Is the Quality of Questions Affecting Your Success?
The quality of your career and your life is determined by the quality of your questions.
What questions are you asking exactly?
Are you asking any questions beyond “Why not me?” Because that will get you nowhere.
Studying and improving your questions is improving your thinking.
The more you improve your thinking by asking better questions, the more you dig up quality answers.
Think about this dynamic in terms of dealing with a significant other. If you want to dance around a potentially damaging issue, you ask vague, lame questions because you don’t really want to know the answer or you don’t really care.
If you’re interested in getting to the bottom of a situation (assuming you wish to stay invested in the relationship) and you have a little experience in cultivating a solid connection, you know exactly what to ask.
No matter how hard they may be, the truth will set you free, yes?
Some of you are doomed to fail at relationships, like the person we all know who’s on their 5th marriage, simply because you haven’t learned or you’re scared to ask the right questions.
I have news for you, the same is true for your career.
So many of you are condemned to a life with a crappy day gig because you don’t, you won’t, or you’re afraid to ask quality questions.
You could be making a living as an artist but you’re missing something.
When you begin to seriously ask yourself disruptive questions, you’ll see a change.
You’ll begin to seek the knowledge you need to solve the problem at hand.
What are disruptive questions?
Answer: Questions that are unsettling to your current status quo.
Queries that poke holes in the same old stories that you’ve been telling yourselves are disturbing but quite valuable.
Corporate executives, successful people, and even military organizations utilize an exercise called “Red Teaming”. They will take a section of their team and instruct them to blow holes in the current theories, methods, and assumptions.
This exercise cuts through the crap pretty quickly.
Here are some good questions:
What’s the worst that could happen?
I am always amazed at this one because for most of you the answer is “They could say no” or “I might be out a couple bucks”. Therefore, we won’t do anything but wait.
What are the assumptions and how can I test them?
This question attacks the stories aka assumptions that we all tell ourselves.
Listen, WE ALL tell ourselves stories! The successful people are acutely aware of this fact and are going to dig deep to ensure those stories have substance as opposed to being an excuse.
By the way, in the interest of giving credit where credit is due, the muse for this article is an incredible Tony Robbins podcast interviewing Tim Ferris.
In this podcast, they were discussing billionaire Peter Thiel. One of his favorite questions to ask potential business owners is, “Why can’t you reach your 10-year goals in 6 months?”
These powerful questions break your incremental thinking towards problem-solving.
These are coachable, learnable skills you can practice once you become aware of them and embrace the reality.
Too many of you see only problems and not opportunities.
You tell yourself stories like,
- “I’m bad at marketing”
- “I hate marketing so, therefore…”
- “I can’t create competitive recordings because”
- “I suck at Social Media”
- “I’m no good at tech”
- “I don’t have enough money so…”
- “I’m an artist so I don’t want to market myself”
DON’T BELIEVE EVERYTHING THAT YOU THINK
Pattern Recognition: The most successful people have good pattern recognition.
You do too.
When you learned your first instrument, you learned other people’s patterns over and over until a mental synthesis happened and you began very naturally creating your own patterns, standing on the shoulders of those that you learned from.
You’re unique. So, your unique perspective is infused into the patterns creating something that never existed before.
None of you weren’t born with the ability to create music from nothing, so whether you chose to take lessons or you had an ability to pick up on those other patterns simply by listening to the artists you aspired to be like, you were getting educated.
You were getting real answers because you were asking the right questions and then executing a plan of attack.
This same synthesis will happen with social media and marketing if you start seeking to be as exceptional at that as you are with your musical talents.
You need an advantage. The more advantages you can give yourself the better.
Adding advantages can be as simple as eliminating disadvantages.
Some of you have superior talent as songwriters, singers, performers, dancers, producers, etc.
Other artists (who are most often ridiculed by the talent-rich but success-poor artists) have an advantage with business and marketing.
You’re going to need some marketing chops to succeed regardless of your talent level.
Nothing kills a lame-ass product quicker than great marketing so if your product isn’t competitive, you better fix it.
This makes me think of Terrell Davis who was a 2-time Super Bowl winning running back for the Denver Broncos. Terrell wasn’t the biggest or the fastest running back. His advantage was quite simple. He outworked everyone else.
He was the first to be on the field at practice and the last to leave. Therefore, he earned his success by working harder than his peers.
This is the kind of advantage that ANYONE can utilize but ironically, almost NOBODY does.
Therefore, if you outwork everyone else you immediately put yourself into a small club. 80-90% of all the artists out there disappear from your competition when you decide to outwork them.
But “outworking” is more than doing more gigs, recording more songs, and practicing longer.
You also must work on your education. You’ll FEEL better! Learn something new, like how to crack that social media code and watch your success grow exponentially.
Everybody has different advantages that can catapult them to success.
- Analytical advantage – Some artists have a knack for analytics, tech, and numbers.
- Informational advantage – The more you know, the greater your advantage. (Education is inexpensive and this advantage is obtainable).
- Behavioral advantage – Some artists are incredibly cool under pressure which is a behavior that gives them an edge.
- Structural advantage – Great pilots know everything about flying but they still have a checklist because it is far too important NOT to accidentally miss something. How can you set this up for your marketing?
Ferris says, “We’re all flawed creatures, we’re all imperfect. The most successful people maximize one or two strengths.”
Here’s good question: What are your strengths and what are your weaknesses?
Here’s another good question: How can you improve on your weaknesses?
Getting a record deal for any artist could be a blessing or a curse.
The amount of work you do in advance of your coveted deal will help you steer that outcome more towards a blessing.
The questions are:
Can you see the opportunity?
What are you going to do about it?
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