Well, this last month I was a little late, so the March song of the month is now up on iTunes. I Will Bless The Lord is a worship song that I wrote fairly recently. One of the things I am doing to up the happiness factor this year (see my goals for the year) is listening to positive CDs in the car. Whether it be from my success magazine subscription or a sermon series, I am trying to stay away from the news etc, and remain optimistic and positive by putting the positive in.
Years ago I used to listen a lot to a preacher named James MacDonald. There were several series that really impacted me and I had them on CD, so I popped one in the car. It was called Yahweh and was on Psalm 34. The rest is history, as I listened to the sermons on Psalm 34 I began singing a tune to the phrases that were really sticking with me, and now I give you…I Will Bless The Lord.
You have probably heard the saying you are always selling something, at the very least yourself. A steady job, a good community, a lack of a desire to change can all convince you that selling is not necessary. But in this constantly changing world, you need to be selling yourself just to stay status quo, that much moving ahead.
Then there is converting a sale. Actually turning a desired outcome into the outcome itself, over and over. Especially if you are adverse to selling, I think a great way of looking at this is serving. How can you help a colleague, your boss or your friend succeed. Often serving is selling your way into future opportunities.
I am reading Onward by Howard Schultz of Starbucks fame. I am only about a third in, but I am already gripped by much on the journey he has been on the past few years. I think one of the toughest disciplines in life is focus. There are many stories of people and organizations that start with a vision for creating art and value and end up selling out for commerce. Even on this blog you here me touting the value of growth, personal and organizational. Phrases like "not moving forward is moving backward", but one must determine how to move forward and stay on vision. The vision itself might pre-determine growth rates as opposed to Wall Street, and that is how it should be.
It is equally important to develop a vision statement for ourselves that we can use as a litmus test, a way of measuring our adherence to our own personal goals and dreams. For me, I think there is where I am most challenged right now. Like the Starbucks of a few years ago, I am doing many things in a way that looks consistent with my vision and my dreams, but the reality is I need to re-visit that vision statement and re-boot.
Sometimes when we are in the thick of everything, we lose perspective on where we are. We may even know, or think we know, where we are going, but we can't see the forest for the trees.
I am on a journey of producing a song a month for 2011. I suppose the whole process is my forest for the year, but each song can feel daunting at times. Last night was the mix breakthrough for March's song of the month, so it will land next week. But as I continue to walk through the forest I am creating I do want to remind everyone of the songs we are leaving behind (at least chronologically) every month.
I am incredibly happy with the January and February songs, you can see them on my site here and link to CDBaby or iTunes from there.
Mid 80's Michael W. Smith released a CD called the big picture. I loved that CD, went to the concert at Expo 86 in Vancouver B.C. I don't know about you, but I grew up too serious. I am sure many of my old mates would confirm said statement. One of the things I have been learning as I now try to build into my precious children, is that I need to create and model the big picture, and that picture is a marathon, not a sprint. You have to live with the end in mind, but you have to live. I once did a concert years ago that I titled "live, love, laugh, philosophize." In retrospect, most of the concert was the last word of that phrase.
A year goes by relatively quickly when you plod through it. Some might think that is a good thing if you are having a tough year. But if you have nothing to look forward to, and nothing to look back on, no milestones of growth, or even family vacation, or time with friends, it will feel like you did nothing.
I think weekly reflection is so important when you are trying to live a life of balance, because balance isn't doing the same percentage of things every week, balance is knowing what to emphasize at different times to keep your life moving towards and within, the big picture.
One of my favorites from that Album: Lamu
The March song of the month is close. I have to go in tonight and touch up the mix, but it should go live early next week at the latest, a little late, but staying on pace for the big goal of one song a month.
Positivity is so important, I really believe that. So is continuing to learn by reading a couple of books a month, so is setting goals and meeting them and shipping, for instance a song every month, or a blog post nearly everyday. My goal, bottom line, is to inspire through this blog and my songs and to add value to whoever might interact with these efforts, I hope I am succeeding, but it is too early to know. And guess what, it is tiring.
I remember a great line from the "Happiness Advantage" where Shawn Anchor mocks himself for being depressed at failing, for after all, how can a positive psychologist be depressed!?
I just want to be honest about the process. It is a lot of work, and there are valleys. Right now, I need to push forward, get the March song of the month done, and keep walking. Maybe some of you have been inspired enough by reading this blog to do what I am doing this year. Trying to break through some long standing barriers and go to the next level. I kind of look at this like working out. I am near the end of a workout, it hurts, but just one more set and then a day off. Keep you posted…..
I woke up this morning, not from my sleep, but from the daze.. The pedantic, albeit necessary, journey of a thousand miles And I saw my child, adoring, relishing my attention, those moments spent together
"Stay all in," my soul shouted, "Do not let these moments slip away!"
For little girls become women, and little boys become men Better off all, from every ounce of love that I can extract in the midst, and give Unconditionally….
I am reading a book on business design currently. I will post a link to it soon. I have heard the concepts in this book espoused in different ways. One of the old ways was simply the maturity cycle of a business represented in the graph below. When looking at a single business the peak really represents the full leverage of an idea in its current form for that business. Its leadership cannot take it any further without further innovation. Good leadership makes sure there is always new thinking and ideas being invested in, so that part way up the climb a second and third curve is forming. By doing this, although product lines or iterations of service change, the troughs are "hidden" by waves of growth that keep the company moving forward.
Now how about your life? Are you doing the hard work of monitoring your growth? Seeing the end of a cycle in your own life and preparing innovation for the next phase. Are your children about to leave the home for university? Have you started building new hobbies, traditions activities with your spouse and grown children to keep those relationships growing through the next phase? How about career? What are you working on, how are you growing? Life design is much like business design. You have to think ahead and continue to innovate to avoid troughs. Make no mistake, the trough is still there. Your child is still leaving for university, but the positive distraction of the next innovation keeps everything moving forward.
I don't think I have blogged that I finally have outfitted myself with an electric guitar. It was time to start playing and recording with those sounds, and the March song of the month definitely needed it. Last night was great, laying down some guitar tracks for the new tune, which is really starting to shape up.
I have to admit, there is a completely different feeling playing electric. Overdrive, delay etc., so fun. Kind of makes you feel like…well a rock star. I highly recommend it.