This is a big leap of faith for me.
For the very first time since this blog was launched I’ve reached out to ask a reader to write a guest post. This reader is one of those highly talented but unassuming people who likes to fly below the radar. That’s why he has asked me to keep his post anonymous. For the purpose of this post, lets call him Joe. (This reader is also in the habit of sending me quite relevant and thought provoking comments via facebook.)
I agreed to publish Joe’s post – even if it meant leaving out his real identity – because I believe that doing so is very much in line with my vision for this blog; and my writing career in general. In order to inspire and empower my readers, I do not believe that I need to brag about anyone’s flashy titles or qualifications. What adds real value to my readers is a person’s insight and experience. That is what I believe everyone should wear like a badge of honor – not whether they are a CEO, a director or have an MBA. And that’s exactly why Joe’s words deliver.
I hope that like me, you’ll find many lessons in Joe’s search for his career’s ‘g-spot’.
I was at a funeral recently and arrived a few minutes late. I was taken aback to hear how inspired and passionate the priest was delivering the speech. This was probably because he was a close friend of the person who died. He said something very important that we often forget because we are too busy living our daily lives: “Leave a mark before you go and do it by living to the fullest”.
I’ve been thinking about his words ever since.
Plenty of priests, rabbis, monks, parents and friends repeat this. As do we, but are we really doing it? Only the person inside each of us can really answer this.
When Silvana invited me to participate in this blog I was a bit cautious about what to write. After considering several subjects, I decided to write about how we go about finding the right career and choosing what we do – because I believe that our decision resonates beyond what most us are aware of.
A career is not about academics or money it is about finding the lifestyle that makes us truly happy, something that if taken away from us, makes us cease to exist. What we study or even the jobs we hold are not what define us. It’s deeper than that. It is how we chose to live and what we are 24/7 that defines us.
Then how does one go about finding the path to live to the fullest?
Some are born knowing what they will do, others grow into something, others have a great talent and others happen to find it by some crazy accident.
For me, finding the right path, the right job, the right place to be and live, what I call “that” has come after searching and falling for many years. I have shoved my nose into so many industries, places, jobs and what not that I think I have more stories than answers to the question above.
And what is “that”?
A friend of mine once said that being in love is wanting to be at the same place every day and not getting enough of it. That’s exactly “that” because finding the perfect career or lifestyle is about loving what you do to keep doing it forever.
Today I work in the music business. I’ve been doing so for over 5 years. To be honest I am not leaving it until someone drags me out after they have killed me. Growing up I never dreamed of doing something like this nor was music an important part of my life, like it is for everyone in my industry. I stumbled upon it after 6 years of being a serial entrepreneur, working in the telecom industry, recycling, aeronautics and the internet. (I got to know the internet industry quite well when the Y2K stock market bubble blew up in my face, hard.)
I used to think the music business was easy: you have a talented musician, show him on a stage and thousands will come by some magical reason. I decided to embark on this “easy” task by buying music business books and making phone calls.
Then I hit a brick wall so hard it took me a while to get up. This is an industry like any other, governed by laws, treaties, costs, financial projections, negotiations, contracts, inventories, time management and all the little things we deal with in any business. Artists are products. And I cannot tell you how many thousands or hundreds of thousands there are, plus the millions who want to make it. If you want cutthroat by all means join in.
The difference with other industries is that this is a qualitative one. Every product we sell reaches the senses, nothing more. Music hits the emotions like no other vehicle and for some reason it fit me perfectly because all business decisions are based on how the qualitative mixes in with the quantitative, the money. How do you pick a single for a new album? How do you know how to charge for a single concert? How do you sell your artist to an ad agency who wants to place his/her song and image for a brand? We don’t sell carpets that cost $100 to make and sell it for $200 because it fits the market price range. We sell talent and this cannot be measured. This is the beauty of it. That there are very little formulas in this business; we make them up as we go. For some reason that I still don’t know I am perfect for this (or I like to think so) and want to continue at it for a long time. Since I found it somewhat by accident I am lucky enough to say that “that” found me, but I had been looking for it as well, I just did not know that it was the music industry. I am plain lucky I guess.
When it comes to making the right career choice it may sound a bit silly but do it from the gut, which is nothing more than mixing brains and heart. In other words, there is no magic in finding the right career. It just takes a lot of wanting to explore, falling down and getting back up a million times until you find “that” or it finds you. Being what you do will make you do it well. Most importantly it will define how far you want to take it.
I like Oriental philosophy very much so I’ll leave you with this quote from Confucius: “Find a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
*Read at your own risk
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