The Most Powerful Story Is the Story You Tell Yourself
Happy New Year, Daredevil Insiders!
As always, the new year is a great time to get perspective on the last year, ponder what we’ve learned from the inevitable mistakes we’ve made, and set some goals together.
I want to talk about limitations, limiting beliefs, and the stories we tell ourselves that get us in our own way.
That’s it, you know.
The problem with your lack of success in the music business (which is where I assume you want to be more successful or you wouldn’t be reading this) has always been you.
You want to succeed more than anything, but you have limiting beliefs which lead you to create a story.
We all have limiting beliefs.
The most successful people are self-aware of this fact and work diligently to think differently and overcome the mental hurdles.
They change the stories that they tell themselves.
Limiting beliefs means that deep down inside, you don’t truly feel like you should be successful, or you don’t know how to do it, or you’re conflicted because subconsciously the idea of making a living doing what you love is rubbing up against some serious emotional and mental anchors.
Ultimately we all want to please other people to a degree to satisfy our sense of belonging to the families, communities, and tribes we are in.
For instance, if your parents don’t approve of your life path, that’s usually a biggie.
Maybe a significant other is renting too much space in your head about your musical aspirations.
I got to thinking about this blog after listening to a killer podcast called The Business of Story with Park Howell. His guest was a business coach named Melanie Benson.
Right about now, some of you are saying, “I’m done reading, I’m an artist, not a businessperson.” – Hello, that’s a limiting belief.
Whether you like it or not, It’s also inaccurate.
If you’ve EVER received one penny of revenue from a recording, live gig, studio gig, musical teaching gig, etc. you’re a businessperson.
Maybe you’re a crappy businessperson, and there is no law against that, but rest assured you’re a businessperson.
“I make art for the sake of art, I answer to no one, my creations are derived solely from me and no other commercial interests.”
This comment, or some form of it, I hear often. My response is, that’s AWESOME! Seriously, I love that approach and believe that an artist can truly achieve pure art and find their audience now more than ever.
However, if after you’re done with the purest creative process ever, you venture out into the world and accept any kind of compensation for your talents, you’re a true artist and you’re also a businessperson.
Don’t be upset by this. WHEREVER there is amazing art, there is inevitably commerce!
Commerce is present because people will pay their hard-earned money to be transported emotionally. This is what great art does for people; it moves them.
It’s worth it for them, that’s the only reason they pay.
That means you’re worth it.
Some of you, deep down, don’t believe you’re worth it. That’s a limiting belief.
I’ve heard artists complaining about how they don’t want to “sell out”. Ok, I love that too, but how is accepting revenue for a work that you creatively stand behind with pride, selling out exactly?
You are “selling out” If you’re derivative to become famous, OR if you feel pressured to change your art for the sake of a bigger megaphone.
But making money on your art alone is NOT selling out. It’s selling tickets, merch, and music.
There’s a difference.
These mental hurdles are stories that we tell ourselves to give ourselves permission to wait, or to lose the dream, or to not be as successful as we could be on our dream.
Are there artists who somehow fell into the big, ugly, music business machine and ended up putting on a dancing chicken suit to please the powers that be just so they could be famous?
Is that you?
So, what the hell are you talking about?
Are there artists who somehow got super successful with their genuine creations despite having to get approval from 2 publically traded corporate committees before it ever saw the light of day?
Is that you?
So, what the hell are you thinking?
As Park Howell so eloquently puts it, “The most powerful story is the story you tell yourself.”
Everything in your head is all made up.
They’re made up from scratch, from fear, from your parents, your siblings, or bandmates, or significant others, etc.
Every story about politics, religion, success, money, love, music, the business, selling, health, nutrition, they’re all made up, man.
Right or wrong, effective or toxic, these stories in your head are made-up.
“I’m a creative, sales are beneath me.”
Good luck with that story. Ask any of your major label artist friends about how cool it is to be a major label artist and not ever have to sell. They’ll laugh you out of the room.
Radio tour is SELLING.
You’re selling your music to the program directors, and you’re selling yourself to get them to like you.
Every gig you’re selling yourself to the audience but you’re selling (hopefully) good art.
“I hate the way sales people make me feel so I’m not going sell myself. My music is amazing; it will find an audience.”
C’mon man. That’s like me saying “I don’t like the way you sounded on the very first day you picked up that guitar so I’m not going to listen to music again.”
“I can’t afford that.”
I’ll bet that one got your attention.
Well yes, maybe you can’t afford it, but that mindset isn’t going to get you into growth, it’s guaranteed to keep you right where you’re at.
Maybe at the end of the day, you’ll keep that $100 in your pocket, but what is that approach really costing you?
What if you spent the $100 learning something new or delegating to some expert and it put you on a path to making a living as an artist?
The host, Park Howell, was talking about how he purchased Tony Robbin’s first cassette tape series back in 1985. He paid $39.95 (which is $89.61 in today’s dollars) and that was A LOT of money to him. He didn’t feel like he could afford it. He listened to the whole series on his Sony Walkman 8 or 9 times when he would hike his regular mountain trail in Arizona to get exercise.
He was fearful of spending the money but he did it and it changed his life forever.
Melanie Benson said something like, “That’s called stepping over dollars to pick up pennies.”
My mother calls it “pennywise and pound foolish.”
You don’t really know marketing at all. You think you know, and some of you know some things, but I can attest that we are CONSTANTLY learning here at Daredevil Production, so you know nothing.
Since you don’t know, you’re going to need to learn.
That means you’ll have to learn to do it yourself via webinars, conferences, and books, pay for a coach, or pay someone to do it for you.
These choices require spending some time and money on either staff or education.
Since you don’t have the knowledge, wisdom, experience, skills, or perspective to execute an effective marketing plan for your music project, where will these missing pieces come from?
What if you told yourself a different story?
A story like “What would you have to do be able to afford the education you so desperately need?”
If the made-up stories aren’t working for you, why not make up some new ones?
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