"So and so gets all the breaks!"
"If I only had as much money as so and so… I’d get ahead
"Life isn’t fair."
If you are, or want to be a composer you have picked one of the most challenging and competitive careers imaginable. The mountain to climb is high and there are no guarantees. BUT! You work hard. You try your best. And, no matter what you do you aren’t getting the results you desire. It is frustrating. It can be depressing. I get it. I’ve been there. But, before you get all hot and bothered and start blaming people, situations or get suicidal I have to tell you: there’s a catch.
I spent my twenties on a rocket ship ride. I was launched into the stratosphere of musical variety television arranging by my mentor who was so busy he needed an extra pair of hands. By my late 20’s I was getting bored writing the same arrangement over and over again so I decided to switch my focus. I naively thought that I could instantly become a film composer. No problem. I mean: “didn’t they know who I thought I was?”.
Try as I might I kept striking out. I couldn’t get ahead. Sure. I got a few opportunities. But, I was woefully unprepared for the job. Worse yet: I had no idea how or why I was unprepared. I was failing and clueless.
I was desperate. I knew I had to switch my approach. It wasn’t easy to risk what I had to change careers because I was responsible for my young son and had all of the expenses that go with an acrimonious divorce. The stress completely messed with my head and I was lost. I was circling the drain.
Then, as has happened several times in my life I had an epiphany. It wasn’t the business that was screwed up it was me. Talk about blowing my mind! As my panic grew I had to do something drastic.
I went to therapy.
I reached out of my comfort zone and started examining how I was functioning in my life (or not).
The door to success is always open. The question to answer is: what is it about me that is preventing me from walking through it?
There is certainly some truth to comparing a successful career in the music/film industry to playing the lotto. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get out of your own way to give yourself an advantage.
Blaming others or yourself without understanding what you are doing to prevent your personal growth is a career limiting mindset.
If you are truly committed to advancing in your life so you can perform at a high-level then whatever issues you may have that are preventing your forward progress will have to be addressed.
If you don’t there is a high probability that you already know what the outcome of your efforts will be.
There is a phrase: “fake it ‘til you make it”. That might sound glib and it probably is. When I was young I was resistant to that idea because I thought the world was a meritocracy. Well, it isn’t. What this says to me today is: “if you adopt a role long enough then you will become that role”. My take is: “if I grow as a person to move past my conditioned responses I can control my life to the extent that is possible.”
Here are a couple of tips to think about:
If you do any one of these three things I promise you will see life through a different lens. Obviously there is more to success than that but… it’s a great place to start.
We will always be who we are with our individual strengths and weaknesses. But, with self-reflection and a little courage we can become the best person we can possibly be.
A career in the entertainment industry will still be a crap shoot. But, if it doesn’t work out you will be able to walk away with a clear conscience and no regrets.
Who knows? Maybe someday I’ll be working for you!
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