Let Your Self-Esteem Lead the Way

Let Your Self-Esteem Lead the Way

Is there anything you’re doing in your life right now that seems like a gigantic waste of time?

As someone who is constantly experimenting, I can honestly say I’ve had more than my share of projects that have gone nowhere or have only grown marginally over the course of years and even a decade or more.

The Value of a Project

Now, the value of a project is in the eye of the beholder. And there can be rewards outside of monetary compensation that call to you, be it fulfillment, connection, impact, or contribution.

The value of a project is in the eye of the beholder. Click To Tweet

And you can never truly know the impact you’ve had or are having on your audience. You can’t know the difference you’re making in everyone’s lives.

Those who choose to be a part of the conversation are generally in the minority, and there are bound to be dozens or even hundreds who are silent in relation to those who express and voice their opinions.

Medium is the same way. We are all part of a community, and we “clap” or leave comments on each other’s articles – and it’s easier to get engagement here than on your own self-hosted WordPress blog – but you’re still not going to hear from everyone who reads your articles.

So, there can be many reasons for starting or sticking to a project. And it’s important to be mindful of those before we call it “quits” on anything.

What Happens When Your Sense of Worth Shifts?

But there’s a strange thing that starts to happen as your self-esteem increases.

When you don’t feel great about yourself, you tend to do things out of a sense of duty and obligation rather than excitement and joy. You stick to something that hasn’t yielded the expected results and keep saying to yourself “maybe tomorrow” when there may have already been hundreds or thousands of tomorrows behind you.

But when your self-esteem increases, and you begin to recognize that you are worth so much more than you’ve ever given yourself credit for, your sense of priority begins to shift.

You may feel inclined to put certain projects on pause and to stop working on others completely.

This is exactly what I’m looking at doing.

The Renegade Musician

At the top of March, I published my first newsletter/digital magazine in the form of The Renegade Musician. I have been promoting it non-stop and have been sharing a promotional video across multiple Facebook and Twitter accounts. Not to mention, I’ve referenced it in dozens of articles already.

It is perhaps too early to say, but so far, I have only had a few takers, and being a “pay what you want” offer, it has not generated any money.

The fact that I could have spent the same three to four hours cranking out two high quality News Break articles and getting fair compensation for them gave me pause.

Now, I see great potential for The Renegade Musician. It could educate my prospects on my business and the products and services I offer. It could become a great retention and referral tool.

But become is the operative word. And considering I have spent the last 12 years building an audience for just such an offer, the take up rate is just too low to be worthwhile. It is obviously a mismatch for an audience I thought I knew and understood well.

Now, every failure is a lesson. Which is why I’m not salty about this. And I have plans for The Renegade Musician, although not the plans I originally had for it. I will be talking more about this in a future story.

To be fair, you never know what the results of the campaign will be until it’s over. I’m going to give myself until the end of the month before I make a final judgment call.

The point is that the same three to four hours could have gone to something that would have had a guaranteed payoff. In the past, I may not have even made such an observation. But now that I have an increased sense of worth and confidence, I’m seeing things a little differently.

Time is not unlimited. Experimentation is worthwhile, but it’s fair to say not all experiments will have a payoff.

Letting Your Self-Esteem Lead the Way

Can you let your self-esteem lead the way?

It’s so easy to doubt yourself. And the more you doubt yourself, the less you trust yourself with future decisions. This is exactly what I was trying to communicate when I wrote As the Spirit Moves You.

If we want to increase our sense of worth, we must learn to trust ourselves more. That begins with following through on the commitments we’ve made to ourselves – big or small.

Beyond that, it’s about letting yourself take the leap, even when it seems risky.

Your next move might seem illogical to your supporters, contributors, collaborators, or even team. It might seem insane to your mastermind group, coaches, or mentors. But maybe your intuition is trying to tell you something. Maybe it’s leading you in the direction you ultimately want to and are meant to go in.

Maybe your new ideas aren’t just a flight of fancy. Maybe there’s value in letting yourself explore and experiment, even if it’s only to confirm that your new ideas don’t work.

Conclusion

I know you’ve seen me flip flop on this. Focus or experiment. Stay consistent or follow your passion.

The truth is there are different tools for different situations. And with the situation I find myself in now, I feel to let my self-esteem lead the way. I feel to trust myself.

What is something your self-esteem has led you to do? Did you follow through on it? What happened?

Let me know in the comments.

Pay what you want for the first issue of my digital magazine, The Renegade Musician.

The Renegade Musician

How to Stay with an Idea Until it’s Finished

How to Stay with an Idea Until it’s Finished

So, you’ve started a new project. And it’s gaining some traction. And now that you’ve validated your idea, you want to make sure that you stay with it until it’s finished.

But distractions abound. Ideas overflow. Information overwhelms. And at every turn, you feel as though you could be sidetracked.

Staying focused isn’t necessarily easy, and it doesn’t take much for frustration to set in.

Here are some tips on staying with an idea until it’s finished, instead of ending up with another unfinished project that sits on your hard drive.

Identify the Scope of the Project

I’m often surprised to find that even though creatives have started a new project and have found some traction with it, they haven’t defined the scope or extent of it.

No wonder so many of us end up going on a long, circuitous journey.

You need a clear goal, an objective, or a finish line for your project. Even milestones would help.

Because you could end up working on your project for a virtual eternity, never recognizing when it’s done, or when it might be good enough to publish.

So many of us assume that we will know when we have “arrived,” when we don’t even stop to celebrate the small victories we experience along the way.

Trust me when I say you will have no idea when you’ve “arrived” if you aren’t already celebrating.

You must have a clear picture of what “done” looks like, so you can work towards it, and feel like you’re making real progress.

I would not have completed by first book, The New Music Industry, if I hadn’t identified the scope of the project. And I’m glad I did because The New Music Industry has outsold all my other books combined.

By the way, making deadlines for your projects, even if they are artificial, is a focus hack all its own.

Making deadlines for your projects, even if they are artificial, is a focus hack all its own. Click To Tweet

Gamify the Process

You could also think of this as a reward and punishment system, but I don’t like the word “punishment,” and frankly, creatives and creators seem to do a good job of beating up on themselves already.

The idea would be to attach a score to the activities you do. For instance, if you’re writing a book, writing 1,000 words in a day would earn you 10 points. If you were working on an album of music, spending an hour writing songs would earn you 10 points. And so on.

Come up with a “minimum” score you’d like to meet on a given week or month. And when you exceed it, reward yourself – for instance, you could take yourself out for a nice meal.

If you do not meet the score, then put a consequence in place. Maybe 50 pushups or something like that. But it must be something you’ll do, or there’s no point in having consequences.

Now, let’s be real. Those 50 pushups might be painful, but they’re still going to benefit you. So, while the reward is much more alluring, the consequence teaches you the value of going to work on what matters. Either way, you end up winning.

Given the alternative between going for a nice meal and doing pushups, though, I’d probably choose the meal every time (I’m also a serious foodie), and work towards exceeding my minimum score weekly.

And don’t forget – there’s always a cost to leaving things unfinished. The greatest cost is the damage done to your self-esteem.

There’s always a cost to leaving things unfinished. The greatest cost is the damage done to your self-esteem. Click To Tweet

Cocoon

To some, this will sound draconian, absurd, or ridiculous.

But author Dan Kennedy is so vigilant about his time that he does not spend any time on social media or email. He asks prospects and clients to contact him via fax. And his computers at home are not connected to the internet. They are glorified typewriters.

I’m not saying you need to adopt Kennedy’s system. But you might want to set some hard boundaries in place as you’re working on your project, as you’re bound to get it done much faster in a distraction minimal environment.

You could turn notifications off on your phone. You could even leave your phone in another room while you’re working. That would be a good place to start.

What else could you do to ensure you’re working during the time you’ve set aside for work?

Could you block certain websites in your browser? Could you put a song on repeat? Could you clean up your desktop or downloads folder so it isn’t so messy?

There are many things you can try. It’s just a matter of what works for you!

By the way, if you’d like to learn more about Kennedy’s methods, have a read through No B.S. Time Management for Entrepreneurs (affiliate link).

Say “No” to Shiny Objects

Sometimes, there are no tricks or hacks powerful enough to help you stay focused. Sometimes, it’s a matter of saying “no” more often.

It has been my experience that some creatives and creators are more sensitive than the average person and find themselves succumbing to guilt and pressure. They have a hard time saying “no.”

I’d suggest having a read through Tim Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Workweek (affiliate link). If that book doesn’t reprogram your mind regarding opportunity (and opportunity cost), I don’t know what will.

One of my key takeaways from Ferriss’ book is that most of the communication you receive is not urgent. Sure, the senders will put urgency on it, but whether you add their link to your website is not a life-or-death matter, no matter how many times they cry fire.

And I don’t know about you, but most emails I receive are along the lines of:

  • Let me guest post
  • Add our link to your website
  • Promote our thing
  • Let us be on your podcast
  • We have a new study we’d like you to look at
  • Buy our SEO services
  • And so on

Rarely do I receive communication that’s personalized, relevant, and value-adding to me.

Yesterday, I shared about how you should never let your clients make your schedule for you. Don’t let your inbox make your schedule either. Because it’s just a to-do list other people can add to.

Leave time in your schedule for the things that make you come alive. And deny or put off the things that get in the way of you working on those things.

Leave time in your schedule for the things that make you come alive. And deny or put off the things that get in the way of you working on those things. Click To Tweet

Final Thoughts

Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t do everything perfectly. Trust me when I say I have created my own Duke Nukem Forever (Back on Solid Ground and Flashes of Elation come to mind – an unfinished album and book). If you don’t know that reference, Google it. 😉

The good news is I’ve also managed to release 26 songs and five books. Not bad, all things considered.

You may lose excitement for a project while you’re working on it. That’s normal. After the initial excitement has subsided, you will enter the “hard middle.” And some grinding out will be necessary. But once you get through it, and near completion, you will start to feel excited about your idea again. Observe that pattern, and then you can be in control of it.

Subscribe to my Telegram channel for more inspiration.

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.

Click on the banner below to learn more NOW.

Entrepreneurial Essentials for Musicians Masterclass

The Music Entrepreneur Code: The Origin Story

The Music Entrepreneur Code: The Origin Story

All my writing projects begin with a curiosity and a question.

When I started working on The Music Entrepreneur Code, I was curious whether I could put together a book that was self-contained, while linking out to a ton of helpful resources for anyone who needed to go a little deeper on any one principle, concept, or idea.

And so far as questions are concerned, the main question I had in mind was:

How do I get started?

I’ve heard from my audience and know that some were feeling stuck. They weren’t quite sure where to start or what they should do next.

So, with this context established, the book started taking shape rather quickly.

But there’s another event that, for me, highlighted the importance of this work.

I went to Austin, TX last summer for a musician conference.

I sat in one session that talked specifically about music entrepreneurship, wondering what I might discover.

I was dumbfounded by what I saw.

The presenters started by flashing a massive mind map on screen, talking about the dozens if not 100 or more responsibilities a music entrepreneur supposedly has.

Then, after they gave an overview, they started diving into every subheading with multiple bullet points under each.

It was boring. I was glazing over. I’m sure others in attendance were too.

It was awful. It honestly felt like an insult to me. Because what they were talking about was so separate and distinct from the joy, freedom, and fulfillment I was experiencing and committed to helping others achieve every single day.

That gave The Music Entrepreneur Code the powerful context it needed to become the fluff and B.S. free book it is.