You empowered your team. You set them up with all the resources you could have possibly set them up with to get the job done correctly. You gave them the style guide, external links, and a brief including all the relevant keywords.
But the deliverable doesn’t meet expectations. So, naturally, you feel you have the right to come down hard on your team. “Do this, change that, why wasn’t this explained better,” and so on.
Indeed, approval is a process, and the first draft isn’t always the spitting image of perfection incarnate. Some patience is required during the editing phase.
But there is a point at which you’re crossing a line from editing and polishing into nitpicking and torturing.
I always find it funny when a client wants me to delete a comma. It would have been quicker for them to use their own time for discretionary editing.
What was supposed to be a 1,200-word post suddenly balloons into 1,500 words. All the while, the back and forth isn’t necessarily getting all the rather subjective issues resolved.
Who is the final decision maker? Once the project has reached 80% integrity, it would be in the best interest of efficiency to have a designated master editor make the final tweaks.
Everyone wants things a certain way. But no one person would ever agree on all changes and revisions. That’s why you need a designated master editor. Once the project has passed the editor’s filters, it should be considered complete.
Think about how this applies to your projects and leadership. Is there a structure missing? What is your plan?
The projects I take on are often perceived as “fun” or “glamorous,” presumably because they are usually related to music, creativity, performance, or entertainment in some capacity.
But music is not any less work than anything else. You cannot get good at it without treating it like a full-time job, or at the very least, a very serious part-time job.
No one in their right mind says, “after my 9 – 6, I’m going to go home, have supper, and practice my guitar for six hours.” But these are the very virtuosos you see on YouTube, some not even famous. What they’re doing requires an immense amount of focus, dedication, and hard work.
You can’t go to the clubs, hang out with friends, or lay on the beach if you’re practicing guitar six hours per night. Once you’ve paid your dues at the day job, the only thing waiting for you at home is a music stand, your practice material, and maybe a notebook to jot your ideas down.
And if you’ve ever heard a musician practice… oh boy. It looks like playing something the wrong way, repeatedly, for hours, sometimes days (or weeks, or months, or years) on end, until you can finally play it correctly. Talk about agony.
Just because something appears “fun” doesn’t mean it takes any less work. It’s usually the opposite. If you want to become a master of your craft, you can’t let anything get in the way of your commitment. And if you want to stand out in a profession others consider “fun” and “easy,” you can bet you’ve got your work cut out for you.
My projects get done because I take them seriously, just as any entrepreneur would. I no longer think about whether I’m passionate about what I do. I decide to be passionate about what I do, simply because I’m doing it.
Come spend a week with me some time. Then you can be the judge of whether what I do is any fun.
I’ve made a commitment to creating the life I love through my creativity. And that means doing whatever it takes. If I have fun along the way, I count it as a bonus. But it doesn’t mean I don’t encounter challenges or go through an array or emotions as I’m doing it (I’ve simply found that being emotional about everything wastes precious energy). I’m human. I go through everything you can imagine me going through.
An unreasonable commitment to showing up and doing the work is what has gotten me to where I am. Without integrity in what I do, I would not even enjoy the humble success I have today. And I am nothing if not a work in progress when it comes to integrity.
I never quite know where my holiday reflections might take me.
As I shared the other day, I’ve been thinking seriously about a change in direction, specifically in my work life. Chiefly, I’m not happy about one of my partnerships, and I’m going to be letting it go.
I’ve had to think long and hard about my next steps, as I will need to replace a good chunk of my income.
The answer I’ve arrived at surprised even me, because I’m looking at doubling down on two to three avenues, with one of them being podcasting.
Why is that surprising? Because, at times, I’ve felt a little burned out on podcasting (especially in 2022).
But for some reason, I haven’t quite been able to shake the image of myself talking into a microphone (while capturing the sessions on video). As one of my friends pointed out, I am good at it, and I have a ton of experience behind me.
Doubling down on podcasting will doubtless mean creating far more content, not just for one podcast, but multiple podcasts. And I have shared a little bit about one of my new projects earlier this month.
Even with all the burning out, I’m honestly excited about exploring the outer reaches of what’s possible with podcasting again. I’m tired of stagnating and getting nowhere with some of my endeavors, and I could be wrong, but I feel like the only thing between me, and my goals is more visibility. If people knew me and knew about my products, the puzzle pieces would begin to fall into place.
There is no other content channel – at least none that I’m aware of – that allows you to distribute your content to so many places at once without a ton of manual labor. Apple Music, Amazon Music, Spotify, and many others. And, if you’re thinking about live streaming your show (as I am), you can easily roll destinations like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter into your mix too.
So, I’m declaring 2023 the year of the podcast. I’ll be exploring every possible avenue for collaboration, syndication, and monetization. Join me on this journey, won’t you?
In the leadership program I’m currently in, we create everything as a “game.”
Even things that we might normally call “work” in daily life are created instead as games.
Since everything is created in language, this simple shift in terminology from “projects” and “goals” to “games” is more powerful than you might think.
Think about it…
What we know about the structure of a game is that:
- They have rules
- They have players
- There’s a scoreboard
- It’s clear when you’ve won, as well as when you’ve lost
- You can’t always win
- Games are fun!
What’s powerful about generating our tasks and projects as games is that this tends to eliminate a lot of fogginess and uncertainty about setting goals and managing projects in general.
Everything I’ve said about games is applicable to goals and projects. They have rules and players, there’s a scoreboard, it’s obvious when you’ve completed the project (or at least it should be), and you don’t always reach your goals.
But what about “fun” you ask?
That’s up to you. But the shift in terminology can help. The change from “I have three goals I’m working on” to “I’m playing three games” is more significant than you might think.
Now, practically speaking, this may sound or appear irresponsible to those around you.
“You’re playing games? I thought you had work to do. Don’t flaunt your privilege!”
Let them in on the secret you’ve discovered. That everything in life is a game. Because when you create your projects as games, the murkiness tends to go away. Plus, you have more fun on the journey to getting to where you want to go in your music career.
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.
And everything we’ve accomplished to this point.
Only two months ago, there was no team. Only connections and relationships that were at the beginning stages of forming, or collaborations that had yet to develop.
Now we have a small community of amazing people that chip in and pitch in as they’re able. And the community is growing.
Only two months ago, I didn’t have many collaborators.
Now I have a team that writes press releases and articles, designs banners, shares my content on their blogs, interviews me for their blogs, promotes our projects on social media, and more.
And when I look at all we’ve accomplished to this point, and all we can accomplish together, I couldn’t be more grateful. Results be damned. I can’t control them anyway. I acknowledge and celebrate my team, regardless of results. Because the team is amazing.
In a time when I’ve felt exhausted, anxious, even panicked at times (and the darkness can so easily set in) – I’ve had to remind myself, “I get to work with these amazing people!” And the level of support I’ve received and felt has been nothing short of touching and inspiring (and now I know what it means to receive).
I see how far we’ve come, and how much further we can go.
I’ve also gotten to see just how far I am from perfect, though it’s an arbitrary concept to begin with. And I get to admit it anyway, which is more freeing and liberating than one might be inclined to think.
I get to learn and to discover. To open myself and my projects to criticism and feedback. To assess different ideas. To see what works, and what doesn’t. It’s a playground. It’s a game. And I get to play.
I forget that sometimes. Some days it feels too much like work. And collaborating with my team is the furthest thing from work. It’s play.
As with any other game, we get to strategize, to try different approaches, and evaluate our score against our promised outcomes. It’s fun.
So, I acknowledge and celebrate my team. And I acknowledge myself for taking a chance to build it.