I've spent a large part of my "corporate post-college" life working in sales in some capacity (primarily in consultative, and longer sales cycle realms) coupled with some songwriting throughout. And, I've spent the majority of "disposable time" in my entire life playing either the piano, drums, or guitar... and also constructing songs or components of composition.
Pondering on this correlation, back in 2015 when I was working at an early stage start-up SaaS MarTech company, I started to really observe the parallel of the sales mentality, and songwriting. There are certainly genres where lyric is not as integral as the instrumentation in a composition - and many people prefer this art form over the literary-based arrangements (which is another conversation), and vice versa. Different genres appreciate very different song structures. For example, some genres identify "great works" or "successful" songs as those with really concrete, simple or lucid storylines (e.g. country, blues standards), whereas others might look down upon those and instead only value songs that are super contemplative, or poetic and mysterious (e.g. certain types of rock, metal, rap, etc). Same goes for the pop world and the Spotify There's definitely beauty in all...therein lies the true, subjective nature of music...which is why, as Cowboy Jack Clement once said, "Experts tend to be narrow and overly opinionated - and those 'experts' are often wrong." So true. Oh, and over the last 50+ years, there's sadly been a massive advertising accretion to this, too (more heavily in certain genres), which is definitely another conversation.
Back to the correlation. With any good movement in an arrangement, storyline, or sales process, comes evocative events. Why keep listening? Why sell, or buy, this product or service? Why tell your friends or co-workers about that artist, song, or product? What moved you? Setting the scene (in prose, key, or melody), then augmenting with something compelling is important (for listener engagement) in all these processes, whether a rockin' instrumental, poetic & deep jam, a relatable story, or good sales pitch. It's what all songwriters, composers, and deal closers strive to master.
Everyone is sellin' something, right?! Anyway, just some outside-the-box thoughts about two creative worlds!
Watch The ’17 British Open this past weekend? If not, you missed a rollercoaster of a back 9 from 23-year-old, Jordan Spieth; however, one that was punctuated with a -12 victory. If you saw his tee shot on number 13, you had to question if he would be able to take the reins back. But, Jordan seeming to have the mental toughness of a seasoned warrior, got back to the mission, despite his missteps, by posting a bogey save at 13, then nearly holing out number 14, and draining an eagle putt from outside of Liverpool on number 15. It’s just another example of how anyone can bounce back, whether you’re dealt a bad hand, or you make a mistake, when you shift your mental energy to the path beneath your feet, and nowhere else. A big “thanks” to young Jordan for a refreshing example on overcoming adversity – in life, OR in his case, from firing a hosel rocket, on the back 9, into deep right foul ball territory. Onward, to the Grand Slam, Jordan. Read about Spieth’s British Open win, via a great article by Jonathan Wall at PGA Tour, here.
A few months ago, I was watching The Art of Organized Noize...one of my favorite Netflix music documentaries - partially because I'm from the Atlanta area, but moreover because I grew up loving all the various types of music these guys produced, still do. Everything from Outkast, CeeLo, to Goodie Mob... the Dungeon Family. Say no more. In one scene they discuss how "everyone seemed to stay in their own lanes" while in the creation and business process of their art. Keeping focused on what they individually did best - not focusing on others or worrying about others, in or outside of the group. It's a great reminder, no matter what we work on in life - stay in your lane, when it comes to what you're building. No need to get lost in what others are doing, or "the Jones," etc. Time is wasted on social media noise, or listening and giving energy to those who don't add value to your pursuits. In the words of Antwan (aka Big Boi), "Go on and marinate on that for a minute..."
Here! Ever felt overwhelmed or defeated? Ever pushed through that, put blinders on, kept moving regardless of anything? That’s what Vic Beasley, Jr., OLB of the Atlanta Falcons, did this past season…and boy has that paid off. This article, via David Newton at ESPN, is well worth the read and will likely inspire you in some way. In short, Vic was drowning in negativity from people around him and in the media (let’s call them the external critics) due to his performance last season. But, Vic didn’t let the naysayers get to him. Instead, he stayed positive and focused, and kept moving forward. He has been on the most dominating defensive forces in the NFL this year and a massive contributor to the Falcons 2016 success and resilience. It’s an important lesson in life and in any profession. There are always going to be people who don’t want to support, who don’t want to have faith, but they cannot control someone else’s persistence and drive. And, as the saying goes, “opinions are like assholes…” You know how that goes. But, it’s so true. Best way to proceed: look at what Vic did, mirror, repeat in your own life. Check it out: http://es.pn/2kj0vrl
Happy New year! Hard to believe it's 2017... but that's the reality. On a similar note, I was thinking about this concept the other day, and it's worth continual (or daily) contemplation: your perception is not someone else's reality. It might seem common sense at first, but sit with it for a little while and you'll start to more delicately analyze thoughts / actions / words that are spoken, both by yourself... and by others.
Last night, in the game 6 post-game interview of the 2016 World Series, Chicago's Kris Bryant was asked about his masterful home run, which put the Cubs on top, in a pressure packed first inning. Bryant's response was, "I love hitting curve balls in." What a nice, accidental adianoeta. Whether it's in sports, business, or life, this is a solid attitude to have in response to any "curve ball" thrown at us. Whether it's a mistake on our part, or an affliction that landed upon us, if we can start cultivating an attitude that fears no curve ball... better yet, an attitude that "loves" the opportunity to face and overcome said curve ball (aka adversity/challenge), then we'll be better equipped for any and all situations in life. Oh yeah, the Cubs went on to win.
And re the curve balls, see the interview here :)
An incredible mentor and friend once posed these questions to me: How long are we on earth? How much can we do in the time we'll be here? What do we really want to do, say, or how can we help a worthy cause?
Growing up in western culture, we constantly hear about the "next" thing in our lives (business, family, or whatever the profession or trade might be) - and what those "achievements" are "supposed" to look like; however, we seldom are really asked or reminded about the brevity of life and time, or inquired about honest fulfillment. And, there might be valid reasons behind that omission. However, Dr. Stephen Covey briefly writes about some possible reasons for a stationary mode of thinking in his "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" and Professor Larry Smith, from the University of Waterloo, conveyed animated thoughts on why people today "fail to have great careers" in his 2011 Tedx Talk presentation. Both are worth the read or the listen, and they both ignite honest self-exploration. So, how long are we here? How much can we do during the time we have? What do we really want to do, to say, or how can we help a worthy cause?