Every day, we’re presented with challenges.
Maybe the finances are tight. Maybe we failed to win over a client. Perhaps a conversation with the significant other didn’t go over so well.
But not everyone wants to do something about their circumstances. It’s okay if you don’t want to act. But the more honest you are about where you stand on the matter, the better.
If you don’t want to do anything about your situation, you should prepare to live with it. It is a perfectly acceptable path.
The problem arises when we’re confused about acting or not acting. If we’re confused, 1) we won’t do the things necessary to change our circumstances, and 2) the quality of our actions will be unsure, tentative, and ineffectual.
If our finances are tight, we could hope and pray for a solution. We could buy a lottery ticket. We could beg our friends for money.
All things being equal, it’s better to do something rather than nothing.
But I would not say that any of the above are quality actions, especially given they are not long-term solutions.
If you need to make some mistakes before seeking out better solutions, there is nothing wrong with that. But a person who is earnest about finding a solution will dedicate as much time as they possibly can to the problem, researching, studying, journaling, documenting, tracking, measuring, asking questions, getting into conversations, and seeking out coaching and mentors, until they’ve illuminated previously unseen blind spots.
Be honest with yourself – if you are doing anything less than that, can you honestly say you want to do something about your situation?
If you’re going to do something about your situation, don’t sit on the fence. Muster all the time, energy, and resources you can in overcoming the challenge. Even if you fail, your commitment will not be in vain. The Universe will move mountains on your behalf. But if you don’t begin, very little will happen.
Do you want to do something about it? Sit with that question and know your answer as a “yes” or “no,” not as a “maybe.” Only you can do this for you.
What happened to you is not your fault. But what you do with it is your responsibility.
People have trouble taking responsibility. They don’t want to believe that they played any part in what has happened to them.
This resistance is understandable.
Who wants to believe that they had anything to do with getting sick, losing their dog, or their parent dying?
I certainly didn’t!
But I wanted to feel empowered, and my mentor was telling me that I needed to take responsibility for everything that had ever happened in my life. So, I tried it on.
Do you know what I discovered?
First, when I took responsibility for my life, I felt a sense of empowerment I never had before. Because now I could see that even if I didn’t have total control over life, I did have a say in it.
Human beings like to make everything mean something, even when there is no definitive, objective meaning behind it.
I realized that I could make things mean what I wanted them to mean. I didn’t need to insert myself as a victim into every picture. I could choose the picture and the framing!
Second, taking responsibility gave me access. I saw that I could do something about my circumstances.
Again, what happened wasn’t my fault. But I had to take responsibility for what I did with it.
Miraculously, actions took the place of helplessness and victimhood.
If I wanted to learn something, I could read a book. If I wanted to work through a difficult time in my life, I could see a counselor. If I wanted to feel better about myself, I could get a haircut, drink smoothies, and work out.
Importantly, taking responsibility should give you new access. It should give way to vantage points you’ve never visited before, and actions you’ve never taken before. That is the value of taking responsibility.
Sometimes you just don’t know. So, you take a chance.
Risks can sometimes pay off. But sometimes they backfire too.
One of the things that keeps me busy is writing articles for a network of music industry sites. I have good days and bad days with it, but for the most part, I love that I get to share my knowledge and expertise with artists and creatives.
This quarter, I started exploring the possibility of working with an assistant or a writing partner.
I figured that an assistant could potentially take 10 hours of work off my hands, freeing me up to do with those 10 hours as I wish.
And with a writing partner, I saw the possibility of dividing and conquering the work, potentially taking on more and bigger clients.
I got into conversation and eventually found a possible fit. It didn’t strike me as being the best fit off the bat (early warning sign), but I was willing to give it a try.
I got the first article from them, and realized I’d left out a crucial detail about the article, namely that it had to be tailored to musicians.
They were unwilling to make any changes and requested the full payment I promised them.
I still ended up having to write most of the article myself, reworking and adding only the parts of their article that worked.
It wasn’t exactly the best start to the business relationship, but there usually is a period of working out the collaboration and establishing necessary structures to fulfill on the work requested.
So, I gave them another go, this time requesting two articles to be written by them.
If you know anything about article writing, you’ll probably know that plagiarism is a big no-no, and it’s something you can easily be found out for nowadays (if you’re in college, don’t think your teachers don’t have tools to check your essay for traces of AI writing!).
They delivered the two articles on time. There were some mistakes in them, and I had to edit and format them myself, but I expected having to do a bit of that work anyway.
Once I delivered the work, though, my client came back to me, citing issues with plagiarism. Oops.
Even though I’d spent a lot of time editing the pieces provided, I didn’t reword enough of it for it to pass plagiarism checkers (either that, or my client has sophisticated spy software, knows when I’m using content other than my own, and is hell bent on having me write every word myself!).
Losing one of my biggest clients would be a blow. I’ll be honest and share I’m certain I would land on my feet, but it would be an inconvenience and a gut punch to say the least.
I’m currently in conversation to see what can be done to resolve this situation and whether the partnership can realistically continue.
But I was reminded of a commitment I’d made to myself this quarter – taking perfect imperfect actions.
It’s a funny term to me, because I believe everything is perfect, even that which is imperfect.
Count on a writer to argue semantics, eh? 😉
Even though what happened wasn’t expected or desired…
This is what being in action looks like. In unfamiliar situations, mistakes will be made. Not everything will go as anticipated.
If you’re making mistakes right now, don’t get discouraged. Keep going. Try again. You’ll learn from your mistakes.
The Productivity, Performance & Profits Blackbook is here >>
This is my wont during the holidays. I think, I reflect, I read, and I listen. It’s how one of my more popular posts on 15 holiday reflections came into existence. It came out of a period of deep reflection.
If there is a process to it, it’s loose at best. Mainly, I consume large amounts of information in search of inspiration and ideas. Whether it’s books, podcasts, videos, courses, or otherwise, I focus on the input and not on action. Not yet. Action will come later.
I often feel stirred to action as I’m reading or listening, but as much as possible, I concentrate instead on documenting ideas, realizations, and action items.
But this year, my focus has changed a bit.
I’m not just looking for cool ideas anymore. In the past, I may have been content with fleeting spiritual insights or neat business tactics, but this year, I’m looking for real-world, concretely applicable ideas I can use that will move my life forward.
This year, I’m motivated. I’m not content with where I am and I’m looking for change, especially in my work life. And I know that’s going to mean taking some calculated risks.
So, my focus this season has been on forming a strategy, an action plan. I know I can’t delay if I want 2023 to be a different year than the last, so I’m listening intently and openly for the ideas that are going to transform my life. I think I’ve found a handful of worthy ideas already.
Once I’m ready to act, I must act with urgency. That’s why I’m storing up energy instead of expending it now.
I also find myself thinking bigger than ever. Life is too short for small ideas. I may as well make my biggest pitches now. Otherwise, I may never get the chance.
And there’s always more where this came from…
The Music Entrepreneur Code – 2022 Edition Kindle and paperback editions are now available. The hardcover edition is coming soon.
Thank you for your creativity and generosity. I’m rooting for you.