By the time I hit my late twenties, I had gulped down enough of the music industry to get a feel for what I liked and what I didn’t. I realized there were aspects of the business that conflicted with my own personal values.

Values. You don’t hear a lot of people talking about personal values when it comes to success or the music industry. Perfect—we can get right into it.

See, your values have such a powerful influence over your life. And what you need to do as someone who aspires to be, do, or have something is make sure your values are in alignment with your goals.

Chuck Greene, manager of the Justice League producer supergroup and contributor to my book, Don’t Make Beats Like Me, told me the story of a producer he worked with. Chuck was working with the producer, and things were popping off. He was landing placements, flying around the country to hit studio sessions with artists—things were moving beautifully. Then that producer starts slowing down. Beats were coming in less often. Opportunities were being turned down.

Chuck catches up with the producer and asks, “What’s good?” The producer tells him that he didn’t envision his life that way, that he gets the most joy out of waking up and making breakfast for his son, that being out all night working and flying around the country just wasn’t doing it for him. He was prepared to sacrifice his future in production to keep close to his family.

Values.

He recognized that his value system was in conflict with the work he would have to do to sustain success as a producer. And you have to congratulate a person who can look inward and come to a conclusion like that instead of making themselves miserable.

Similarly, I realized I had little patience for the “wild west,” “anything goes” nature of the music industry. I’m a very structured person. I like being on time, working in an office, having meetings; I like processes, data, order, rules.

So I made a shift to better align with my values. I realized that I could exist in a place that had the traditional structure of business but still maintain a close proximity to the industry I loved.

I had to align my values and goals or else I was going to be miserable.

I write all of this to say: what are your values, and do they conflict with your goals? 

  • Do you value being an introvert? That conflicts w/ being a performing artist or musician.
  • Do you value comfort and stability? That conflicts with the uncertainty of the music industry.
  • Do you value flying under the radar and going uncritiqued? That highly conflicts publishing art to the world.
  • Do you value family time; being at time at home curled up with your loved ones? That conflicts w/ reaching the upper levels of success as a producer, manager, musician, etc.
  • Do you value making lots of money? Being a creative type (artist, producer, songwriter) may conflict (let’s hope not) with making lots of money, or you could stay broke for years until you pop.

Are you hoping to create a reality that conflicts with your values? Whether you’re a producer, beatmaker, sculptor, writer, etc.—could you be in complete conflict with your own pursuits?

Make sure your values and goals are in alignment. If you don’t, you’ll be the captain of a rowboat with one oar that spins continuously in circles. 

Image credit: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

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