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February 16, 2013

Step 1: Define your musical goals clearly

Don't die with the music in you.
−    Wayne Bennett

Take time to know who you are, what you are good at, and what you are prepared to do to build your career. Be realistic about how you are best able to express your music and start with the basics. Have a brutally realistic grip on what you are NOT good at and what you are NOT prepared to do, and be prepared to adjust as opportunities arise or disappear. Plenty of good books exist on this topic.

Successful people say that having goals and a plan is pointless unless you understand WHY you're trying to do something. Building any career is about the "why" of your life. If you want to make music your life, you need to think deeply about why, and what you want out of doing so. Once you understand Why you want something, you have a better handle on exactly WHAT you want. Only then can you figure out HOW to get it and set goals so you know whether you're succeeding.

Remember that these are only goals. As your life changes, you achieve some of these and others become less important. You can change them and you should review them regularly (see Step 10). You are not committing yourself to an all-or-nothing path - you are just giving yourself the best direction you can see at this point in time.

Research has shown that only 3% of people write long-term goals down and those that do are ten times more likely to achieve their goals. After 50 years of research, Harvard's Dr Edward Banfield concluded that taking a long-term view on life was more likely to predict a person's social and economic progress than their family background, education, race, or intelligence. So just by setting and writing down your goals, you are far more likely to succeed in achieving them.

You also need to persist. Top athletes, inventors, artists, and business people all report that they fail a lot more times that they succeed. It's called PRACTICE and working through all the failures so you can try again is what enables you to succeed when it counts. You haven't failed until you quit.

So let's start exploring the WHY, the WHAT, and the HOW.

Step 1 Exercises

Define your music career goals. Start at the end: when you die, what do you want to be able to say about your music career? Why do you want this career?

Write a Vision Statement:

I want to be remembered as/for ...

Now work back from there. Focus on what you need to achieve to be where you want. Break your vision down into smaller goals that build towards your vision:

  • To achieve your vision, where do you want/need to be in 20 years?
  • Where do you want/need to be in 10 years?
  • Where do you want/need to be in 5 years?
  • Where do you want/need to be in 2 years?
  • Where do you want/need to be in 1 years?
  • Where are you now?

How can you reach each of these milestones? Start at the beginning. Make those shorter-term goals into S.M.A.R.T. goals:

  • Simple
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

Write them down and keep them somewhere prominently displayed near your work space. Say them out loud before you begin work each time.

Exercises to take home

  1. Write down everything you want - all of it. When an opportunity comes up, check what you will gain from it against this list. If that opportunity doesn't help you reach at least one of your goals, don't do it.
  2. From your medium-term goals, pick at least 6 career focus areas and write them down. Choose at least 2 SMART goals for the next year in each area. Prioritise these over the next 12 months ...
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Posted by DrHuge at February 16, 2013 10:24 AM

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