Last week I posted about what it takes to be considered as being elite at whatever you do. My case study was a bunch of NZ/Aus artists that are currently operating at a very high level. One of these artists is a really good friend of mine who just started a high profile trans-tasman tour and I was blessed enough to tag along on his many engagements here in Melbourne. What I observed was, though it’s a difficult journey to get to the peak of one’s game, it takes twice as much effort to stay on top for an extended period of time. At some point during the last week, I found myself doing the tasks that a tour manager would be responsible for. I took it upon myself to ensure that my bro made it to his engagements in a timely manner. You may recall, I touched on the fact that staying on schedule is extremely difficult the busier the day gets, and I conceded that being late is unavoidable in such situations. I was wrong about that. What I realised is that once a certain level of success is reached, there is need for additional human resources to ensure things stay on point. I can proudly say that the few days I road managed the bro, he met all his engagements in a timely manner, and it was down to me being firm with regards to keeping time. Apart from learning a few lessons about being optimally resourced, I also observed a few things that are essential when grinding at a high level.
Let’s make a plan – and stick to it
I have written a couple of posts about being prepared in various aspects of music life. One thing that stood out for me over the last week is how meticulous you have to be when setting out the steps required to achieve your vision. As the Shottaz, we have a very detailed strategy that matches our broad vision, and to realise this vision we broke down the strategy into smart goals with bite sized steps. It was quite gratifying to see that my fellow muso and his team have the same structure in place, albeit they are much further into their journey. Having a solid plan meant that the bro’s day was broken down into specific tasks, or engagements, that he needed to tick off as he went about his business. Having a solid plan is extremely important, but I can’t stress enough how crucial it is to stick to that plan. Once it becomes a habit to make a working plan which you refer to on a daily basis, it becomes mandatory to follow the plan as closely as possible.
Mind your company – Surround yourself with winners
Spending time with like minded individuals got me so motivated that I found myself making some crazy strides in less than a week. I have been developing a few content ideas over the last couple of months. In the last week, though, I have made some ridiculously big strides which have been fuelled by the inspiration I received from the aforementioned individuals. It’s an added benefit being able to tap into the people around you for different skills and capabilities that you may not have. I have been in situations where I have surrounded myself with people that have priorities different to mine, and I have often found it twice as hard to stay on task. Because the company you keep has an influence on how you use your time, if they don’t see the value in your grind chances are high that they won’t fuel your passion. I can’t stress enough the importance of surrounding yourself with people that inspire and motivate you. I highly recommend that everyone constantly reviews their circle to ensure you have the right people around you.
Best foot forward
On Wednesday, I found myself in the middle of the biggest cypher I have participated in, EVER. We were at a hip hop show and my mate was headlining the session. After his set, he opened up the mic to any MCs in the room and got the DJ to run instrumentals. What he probably didn’t anticipate was the fact that pretty much every man and his dog in that room was a rapper. We had a cypher circle of about 8 or 9 MCs, maybe more and the fire just kept blazing until it was time for the venue to shut down. After the session we kicked it with some of the rappers that graced the mic, and I had a great conversation with one of them that resonated. After acknowledging the young MC’s abilities we got to chatting about where he’s at in his career. He expressed some frustrations about the level of competitiveness in the hip hop scene, and also the fact that it’s twice as difficult to gain any traction without industry connections. The one thing I picked up in the young homie’s rant was the amount of passion he has for the music, and his freestyles were dope too. We agreed that the industry can be frustrating but the least we can do is put our best foot forward in any endeavour we make. It may be a daunting path, but putting one’s absolute best effort will ensure we leave the right impression everywhere we go.
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