Traditions

Traditions

There are traditions you enjoy and those you don’t.

I’ve been living nomadically since June, and that has basically meant I’ve been surfing from couch to hotel to Airbnb for nearly seven months.

Today, I left yet another Airbnb, in Calgary, behind. A month was supposed to be a long time – certainly longer than some of my stays. Time enough to contemplate my next steps. And, while I’ve figured out a few things, I certainly wouldn’t say I can see miles ahead yet, especially in terms of work and income.

Either way, when I’m between couches, hotels, or Airbnbs, I usually find myself sitting at a Starbucks doing my work until it’s time to check in at my next destination. For a long time, I’ve enjoyed doing some of my work from a Starbucks or Tim Horton’s. I’ve even tried to work it in into my schedule at times, because I see a noticeable boost in energy or productivity.

But this is a tradition, it seems, that’s growing a little stale.

It could be because I don’t enjoy leaving one place for another. Not that I don’t like travel. It’s just that, at this point, waking up, packing up, cleaning up, and departing to another destination is becoming rote.

It could be because the novel is always more interesting than the ordinary.

It could also be because I’ve been under the weather since Monday, so even though I’m lucid enough to produce good work, I’d much rather be laying in bed than coaching, writing, attending meetings, or otherwise engaging in my leadership program. It could be that I’m simply not finding joy in what would otherwise be a welcome change of scenery. Flues have a way of doing that to you.

For the next month or so, I’ll be lodging in Okotoks at my parent’s.

Today, I suggested to my parents that we create a new tradition where we go to the mountains for Christmas. They seemed open to the idea.

But I digress. More and more I’m hearing the urging to find a more stable living situation, even if it’s not entirely permanent. There will be a more permanent home in my future, I just don’t think it’s going to be in the immediate future. I think it will show up around May or June 2023. And I have some idea of what I’m going to be doing in the meantime.

But what I’m getting at is that even though they say, “the grass is greener on the other side,” the more you venture out and try things, the more you realize the messiness of life maintains the license to intrude whenever and wherever it wants, even if that “whenever and wherever” is some permutation of your dream life.

I’ve heard wealthy people say money is not all its cracked up to be. I’ve heard famous people say it gets old. In a way, I think I get what they mean. It’s about traditions. And while we tend to think of traditions as annual getaways or visits to places emblazoned on our memories, traditions are playing out at a micro level too. It’s worth paying attention to the micro traditions you have in your life, because as they say, success is hidden in your daily habits.

Creating Simplicity in Your Music Career

Creating Simplicity in Your Music Career

In 2019, I decided to begin living nomadically. My adventures were ultimately cut short by the pandemic (I’d managed to explore some of western Canada and northwestern States), but I still ended up leaving Calgary, where I had lived for over 20 years, and ended up moving to Abbotsford, BC.

This move did not go smoothly. But if I wanted to live nomadically, I knew I needed to make certain sacrifices.

So, I bagged up the closet full of clothes I had collected over the years, keeping only what I considered “essential” and would fit in my suitcase.

To my surprise, I ended up filling five garbage bags with clothes I barely used or didn’t need anymore, and I donated them.

And I followed a similar process with all my belongings, some of which ended up in storage at my parent’s house.

I had already minimized my belongings during the previous move, but this time I had to be even more selective, because I knew would be driving to BC with only what would fit in my car.

And this is not merely about minimalism or optimization. The key is really that:

The less you have, the less encumbered you are.

Sounds obvious, I know. But we sometimes forget just how burdened we can become in the endless pursuit of stuff and all the trappings that are supposed to go along with success.

What I’m really pointing to is simplicity.

This doesn’t mean you don’t have complex systems, marketing strategies, or songs.

But when it comes to execution, optimizing our work environment, even setting up our workflow inside our Digital Audio Workstation (DAW), simplicity creates performance, performance creates traction, and traction creates momentum.

Simplicity creates performance, performance creates traction, and traction creates momentum. Share on X

Simplicity minimizes confusion. It creates clarity, predictability, and consistency. It allows you to get to your desk at 8:01 AM and have your blog post done by 9:13 AM on the dot.

And when you’ve optimized to that point, you can bet that more opportunities will show up at your doorstep. Your phone will start ringing.

For a proven, step-by-step framework in cracking the code to independent music career success, and additional in-depth insights into making your passion sustainable and profitable, be sure to pick up my best-selling guide, The Music Entrepreneur Code.

Going All In on Your Music Career

Going All In on Your Music Career

What backdoors have you yet to close? What escape hatches have you left open? What backup plans are you keeping in play just in case things don’t go well in your music career?

I’m all for being practical. I’ve benefited greatly from prioritizing work that was the meeting place of what I was good at, what I enjoyed, and what I could get paid for.

And it’s good to identify “what if” scenarios too. Because the biggest thing you realize about the worst-case scenario is that a) it’s unlikely to happen, and b) it’s not as bad as you think it is.

But oftentimes, we hold back. Just in case things don’t work out, we keep doors open and prepare for emergency scenarios.

(I could swear this is what happened with one of my ex-girlfriends. Just in case things didn’t work out with me, she’d identified someone else who was single, had a similar temperament, and played guitar).

Until we go all in, though, we’ll never get to experience what it feels like to be fully sold out to our passion and purpose.

In summer 2019, I made the decision to start traveling the world. Things weren’t going well with my relationship, and I felt the next critical step to my growth would be experiencing different cultures, languages, people, and food.

In October of the same year, I left Calgary, AB behind and moved to Abbotsford, BC. A week before my move, I didn’t even know whether I’d have a place to stay. I was just committed to making a change. It was only a few days before my move that I had finally confirmed a basement suite.

To get to Abbotsford, BC, I needed to drive through the Coquihalla Highway, which reaches an elevation of 4,081 feet. My car started exhibiting unusual behavior on the highway and by the time I’d reached Hope, BC, roughly an hour away from my destination, my car broke down.

I thought the car could be repaired, but the mechanics told me that it was irreparable.

With all the trials and tribulations, I’d experienced up to that point in completing the move, I wanted to give up. But I knew there was no turning back. I was only an hour from my destination, and I had to keep moving forward.

I burned the ships and just kept going.

Have you burned the ships?

For a proven, step-by-step framework in cracking the code to independent music career success, and additional in-depth insights into making your passion sustainable and profitable, be sure to pick up my best-selling guide, The Music Entrepreneur Code.

Why You Must Reinvest in Your Music Career

Why You Must Reinvest in Your Music Career

I once booked a showcase at a local coffeehouse and invited one of Calgary’s most notorious singer-songwriters to perform (meaning he wasn’t necessarily known for all the right reasons).

Well, he was kind enough to oblige to my requests, he showed up on time, and conducted himself like a pro. Despite his average talent, his comfort level on stage and willingness to treat the opportunity with respect and professionalism left me feeling like I booked the right act for the occasion.

I got to talking with him while other acts were performing, and he shared something interesting with me.

He was known for putting out a new album each year, something most artists only aspire to, but never seem to get around to.

And he mentioned that a lot of people wondered how he was able to do it. After all, the cost of recording can be quite high.

What he shared with me was this:

“Most people think I have an outside source of funding, or my parents bankroll me. That’s not the case, although I do minimize costs whenever I can. The truth is, I save every penny I earn at every single performance. Then, I reinvest that money into my career.”

The simplicity and shrewdness of this strategy blew me away.

He’s right – most artists don’t do this. And it ends up shrinking the pool of opportunity available to them.

When you don’t have the funds for those rare moments when inspiration and opportunity strike, you can’t grab hold of the lightning. You end up having to pass up on it for another occasion because you don’t have the resources necessary to pursue it.

There’s a reason I teach artists how to manage their money. It’s not that you won’t go through difficult times financially. It’s that if you establish the right habits and direct your money intentionally, you’ll be ready for when lighting strikes. You’ll be able to take hold of compelling opportunities as they arise.

For a proven, step-by-step framework in cracking the code to independent music career success, and additional in-depth insights into making your passion sustainable and profitable, be sure to pick up my best-selling guide, The Music Entrepreneur Code.

With New Eyes

With New Eyes

Having returned to Abbotsford from a two-week trip to Calgary, I am seeing everything with new eyes.

I’m beginning to appreciate my humble basement suite more. And somehow, it looks different to me.

I’ve often stressed the importance of changing your environment and shaking up your routine.

But on this occasion, I’m the one that’s been left pleasantly surprised by the results.

Without context, appreciation can prove a challenge. Sometimes, we need more context. And context can certainly come from a two-week working vacation.