There are already a million different blogs, books, inspirational tweets and songs about making goals, dreaming big and achieving them. So I’m not going to talk about that. I want to talk to the goal-oriented people out there. The ones who already found their vision, made their plans and, most importantly, took the first step towards accomplishing them. I want to talk about perseverance, passion and how to hold on to those things while on your journey to success.
There will come a point in any career where things go wrong, whether you realize it or not. Passion can and will fade, and even though the road may be clear, the thing you were driving towards will get blurred. So what do you do then? Most people just keep moving, because it’s all they know. Sure, you can still find “success” while doing that. You can still become a brain surgeon, an engineer, a veterinarian, but what do these titles mean to us? They mean one thing to society, but what do they mean to you as an individual? What if you achieve one of these titles but you forget what it meant to you? I don’t believe you can have true success without that meaning. That’s why it’s crucial through your journey to remind yourself why you made that goal in the first place, reflect on the progress made, and if you lose your passion make it a priority to find it again.
I've been working towards the same thing for almost a decade. In that time, just about everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. Although I’ve had moments of success, it has always felt few and far between. With each failure and plan gone wrong those successes felt more and more insignificant. Which in turn, makes you work harder, but while doing that it narrows your view. What I mean by that is, with enough losses, people striving for success will rip the metaphorical mirrors off their car. They lose their ability to look back, and that’s a good way to lose perspective, and that’s exactly what happened to me.
I’ve based my entire life around the idea of success. From a young age I had a vision of what I wanted to become. I spent years dedicating my time to whatever was needed to get me there. Years of focus, full steam ahead. Then about a year ago everything, and I do mean everything when it comes to my career and what I set out to do, fell apart. In that year I noticed that loss took a large toll on me. The moment that happened I started questioning myself like I never had before. What have I really accomplished in the years of chasing music? My problem was I didn’t take the time to think of an answer, and it does take time. I just kept making the motions kept doing what I taught myself to do, but it all felt so empty. I fell out of love with the music I was working on, but I’d still spend my days listening to those songs, trying to add something to the project, but instead I was just following a formula. Creating anything substantial, not just music requires a balance of structure and “out of the box” thinking. I knew it couldn’t last, and I knew I didn't spend all this time just to realize it’s not what I want at all.
It took a lot of time to realize a loss doesn’t mean you’re losing. So pause for a moment. What I spoke of above may happen to you when you’re 23, or you’re 40, or maybe it’s happening to you right now. What got me out of this funk, was as simple as taking the time to answer the questions that created doubt. Like I said before, it does take time, it requires looking passed rather than dwelling in the failures. I know this can be difficult, but I’m confident in saying if you take 10 to 20 minutes to mark down the things you’ve done from the beginning of whatever road you’re driving on to now, you’ll find something that makes you smile. I will say I still find this difficult to do these days. One of the greatest things I have, and that I owe a lot too, is my support system aka my friends. I also know it’s hard to admit to friends, close or not when things are bad. It’s hard to show weakness of any sort for some people. For those who can’t bring themselves to let out just what is gone wrong, I ask you to put pride and ego aside. When I went to my friends and told them just how much of a mess things were in my career, they were the first ones to say “stop being stupid, look at everything you’ve done.” Sometimes that’s all it takes, an outside perspective to open your mind up again, or reattach those mirrors you ripped off your car.
For the times your friends aren't around: For a lack of a term, find a place, or a thing to do that puts you at ease. Maybe it’s sitting in your room before bed with no distractions. For me, it’s driving, and going to the gym. I would call it some sort of meditation, but instead of clearing your mind of everything, seek to answer that question of why. Take yourself to each moment, each carefully planned move, each obstacle you’ve overcome. Your passion can be found in the whole journey not in one moment, or one win or loss. Take yourself back to the very start when the road wasn’t clear, then take yourself all the way forward to the present. You’ll find something beautiful there. That something beautiful may be the thing you need to get yourself out of the moment you’re stuck in. No matter how difficult it may be, no matter how empty it may feel, you’ll get out of it. If you take time to reflect, you’ll see you already have a hundred times before. This may come off like a brag, but in my moments of weakness, and even as I write this I feel uncertain of success, I feel scared knowing that in the coming months my career will move in the right direction or end. But I’ll take time today and reflect, I’ll see a kid who had no skills, a kid who would do anything to fit in. I’ll relive the moment where I decided I was done with following, I’ll sit by my keyboard as I wrote my first song, I’ll tell my parents I’m dropping out of university. I’ll watch my dad tear up to the first song I ever recorded. I’ll cause him and mother stress they don’t deserve, I’ll get a song on the radio, I’ll work with Island Records, I’ll sit on the floor of my kitchen in disbelief that someone who’s been in the industry for 40 years thinks I should score movies. I’ll lose that opportunity. I’ll have people in this industry say my songs will never be good enough, I’ll see my best friends dance to and sing my songs. Now I’m here, in the present, I see that my journey has been everything I ever wanted. I’m not scared anymore, because I’ve had set backs before; and this is just another set back with a twist. Then the passion comes back to me, because in that reflection I see that it was strong when things were accomplished. And I see it was stronger when I was told no, when I let my parents down a million times. With each crushing blow, it stayed strong without me always knowing, it’s the reason we all keep moving.
Take time, one with true vision is one that can look ahead and behind. Through my stories I hope it helps you find clarity if things are a mess, and satisfaction when things are empty.
I believe in you, like I believe in my friend Erik, and I believe in Erik like I believe in me… which is a lot.