There’s a bit of a misconception that if you’ve ‘made it’, or are working professionally in the entertainment industry, that you’ve somehow arrived. That you get to have amnesia and forget everything you did that actually got you to that point.
Would a warrior stop sharpening their swords the more battles they fight? Safe to say, they’d probably keep those swords even sharper. In the same way, the greater the opportunity, the greater the cost and the sharper you need to be.
The best of the best have coaches.
No matter what your field, it’s important to know that relying on natural talent alone is a trap. It stunts growth. We should never stop being teachable and desiring to be better. I’ve got a vocal coach (shout-out to Lara Tenhoorn at Perfectaria). I don’t get to see her nearly enough as I’d like, but I make sure I’m training to our recorded sessions on the (almost) daily.
Sure, there’s no rhyme or reason. Sometimes people just experience incredible fortune, and for no obvious or logical reason. But mostly – and I’ve found this to be true with pretty much everyone I know – it just takes plain hard work, perseverance, and resilience in the face of countless no’s.
You might say today, “I’ve got so much to give man, I just need a break! How do I bridge the gap between where I am right now and the opportunity I want?”. I’m no expert, but here are my Top 5 tips:
1. Live in preparation.
– Consistently upskill and grow in your craft. That way you’re not freaking out everytime an opportunity comes around last minute, and you’re having to cram in preparation. Opportunities rarely come when it’s convenient for us. Live in preparation, so that you’re always ready.
2. Embrace the mundane.
– This is that day to day grind. Whether you’re setting aside time to practice scales, write lyrics, produce tracks, run scenes, drill choreography, stay on top of your health and fitness or whatever your daily grind looks like. Even when it couldn’t feel more boring and ordinary, and it looks like absolutely nothing is happening, embrace the mundane. It all counts and really matters.
3. Invest in relationships.
– A good friend once said, “Life happens at the speed of relationships…”. Though you’re following a dream and do need to be careful who you share every idea with, it’s important not to isolate yourself in the process. Invest in strong, authentic relationships, both professionally and personally.
4. There’s power in collaboration.
– We actually lose nothing by collaborating with others. Did you know that? Too many people don’t. For example: I meet artists all the time who don’t want to co-write, because that means splitting the publishing. You know what? I’d way rather have 10% of a freakin’ unbelievably-amazing song, than 100% of a mediocre one. And that really applies to collaboration in any industry.
– You might say, “But I’m not a people person…”. Learn to become one! Just because crossing the room to meet someone might feel terrifying, awkward or against your natural bent, doesn’t mean that it’s unnatural. “Well, this is just the way I am…” Don’t accept that mindset. In fact, refuse it, because it will only hold you back. It’s OK to do things afraid, especially if they add to our lives.
5. Stay patiently resilient.
– Easier said than done (I know), but so crucial. Someone with average talent, willing to stick it out through what might feel like a lifetime of rejection, will a lot of times experience success over an insanely-talented person. Why? Because the insanely-talented person just quit too soon. Don’t quit. If you know that you know that this is what you’re created for, you’ve got to stay patiently resilient.