How to Make Things Happen: Start!
It may sound obvious, or stupid, but it’s the truth. With what seems to be an endless supply of tips, tricks, growth hacks, online courses, apps and whatever else, it’s a lot, and the information overload can be overwhelming; at least I felt that way.
I was the kind of guy who wanted to cross all my t’s and dot my i’s, I strived for the perfect plan, I needed all the information, so when it would come time to roll it out, I’d be on top of the world. But since I learned new things every day, I continuously adjusted my plan, chiseled it with precision so it was the most up-to-date, bulletproof it could be.
Unfortunately, every time I had to modify my plan, it prolonged me from… ever starting!
In an age where information is so abundant, the ability to find the right book, the right video or the right article is at our fingertips. Wouldn’t any logical, resourceful person want to put tremendous effort in utilizing those resources in order to give their dreams the best possible chance?
Without realizing it, I had become so focused on the theoretical side of things, I became an armchair expert in the subjects I read so much about, without having ever done them! I arrogantly paraded around as the all-knowing in a range of topics I had never put into practice, or even attempted. From starting a business to building a brand, from selling art to computer programming. I knew what it took.
I was so busy researching I didn’t realize I hadn’t physically done anything to get me closer to my goal.
I was a big talker for a long time, not because I was insincere, but because my constant research meant I never put my words into practice. Maybe I found comfort in the security of prolonging my plunge and masked it as preparation. Regardless of why, the bottom line is I hadn’t done anything.
I was 29, I had travelled the safe road expected of me and I realized I was nothing but an idea peddler riding someone else’s wave, I needed to prove to myself I could do something.
I had all kinds of ideas for building brands via honesty and truth; I saw a brand as an extension of its founder and I knew the internet was the perfect vehicle to deliver that message. But these ideas never really got any traction with the more traditional companies I was working with, neither did any of my plans, really. There were lots of people to convince and despite my enthusiasm, I’d become pretty discouraged.
I had a choice, I could let myself complain about people’s inabilities to change, or this could be the opportunity to start something on my own and apply whatever strategy I pleased, without having to shift anyone’s mentality.
I’ve never been more passionate about anything in the world than making music, but could I really get serious about making a life as a singer/songwriter at 29? Why the hell not?! This was my chance to start something from scratch, with the freedom to move in any direction I wanted without having to change anyone’s mind.
So I started writing music again, penning the most honest lyrics I’d ever written, speaking directly from the heart. It wasn’t too long after that a friend heard my very first demo and was compelled to introduce me to a team of producers he had connections with.
The ball was now rolling.
So I started recording, but my mind was now working a hundred miles an hour and I knew I couldn’t rely solely on my music at this early stage, I needed to create momentum. I needed to find a way to deliver my honest message via another medium; enter blogging.
What did I know about blogging? Nothing other than I’d written a few blogs at work with the intention of introducing a bit of personality in hopes of sparking some traffic.
What if I used blogging as means to spark some interest and potentially deliver value to readers. I’m sure the vulnerability of my writing would perhaps entail that people who followed me on my journey might be more inclined to give my music a chance. And this was just another form of expression, my art and honesty were now delivered via both music and writing.
Regardless of what I thought, I really had no way of knowing if anybody would even care, but being in the “I have to start” mentality, I didn’t overthink it and just went for it.
It wasn’t pretty at first, I didn’t know if my blogs were too long, or too short, I had nothing to go by. I didn’t even know how to resize pictures, I didn’t even have pictures, I needed catchy titles to give my posts a chance, how often should I post? Will I run out of things to say?
But every day I got a little better, YouTube got me out of a few binds, but I quickly realized all I had to really focus on was delivering something I truly believed in.
Fast forward a few months, and what initially started as an afterthought has turned into something much bigger than I could’ve ever imagined. A consistent output of brutally honest experiences, the good, the bad, and the ugly, delivered a few times a week has given me momentum. The blog has taken a life of its own and the vague concept of building a relationship is actually taking shape. I’ve made friends, the blog is growing and my music is being heard, what more could I ask for?
That’s all fine and dandy, but just because I’m now getting a few likes and shares, doesn’t mean I can sit pretty. I can’t get too comfortable in this position either. I’ve noticed I’ve gotten a little distracted once again on the theoretical side of things, focusing too heavily on data, and that’s not a good thing.
The goal is for my message to be heard via my music and writing and all I know up until now is I’m lucky enough to have found a way to strike a chord, so I’ve got to continue to dive into uncharted territories, not remain in a safe space where I know how to deliver the goods and get a pat on the back.
Now it’s time to get in front of people, I don’t know how exactly but I’ll start local, here in Montreal, I don’t have a band, but what better way to start than lean, just me and my acoustic guitar, talking and singing. Do I know what’s going to happen or what it’ll lead to? I have no idea. Just because things are going well online, will they translate in a live setting? No clue!
And it doesn’t matter, as long as I’m moving forward; it’s what got me here in the first place.
If we were to rewind 2 or 3 years, and you asked me to guess what I’d be doing at 30, the idea of reviving my music career, or the concept blogging would be so far off the spectrum, I’d run out of ideas before I even got close. But not so long ago, all I did was make the conscious decision to put my head down and start doing, everything after that was a direct result of that decision.
The key all along was just starting.
Starting was all it took to set me on a different path. It all started by wanting to make an impact at work a few years ago, and it’s somehow led to me writing and singing and very soon performing, who’d have thought.
Is it really as simple as just starting? I really do believe so.