I had the great pleasure of speaking with Taylor Swift's former manager, current advisor to Big Machine Records (Taylor Swift, Tim McGraw, Rascal Flatts) and the social media mentor for American Idol, Rick Barker, about what it was like helping launch one of the biggest music stars in the world and what it takes to make it in the music industry in 2015 and beyond.
Listen to our conversation here:
Have you seen the Shia LaBeouf video where he comically and somewhat crazily declares the answer to making your dreams come true is to “just do it”? It’s a sort of comedic and manic spin off of the Nike Mantra from the 90s. If you haven’t seen it, it’s well worth spending the 1:05 of your time it will take you to watch the video. If nothing else, it will bring a smile to your face.
Check it out here:
Although it’s an obvious, over the top parody of self-help and motivational speakers, there’s a lot of wisdom in Shia’s simple declaration of “just do it”. Often times the answer to making your dreams come true is to “just do it”. I think most of the time, we have at least a vague sense of what we need to do to realize our goals and aspirations. Yet it’s so easy to make excuses and become complacent about taking the steps we need to take to move forward.
Last year was one of the best years I’ve had in many years, both professionally and personally. It was a record year for my business, I signed with a new publisher that has been licensing my music and I formed some great relationships and friendships that are continuing into this year. But, it’s been a long time coming. I’ve been working hard at my business and music for years. Everything I’ve achieved has come very gradually and as a result of countless hours of dedication and effort.
Yet, when I reflect over the last seven or eight years, it’s very clear that I could have moved forward much faster if, as Shia says, I just did the things that I needed to do more often. I don’t want to get to deep into the psychology of why I, or other people, become complacent or reluctant to make positive changes. It’s all relative and beyond the scope of this post. It’s also really not necessary because, I think the answer to becoming more successful, in most cases, really does boil down to the simple idea of “just do it”. Just do the things you know you need to do. Do them every day. Do them religiously. Do them without worry or apprehension of how everything will play out. Just do it. Are you not moving forward as fast as you like? Figure out what you need to do speed up your progress and get busy doing those things.
Speed Of Implementation
Eben Pagan, a hugely successful internet marketer and business man, talks about how “speed of implementation” is the most important characteristic that successful entrepreneurs possess. When successful entrepreneurs learn about a new idea or a new technique that they know will help them grow their business, they implement it right away. They don’t sit around and think about it, or talk about it, they just do it. Successful people just do what they need to do. As Gary Vaynerchuck, the creator of Wine Library TV and successful author/entrepreneur says, “success loves speed”.
In Shia’s motivational speech he says “Don’t let your dreams be dreams. Yesterday you said tomorrow. So just do it. Make your dreams come true.” Of course, delivered the way Shia does, it sounds like pretty funny and overly simplified advice. But is it? If you really want to move forward but you’re not, isn’t it usually because you’re just not taking enough action or you’re not taking the right action? Be honest with yourself. Sure, luck and timing play a role in all of our lives in terms of how successfully we ultimately become. But that’s not what I’m talking about. I think what holds a lot of us back is that we don’t know exactly what the return on our investment is if we pursue something, so we don’t do anything at all. Although there’s no way of knowing for certain how things are going to work out for any of us. What can be said with 100 percent certainty, is the more you work towards something and pursue it, the more successful you’ll most likely become.
I was speaking with a client recently, who has had a lot of success licensing his music over the last couple years. He’s had dozens and dozens of placements in tv shows, films and so on. I’ll be bringing him on my podcast soon to talk about his experience and share his insights. When I asked him how he achieved so much success in a relatively short period of time, he told me that he’s been getting up every day at 5 am for the last couple years to work on music licensing, before he goes to his day job. He averages 3 to 4 hours a day just on the business side of getting his music licensed. He doesn’t enjoy this as much as writing and playing music, but he realized it needed to be done and so he “just did it” and continues to do it every day.
There are usually some pretty clear steps you need to take to at least try and reach your goals. Are you taking them? Every day? Are you committed? Or, are you, like a lot of artists I know busy spinning your wheels, over analyzing things and making countless excuses as to why today isn’t the right day to start making your dreams come true. Like Shia says, “You should get to the point where anyone else would quit and you’re not going to stop there. NO. What are you waiting for?! DO IT!” Sounds kind of obvious, but yet there’s such profound wisdom in this advice. What are you waiting for? Have you reached your goals? Then why are you stopping?
A lot of self-help advice seems cliché and overly simplistic. A lot of the advice is so trite that it seems obvious and somewhat comical. Self-help advice, by its nature has to be broad and general. No one has a specific formula that will work for everyone’s situation. We are all different and have our own unique set of challenges and difficulties to overcome. Our job is to figure out the work that needs to be done to realize our most authentic goals and then, “just do it”.
Like Shia says in his speech, “If you’re tired of starting over. Stop quitting”.
The blog of musician and thinker of deep thoughts, Aaron Davison.