“The road to success is always under construction” – Lily Tomlin
Maybe you can relate, when I say that there is something strange about the way we perceive our own successes and shortcomings. The successes tend to always come too slow, last for too little time and feel exaggerated and undeserved anyway (hello imposter syndrome)! Our shortcomings on the other hand seem to knock down our doors every other day and even when we´ve reached a magical milestone, they never fall short on sending a greeting card, letting us know that they´ll be back from their vacay getaway soon. You get the idea!
We´re biased and often unaware
It seems a natural thing for us human beings to give our flaws more attention than our superpowers. But the fact that we perceive things this way, doesn´t necessarily mean that this perception is true. It is very likely that you are already much more successul than you think you are. We take things that come easy to us (e.g. things we´re talented in or have practiced a lot for) for granted and think everyone else can do things just as good, if not better. At the same time we take the things we struggle with as the most important piece in the puzzle – a piece that we are lacking while everyone else seems to have found it with ease. The good news is: It´s all in your head.
I recently looked into old course materials about music production and realized how much I have actually learned over the years. It inspired me to write a little list of all the skills I acquired and all the projects I´ve completed (regardless of how good or bad the outcome) and I not only became aware of how productive the past years have been for me, but also how one piece of the puzzle has led to the next and the next and the next. Yes, the puzzle is far from being finished, but the puzzle also doubled in size, because little successes made me realize I want to complete a much bigger puzzle.
It is only natural that this takes time and we don´t tend to see our progress while we´re still on the journey. We are so used to looking front, that we rarely turn around and look at the distance we´ve already walked. We do not turn sidewards either to celebrate where we´re at. We tend to rush on. And thus we hustle and rush and feel frustrated if the outcomes aren´t full of success as we hoped for.
A little more patience
Here´s the thing. Success in music comes very slowly, no matter how much you want to rush things. That´s because first of all, musical success is hard to measure. Art in general is very hard to evaluate. But on top of that success within the music industry is really rooted in networking and making connections constantly. Music is for people and that makes it a people business per se.
This global industry is gigantic on the one hand and there´s room for all sorts of artists and likewise it is a very small industry that requires you to show up time and again to service others, before you ever get served yourself. It is important to understand that taking care of your relationships might not bring you fast success, but it´s those relationships that might benefit you 5 years down the road and likewise you may be able to service people 5 years from now, because you´ll have tons of new experience and projects at hand just then. I am not saying that just knowing a lot of people or the right people is all it takes. Not at all. You still have to work your butt off and grow every single day, but the relationships you build are an important piece of said puzzle and we often neglect it.
As all good things in life, succeeding takes time, devotion and persistence. But it also takes our willingness to acknowlegde our little wins constantly! The people around us grow with us, which makes it hard for us all to ruly see our growth. We have to find ways to track our personal growth and monitor it regularly. You´d be amazed to see how much you´ve achieved already. Even just by reading tons of industry blogposts and gaining an understanding of how this business works you´ve worked more on moving the needle forward than you might realize.
A helpful trick to help validate our own growth is to not only measure productive work steps, but also track the time we carved out to study or practice, the time we carved out to network and service others and the time we carved out to be creative and the time we carved out to do muggle work. It is all equally important. Be patient with yourself and stretch yourself a little every day. There is no shortcut to success. It is a long windy road, but if you stop and look around now and then, you´ll find amazing wonders already unfolding before your eyes.
Stop and celebrate each win and then keep walking! You´ve got this!
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