It’s been said that without a target to aim an archer has very little reason to pick up the bow and arrow. However, if you point out a target and ask them to hit the center of the bullseye things start changing in a very profound way…
Wait a minute, “What does archery have to do with the modern musician?” The short answer is EVERYTHING! Achieving goals as an archer is the exact same as achieving goals as a modern musician, the bullseye just looks different.
In this article we will highlight some different ideas and strategies musicians can use to effectively achieve goals for themselves, their career and their future.
Why Have Goals…
Let’s be honest, when people think of musicians they probably don’t picture goal setters, right? The typical musician of old would be perceived as lazy, self-centered and basically “good for nothing.” Today, however, musicians can actually earn a great living as opposed to twenty years ago when they would have to win the “rockstar” lottery and be bought out by a record company. The key to success is modern musicians must become entrepreneurs because the record companies can’t afford to foot the bill anymore. That’s why goals are so important to the modern day musician. Without a reason to get up every morning and work hard to reach a desired outcome music could become an extinct species.
Thoughts on Setting and Achieving Goals…
There are many ways to set and achieve goals. Some require extensive training to learn a “system” and some require just a few minutes each day to stay on track. How one chooses goals is not the focus in this article. However, there are a few guidelines that have proven very effective in my life with regards to setting and achieving goals in a consistent manner:
- Start with the end goal in mind: This is the fun part of the process. You get to imagine and create the best possible outcome for a specific goal. Think BIG and don’t let fear or “analysis paralysis” take hold during this stage. Also, understand that this goal may change and morph as you work towards achieving it, that’s OK. That just means the initial goal accomplished it’s purpose and led you in a positive, life-changing direction. Most likely, the new and improved version of the goal will be a hundred times better in the long run!
- Work backwards from the end goal to develop the game plan: Some goals (especially life impacting goals) require a large number of steps to complete. In order to remove some of the overwhelm larger goals may cause it is very helpful to start at the end goal and list out every action required in reverse order. You may be asking, “What if I am unclear what steps are needed to reach my goals, let alone know them in reverse order?” Totally understand where you are coming from but you’re a creative musician, right? This is where you get to improvise a little:-) We’ll never truly know ALL the steps needed to reach a goal, but again, we’re just working to provide a direction to aim and an approximate path to follow. Plus, goals are never truly set in stone. As mentioned above, they are living things that morph as we work toward achieving them. Simply update the steps involved as more accurate information is obtained.
- Revisit your goals in 3 distinct ways: One issue I’ve encountered while learning how to set and achieve goals is getting caught up in the end goal phase. I can always picture extra money in my bank account or sitting on a beach somewhere. However, those things just lead to daydreaming instead of getting busy working towards the actual goal. This is why I always try to balance things out by looking at goals from the following perspectives:
- Daily goals: These goals are very short-term in nature and accomplish goal oriented items needed now or in the very near future. For instance, exercising today will provide the energy I need to work and earn the extra money in my bank account…
- Process goals: These goals are usually short or mid-term goals that involve how I will do something goal oriented. As an example, my workouts will be moderate in energy expenditure and short in duration so I still have the time and energy needed to function at a very high level as I work to earn the extra money in my bank account..
- End Goals: As described briefly above, these are the goals I’ve invested time in designing and are usually more long-term in nature. While these goals are important they are usually revisited on a weekly or monthly basis to see if they need to be updated or enlarged.
For the modern musician success can’t be left to chance. Becoming an accomplished goal setter is one of the surest ways I know of to find your niche and live the life you deserve. The skills listed in this article should give you a good starting point!
Until next time, stay focused, stay consistent, and expect the best from yourself. :-)
About the author:
Ty Morgan is a professional guitarist living in Mesa, Arizona who has passion for passing on the gift of music to future generations. If you are interested in taking rock/blues guitar lessons in Mesa, AZ be sure to contact Ty!