Life presents us with many challenges. And, sometimes we end up carrying our negative thoughts and feelings into a variety of unrelated situations without even being aware of it.
In this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast, I share how you can “leave it at the door” and be present and fully engaged in everything you’re doing.
- 00:14 – The challenges we encounter in life
- 00:53 – The costs of burnout
- 01:43 – Anxiety and depression
- 02:37 – “No Ego Beyond This Point”
- 03:17 – “Keep Calm and Carry On”
- 03:51 – The baggage we carry with us
- 04:51 – “Leaving it at the door”
- 05:32 – Concluding thoughts
Every one of us has challenges in our lives.
It could be physical, emotional, mental, financial or otherwise.
At times, everything feels like it’s going great. At other times, it feels like things are taking a turn for the worse.
Adopting a long-term mindset allows us to make peace with all of it, regardless of how it appears upfront. Because it’s through those difficulties and challenges that we grow, evolve and find new ways of being.
There is nothing truly bad. But there is nothing truly good. It’s mostly a matter of perspective, because if your heart is still beating in your chest, there is always the possibility for change. Seemingly bad circumstances can turn around.
But if you’re burned out, it can be hard to see the forest for the trees.
I’m not talking about the kind of burnout where you catch up on your sleep for a few nights and you feel great. I’m talking about the kind of burnout where every positive action you take only brings a miniscule amount of improvement or relief. Maybe 1%. Maybe less.
When you’re going through that kind of burnout, you feel lethargic. You have no energy. You’re extremely sensitive. Things that usually make you happy don’t make you as happy. You waver between bored and restless. You’re not sure what to do with yourself. You may even be depressed or become depressed.
That kind of burnout makes it hard to distinguish what’s going well and what isn’t going well in your life. It all gets painted with one color, because you’re seeing the entirety of life through one lens. You want to see it another way, but your emotions don’t allow for it.
Look, I will admit that I’ve had my fair share of encounters with anxiety and depression – especially in the last two years. There has been plenty to get excited about, plenty to be happy about too. But depression and anxiety are quite common among musicians and entrepreneurs, and it’s worth talking about.
When everything is doom and gloom, you need a support group to lift you up. You need people in your life that will walk alongside you and encourage you. And, as hard as it might seem, you need to take baby steps to restore your health, your wellbeing, your emotional state and your confidence.
You can rest and sleep more, meditate, exercise, eat well, get craniosacral therapy and chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture treatments, massage and more. I’ll talk more about these in a future episode.
If all you can do is put one foot in front of the other, that’s all you can do.
But going through burnout has taught me something important.
I used to own a home studio along with my roommate and business partner. In due course, he hung a little sign above the entry to the rehearsal space that read, “No Ego Beyond This Point”.
Artists can easily become precious about their musical and creative ideas to where they don’t want to make a compromise. But when you’re playing in a band, it’s important that everyone work together and feel like their contribution matters.
So, I think what my roommate realized was that a lot of the conflict in that room tended to come out of a sense of ego. If you allow a song to evolve with the help and input of your band members, it can turn into something amazing. But if you stubbornly insist on your own way, you may cause conflict and achieve far less with your music in the process.
In Calgary, there’s a venue called Café Koi. Several years ago, I used to go to their singer-songwriter open mic nights on a weekly basis.
In the bathrooms, I would always see these words on the wall: “Keep Calm and Carry On”.
Every time I would see those words, I would take a deep breath and say “okay” to myself. Then, I would go back out with a sense of relief.
At the time I didn’t know that this was a poster devised by the British government in preparation for World War II.
Regardless of its original intent, I still recall that those words had an impact on me, even if it was small.
The point is this:
We tend to carry our baggage with us where we go.
Lately, I’ve been recording in the studio, going to rehearsals, attending meetings, looking after my autistic cousin and more.
Having gone through some of the recent challenges I’ve gone through, I’ve realized that it’s important not to drag your baggage into situations where it doesn’t belong.
When you’re at a meeting, you should be fully engaged in that meeting. When you’re recording in the studio, you should be focused on the task at hand.
Literally stepping through a door should symbolize you shedding whatever it is that’s getting in the way of you giving your full attention to what’s in front of you.Literally stepping through a door should symbolize you shedding whatever it is that’s getting in the way of you giving your full attention to what’s in front of you. Click To Tweet
This is something I think my current roommate does incredibly well. When I spend time with her, for the most part, I find she disconnects from her smartphone, takes joy in the present and leaves work and other struggles in their proper place.
Now, we all have our moments, and burnout is an example of something that can easily get in the way of us not fully engaging in the present. Unfortunately, one area of life can have an impact on every other area of life.
But as much as possible, we should try to “leave it at the door”. Don’t take your physical, emotional, mental or financial baggage into every situation. Clear yourself first.Don’t take your physical, emotional, mental or financial baggage into every situation. Clear yourself first. Click To Tweet
When entering a new situation, we should bring our full presence to it. Whatever it is we’ve been struggling with, we should leave it at the literal or figurative door and bring ourselves into this moment.
In a very real since, this moment is all there is. Yesterday has already happened. Tomorrow has yet to arrive. Today is all there is, and tomorrow will just be another today, much like today, in fact.In a very real since, this moment is all there is. Yesterday has already happened. Tomorrow has yet to arrive. Today is all there is, and tomorrow will just be another today, much like today, in fact. Click To Tweet
So, that means happiness must be available in this moment. It is not available in the past, and it is not available in the future. It’s available now, and only now.
Did you get something from this?
Then I would like to offer a bit of a nudge to check out The Essential Guide to Music Entrepreneurship, specifically the Pro Packs, which are only available for a limited time.
You can learn more at musicentrepreneurhq.com/essential.
And, I look forward to answering you comments in the show notes.