causing me to rise higher.

Additional Resources

The best book on the topic, without a doubt, is Michael Hyatt’s Your Best Year Ever. His book will show you in clear detail how you can set yourself up to have an exceptional, powerful, life-affirming, goal-reaching year. I read it before meeting my mastermind group in Silverthore, CO in winter 2019, and it made it into the top three books I read in 2019.

My book, Start Your Year the Right Way, dives deeper into the various practices I have in my life to ensure I cause completion and set myself up for success each year. There are plenty (but not too many) prompts to guide your reflections and space enough to write down your answers.

You can also hire me as your coach at a premium, and if you wish to explore new possibilities together, get in touch. I don’t respond immediately to most emails but do prioritize potential clients.

Past Reflections

I have been consistent in sharing my reflections since 2014. Self-indulgent, perhaps, but if you found this reading valuable, you will find these articles beneficial also:

Closing the Chapter on 2014
Closing the Chapter on 2015
Closing the Chapter on 2016
Closing the Chapter on 2017
Closing the Chapter on 2018
Closing the Chapter on 2019
Closing the Chapter on 2020

Final Thoughts

Remember – completion is caused, not offered. No one can give it to you. You must seek it out and create it yourself. Any memories you continually cycle through in your mind are incomplete. Become present to the impact, and once you’re clear on all the ways it has affected you, declare it complete. You are the most powerful person in your world, and completion is yours to claim.

5 Books I Read in 2021 That Made a Difference

5 Books I Read in 2021 That Made a Difference

As 2021 bleeds into 2022, I realized it was that time again – time to dust off the digital shelf, scan the titles that inspired me this past year, and share my thoughts on the books that enriched my life and have the potential to move you, too.

I am a champion of artists, after all, and as an adventurer, I take it upon myself to go mining for the gold nuggets that could make a difference in you career, and more importantly, your life.

Here are the top books that made the biggest difference for me in 2021.

Reality Transurfing Steps I-V by Vadim Zeland

Reality Transurfing Steps I-V by Vadim Zeland

Russian mystic Vadim Zeland’s Reality Transurfing Steps I-V is a book worthy of the title “tome.” I originally began reading this epic in late 2020, and continue to plod my way through it, a few pages at a time. But that’s only because this is a book full of gems, and it’s worth taking at one’s individual pace, leisurely or otherwise.

I recall settling in to read Reality Transurfing one weekend. “Life can be a holiday,” says Zeland. “You will make your greatest progress in areas where your heart and head are in alignment.” As I internalized these words, my heart started opening.

In comes a call from a friend. Our social circle had been trying to plan a trip for about a month, never agreeing on an Airbnb, with financial concerns a point of hesitation. But suddenly, while on the phone, things began moving with speed. We found a beautiful location in White Rock, BC, and the booking was confirmed in minutes.

Coincidence? Perhaps. But Zeland’s work is nevertheless a thing of supercharged alien wisdom and anyone reading it for the first time will come away slack jawed and dumbfounded. As a precursor to this reading, however, I prescribe, at least, The Secret, and if possible, a couple of works by Abraham-Hicks, with an open mind.

Learn more about Reality Transurfing Steps I-V

Content Marketing For Traffic And Sales by Daniel Danes-Hutt

Content Marketing For Traffic And Sales by Daniel Danes-Hutt

Entrepreneurs, as well as small and independent business owners aren’t publishers, says Content Marketing For Traffic And Sales author Daniel Danes-Hutt. They don’t have the budget or the time that big companies can dedicate to publishing the nautical ton of essays they do every single day. Which is why, he explains, entrepreneurs need to approach publishing differently. Because entrepreneurs publish to promote their product, not their content.

And all this sounds good and well. But this is also where the book goes off the rails, at least for me. Frustrated by repeated failure in blogging and content, Danes-Hutt claims to have studied every resource he could possibly find on psychology and persuasion to come up with a new way of approaching the problem. I have no doubt he is well-studied, but every resource?

Even setting that aside, what Danes-Hutt claims is a “simple and easy” method for content creation is incredibly long-winded, tedious, and sorry to say, complicated. That doesn’t make it bad, it’s just false advertising.

Reading this work, you can see that it all makes sense in his mind, but he has trouble relaying his thoughts concisely and accurately. Either that, or he just wants you to pay for his coaching to get the full meal deal, which is ballsy but trendy.

This book, nevertheless, did make a difference for me in 2021 in seeking answers to pressing questions. And I have written a few pieces in the manner Danes-Hutt suggests, with no data to back up that they were any more effective than my other expertly written content.

Learn more about Content Marketing For Traffic And Sales

The Road Less Stupid by Keith J. Cunningham

The Road Less Stupid by Keith J. Cunningham

Has me waiting for a book less stupid.

…would be my one-sentence review for The Road Less Stupid. So, you can tell that my sentiment on the book is not on the up and up, which is kind of a theme this year. That said, I can’t say it didn’t make a difference, thus its inclusion here.

The premise of The Road Less Stupid is that the quality of our questions guides our life. Sounds like a sound foundation, and it echoes the catchphrases of gurus like Tony Robbins.

But this book is a bit much. It’s like the very epitome of Millennial decision fatigue with the sheer number of prompts it hits you over the head with. And it doesn’t stop. It’s one of those long, thick, slimy books (not a euphemism) with too many thoughts in too many directions to be useful or applicable.

Best focus on digging for a few rare treasures, and call it a day before you dig up a mine.

Poor communication is one of my biggest turnoffs, and while I’m not suggesting that author Keith J. Cunningham doesn’t know how to put pen to paper, what he expects me to do with this volume is well beyond my comprehension, besides using it as the occasional reference guide. But its use, even in that sense, is suspect.

The one takeaway that seems to have made a difference for me is the idea that business owners have four hats they must wear if they wish to find success – Artist, Operator, Owner, and Board. Seeing your career or business from these distinct vantage points can help you ask better questions that lead to massive progress in areas desired.

But depending on where you are in your career, there will be other gems worth mining for, and as they say, you never know how a book might hit you.

Learn more about The Road Less Stupid

6 Steps to $1 Million by Gordon Pape

6 Steps to $1 Million by Gordon Pape

Canadian author and investor Gordon Pape’s 6 Steps to $1 Million focuses heavily on the world of investing in Canada, and how that can lead to you earning your first $1 million and beyond.

At this pivotal moment in history, call me a skeptic of any investment portfolio that doesn’t focus almost entirely on precious metals and other stores of wealth. I can’t be bothered gambling with my hard-earned income on an unprecedentedly inflationary market whose writing has been on the wall for months if not years. It’s financial suicide.

Fortunately, Pape also covers aspects of his entrepreneurial career, and key lessons he learned on his journey, some of which I detailed in my holiday reflections. I like that Pape doesn’t beat around the bush and serves up a reality check to anyone who thinks they might be a rare genius microwave entrepreneur. But if you’re cut out for it, Pape asserts, working in your strengths and talents is a worthy (if challenging) path to $1 million.

Learn more about 6 Steps to $1 Million

DotCom Secrets by Russell Brunson

DotCom Secrets by Russell Brunson

The crowning jewel of 2021, for me, was marketer Russell Brunson’s recently revised DotCom Secrets, a playbook that shows you the ins and outs of becoming an internet entrepreneur, setting yourself up as an “attractive character,” and of course, developing your own sales funnels and value ladders. If I am the champion of artistic success, then Brunson is the champion of sales funnels, so what else would you expect?

I have often felt that there’s been a missing in my entrepreneurial education, and no book filled the knowledge gaps I was looking to fill like DotCom Secrets. It wasn’t just a nice read I would sit around a campfire reminiscing wistfully about. It tangibly changed the way I thought about my own work, the way I shared information with others (in presentations or otherwise), and even my daily activities and behavior.

My only complaint is that, like Content Marketing For Traffic And Sales, Brunson seems to be under the impression that what he is teaching is “simple and easy,” and it’s the furthest thing from. In his own mind, it is, but setting up one funnel, let alone the many types of funnels introduced in this book, is challenge enough for even the experienced entrepreneur.

DotCom Secrets is an essential for internet entrepreneurs and I would strongly encourage artists gain a better understanding of the world of internet direct response marketing as well.

Learn more about DotCom Secrets

More Books That Made A Difference

Wanna see what other books made a difference for me? Here are my summations and recommendations from years past:

2020
2019
2018
2017
2016
2015
2014

Final Thoughts

I’ve authored six books on music and creativity to date and am currently ghostwriting a book for a client. If you’re interested in the world of self-publishing and would like to work with me on your next book project, be sure to get in touch. I’m not cheap, but I do work fast and create quality work.

What books did you read in 2021? Which ones made a difference for you, and how did they make a difference?

Going to the Source

Going to the Source

I’m a voracious reader of books and prolific consumer of training content.

First and foremost, it’s because I’m looking for breakthroughs in my own work.

And second, I’m always looking for material I can adapt and bring back to my readers, listeners, viewers, and students.

You never know what might produce a breakthrough for yourself or another, given that what’s obvious to you isn’t always obvious to another (and vice versa).

And I know I’m not the only one that’s wired this way.

But in our search for content that’s going to help us, we sometimes forget:

  • We’re usually not invested in what we don’t pay for
  • We don’t spend enough time upfront assessing the applicability and utility of the content before consuming it
  • If we don’t have a specific end in mind, we’re more susceptible to meandering aimlessly and wasting time that could be better allocated
  • There are teachers who are disproportionately better at teaching and relaying the material we need right now

If we want to make the most of our reading or learning time, then, it stands to reason we’d be better served adopting a simple strategy for choosing input that’s going to offer the best value now.

This is easier said than done, and like me, you might be stubborn and insist on finishing books you started, regardless of their relevancy, but that journey is paved with less breakthrough and excitement overall because it’s generally coming from a place of duty and obligation.

Choosing your input isn’t just about being choosey, though. It’s more about identifying which creative wells are worth drawing from at any moment. Which water will in fact nourish your being and fill you with inspiration?

In summary, we need to go straight to the source. But we’ll need to endure the hard intellectual work of determining what we need to learn now, why we need to learn it now, and how it’s going to apply to our work. Only then will the input have a lasting impact on us.

Be, Have, Do

Be, Have, Do

Conventional wisdom says you need to do, have, and be to get anything in life.

First, act. Second, get. Third, have.

But if you’ve read enough personal development and spiritual books, then you know it works the other way around – be, have, and do.

The only problem is that this can seem a little abstract in practical reality.

What we must do is visualize and stand in the possibility of the outcome we’re creating. And we need to make that mental image as vivid as possible, with people, sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and touch. Most importantly, conversations! What words would be exchanged standing in the outcome you’re creating?

“Congratulations!”

“Great job!”

“We did it!”

That much you already know.

What we want to do with that visualization is be abundantly clear on what it looks like to be it. To be the transformation. We’re not trying to get anything yet. We’re just looking to understand how we can create that outcome as a way of being. Because you can be that now. And that way of being is going to produce the outcome.

Be, and then the having and doing will sort itself out.

Lenses

Lenses

We all see the world through certain lenses.

We didn’t necessarily choose our lenses, because it has a lot to do with encounters in early childhood and what we made those events mean.

In layman’s terms, our lenses can be summed up as confirmation bias.

Everywhere we go, everything we do, we’re always out to prove that our lenses are right – even when there’s no inherent value, advantage, or benefit.

My lens? That I don’t matter.

I came face to face with this lens today, while in conversation with my coach. And I can see its presence everywhere. What I didn’t notice before, I now see clearly, and I can’t un-see it.

I can see that I’ve gone through life with this lens and have only found more and more reasons to confirm it with every new task, program, project, business, community, or relationship I take on. I’ve collected a mountain of evidence for my lens.

In the coming weeks, I will be disappearing this lens with my coach.

What lens is running your life? What have you collected a mountain of evidence for?

Once you see it, you won’t be able to un-see it.

But to be free of it, first we need to see it.

Your Mindset is the Key to Your Success

Your Mindset is the Key to Your Success

Just a friendly reminder.

On the totem pole of priorities in achieving personal success, action ranks number three.

Conversations rank number two.

Mindset ranks number one.

And mindset isn’t about developing a will of steel.

It’s about looking at a person, event, or circumstance, which are inherently neutral, and saying, “I don’t know how, but this is going to work out in my favor. I don’t know why, but this is good.”

And when you do that, the universe responds in kind. It’s the mirror principle.

Want to work on your mindset?

Then watch this video via Quazi Johir: