My 3 Words for 2022

My 3 Words for 2022

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 Secrets was 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 Code was 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.

Past Reflections

2015 – Profit, Outreach, Expansion (planted some important seeds)
2016 – Flow, Create, Helpfulness (an unfocused year)
2017 – Adventure, Collaboration, Health (a challenging but awesome year)
2018 – War, Initiative, Connection (a year that started weak and ended strong)
2019 – Confidence, Breakthrough, Fulfillment (a year of intense personal growth)
2020 – Completion, Curation, Synthesize (a year to find my North Star)
2021 – Maximize, Optimize, Experiment (a breakthrough year in production, productivity, validation, team, and communication)

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.

Final Thoughts

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.

My 3 Words for 2021

My 3 Words for 2021

Since 2006, Chris Brogan (refer to his post for best practices) has been advising ambitious creatives and creators to choose three words for the year instead of setting New Year resolutions.

I have been following in those traditions since 2015 and have enjoyed sharing my adventures and discoveries along the way.

I used to obsess over New Year content at Music Entrepreneur HQ, where I published past reflections. We’re doing things a little differently this year at the HQ, but I wanted to carry on with the ritual, and this seems like as good a place as any to share.

Here are my three words for 2021.

Past Reflections

2015 – Profit, Outreach, Expansion (planted some important seeds)
2016 – Flow, Create, Helpfulness (an unfocused year)
2017 – Adventure, Collaboration, Health (a challenging but awesome year)
2018 – War, Initiative, Connection (a year that started weak and ended strong)
2019 – Confidence, Breakthrough, Fulfillment (a year of intense personal growth)
2020 – Completion, Curation, Synthesize (a year to find my North Star)

Reflecting on my 3 Words from 2020

Completion – I was hopeful that I would bring completion to projects that have been gnawing at me for years. The only project I can honestly say I brought completion to was The Music Entrepreneur Code (as well as its companion course), and while proud of that achievement, I think it’s a far cry from what I had in mind. But what I learned as result of busying myself with this, that, and the other is just how scattered and un-systematized different aspects of my work and life were. It’s important to achieve clarity on the scope of every project you take on, so that you know what to do, what get results, and when you can call something “done.”

Curation – At first brush, as I reflected on 2020, I didn’t identify it as a year of curation at all. But now I see that I was beginning to gather and collate the resources I would ultimately be curating and sharing in 2021. Though I still find myself reinventing the wheel at times, I’m beginning to look at my work quite a bit differently. I realize the importance of the Dream 100, at least to the extent that modeling the content that has already worked is going to be a better use of your time than dreaming up something your audience may or may not be interested in.

Synthesize – Synthesizing information across industries is something I’ve been doing for years. Based on results, I’m not sure that the Music Entrepreneur HQ audience finds much value in it. But those reading my daily posts seem to enjoy it. I don’t think synthesis is going to be a major theme going forward, but probably something I will continue to do (rather naturally) because I enjoy it.

My 3 Words for 2021

Maximize – I’d like to make the most of the resources and assets I’ve got. It’s tempting to reinvent the wheel, simply because I’ve got so many ideas to share. But it’s important to do what works, not just what seems like a good idea in the moment. With the creation of The Renegade Musician digital magazine, I have already begun the process of getting the most from what I’ve got. My weekly digests and #StrategySunday posts serve similar purposes.

Optimize – I put together a YearSheet for Music Entrepreneur HQ, because it’s clear what I’ve done to this point hasn’t done much to grow the business. So, I knew that it was time to take a different approach. I needed to come at this problem from a “higher mind,” so I put my executive cap on and thought about what we would do differently, as I was imagining discussing the issues with stakeholders and a board of advisors. And the decisions I’ve made so far have increased session duration and reduced bounce rate on the website. I think we still have a long way to go, but this is optimization in motion.

(Also, based on what’s happening in the music industry, it’s entirely possible that traffic to Music Entrepreneur HQ could crater for a while.)

Experiment – I don’t think I’m just looking to experiment. I’m looking to refine gradually (Kaizen) and maybe even pivot. But I could only have that perspective having come this far into the year. Although the exact details have yet to reveal themselves, I think I’m going to be working towards appealing to a broader base of creatives and creators (hmm… what in the world could I be doing on Medium and News Break I wonder?), and I may even be working my way into journalism and broadcasting on a more visible level.

Final Thoughts

Well, I know we’re three months into the year already, but as they say, better late than never, right?

I’m a bit stubborn when it comes to rituals like this, so I knew I wanted to work it into my publishing schedule, I just wasn’t sure when I ultimately would.

Either way, I hope you enjoyed this, and I hope you select three words for yourself. If you do, respond to this article and let me know!

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

The Renegade Musician

#StrategySunday – Your Questions Answered

#StrategySunday – Your Questions Answered

No, you’re not seeing things. Today is NOT #StrategySunday.

But I had several questions regarding #StrategySunday I wanted to dedicate some space to.

And instead of answering them one at a time, I thought I would address them all at once.

So, if you’ve ever had questions regarding #StrategySunday, enjoy this Q&A!

How do You Record Your Minutes?

Before leaving Calgary in October 2019, I made a few purchases to assist my journey as a digital nomad.

In addition to a new laptop, I also bought an iPad Pro, an Antbox iPad case, and an Apple Pencil (affiliate links).

A friend showed me his iPad and Apple Pencil at a conference in summer 2019, and that was enough to convince me that I needed my own.

The Apple Pencil got me back into the simple joys of drawing again, and that served as my late-night hobby for a while.

But I mainly bought the iPad and Apple Pencil for two reasons – to take notes, and to read Kindle books. And that is primarily how I’ve used these tools since arriving in Abbotsford.

I have done a lot of journaling inside my iPad, to where my Notes app suffers slowdown from too many files(!).

Anyway, this is still where I log my minutes. And when I’m ready to transfer them over to a blog post, I simply review what I’ve written in my notes, and type them up inside a Word doc on my laptop.

I figured you’d want to see what my notes look like, which is why I’ve included a picture. Enjoy.

#StrategySunday notes

(By the way, I tend to be platform agnostic and am not an Apple fanboy.)

How do You Speculate on Possibilities?

Within my #StrategySunday posts, you may have noticed the mention of “speculating on possibilities.”

I’ve shared a little bit about how this works in an earlier post on using a journal to boost your creativity.

Sounds innocuous enough, I’m sure. But I have personally had more success with speculating on possibilities than trying to come up with answers and strategies for everything.

There’s more freedom in speculating on possibilities than there is in forcing yourself to come up with instant solutions.

There’s more freedom in speculating on possibilities than there is in forcing yourself to come up with instant solutions. Click To Tweet

Consider the difference between these two prompts:

  • Draw an apple, and draw it exactly as shown in my own drawing colors and all
  • Draw an apple – assuming you draw an apple, you can go about it however you want

The first prompt is restrictive. It carries with it a “do it my way OR ELSE” kind of vibe. The teacher is setting you up for failure by forcing you to follow their example.

The second prompt is freer. You know that you need to draw an apple, but you can go about the process in your own way.

Basically, there’s a difference between “how could I solve this problem?” and “what are some things I could do…”

I’ve had a lot of success with speculating on possibilities versus forming perfect answers, so that’s my process. And I’m quick to implement too!

What is Weekflow?

I’ve been coining a lot of terms as of late. I call these “concepts.”

I don’t expect all of them to stick. I tend to ditch those that don’t resonate with my audience. I have a feeling concepts like #StrategySunday, YearSheet, and Effectiveness Diagnostic are here to stay though…

Anyway, let’s talk about Weekflow.

Much has been said about batch processing (bulk tasking). If you don’t know anything about it, then reference the Chris Ducker article I’ve linked up for you.

Now, batching is a great way to ensure you have a specific focus for your days. It can help you be more productive overall because it tends to cut down on task switching and unnecessary distractions.

But Weekflow requires that you think strategically about how you’re batching, what you’re batching, and when.

If, for example, you’ve set aside Monday for writing blog posts and Tuesday for editing, formatting, and scheduling blog posts, then you’d need to ensure you don’t have any Monday deadlines you’d miss because you weren’t thinking far enough ahead. To meet the deadline, you would need to write, edit, format, and schedule all on the same day!

It’s critical that you know how one task flows into another (got it?).

Here’s another example. If you have a meeting on Wednesday that you need to prepare for, but your batching efforts don’t leave adequate time to be ready for that Wednesday meeting, your Weekflow is broken.

This is the main issue I’ve seen with batch processing. With Weekflow, you can account for such contingencies and ensure that you’re seeing what’s coming instead of being productive for productivity’s sake.

Final Thoughts

To summarize:

  • I log my minutes inside my iPad, using my Apple Pencil
  • Speculating on possibilities means to brainstorm and consider your options instead of getting hung up on being perfect
  • Weekflow means to ensure there’s a proper flow and order to your week, like an assembly line

I hope your #StrategySunday questions were answered, but if there’s anything else you’d like to know, be sure to let me know.

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P.S. My new course, the Entrepreneurial Essentials for Musicians Masterclass is available.

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How to Set Up Your YearSheet & Leverage it to the Max

How to Set Up Your YearSheet & Leverage it to the Max

Here’s something I’m especially excited about. My YearSheet!

Of course, I recently coined the term, so you probably only have a vague sense of what I’m talking about or why you should be interested.

So, that’s what I’m going to get into here.

What is a YearSheet?

A YearSheet is like a summation of a highly effective general annual meeting – “highly effective” being the key term here since most meetings aren’t.

If you’re a solopreneur, then you would do this meeting by yourself. If you have a small team, you might ask for their input. If you have a mentor or mastermind group, ask for their help. And so forth.

Regardless of your situation, doing an annual review can help you refocus and identify whether you are staying on the rails you’ve laid for yourself or if you’re off in the weeds.

The goal of a YearSheet is to establish a high-level view of what you’re looking to accomplish in your projects in the year ahead, as well as the overall direction you want to be moving in. You’re not reinventing the wheel – you’re just looking for ways to ensure progress in your chosen direction.

The goal of a YearSheet is to establish a high-level view of what you’re looking to accomplish in your projects in the year ahead, as well as the overall direction you want to be moving in. Click To Tweet

(Note: You may want to set up a separate YearSheet for every project or area of life you’re developing a vision for.)

It’s okay to include specifics in your YearSheet as well. Just don’t make it a to-do list. Save those items for your to-do list.

How to Set Up Your YearSheet

As with your LifeSheet, you should set up your YearSheet in a way that makes sense to you.

That said, I recommend using a Google Doc rather than a Google Sheet for your YearSheet, as it’s less about data entry and more about capturing a high-level view of your project that will guide your actions throughout the year.

There is another reason I recommend creating this in Google Docs though. My first YearSheet was created in Microsoft Word, and because I did not save it, I ended up losing it (thanks Windows 10 and your erratic auto-restarting behavior!).

Anyway, be sure to use an appropriate title for your YearSheet. Remember – the reason it’s called a YearSheet is because it’s meant to guide your actions for the year – not for the rest of your life.

One of my YearSheets is called “Music Entrepreneur HQ YearSheet 2021” because I wanted to develop a North Star for this business unit.

As far as the structure of the YearSheet is concerned, I like to keep it simple. I create a heading for every area of the business covered, and summation bullets under each.

There is no right or wrong when it comes to headings, and there’s no need to follow my example unless it works for you.

I have headings like “Content Direction,” “Content Goals,” “Newsletter,” “Optimization,” “Subscribers,” and so forth. Besides “Guiding Principles” and “Goals” which are at the top of my sheet, I’ve put all my headers in alphabetical order. This isn’t necessary but it can be helpful.

YearSheet headings

I guess you could say the YearSheet is like a strategy document, but it’s a little narrower in focus, because it’s all about making gradual improvements (Kaizen) to your project, community, or business. Your branding, brand position, audience, or even marketing channels might not change, but execution will, especially if some things aren’t working, and you would like to improve on them.

Anyway, so far as the bullets are concerned, I’ll highlight what I have under my “Newsletter” heading so you can get a better sense of what you might include in your bullet summations:

YearSheet bullets

This year, I’ve looked at investing more heavily in our newsletter at Music Entrepreneur HQ, which is why I’ve dedicated space to it in my YearSheet.

I could already cross off these bullets because I have actioned them, but I’m going to keep them inside my YearSheet as a reminder of the changes made and the reason they were made.

How to Develop Your YearSheet

If found it important to take a dispassionate view of my business (money is the measuring stick – this isn’t “nice” think) as I was developing my YearSheet. It’s my brain that got me to where I am. Whatever I like and don’t like about my business is a symptom of my own thinking.

Whatever you like and don’t like about your business is a symptom of your own thinking. Click To Tweet

So, I looked at it as if I were making executive decisions on behalf of stakeholders (though I am the main stakeholder). Here’s a sentence that encompasses the high-level thinking applied:

“Based on what has and hasn’t worked to this point, here are the changes we need to make.”

I don’t have to like the decisions being made, but rather trust that they will lead to the positive outcomes I want to create. My job is to action these decisions.

Here are some questions that will help you develop your YearSheet headers and bullets:

  • What resources (articles, books, courses, etc.) have I consumed this past year that I’d like to integrate and implement (I have this under “Guiding Principles”)?
  • What should I do more of based on what I know is working?
  • What should I stop doing based on what I know isn’t working?
  • What assets am I already leveraging and could make better use of? What assets have I yet to leverage? What assets can I acquire?
  • How can I create a stronger connection to my audience and facilitate a greater impact in their lives?
  • What can I do to engage my audience more effectively?
  • What are some things I can do to simplify my project, community, or business (this is a significant focus of my YearSheet)?
  • What systems can I create to make my life easier? Can I automate, eliminate, or delegate certain tasks?

Final Thoughts

Your YearSheet will serve as your North Star for the year if you take the time to develop it. And you will be able to make better decisions. Decisions that are more aligned with your vision.

Your YearSheet will serve as your North Star for the year if you take the time to develop it. Click To Tweet

I find it easy to get distracted by shiny objects, new ideas, and new approaches. My YearSheet offers a dispassionate view of what needs to be done if I am to accomplish my goals. It’s the lighthouse I need to navigate stormy waters.

Will you be setting up a YearSheet? What did you take away from this article?

Let me know in the comments.

P.S. I recently launched my new course, the Entrepreneurial Essentials for Musicians Masterclass.

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