001: Don’t Outsource Your Joy 

Music is our career, but we are often quick to forget why we fell in love with it in the first place. This will lead us to feeling lost, unproductive and without a vision for how to move forward. The problem is that we have stopped pursuing it as a passion and instead focus on external motivational factors. That is a direct path to being dissatisfied. Don’t Outsource Your Joy.

My role now is primarily as a manager, but I was a musician first. When I started playing guitar in high school I was instantly hooked. I spent countless hours a day in my parents basement learning. It was a struggle, I started on a bad acoustic guitar. When I finally saved up enough to get an electric guitar I couldn’t afford an amp - so I played it unplugged, but hey, at least it was an electric! I was driven to learn, to be good enough to play in a band, to play our first show, to put out our first cassette {yes - I said cassette!}. Each time I set my mind on something it happened. Looking back it seemed so easy - I had to learn so many things along the way, but it never felt like ‘work’.  Beyond just playing guitar I had to figure out how to play in a group, to write songs, how to record, graphic design {I use that term lightly. This involved a lot of cutting and pasting….like with scissors... not the CTRL+C type}. But the reason it all seemed so easy was because I was the driving force - I was passionate about it. I didn’t care what others were going to think, how ‘good’ or ‘bad’ I sounded. Those things were important, but I was the judge of them, not someone else.

Somewhere along the way we start to concern ourselves more with how others will think about what we do. To a certain extent this is important - marketing, publicity, the story you are telling - these are all meant to drive interest and create a spark with people. It is important to engage and excite people. The problem comes when we put too much of those thoughts into the creative process and let it dominate our thinking. From a marketing standpoint, when something is authentic, you can always find the story - the thing to hook people and excite them. However if the creation process was not authentic it becomes hard to find that story. If it was dominated by thoughts of ‘will people like this’, ‘is this good enough’, ‘how will people perceive this’, it will lose its authenticity and thus lose the true story. The creation process is meant to be fun, it is meant to come from you - not from a place of you trying to manufacture how others will perceive it. Because the truth is, we never know that. You need to bring joy into the creation process and it needs to be inner joy. What excites you? What drives you? When you get that spark of creativity run with it, don’t second guess yourself. Don’t outsource your joy. Don’t qualify your creation process on a scale of how you think others will take it. Because those are only stories we create to limit ourselves. Remember the joy of why you started doing this in the first place, it is still there. Embrace it and be your authentic self, it will come shining through if you let it. Create your own joy - don’t outsource that task to others!

-Steve

Steve KennyComment