‘You don’t choose the drums, the drums choose you.’ This is how I feel about what I do, and many of us feel this way about our craft. It is an OBSESSION, we love it, it is our fun and joy, our escape from the world. Motivation is not needed, in fact sometimes the challenge in when to walk away and not ever do it! But there are two other areas that are the very foundation of the craft you love, and can easily be neglected: BUSINESS skills, and shaping your CHARACTER.
If you are only ever going to work in a room alone and you’ll never take what you do out into the world, then read no further. But even as an amateur, you will need to relate and connect with other people. Let’s define what these two areas mean: your character will determine if people want to work with you or not, and what people say about you when you’re not in the room. Your main currency is your reputation! This is about controlling the darker angels of your nature. For myself, I am impatient. If I let this take over, I will snap at someone I work with, or not have the patience to see the long game through and quit. This can create my reputation pretty fast as being someone to avoid working with, so I constantly have to watch this. This is a double edged sword because it comes from a good place of being passionate and energetic, but I have to constantly work on this DAILY.
Some people say business is about making money, and that is part of it, but to me it is about much more. Business is about taking something you love and believe in out into the world, adding value to people’s lives by making the world better place, and receiving value back for your efforts. If it truly is valuable to others and is affecting lives in a positive way, then the money will take care of itself over time, but it takes consistent awareness, focus, and skills learned over time.
When I was a teenager playing drums and forming bands, I wanted nothing to do with the ‘boring’ business, and didn’t think twice about how I was showing up in the world. But as I worked on my drumming constantly, these other two neglected areas were right under my nose. I had to learn my business to reach others to form bands, to get rehearsal spaces and book venues for shows, and advertise to get the word out. I had to learn character skills to have the fortitude to overcome the inevitable failures that came, and to be able to work with my bandmates to write songs, travel, and get along in the other 23 hours in the day that we weren’t performing.
If I’d sought out mentors and sharpened these skills sooner, I would have been a lot more prepared for the storms that came, and you can believe 100% that your challenges are coming. I had to learn some of these lessons the hard way, that to fuel the craft I loved, I had to have these other areas together equally, if not more. Take constant effort to renew, reinvent, and sharpen your business and character, and watch what you love and grow in ways over time that you can’t even imagine!