What’s your dream?
If you’re like most musicians I know, your dream probably includes getting a lucrative record deal and playing in front of large crowds of people. Maybe you’d like to score a major motion picture and go down as a brilliant composer. Either way, your dreams probably go beyond playing at Joe’s Bar and Grill on Tuesday nights or playing in front of your cat in your bedroom.
Sadly, most people will never realize their dreams. Sadder still, most people will never be able to overcome their fears enough to even give themselves a chance. Most people are full of rationalizations and illusions that keep them where they are. They cling to their dreams but they wake up one day and realize they never bothered to put one foot in front of the other to bridge the gap between their dreams and reality.
So where are you, compared to where you dream to be? How badly do you want it? What are you willing to give up to get there?
It’s a tough road and you will have to make sacrifices. You will have to learn to eliminate tempting distractions and turn away people in your life who are holding you back. You will have to challenge yourself and grow as a person. It’s going to be harder than you think. Half the battle is learning just how hard it really is so you can make yourself strong enough to do it.
Many years ago I moved from Rhode Island to L.A. A few weeks before I left for L.A. my car’s engine blew. I had very little money. I didn’t know a single person in L.A. I’d never been west of Texas. A number of people were discouraging me from going, and truthfully, there were plenty of reasons not to go. But I never considered not going. I knew I had to get there to get the ball rolling and make things happen.
Once I got to L.A. it didn’t take me long to figure out I didn’t have any perspective on the way things work. I was very far from being ready. Today I meet all kinds of successful people in the entertainment industry. Years ago I would’ve thought that any one of them could put me on the fast track to success. But what I have come to realize is that it’s all about me and what I bring to the table, not someone else who’s going to come in and give me my break. There are people all over L.A. who can give you opportunities, you just have to be ready for them. You learn by getting your hands dirty and you’ll never really figure it out until you do.
So, if you’re going to make it you’re going to need the guts to move to where the people are who can help you get there. Either you are willing to do whatever it takes and move to a major hub of the music industry, specifically L.A., New York or Nashville, or you will probably never have any concept of it takes to make it. As intimidating as a big city may seem, I assure you, you will adapt. And it is that adaptation and problem-solving that helps you grow. Plus, you’ll have much better stories to tell your grand kids. Bottom line is that you can’t stay where you are, physically or psychologically.
A lot of people have told me they intend to pursue their dreams. The problem is that they tell themselves they have to meet certain conditions before they can get started. They have to have X amount of dollars in the bank, they have to do XYZ first, they have to line everything up in advance, etc. Rationalizing and making excuses gets you no closer to attaining your goals. You can’t have it both ways.
This is the real deal. You don’t have time to waste. Time will sneak up on you. You don’t get another shot. Either have the guts to pony up and do what it takes or be honest with yourself and start making other plans. Don’t cling to the comfort of the status quo and then tell me you intend to be a rockstar. The two are mutually exclusive. Move it or lose it.