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no room for hipsters

the occupation of Ashley and Levon

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Inside each of our heads is an idea.  In thoughts, we have the ability to see our intentions fully glorified.  The idea is established here already or we wouldn’t be chasing the details and learning the actions to support it.  But on the outside we appear to scramble.  Establishing generally means hoop jumping, chasing loose ends, disciplining ourselves and modifying everything.  We remodify so much sometimes that organization and preparation feel like what we do instead of whatever is our aspiration.

The final word is manage.

All of us are managers.  We manage the likes of health and finance, relationships and time, consumption and impact. Whatever we are aspiring to comes down to our effectiveness in its management.  As a singer/songwriter I know what areas I’ve got to be concerned about.  If its practicing scales, singing tongue twisters or making siren noises; there is an assignment and there has got to be intentionality regardless of if there is inspiration or not.

Some of the best management I have learned came from my days in the financial world doing things like selling insurance or working at a bank.  When you make seven career changes in three years, you spend most of the time in training programs.  I call it the graduate school of career orientation.  From this wealth of information, I’m going to briefly pull out some nuggets for the artists reading today who hopefully may put their guard down for a second and let some corporate American thought momentarily infiltrate the mind.

1. First is activity management.  A result that you want comes from a series of steps that it takes to get there.   Identify your steps and make a method.  Example: 25 face to face encounters with prospects should lead to five appointments set in the future.  Of those five appointments, expect three to show up or be truly qualified prospects.  Of the three, make one sale.  So to make a sale, don’t think about selling.  Think about talking to 25 people.  Make your own method and be intentional about your activities.

2. Write a vision statement.  (Yes, write it.)  If that’s too uncool, hang a collage of images that inspire you or make a playlist of songs that ground you.  Then write one anyway.  I renamed mine because I couldn’t get the lame posters of cursive writing and eagles out of my head.  Its called my “resonance”, referring to sound as well as the vibration I begin as a being on earth (and all matter has dynamic and impactible vibration, which is a blog for another day).  The idea is to find something repeatable to yourself that reminds you of the person in there who sees all your intentions fully manifested.  This person is not always the one talking and you desperately need them to be.  Promote them.

3. Income statements and balance sheets.  Organizing as artists should not stop at straightening out our email folders.  Your time and resources are limited and when stretched, out the window goes the best energy to create.  You will be scrambling instead.  A scrambled egg is a cooked egg, as they say, or at least they should.

4. The business side of business dealings.  We artsies don’t like getting businessy.  Tough.  Decide on your prices and don’t apologize for them.  We’d rather cradle our creations and imagine the futures for them, hoping somebody will make the effort to figure out how to buy it.  Then we bashfully say hardly a word because in our minds we are screaming volumes of the processes we have followed to have this bundle of joy that now is coming down to a matter of dollars and cents as it is coldy thrown into a marketplace.

Consider your art valuable of course, but don’t forget that you must make it an accessible good or service to someone else.  Some of the artists we know had less talent but understood this, and longevity in the game gave them eventually what talent didn’t initially.

5. Make measurable progress.  Don’t be vague to yourself about your intentions or in your interpretations of your results.  Ask yourself things specifically like “is that an ongoing task or something I can finish?” and “how am I positioned better now than I was?”  If you don’t have a boss checking up on you, or want to one day be in the place where there isn’t, it will only last if you become the best boss of yourself you can be.  You’ve heard that there’s no such thing as a free lunch?  There’s also no such thing as an all-the-time cool boss.  A boss has to be the boss.  And everybody has a boss except Bruce Springsteen.

I’m done.  Thats probably all I can hold your attention for, and its definitely enough said for a Saturday night.  I’m a working musician so Saturday nights are like Wednesday afternoons except that I don’t have a gig tonight, but that is room for measurable progress.

We’ll soon be announcing some big changes for this blog.  Hugely big.  You should come back.

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