Have you ever embarked on a well-intentioned journey only to take a detour?
Often we find ourselves embarking on a journey in life only to seemingly never get there.
We have grand plans with specific destinations in mind and vision boards to help us visualise what we would like to achieve. Yet, like a boat on rough waters, at best, we are forced to change course and, at worst, we become stuck.
“Life is what happens when you are busy making plans” – John Lennon
Why Setting Goals is Good For You
Last year, in an attempt to get unstuck, I took part in Ariel Hyatt’s Music Succes in Nine Weeks Blog Challenge. The blog challenge was open to any musician willing to blog about their journey through Ariel Hyatt’s book, “Music Success in Nine Weeks.”
Having blogged about my goals then it was obvious to share my results with you now, one year later.
In this post I reflect on each set of goals broken down in to 3, 6 and 12 months (so you might want to stick the kettle on or skim for the bits that are of value to you) followed by my insights and thoughts on each set of goals.
The goals that are
crossed out have been achieved.
3 Month Review
It is November 24th 2010 and my Gibson Les Paul has been repaired It is January 12th 2011 and I have identified a new mixing engineer to work with It is January 12th 2011 and I have identified any additional, collaborative musicians I may require to complete the material It is January 12th 2011 and I have 50 followers on Reverbnation and my Facebook musician page It is January 12th 2011 and I have a mailing list running
Almost twelve months later almost all of my three month goals were reached. Goal #3 is yet to be complete as the concept of rewriting took me on a whole new journey as will be revealed.
This initial change of course towards improving my material was a frustrating one. I wanted to carry on creating new stuff yet I couldn’t see yet how this contributed to my ‘grander vision.’
Soon after, I knew I had to improve some of the old gold towards making the bigger stuff happen. It was the only way.
I accepted this new challenge and the fact that when you take action, life applies feedback and friction. This feedback gives you clues to what the next step is.
First Lesson: Expect new challenges to come along and take them.
Art is never finished so you have to draw a line in the sand somewhere but don’t let that prevent you from taking an idea as far as you can and then revisiting it if you find a compelling reason to do so. For example, I called it ‘finished’ and stopped the rewriting process once I realised that rewriting wasn’t improving (emphasising) the original idea. I also came back to ideas that I knew would benefit from a new technique I had just learned.
“Art is never finished, only abandoned.” – Leonardo da Vinci
Second Lesson: Draw the line and move on.
Having experimented with a bandzoogle website, and thus achieved goal #4, I felt there’s no point investing in a new website without a new product so decided to invest no further time in it. That said, I did make exception and create a new about.me and onesheet as both of these sites were quick and simple to create providing more presence in the meantime. This would work if you are a musician and do or do not yet have a website.
The danger of other creative goals such as building websites (and not writing music) is that they are goals that distract you from your core product. Without a good core product you are nothing. It’s easy to find excuses to concentrate on other projects rather than the one you’re supposed to be working on and I found myself doing this with websites. So I gave myself a few more hours to tidy up then quit. Until I have a new, solid product, that is.
Third Lesson: Without a good core product you are nothing.
6 Month Review
- It is April 12th 2011 and I have identified a graphics/artwork specialist to help complete the album work
It is April 12th 2011 and I have secured any ‘real’ studio time I require to complete the material (for August) It is April 12th 2011 and I have 200 followers on my mailing list
Two out of three on the six month goal path is pretty good. Investing in an artwork specialist became a lower priority because of the reasons mentioned about having a good, solid product. Having made some initial enquiries with designers I chose not to burn more energy on getting graphics done (for now.)
From previous work I know that if you want something doing it’s often worth doing properly and neither myself or the three designers I spoke to were able to commit to this work in the way it needed to be done.
Working on art isn’t always working directly on our art, it’s about working on our art business too, however, we can’t let this distract us from burning 80% of our energy doing what needs to be done: what only we, and nobody else, can do.
In my case that was to write and write music.
Fourth Lesson: Burn most of your daily energy on your core skill or product.
12 Month Review
It is June 12th 2011 and I have bought a MIDI keyboard to complete the additional elements for the demo process
- It is July 12th 2011 and I have completed the demo process
- It is August 12th 2011 and the album artwork is complete
- It is August 12th 2011 and I have 500 followers on my mailing list
- It is September 12th 2011 and the album is recorded, mixed and mastered and ready for release
- It is October 12th 2011 and I have 750 followers on my mailing list
There’s a reason that I only achieved one out of my six twelve month goals.
My journey suddenly got a lot better.
Fifth Lesson: Expect your journey to suddenly get better.
Shiny Detours Are Worth Taking
Six months after Music Success in Nine Weeks I was presented with offers I couldn’t refuse which required my time, money, effort and sheer hard work. All of a sudden more attractive roads to my destination appeared and unexpectedly. Not wishing to jump straight into shiny new opportunities I did a quick sanity check and asked myself the following seven questions first:
- Does this opportunity fit in to my very long term goals?
- Does this opportunity reflect my values and believes? i.e. will I remain in integrity?
- What will this opportunity cost me in terms of my current resources?
- What am I giving up to take up this new opportunity?
- What could be a fantastic outcome from this opportunity?
- Do I like who I will be working with? i.e. Will I add value to their own goals?
- What will I need to let go of to make this happen?
When you set your heading for New York and you find yourself on a heading for Boston, don’t panic. Maybe that is where your boat is supposed to go. Once we let go of our need to control how life ‘should go’ it can take us to some fascinating and interesting places we would have never otherwise considered.
More importantly, you learn powerful insights about yourself along the journey there.
Sixth Lesson: Set your heading then see where it takes you.
Prepare to be Suprised
Here’s what I’ve achieved since the blog challenge last year:
- Played a secret acoustic gig in a friends garden with two former members of the band, Reef.
- Co-wrote and launched a book called, ‘Get Noticed‘ with Marcus Taylor from The Musicians Guide.
- Met Ariel Hyatt, Sally Jackson Freeman and the fabulous Jordan Reyne in London at PRS House.
- Identified several sound engineers to work with and now learning how to become one.
- Attended a home recording boot-camp with legendary producer, Ronan Chris Murphy, in Italy.
- Offered and accepted the opportunity as recording assistant for Nicotine Alley working at Abnegat Records Studio in Vicenza, Italy to develop my recording ‘know how’ skills.
- Studying audio production full-time at a globally recognised institute.
Read and Read Again
It’s not been without hard work. Having a few ambitious yet achievable 3 to 6 month goals that will push you is the way to go, however, expect your emotions to be both high and low and for periods at a time. This is part of the process of adjusting to better opportunities for you.
Planning for twelve months is healthy yet it’s important not to get too attached to the outcome. The sooner you start taking action the sooner your long-term goals will likely change, in a good way.
Music Success in Nine Weeks now needs another read. With talk on the grapevine of a revised edition with new ideas and approaches, it will be a useful companion for a new journey in 2012.
One final thought, accept better offers with consideration. Particularly ones to collaborate.
You might just change your life.
Have you ever found yourself on a different heading after setting goals? Share with me in the COMMENTS below.
Photo Credit: ©Sandra Farrow