In the past 20+ years I have been helping talent in the entertainment industry succeed in their goals and aspirations. In 2008 I started Creative Empowerment by Funksville UFO and stepped my helping game up big time. It has now been 10 years since I started Creative Empowerment and the journey has taught me so much that I am actually impressed with all the ups and downs I have endured over this time. It has not always been perfect and I have made lots of errors along the way, but I have grown each and every time from these errors and it is what has made me who I am today.
One of the things I have learned over my 20+ years, and 10 years of doing Creative Empowerment, is not to rush things I want in life and is part of the practice I teach others. When we rush into things is when we make bigger errors and when those errors are repeated they become mistakes. It is important to recognize the error and correct for it so the next time it does not happen again and to actually avoid any similar errors.
One of the things that has helped me get to where I am today is great Mentors in my life. My Mentors have shown me the errors of my ways, helped me to avoid their own mistakes, and often show me the correct path to take for myself in any of my endeavors. One of these things Mentors have helped me to understand is the importance of knowing it takes time to get to the goal of Living the Life I want.
Living the Life we want is not something that happens overnight, or in a couple of months. In fact it usually takes a good 18 months to get to this point and for some people even longer. Because of this time frame most people will just give up and become all "woe is me," "I guess I just wasn't cut out for it." The other thing about this time frame is that because it takes time and there are going to be ups and downs most people will fail once and give up. Most people will not recognize that instead of failing and giving up they should fail and use this to re-work their concept and do it again with that new frame work in mind. But your not most people right?
It is noted that it takes a minimum of 21 days to form a new habit, and people forget that this is a minimum and harder habits will certainly take a lot longer to break than 21 days.
Obviously, changing some habits can be more difficult. But this framework is a place to start. Sometimes change takes a long time. Sometimes it requires repeated experiments and failures. But once you understand how habit operates -once you diagnose the cue, the routine and the reward- you gain power over it. "
I bring up The Power of Habit because isn't changing your lifestyle up and setting yourself up to Live the Life you want all about changing your habits? Ok, well maybe you don't see it as changing a habit. But I would like to argue that being in the 9-5 routine working for a company you don't like and doing nothing about getting out of the situation, if you want out of it, is a habit. You have gotten use to it and the routine and don't even think twice about it anymore. Or, if you are wanting to change your life around, you are thinking twice about it and that is why you are reading this blog and other blogs and books like this. You want change. But how do you change?
In the book Switch by Chip Heath and Dan Heath they talk about the fact that in order to change it is not going to happen overnight. It is going to take some time, and effort. But changing is 100% possible, for everyone. One of the most important take aways from the book is that in order to change you have to chip away at it, you have to keep working at it, and slowly over time the change will happen. "One way to motivate action (change) is to make people feel as though they're closer to the finish line than they might have thought: - Switch by Chip Heath and Dan Heath.
One important thing I have learned is that my Mentors tell me the same thing, the same concept about changing as these two books, and other books like them I have read over time. What this tells me is that there is something to this concept that warrants further exploration by me. The thing is, when I look back over my years I realize I have already explored these concepts without even realizing it at the time. So essentially I have experienced just how long it takes for change to truly happen when it comes to major changes in my life, like a big career change. For me, it certainly did not just happen overnight, becoming self-employed and able to do what I want for a living. It was in fact a lot of hard work, drive, determination, dedication and grit that got me to where I am today.
If it was up to me, once I graduated high school I would of never worked a "normal" job a day in my life ever again. But this was not the case for many years to come. I had always loved and been into music my whole life and started my musical talents in the 5th grade when I signed up for band class. But by the time I graduated high school I, like almost all of us, had no clue what I wanted to do with my life as far as "work." My parents, as supportive as they were with my choices, did want me to work and make money so I could leave the house some day. They never stopped me from doing what I wanted, but made it clear that I had to earn money. It wasn't until I was 22 years old that it suddenly hit me one day, music! Music is what I wanted to do in life. But then the big question was how could I make money in music. I had some skills with the saxophone from my years of playing it through high school. At about 19 I started DJ'ing on the turntables and vinyl records and was getting pretty good at it. I was going to raves and dance clubs at this point since I was 16 and was getting into throwing parties too. But none of this seemed like a stable career choice to me though because I wasn't making a ton of money. But at 22 on that faithful day it hit me, engineering! I could be a sound engineer! Sound Engineers are the cats who mix music and record the instruments and I figured since I was so good and mixing wax on the 1's and 2's this would be a more steady source of income. Boom! I had my choice for a career, something that could actually pay bills and support me.
At that point I had already moved and been living in Los Angeles for about 2 years so I was also in the perfect place to make music my thing. 2003 is when the music thing really started working out for me. I worked with Jim Hensons Studios in Hollywood this year and even worked with Michael Jackson at Neverland, needless to say it was a great year and proved to me I was on the right path in life and music was going to be my ticket to "being an adult." "Being an adult" in parentheses because I've never wanted to be an adult in the sense of being told by someone else when to take a break from a job I couldn't stand just to pay the bills and support other people because that is apparently what "adults" do, so I am told. Screw all that nonsense. If I am an adult why do I need to be told to go to lunch, what if I am not hungry at that time. Oh, and don't be a second late from your first mandatory 10min break because if you are you will get written up. Seriously! This kind of thing is exactly why I never wanted to work for someone else in the traditional sense. I am cool with Anita Baker saying "do you have soup? Can you get some soup?" "Sure thing girl!" That is the kind of boss I want if I have to have one, the kind that is an industry legend, amazing at what they do and professional as professional comes.
It wasn't until 2007 that I made the decision to go at the industry all by myself and start my own thing and company and be fully self-employed and do things on my own terms. It still took me a full year from there to really figure out my business model so that I could be adaptable and flexible enough to be able to work on various different projects and with different talent as things came my way. And you know what? Even to this day, 11 years and counting later, I am still adjusting, learning, adapting and changing up my skills so I can be better at what I do and help others better achieve what it is they want.
Had you told me back in 2002 that it would be 5 years before I could officially work for myself, I probably would of said screw the music industry, what else can I do. But I am only half being serious with that statement because music is the only thing in life that has ever been the constant for me. Throughout everything in my life, music is the one thing that I have always been able to say that I am good at and what I like to do without question. For me it was the only real and logical choice and I had to find a way to make it work somehow.
I also thought I would just always be a sound engineer back then. I would never have predicted I would go on to become a producer, a writer, a director, a marketing and branding guru or an event specialist, sound designer, photographer or videographer. But because I am always learning, trying new things and adapting while still being professional, driven and true to myself I have been able to keep things fresh and fun for myself while still being able to earn a living.
It is so easy for us all to get stuck in the trap of we need it right now and we can't wait. If we can't leave our job right now and start working for ourselves than it seems like to big a task and we won't be able to accomplish it. Or we just say screw it and leave and jump right in.
If you just jump right in without a proper support system in place, a map, and some bruises from trial and error the chances of succeeding are going to be very slim. It is like leaving your programing job to open up your own restaurant and you are going to be the chef without ever having worked in a restaurant before, but because your girlfriend loves your risotto dish so much you are convinced you are an excellent chef and can run a successful kitchen and business. What do you think the odds of survival are in this scenario? I'll give you the high side of the odds and say you have a solid 5% chance of survival and staying open longer that 3 years. Now if you had this programing job, but on the side were being mentored by a great chef with lots of talent and learning everything you could about being a chef from them and books and what it takes to run a restaurant and all the right key team personal you need for it, along with staging at his restaurant any chance you got and had another mentor who runs restaurants, I would say your odds would increase to a solid 70% chance and 85% if you had gone to culinary school too. Restaurants are a hard business and the majority of them fail within 3-5 years and if you didn't even know that going into it, what makes you think you'd be successful at it? The amount of debt alone you would have to take on would break you when it failed and you would never be able to climb out of the hole and never be able to start another venture because you will always be working for someone else to pay off the debt you got yourself into. Unless of course you owned stock in the company for your programming job and made tons of lute and had money to burn before hand, but still this mistake cost you a good chunk of that lute and now you don't have the lute anymore because of the failed business.
I am no longer surprised when I tell people to expect it to take at least 18 months before you can start to make the transition into the Life you Want and I either never hear back again from them or they get a little defensive and question my ability to help them. They somehow think it should be a lot faster, like within a couple of months. They are also the type to think my services should be free or I somehow should work for free. The good news is these types of people are not the types I want to be working with so I am more than happy to never hear from them again. The bad news is, well really, there is no bad news. I am not in the business of taking anyones money like Coca-Cola or Apple or Pepsi, this is not the business model I have. I am in the business of helping creative types of all varieties achieve their goals and the ones who are driven, have grit, are dedicated, professional, courteous are the ones I work with who also understand the value of paying for services. And even then I will only work with those who I believe I can truly help regardless of how much money they are willing to pay, like "what if I paid you double?" If I don't believe I can truly help, double my normal fee will not get me to say yes.
Don't get me wrong, on paper 18 months sounds like a long time, but really 1 1/2 years is not that long. It is kinda short to be honest and at this point you are only just getting set up properly enough to start thinking about making the transition. It could even take longer. Why so long or why longer?
- You have to know the industry you are getting into, this requires time to learn everything you can about it, but also everything you can about other similar industries that could apply to yours.
- You have to continue reading books everyday that boost your knowledge base in all the key areas, you have to be a life long learner and be a knowledge seeker.
- You have to find Mentors in the industry that are doing the specific thing you want to do so you can learn from them and their mistakes.
- And so much more than these 3 points above.
Even though I have only included 3 points above, and there are many more, these 3 as you can see are time consuming and not something that just happens overnight. How could they? You may have been doing tons of research over the past few years so that is already taken care of, but you don't have any Mentors yet. It takes some time to find good Mentors that you get along with and that want to Mentor you. If you stopped learning after college, if you went to college, and it's been 10 years, that is 10 years of knowledge you have missed out on from important books you should of read... kind hard to catch up on 10 years worth of knowledge in a couple of months now isn't it?
The more work you do now doing everything to set yourself up properly to be able to make the Life You Want achievable before you quite your day job the better. It is better to set yourself up properly while you still have a steady stream of income coming in. But think one step deeper about why you want to do so much pre stuff.
Did you come up with it yet?
Yes, you are correct! You do so much of all the pre stuff because while doing it you may find that what you have chosen is not actually what you want to be doing. Maybe only part of it is actually what you want to be doing. Maybe none of it is and by chance when you were reading or talking to one of you Mentors a new and brilliant idea popped into your head that was the right thing you should be doing.
Beyond the obvious advantages for having Mentors, and reading to boost your knowledge and learning all about said industry, like having more knowledge and wisdom and new found guidance, it is also an advantage to learn what you don't know before you jump right into something blindly. It helps you know what pitfalls lie ahead and what to expect for income. It also helps you refine and adjust without the same kind of worry as if you just quit your day job and have no choice anymore or have to go find a new day job because your idea didn't work the way you thought it would.
No amount of pre planning is ever going to be enough until you make the change, things are going to happen no one could of predicted. There is a certain point once you have set yourself up properly that becomes the time to make the leap, but never having done anything to set yourself up properly and just making the leap could get you into a financial hole.
Knowing it is going to take dedication, trial and error, and some time will save you a lot of suffering and allow you to make the transition smoothly. Once you know this, it is time to start doing everything you can to start making the transition. The longer you wait is only hurting yourself because waiting a year to start the transition means you are a year behind in making the full transition. You have to start sometime so why not make that sometime today, right now.