Eight years in the workforce and yet I still ask myself this question. The average kid responds to this question with something along the lines of “teacher,” “doctor,” “nurse,” “president,” or “lawyer.” I was similar to my peers, but changed my mind rather often. Each kid in my family was given the wonderful My Book About Me by Dr. Seuss. I filled out every single page in that book – from the number of stairs in the house to the self portrait. The page that had the most on-going attention was definitely the career page. Every few years I would write down a career and scratch out the previous one. This is a collection of my scribbles:
- Mother (age 6)
- Nurse (age 8)
- Singer (age 12)
- Model (age 13)
- Agent (age 15)
- Music Venue Owner (Age 17)
I could not make up my mind as a kid, and now it is even harder because I have tried on a few different kinds of jobs. Why do we have to be just one thing? In church, my pastor told me that God was 3 different people in one – the father, the son and the holy ghost. And look at Richard Branson‘s career. He has put his hands in several different industries since the 70s – music, airlines, mobile phones, clubs, birth control, sports, beverages, healthcare, and banking (I’m sure I missed something).
Branson’s list of seemingly unrelated products and services all have one common thread – Life is an Adventure. Every endeavor has captured Branson’s “live life as an adventure” energy. This is his driving force. Instead of trying to figure out what I am supposed to be, maybe I should take a step back and consider what my driving force is.
When you are happiest at work or coming up with a new idea that excites you, where did that energy come from? Why did that particular idea make you so happy or excited?
Life Is An Adventure. Let’s Play
My heart belongs to music and theatre. It has since I was a little girl. No matter how well I have done in marketing, management or other business adventures, I have always made time to support the creative community.
The US Education System and The Arts
One of my favorite classical performers is the beloved “venture culturalist” Yo-Yo Ma ( he also plays the cello from time to time). He wants to save the arts – read more. Consider me on the Yo-Yo Ma bandwagon. Several people have heard that our education system in the US is killing the arts and creativity. Maybe this is for the best. They were not doing such a great job with it before. I think it is time to take control of our creative education outside of a traditional classroom.
Birth of Creative Communities
There has been a strong response to a lack of creative education throughout the country.
“Let’s just do it on our own.”
This response has occurred in the form of artist collectives, websites to share your art, blogs, and community based organizations. I love it! Here in Austin, Texas I have stumbled upon a huge and highly talented society of creatives. They have created co-working spaces, galleries, stages, and other safe/affordable places for developing your art – music, visual art, film, theatre, writing, graphic design, comedy, dance, etc.
The thing that most of these communities are missing is business education. A band is just something you do for fun until it becomes an income generator, right? The successful bands have at least one member who understands the business – contracts, finance, marketing, etc. BUT right-brained people generally do not want to deal with or learn any of that business stuff. I am an unusual breed of musician because I love all of the business stuff and I have a knack for making it easy to understand. How will I leverage this insight and talent into a business that supports the creative community?
Practice! That’s how you get to Carnegie Hall. I know, because I’ve been there before.
One of my many extra curricular activities is teaching people how to sing. Over the weekend I was giving a voice lesson to a young mezzo soprano, and I caught myself being a hypocrite. A good teacher always reminds students about the importance of practice. I gave my student a few specific exercises to practice once a day for at least 10 minutes. Meanwhile, I have barely been practicing music myself.
Like anything else, if you want to be good or improve upon your skill then it is vital to practice. In my case, I should be practicing music every single day. It is the one thing in the world that makes me feel complete. Music has steered me through some rough times and helped me grow as a person.
Do you know what happens when you practice? You build upon your skills, break through boundaries and reap the rewards. When you stop practicing the skills that you once developed begin to decay and may eventually fade away. First you lose your refinement, then your agility and finally the rude awakening that the ability is gone.
So what can you do to prevent this? Make the time for this skill and build it into your routine. For me it will be the same as what I preach to my voice students – at least 10 minutes each day in the morning. Building that 10 minutes into my morning routine will help me to commit to practicing.
Voice Lessons (Photo credit: formulapuff)