February 7, 2018
Look, you don’t have to do it alone.
In fact, for the most part I don’t even think it’s possible to do it alone, no matter what you’re trying to do. Even The Beatles needed a producer, so why are you trying to take everything on by yourself?
It doesn’t have to be this hard. There are people out there who can help you, whether you’re trying to find your purpose, start a business, get a promotion, write a book, or just become a better golfer.
If you’re well and truly lost and miserable, why not find a coach? A good coach can help you ask – and answer – better questions about your life. A good coach can help you identify strengths and interests and potential you didn’t even know you have. A good coach can also help you get clear on the beliefs and thought patterns that might hold you back or influence your priorities. And don’t tell me there’s no one in your area to talk to. I’m willing to bet there is, and even if there isn’t, the best coaches in the world work via Skype. They’re out there. Why not book a session, unless you prefer being aimless and miserable to taking a chance? (And if that’s the case, a coach can help there too.)
Honestly, what have you got to lose? A bit of money? Okay, how much of that is going into beer or weed (or, for my musician friends, gear) for you? What’s the return on investment there?
I access a lot of my coaches via podcast. People like Geoff Thompson and Philip McKernan and Jay Ferrugia and Gary Vee and Aubrey Marcus and Mike Dolce are out there for free if you take the time to listen. If you’re commuting to work, turn off the “bad news” radio and put on a podcast. Ditch The Bachelor and start reading books by people who have real insight on being and doing what you want. There are dozens of great podcasts by insightful people who can give you valuable information for nothing.
If you know what you want but you don’t know how to do it or what the next steps are, find a mentor. There are mentors in every field you could possibly want to conquer, from dog walking to astrophysics to adult films. Seriously. I wouldn’t have reached even this level without mentors like Dale Anne Brendon and Renato Belusic who have helped me become a better drummer and given me advice and encouragement about the music business.
Many businesses have mentorship programs, as do industry organizations. If yours doesn’t, find someone who is in the position you want to be in and ask her to have a coffee with you. I think you’ll find that the vast majority of people will be happy to make time for you. A lot of them will even be flattered.
The point is I know people who are wandering around in a kind of daze, wanting things to change, who could benefit from real advice. Some won’t seek it out for whatever reason. Others don’t realize the options are there. Some are probably afraid to take that step because they’re afraid to admit they need help or they’re honestly scared of what the change they want might mean.
Get over it, people.
You get one life. You can spend it thinking yourself inside-out and sinking into a deeper misery or you can take the step to get real help that might make all the difference. It’s easy to wallow. I’ve done it. It’s harder to lose your ego and be vulnerable and get advice, but the good stuff is never easy.
Now, speaking of mentors, I’ll share something that Dale Anne Brendon mentioned to me recently. She talked about how she's “throwing noodles” these days. In other words, she’s working on a variety of creative projects to see what sticks. I do a lot of this sort of thing too. This blog is a noodle. The publicity company I started is a noodle. It goes back to something Philip McKernan said: “In the absence of clarity, take action.”
As Dale said, sometimes you get wrapped up in finding The Answer (your single, primary, often elusive purpose or thing). The problem is people wait to try anything until they think it’s The Answer, but in many cases you only uncover The Answer by trying things – throwing noodles – and seeing what works. So if you’re lost, start trying things. If you don’t know what to do next, just start some creative or personal project. Engage with something. Take action. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work, but there’s momentum in the effort.
Thanks for that reminder, Dale.
And now, a little coaching from Steve Vai: