Choosing What You Love

New Cover: Fire and Rain

A few weeks ago I played my first show at my dream venue, Caffe Lena. The first place I ever performed in public was Lena’s open mic. It was an honor to be on stage performing songs off my upcoming album, Wandering Man.   

This show reminded me that my ultimate goal is to become a touring singer-songwriter and play for listening audiences at venues like Lena’s. With that in mind, I will soon begin the process of booking some venues for original music only!

Lucas Garrett and Carolyn Shapiro also had awesome sets of original music that night!

Lucas backstage in the green room at Lena
You can find Lucas’s music by clicking here

And you can look forward to Carolyn’s debut album Food for Thought coming out this winter!

Thank you, Katie Dobies for the awesome photos from the show (above). Katie is launching her own stock photography website in November and her work can be found here

Choosing What You Love

If you are unsure of how to find a career that you are passionate about or you would like to turn what you love into a career, here are some of my thoughts on how to do so.

If we break this down into three steps, it would look like this:

  1. Figure out what you love to do
  2. Get good enough so you can start to get paid for it
  3. Turn it into a full-time career

Figure Out What You Love To Do

I talked a bit about this in the last post, but I want to expand on it here.

  1. If possible, don’t settle into a 9-5 job you dislike that may rob you of your passion in life
  2. Part-time jobs are great, they give you flexibility to figure out what you are good at, and taste new things in life
  3. Travel
  4. Volunteer at:
  • If you are a painter -> Galleries
  • Interested in the Medical Field -> Hospitals
  • Musicians -> Play free gigs, busk, or volunteer at a recording studio
  • Want to become a business owner? -> Work at the type of business you might like to run someday
  • Aspiring Yogi -> Yoga studio

*note volunteering is not “free work” you are gaining knowledge and experience without having to pay $$

  1. Mentorship- Most of us can find someone who has the job we wish we had. Find them and offer your help *FOR FREE*
  2. Read books, watch YouTube videos and listen to podcasts daily about things that you are good at/interested in

Some people know what they want to do for a living as a kid, and others still don’t know when they are 50 years old. Age plays no importance here.

Here are some ways that WON’T help you figure it out

  • Doing things that don’t bring you closer to your goals. This could be; dining out, drinking, going to college without a goal, getting your own apartment, buying an expensive car etc. It’s different for everyone. Whatever it is, if you allow the opinion of others to outweigh the importance of your own wants and needs, you are at a huge disadvantage.

Get Good Enough So You Can Start To Get Paid

You do not need to be the best at something to get paid for it. You just need to be good enough to get in. When I first started going out to get gigs, I was sometimes surprised I got shows when I saw how skilled some of the other musicians were that played at that same venue. That’s fine, just start and expect more rejection than acceptance.

A great quote by Gary Vaynerchuk about his childhood experience in business;

“When I stood there at a lemonade stand 100 cars would drive by for every 1 that would stop, so I was used to failure. Failure was my foundation, which is why I succeeded.”

Gary is brilliant entrepreneur, New York Times best-selling author, and a huge hero of mine.

Turn It Into A Full-Time Career

Let’s imagine that you have a full-time job that financially supports you, yet you would like to quit and replace it with a career you are passionate about. I think that the best way to increase your likelihood of success is to treat your passion as a second full-time job.

If we have 24hrs in a day, you can sleep for 8, go work at a job for 8, and work on your passion for another 8. Right? Well, maybe… but some of us have a family to cook for, someone to take care of, or other responsibilities. So, let’s re-do the math looking at Monday- Friday.~ 9 hours a day working at day job

~ 2 hours with family/cooking/other responsibilities

~ 8hrs of sleep

That leaves 5 hours each day to work on your passion. On the weekend if you can do 7 hours on both Saturday and Sunday that leaves you with some free time.

That’s 39 hours a week… enough to call it a full-time job. This strategy means auditing activities that take time and do not help you move towards your goal. The 1 hour on Netflix or scrolling on Facebook can be put to great use..

Repeat this for a few years and you are on your way to building a career around what you love. This is how I have done it myself. I took the asset that most young people have the most…time, and I leveraged it as much as I could.

This is not an instant gratification game. This could be a 5, 10, 15, or 20-year journey depending on your goal. I started taking music seriously about 8 years ago. And this past year I finally put in the needed work to match my skills musically with the business actions needed to become full-time. That’s 9 years of work and I’m just now at the beginning of a career.

If you are single, or without family responsibilities you can push these hours to whatever you like.

Thoughts on “Advice” (even mine)

I’ve gotten a lot of advice about how to be a musician from non-musicians. Sometimes it is helpful, but most of the time it’s misleading, and flat out wrong.

If someone asked me what it takes to be a dentist, I wouldn’t know, and I wouldn’t advise them in detail. Yet if you ask someone what it takes to be a musician you will hear all sorts of things. They’ll say “it’s a tough career” “it’s hard to make money” etc. I never paid attention to any of this “advice”.

Everyone thinks they know something about certain professions, (especially the arts), and many want to give their opinion, even when it isn’t founded in personal experience. Much of this will come from your family or people closest to you that actually have your best interest at heart, but just don’t have the context. Take advice from those who are experienced in what you are asking about and take the rest with a grain of salt.

Passion, Hard Work, Skill and Talent

You are much more likely to find personal success in doing something you are passionate about. You may be good at something but if you are not passionate as well, you may not find lasting fulfillment in the process.

I think if I were to try another career that I’m not truly interested in I would surely fail, because it would be twice as difficult getting out of bed to do something that bores me. My favorite Jim Carrey quote;

“You can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.”

Let’s compare two people; Jack and Jill. They are both beginner photographers.

Jack is naturally talented at taking photos, but not very passionate about it. He spends 3 hours shooting every day. Jill is an alright photographer, but passionate and driven. She takes photos 4 hours a day. In one week, Jill has photographed 7 hours more than Jack. When we skip forward 5 years, we can see that Jill, because of her passion AND hard work has far outperformed Jack.

My response to the ridiculous, age old musings about skill vs. talent;

Talent is when you have a natural affinity and ease with something, and with some work you become good at it. Skill comes when you are constantly seeking to improve the craft while always demanding a higher standard through hard work. Talent will take you so far, but skill will win in the end every time.

The benefit of having time to hone your skills become apparent when you become full-time at something. Time spent on your craft turns talent to skill.quit your job.

Helpful books for artists/entrepreneurs who would like to make a living from what they create:

The War of Art– Steven Pressfield
David and Goliath– Malcolm Gladwell
Outliers– Malcolm Gladwell (about his 10,000 hour principle)
The Fountainhead– Ayn Rand
Musashi– Eiji Yoshikawa

I know a lot of people who have spent the first 15 years of their youth working on their music abilities. But not everyone has had that time with their passion. I’ve always felt I have been playing catch up with many of my peers, that’s why I’ve talked about this mathematical way of looking at your time. You don’t need a lifetime to learn a skill, you just need to make time everyday. Perhaps it’s not for everyone but if you are looking for the most efficient and fulfilling way to become full-time at something you love, I believe it’s the best way.

Thanks so much for reading,

With love,

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