What I’m Discovering in Limbo

What I’m Discovering in Limbo

What do you do when you’re starting to feel burnt out, your bank account is less than ideal, you’re waiting on a payment that’s being held in escrow, you need to move in two months, and as result, you can’t move certain aspects of your project forward?

This is exactly what I’ve been facing. And here’s what I’ve been discovering in limbo.

Clear Thinking & Problem Solving Go Out the Window with Burnout

You have a project, you know what the goal is, even your team knows what the goal is (having worked with you for months).

But some part of you feels responsible for things not moving. And then you feel like you should start inventing work, even if just to keep busy, or to find some ancillary activity that might end up contributing to the project.

The problem is you’re too exhausted to problem solve or come up with good ideas. So again, you return to self-blame.

But realistically, bad decisions are made when you’re tired, so adding to your workload at the wrong time might ultimately be a waste of time, energy, and resources. Only, you won’t realize this until later.

What I’ve recognized is that having a good team makes a big difference. They will help you stay on track when you feel like you’re losing sight of what matters.

A good team makes a big difference. They will help you stay on track when you feel like you’re losing sight of what matters. Click To Tweet

Backup plans can also help. If you can prepare for those times you know you won’t be able to access clear thinking, you won’t have to, because you’ll have structures in place that inform your decisions.

People Don’t Know

There’s someone on the other end of every interaction and it’s altogether too easy to forget. You never know the kind of day that person has had, what’s happening in their life, or how things have changed, even in the last 24 hours.

As we continue to embrace and get entrenched in remote work, perhaps the biggest challenge of all is you don’t know what state anyone is in, and it’s too easy to bypass the conversation altogether.

“Since I can text or email them 24/7, shouldn’t they also be at my beck and call 24/7?” It gets weird headed fast.

I was talking with my landlord just yesterday, who asked me how work was going with a tone that said, “do you ever do anything?”

And the truth is 12-hour+ days have been quite the norm with my leadership program, businesses, musical projects, and freelance writing work. And it’s been that way for months now.

Given the world we now find ourselves in, being considerate in every conversation is a practice we’d all do well to adopt. Because you just never know how others are doing.

Being considerate in every conversation is a practice we’d all do well to adopt. Click To Tweet

Cash Flow Makes Everything Possible

Some of the slowdown I’ve been experiencing is directly tied to the availability of resources. There would not have been any stalling out if cash flow wasn’t an issue.

And this is one of those classic cases I’ve talked about before.

Things are going well for me. I have enough work. And new opportunities are already starting to line up.

So, it’s not as though I don’t have a solid base income. I’d just hit a spell where too much money had gone out, and not enough money had come in. So, my hands were tied for about two weeks.

Money is not required to move every aspect of a project forward. Most of my team, in fact, are working without financial incentivization. But realistically, some things just aren’t going to get done without reinvesting in the project.

Cash flow makes everything possible. When you need to invest in a business app or some hired help, you’ll be able to spring for it. Importantly, if your needs are met, you’ll have more time and energy to dedicate to the project too.

Cash flow makes everything possible. Click To Tweet

I’m Relieved

It’s fair to say that much of the above is already starting to work itself out.

I’ve been off caffeine for four or five days and I’ve been getting to bed earlier. I also haven’t been starting work until 10 AM and hold to a hard cutoff at 9 PM (though I sometimes end earlier). I’m feeling better, bit by bit.

The payment that I’ve been waiting on finally came through. And now I need to go and celebrate.

Best of all, I think, I’ve been able to glean a few lessons from limbo. And in the future, I will have this document to refer to, should I find myself in limbo again.

See what else I’m up to.

Making Your Artistic Ambitions a Reality in 2022

Making Your Artistic Ambitions a Reality in 2022

An earlier post on this topic struck a chord with readers. So, following it up with a more in-depth look at making your artistic ambitions a reality is necessary.

I am a champion of artistic success, and as such, you can think of me as your cheerleader, though you will never see me in tantalizing short skirts. It simply isn’t my style. Which isn’t to say there’s anything wrong with that.

Before I commit to digital ink anything else I might privately chuckle at and publicly regret, let’s move right into the key steps that will have you effective in reaching your 2022 objectives.

1. Create Your Unfolding Plan

No, not a plan. An unfolding plan.

And while some might argue that’s little more than semantics, I have personally experienced and observed the difference an unfolding plan can make, especially compared to the usual rigmarole of setting New Years Resolutions and hoping and praying they will manifest all on their own. If you’re a proponent of laziness and sloth, this article is not for you, and you would be better served with mainstream spiritual shlock.

One of the all-time best-selling authors said:

Begin with the end of mind.

Who was it? Author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey. You would not be any worse off reading his volume, paying careful attention to Covey’s quadrants, which are the definitive pillars of personal productivity.

The unfolding plan, as you’ve surely inferred already, begins with the end in mind and is unfolded from there.

How to Set Up Your Unfolding Plan

The basic framework is as follows:

  1. Look three months ahead. What will you have accomplished? Envision it in rich detail, including the celebration party that follows, and write it all down as a done deal (e.g., “we have launched a New York Times best-selling book”).
  2. What will you have accomplished in month one (first milestone) to have gotten the outcome defined in the final step? Write that down.
  3. What will you have accomplished in month two (second milestone) to have gotten the outcome defined in the final step? Write that down.
  4. What are the weekly actions that will support you in reaching your milestones and outcome? Create these actions as promises, requests (of others), and conversations to be had.
  5. Create a space to document your accomplishments, update as you go, and review them often. You will be surprised and amazed at what ultimately gets done.

2. Build Your Team

We’re all lone wolves. Only some are willing to admit it.

We’re all lone wolves. Only some are willing to admit it. Click To Tweet

You will get better results in your endeavors if you allow others to contribute to you and your projects.

Though I’m harping on a point I’ve raised many times already, fundamentally your team can take any form. Not everyone on your team needs to be a paid employee, but ideally, they are personally incentivized.

Today, you have access to:

Hold weekly meetings and ask plenty of questions. Listen to the answers. The ideas you generate together will far surpass anything you can conceivably come up on your own.

Never micromanage. It’s a waste of your time, and it just annoys others when you don’t give them the space and time to fulfill on their promises. Don’t manage people – instead, manage promises and commitments.

And at the risk of sounding trendy, regularly ask “who?” not “how?”

How to Build Your Team

Place a phone call. Be direct in sharing why you’re calling and what the conversation is going to be about. Share your idea and invite them to contribute. Whether you get a “yes” or “no,” accept the answer graciously. The outcome isn’t as important as the action taken. Keep making calls until you have a team of six.

Always take the time to get into their world and ask what’s important to them. There’s a way to help them get what they want through their participation in your project, and it’s your job to identify how that’s going to work.

3. Move Projects Forward with Urgent Concurrency

I’m an adventurer, looking for answers to the questions of creatives in a variety of niches, fields, and industries. This answer must be credited to author Dan Kennedy, and if you can still get in, a subscription to Magnetic Marketing will stimulate viable actions and enrich your creativity prolifically.

“Successful people don’t do one thing, step by step, as we are taught in school,” says Kennedy. “They move multiple projects forward with great urgency.” This discovery was also mentioned in my holiday reflections, and it has been my modus operandi from the moment I heard it.

I run multiple businesses, write daily blog posts, participate in community projects, hold down multiple staff writing and ghostwriting contracts, make music, engage in personal development (I’m currently in a yearlong leadership program), and still have time enough to work out three times per week, keep a social life, and wind down for a couple of hours at the end of each day.

How to Move Projects Forward with Urgency Concurrency

Perfectionism will not serve you. Learn when something is “good enough” and get used to publishing. The only way to get used to publishing is to publish regularly.

Have a start and end time for every activity in your life. Say, “X project must be done by Y time” and be unreasonable with yourself.

Minimize calls, meetings, and other distractions that might take you away from actioning your plan. Commit to weekly progress with every project.

Also see: How to Move Multiple Projects Forward Powerfully

Additional Resources

We often assume complete freedom and crystal clarity in moving forward with next steps in our artistic career when we haven’t done the hard work of reflecting on the year past and identifying where and why we’re constrained.

If this describes you, you will profit from a read of my Start Your Year the Right Way, in which targeted prompts will guide you through exercises to complete years past so you are free and clear to act now in the present.

Final Thoughts

If you are looking for further guidance on the topic, a perusal of my products and services will serve you. I am always adding new solutions to help creatives just like you, and while I’m not affordable, I am worthwhile. Set yourself up to reach your 2022 objectives with flying colors.

What have you taken on in 2022? What do you intend to accomplish? What structures and systems have you implemented?

What Can You Delegate in Your Music Career?

What Can You Delegate in Your Music Career?

Some things in your music career can be delegated. If you’re reluctant to give something up, and it isn’t practical to automate it, then there is the chance that delegation would work for you.

Delegation is sometimes thought of as a form of automation, and I can’t argue that point. But it’s human automation, and to that extent, you need to be clear that there’s a real person working on the tasks you’ve given them, and like all people, they have needs. They like to be rewarded and acknowledged for their work, and they want to be treated well.

But I’ve never been too quick to define delegation as giving tasks to your employees (or virtual assistant) to complete them. Let’s face it – there are a lot of people that could be helping you with your career activity. Many people are just waiting for the call! And if you don’t believe me, go make some calls now. The reading will wait.

I’ve already talked about how my team works with me without financial incentive. Now, there are other benefits and incentives for my team members, and it’s not my long-term plan, but the yearlong leadership program I’m taking requires that I create teams around everything I do in life, and so far, this is what it has looked like.

I’ve had team members schedule tweets, find contact information for podcasters (so we could pitch them), make graphics, write articles and press releases, feature me on their blogs, and more.

What activities could you be delegating to your team?

Scheduling Facebook posts? Bookkeeping? Sending out weekly emails to your fans?

Assuming you trust the person, you’re working with, and they’re willing to help, you can delegate just about anything!

Of course, delegation works no matter what form your team takes. You just need to train your team members and offer support as needed.

Delegating tasks might seem scary at first. But it’s an important step in developing your leadership, and I believe every musician should experience what it feels like to delegate a task to another.

How to Show Your Music Career Team How to do Anything

How to Show Your Music Career Team How to do Anything

We’ve talked about how your music career team can take any shape.

But how exactly do you a show a new team member how to complete a task?

Do you just leave them to their own devices to figure it all out?

This process is easy to overcomplicate, but it can be quite simple.

What I’m about to share with you is something I learned from SuperFastBusiness founder and CEO James Schramko. I can’t take credit for any of it, but having used it with my own team, I can tell you right now that it does work!

Schramko summarizes it like this:

I do, we do, you do.

And all it takes is a quick 15-minute video conference (longer depending on the task) to show your team member how something is done your way.

Here’s what you do once you’re both on the call:

Step #1 – I Do

If it’s a task you’ve become intimately familiar with, you should be able to show someone else how to do it, right?

So, the first thing you need to do is show your team member your process. Take them through each step in the task, from start to finish.

Once you’ve completed this step, ask them if they have any questions.

Step #2 – We Do

Now it’s time to go through the task together. Ask questions as you go and try to get your team member to remember the steps as you’re doing them. But don’t make them wrong if they don’t remember all the steps. You’ve only shown them once, remember? Plus, you’re supposed to be working together.

Once you’ve completed this step, confirm that they’ve understood the steps involved. Ask them if they have any questions and answer them.

Step #3 – You Do

It’s time for your team member to demonstrate whether they were paying attention and if they can do the task all on their own. Have them show you that they know how to complete the task in the expected manner.

If they do everything right, they’re ready to take over the task for good (really!).

If they miss a step or still aren’t quite sure, repeat step #2 until all the key details sink in, and have them go through step #3 again.

Now You Can Teach Your Music Career Team to do Anything!

That’s all there is to it! Sound too easy? Well, just be grateful that someone went to the trouble of figuring this out, so you didn’t have to, because this process works.

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.

Your Music Career Team Can Take Any Shape

Your Music Career Team Can Take Any Shape

In the last six months or so, I’ve proven to myself that you can you create a team from scratch and have them engaged and in action without pay.

This is not a guide on how to take advantage of people, though, so go elsewhere if that’s what you’re looking for.

As a leader, I make it my mission to know what’s important to my team, and to create opportunities where possible. And I’ve done just that. I’ve helped my team members book speaking engagements, get clients, and form new connections. I’ve given them opportunities to learn and to grow too.

Have all my team members been engaged and in action the whole time? No. Have any of them done way more than expected? No. But my sister is scheduling my tweets for crying out loud. I’m touched by my team’s participation, and I don’t minimize their contribution.

Where I used to get stuck was in trying to do everything perfectly. That is, until I learned that leadership isn’t about managing people. It’s about managing promises.

Like I said before, letting go of perfectionism is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Because you’ll be less constrained in thinking everything must be a certain way. That goes for your team, too.

I’m starting to discover for myself that letting go of the way things are “supposed to be” is access to freedom in choosing and enjoying all my work. Really, it applies to every area of life, not just work.

If I want to start something new, I can do that. If I want to delete or eliminate a project, I can do that. I don’t need to give my loyalty to unhealthy relationships, whether that’s relationships to people, food, projects, businesses, or otherwise!

Today, I am free.

And you are free to create your own team how you want. It doesn’t need to look a certain way. You can work with friends, freelancers, or employees. You can outsource your work, or you can find an agency. You can take a combination of approaches. Not all options are suitable to all people or all situations. But knowing there are options can be freeing.

You’re ready to start your team. And remember – it’s not about the people, but rather the actions they’ve committed to. That’s the only part that needs to be managed. Never manage character.

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.