That’s a difficult question to answer when you really get into it.
Because you might identify with your gender, your religion, your job, your bank account, your family…
And all these things are you, but at a deeper level, they aren’t. They are just the things and the people you’re surrounded by every day.
What we’d do well to recognize is that word creates world.
At first, this is going to seem like woo-woo nonsense. Because you don’t just say, “I’m a millionaire” and automatically become one overnight. The stacks don’t just land in your lap. The world doesn’t work that way, does it?
But the thing about the way we communicate is that we often talk about things through the lens of the past.
And the tell-tale sign is the way we start sentences with these kinds of phrases:
“Based on my experience…”
“What happened last time was…”
“It’s never gone that way before…”
“I’m always this way…”
“They’re always that way…”
“This is always how it turns out…”
What you can tell right away is that whatever follows these phrases is going to be based on some experience that’s already occurred, not based on what you’re wanting to create in your present and future.
What you might not be able to tell without examining a little deeper is that you’re creating your world with these sentences. You’re saying, “the world is this way, that’s the way it is, and that’s the way it will always be.”
So, it might seem like semantics, it might seem a little rigorous, but when we give up our judgment of what we think will happen – which is based on memories, which are unreliable to begin with – we can be more intentional about the process of creating things the way we want them to be.
We can start looking at the world with no lenses. And creating from nothing is the most powerful mode of creation.
You can create yourself as a musician or you can create yourself as a music entrepreneur.
It’s not about judgment, or criticism, or what others might say about your self-identification. It’s about living into the possibility you’re now creating.
We can say we’re aspiring, or amateur, or we can begin creating ourselves as professional. “I am someone whose work is valuable, and I get paid for my work.” You can begin living into that possibility now.
This is not about creating some made-up identity or insisting that others see you a certain way. It’s not about victimhood. It’s about being in power. Being rigorous around your language and living into a future that’s created rather than a future by default.
I’ve been asked before “Why music entrepreneurship?”
And I respond by saying, “Because it sounds like something you’d want to identify as. It’s empowering.”
But again, it’s not just about identification. If promises and requests don’t follow, then there is no power in the creation. It’s about living into the world you’re creating. That’s the part that I want you to get.
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.
But it’s remarkably easy to focus on past failures and assume things will turn out much the same as they did before.
If you didn’t learn anything from past failures, then you may repeat similar failures. But if you carry what you’ve discovered into new projects, then this is not an inevitable outcome.
If you remain in fear, then you may not advance. But if you are committed, bold in your actions, and do what you know you need to do regardless of emotion, you will break through the glass ceiling.
This isn’t to say that whatever you do next will be a runaway success. But what you learn from what you do next could help you find the next step, and then the next, and then the next.
You may have done things a certain way in the past. And you found out what didn’t work.
But you can’t assume you will repeat those failures. Because then you’re giving into fear. You’re giving into something that hasn’t even happened yet.
I have a friend who was fearful of getting more client bookings, because she was worried that she might slip into the old behavior of overbooking herself. And I reminded her that she is in control of her time. She gets to decide when she takes bookings, and how many. You can’t let clients decide that.
Not to mention, when you’re already booked up, people tend to assume you must be good at what you do and are happy to get on your waiting list.
It’s easy to give into the pressure, or even guilt of having to service all the people that come to you with requests. The more people that know, like, and trust you, the more people will put a demand on your time.
But you don’t need to say “yes” to everything, and you can process requests on a case-by-case basis.
Pounce on the few things that excite you. Set aside the majority that don’t.
Because when you say “yes” to something, you are always saying “no” to something else.
It’s okay to leave time in your schedule. You don’t need to feel guilty about it.
Your past is not a measuring stick of what’s possible now.
P.S. My new course, the Entrepreneurial Essentials for Musicians Masterclass is available.
This course equips you with practical and timeless mindset advice, along with the skills necessary to make your own way in the music business.
Most of the time, we rely on the past to inform present decisions.
But if you’ve spent any time in personal development, then you’ve probably heard something along these lines before:
The past is a bad way to measure how your present or future is going to play out.
This is both true and false.
It’s true because your future doesn’t have to look like your past did.
It’s false because most of us wake up and re-presence ourselves to our past. So, living as we always have becomes a habit. And it becomes a process of choosing from what’s “safe”, an increasingly smaller pool of decisions as life progresses.
Any thoughts we reinforce through repetition crystallize into emotion and are then stored in our body.
Have you ever woken up from a night’s rest to find your mind is clear, only to become aware of all your problems, one by one, all over again?
So, what happened there? Did your problems go away while you were sleeping? Did you make them your problems again by reminding yourself of them?
As it turns out, it wouldn’t be too much of an exaggeration to say that’s exactly what happened!
So, we go through our day reminding ourselves of the past, making past-based decisions. Since 95% of our thoughts are automatic, it must be so.
Now, it’s easy to justify past-based decisions.
“When I did X, Y happened, and that resulted in Z, which I never want in my life again.”
And that’s fine if:
“When I touched the stove, it hurt, and that resulted in a burn, which I never want in my life again.”
This past-based thinking is serving you.
But it doesn’t quite work out when it’s:
“When I got into a relationship, we ended up breaking up, and that resulted in a painful divorce, which I never want in my life again.”
“When I invested in a business, it ended up tanking, and that resulted in me losing all my money, which I never want in my life again.”
X doesn’t automatically mean Y or Z, virtually ever.
The outcomes aren’t automatic. Because let’s face it – the more thoughts like these we stack onto each other, the safer life becomes. The safer life becomes, the fewer risks or chances we take. The past becomes the present, and then the present becomes the future.
We do have a choice in the matter though.
As Dr. Joe DIspenza says, we can program ourselves to remind ourselves of the future rather than the past.
But… how do we remind ourselves of the future? By creating it.
As it turns out, the process of thinking about our past, or imagining future events are both interpreted the same by the mind and the body.
I’m seeing the value of making future-based decisions in my own life.
I’m taking chances I wouldn’t normally take. And I’m seeing opportunities I wasn’t present to before.
Concepts that I didn’t understand, or mistakes I wasn’t conscious to are becoming clearer.
That’s another powerful byproduct of understanding your programming. You can identify areas for improvement without much effort.
Basically, when you’re clear on where you’re headed, the steps you need to take to get to where you want to go become near unconscious.
Dr. Dispenza’s meditations have proven crucial in helping me get to this point. And it’s only been about a week since I started. There’s so much more to unlock.
But if you’re confident in your future, you can make choices that are better aligned with your goals. Choices that may have seemed risky or chancy based on your past, but choices that will guide you to where you want to go.
After all, who said getting to where you wanted to go would be all smooth sailing? The only thing we know for sure is an adventure is about to unfold. And isn’t it better to feel alive than to be stuck in your “safe” behaviors and habits?
Shh… Don’t tell anyone. Only the cool kids are talking about it.
In our efforts to look good or avoid looking bad, we often glance over our shortcomings and failures.
And we’ve got the best excuses too.
“It makes me look better in the eyes of my customers.”
“It just sounds better that way.”
See, the weird part about this is that no one can go back in your past and verify what happened.
Sure, there may have been bystanders. But like a game of telephone, these memories are often remembered differently by those involved.
It’s basically the entire premise behind Loudwire’s Wikipedia Fact or Fiction? where they repeatedly find Wikipedia entries that have errors in them.
I’ve often been transparent about my wins and shortcomings as well.
I’m not sure I can say the same for my peers in the same industry, who are always putting a spin on their stories… Exaggerating to make themselves look good.
What difference does your past ultimately make if, at the end of the day, you’ve made it? Why CAN’T you talk about the struggle?
The fact that you lie about your past makes me question you more.
All things being equal, I’d rather do business with someone who says it like it is instead of beating around the bush.
Because frankly, if you can’t tell the truth about your past, I don’t know what else you’re liable to lie about.
I could sit here and tell you that I’m a five-time self-published, three-time best-selling author. I could talk about the fact that I’m a CCM and Antidote featured musician who’s had an iTunes charting single overseas. Or I could even get into the fact that I’ve been podcasting for 11 years, making music for 24 years, and making websites for 25 years.
Sure, that’s the tip of the iceberg of what makes me awesome. But none of it has made me famous. It hasn’t turned me into a millionaire either. But I can be REAL about that. That’s the difference.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t talk about our victories. I also don’t think we need to go on and on about our sob stories. But we should be able to admit the things that sucked and say they sucked without feeling like that discredits us completely.
Are you a 40-year-old virgin? Stand proud!
Did your first marriage fail? You’re not alone!
Is depression a constant struggle for you? Some quick searches online reveal even Eminem, Lady Gaga, Demi Lovato, and Britney Spears have endured trying times in their lives!
And the worst part about reinventing your past is this…
You keep living in the past instead of embracing the future you’re stepping into.
Instead of focusing on the things you want, you end up focusing on the things you don’t want. All your creative energy ends up going towards polishing poo.
I get that my perspective is maybe a little controversial. A little contrarian. Going against the “wisdom” of positioning yourself as an attractive, capable, hero your fans and followers will love.
But to be honest, what makes heroes inspiring is not that they’re perfect…
It’s that they failed miserably and repeatedly and had to figure out how to gain mastery over themselves. It’s that they had to pick themselves up from defeat and say, “I don’t care how many times I get punched, I’m going to keep getting back up.”
THAT, to me, is rock and roll.
I don’t want to hear about your perfect life because I know it’s not real.
Shh… Don’t tell anyone. Only the cool kids are talking about it.