New Year resolutions be damned. They are typically broken and discarded within 36 days of being created.
Lest you feel special enough to break that barrier, straight for the jugular, resolutions are usually abandoned because people attempt to build on a past of stumbles and failures instead of clearing away the garbage and starting fresh. Building on shaky foundations is foolish, doomed from the start.
For ambitious creatives who still believe in themselves, I prescribe a separate regimen of choosing three words for your year and keeping them visible in your workspace for the duration, a practice author Chris Brogan turned me onto years ago.
Here I will share the three words that lived as possibilities for me this past year, as well as the three words I’ve elected for 2022.
Reflecting on My 3 Words from 2021
Maximize – I discovered the true meaning of maximizing in 2021, in which I was pressed for breakthroughs and expansion in every area of life. I discovered what it means to move multiple projects forward with urgency. I let go of the need to second guess every decision and action. I came to a point of acceptance, that no matter the project, I could create my existence instead of hoping and wishing for a following or waiting for some influencer to recognize me for my talents. I am a champion of artistic success, undeterred by setbacks or failures, which will ultimately serve as the building blocks for my inevitable success.
Optimize – At the dawn of the year, I created my own path to optimization with a YearSheet, and reviewing it now, I can see that it served as my North Star until I was presented with far superior paths. I’m in my third quarter of a yearlong leadership program, in which I got to discover powerful structures for accomplishment. Marketer Russell Brunson’s DotCom Secretswas later layered in, filling some critical knowledge gaps. I got more than just better. I got a breakthrough.
Experiment – At my business coach’s urging, I set out to establish myself as an expert and celebrity in music. And so, experiment I did, with live streams, blogging daily, 18+ platforms, and more. Yet again, I had no way of knowing I would be presented with breakthrough opportunities, and instead of moving idly and frantically from one project to another, as I surely would have done of my own agency, ended up fulfilling on pinpointed, longtime dreams like the Elite Players: All Access Pass online academy. I became a three-time winning, one-time nominated Best Original Score composer of The Nobody Prayer (Original Soundtrack). With Break the Business, I made my first foray into satellite radio. The second edition of the best-selling The Music Entrepreneur Codewas also unleashed.
My 3 Words for 2022
Intention – Beyond my 20% time, my days of dizzying and unfocused experimentation are over. I now know myself better than ever, and I’m settling in for the long haul. I am an author, entrepreneur, and musician, and attempting to remove or tweak any part of that is to mess with my very identity. I declare 2022 a year of powerful, massive, intentional progress in areas that matter most to me.
Recognition – Success, for me, is not about individual accomplishment. And while awards and accolades are desired and welcome, I’ve realized that they rarely serve as vehicles for fulfillment and are sometimes hollower than they appear. I seek a breakthrough in recognition, knowing that it will ultimately mean confronting what I have been avoiding and fearing in recognizing myself and others.
Love – Another bold choice, but I’m ready for the challenge. Love takes many forms, whether it’s self-love, loving another, falling in love, demonstrating love through action, tough love, or otherwise. Breakthrough in this area is wanted, knowing it will mean looking deeply in my own life where love is missing and not freely given.
Choosing Your 3 Words
Over the years, what choosing three words has taught me is this – you are choosing areas where breakthrough is desired.
So, selecting “Relationship” as one of your words when you have no desire of confronting your greatest challenges and fears connected to relationship is incongruent. If you’re not prepared for breakthrough in that area – usually requiring upheaval – opt for something else.
Following intuition is acceptable, though, as you know yourself better than you think you do, and you will choose words better suited to your situation than you might think. Too much pondering can be a hindrance in progress.
Further reading and helpful prompts are also available in my Start Your Year the Right Way, with convenient notetaking space built right into the book. Setting yourself up for a powerful year is a matter of setting the right structures in place, and your discovery begins with identifying profitable practices for your career and life.
If you are seeking council moving forward with your new year plans, and desire to make 2022 a breakthrough year, the premium on my coaching will be worth your while. Get in touch. I do not respond to all emails straightaway, but always get back to potential clients in a timely fashion.
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
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.
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.
…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.
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.
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.
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?
I was recently listening to a podcast, and the host was describing how one of his students reported that she’d done business with a marketer who was great at bringing in new customers but didn’t offer much by way of support for existing customers.
She could have been talking about anyone. But in that moment, I felt like maybe, just maybe, she was talking about me. Because, suddenly, I started to see a missing in my own efforts. I work hard to bring in new customers, but do I work hard to keep the customers I already have? I could see that I might be falling short.
Only once have I articulated what I’m about to share with you here (and it was at The Singer-Songwriter Summit on Thursday – if you were there, glad you could make it!). To be fair, I only started to see how this would work a couple weeks ago.
Because of what I identified as a missing in my business, I created is a “Value Ladder.” That’s a technical term, and whenever I introduce a concept like that, I like to bridge the gap.
The Value Ladder is a concept I got from Russell Brunson’s DotCom Secrets. But you may already know it by another name.
A Value Ladder is like a customer journey. A sequence of steps for the customer to follow (with the customer’s needs in mind). Each step costs more, but that’s because each step offers more value.
In my business, there are four steps:
The first step is books. I have five books published, with several more at various stages of completion. This represents an excellent place for newcomers to enter the Music Entrepreneur HQ ecosystem. Books are low-cost but are packed with value.
The second step is courses. I fill my books with everything I know, but chances are you’re going to be coming away with action items after reading them. And if knowledge doesn’t translate into action, it won’t get you results in your music career. The courses show you how to practically apply what you’ve learned from my books.
The third step is personalized coaching. My courses are basically self-serve, though I’m always looking for opportunities to serve, support, and add new content. My coaching is more hands on, more personalized. I give you guidance tailored to you and your current needs. Various artists, entrepreneurs, executives, and professors have already benefited from my coaching.
The fourth and final step is the online academy. Elite Players: All Access Pass is my online academy, and just like it sounds, it gives you access to all my courses. But in addition to that, you also unlock a members only forum (where I also offer personalized coaching), exclusive video training and interviews, members only audios, tools and resources, shows, archived trainings, merch and physical products (newsletters, books, T-shirts, etc.), and discounts with my partners (AYV Music being one of them).
This all ties back to where I feel I can make the biggest difference for my customers. At each step, I pile on more value.
And now you have a roadmap you can follow from just starting out all the way to optimizing and tweaking your ongoing career efforts.
There’s still lots to do on my end, including improving my email communication at every stage. But I’m excited to assist you no matter where you find yourself today.
So, where do you find yourself on that ladder? Do you now see where I can serve you next? What actions will you be taking?
New Value-Packed Blog Posts & Podcast Episodes
Mission critical updates and resources to help you grow superfast. It’s time to get your read on!