December 28, 2016

Musicians – Dream big and write down your goals

It’s only a few days away from 2017 and as I scroll through my socials I’m seeing a lot of statuses to the tune of, “Gonna smash it next year” and, “Next year is the year”. I love to dream big, and I also love people who like to dream big too – but what are your big dreams? One thing I’ve noticed about super achievers is that they don’t just coast along through life hoping things work out, instead, they have a very clear idea of what they want. You could ask these people what their goals are and they would be able to tell you in specific detail.

There are two mindsets i’ve been guilty of entertaining in the past, and I think they can be really damaging to musicians (or anyone self employed really) who want to live the dream.

  1. Caring too much about what other people think or what your circumstances are
    I used to teach music before I was a rockstar. One of the questions I asked pretty much every single student I had was,

    “If money wasn’t a factor, or location and no-one had an opinion on what you do, what would you be doing?”.

    When I was in year 2 I was fully convinced that I would be an astronaut when I grew up – I very vividly remember the day I announced this in school only to be mocked by my classmates who had more normal dreams of being vets and doctors. Probably, if that day hadn’t happened, I’d be writing this post from the moon. My point is, I think a lot of us care too much about what other people think about our career choice and the life decisions we make and therefore we decided to take the more well-respected, safe road. Well, since it’s a new year, now would be a good time to encourage you to say eff you safe-road and do what deep down you’ve always wanted to do.Asking this question to my students is ultimately what led me to leave my comfortable teaching job and pursue a career as a musician. It’s worth mentioning that I didn’t have any savings, I wasn’t gigging at all, I didn’t really have that many contacts either – but I knew it was what I wanted to do and I knew there would never be a right time – so I just went for it.So my point is this – don’t shrink your dreams just because you think they are unrealistic, cost too much money or people might think you’re a dumbass.

  2. Not having specific goals
    When I first started out working as a sessioner, my dream was basically to survive and not starve to death. I think I just wanted to be a working musician – thing is, there are so many facets to being a musician that it’s actually possible to make a living from music and not feel like you’re living the dream. So that’s why it’s important to be specific, and then let your specific goals guide the decisions you make.A couple of years ago I read an almost interesting article which gave statistics about people who wrote down their goals and the success of achieving them, versus those who didn’t write them down. Here’s the facts (I found them on the internet, so you know they’re true):

    Committing goals to paper and reviewing them regularly gives you a 95% higher chance of achieving your desired outcomes.

    Ok, honesty time – I’ve just been on about 6 different sites looking for the original “fact” and they all say something slightly different – so either the percentage is getting less as more people write down their goals and don’t achieve them (lol), or the numbers are just made up. However, I still think the point is valid since I tried it for the first time this year and have been able to tick off all but one goal on my list.

    It sounds a bit namsey-pamsey, like a teenage girl writing in a diary – but it’s way more than saying, “Dear diary, when I grow up I want to play guitar”, it’s setting a focus for your year which allows you to measure your progress and give you something to aim for. It also acts as a filter for what work you take on and what you don’t, for example, if you want to be a pop musician and someone offers you an 18 month cruise contract, since it’s not inline with your goals then you can feel justified in turning it down.

    I think it’s important also to actually physically write this down, not just think about it. Writing it down sets it in stone, it’s something you can show to people or refer back to – it’s black and white, whereas in your head, you can blur the lines.

So as we step into the new year, and we’re all starting to think about how much we want to step up next year, I’d really encourage writing down your goals and dreaming big…I mean, the internet says you’re more likely to achieve them if they’re written down, so you may as well throw in a few ridiculous goals…right!?

Since I’m talking the talk, I thought I’d share with you all my goals for 2017 – then we can see what I can tick off this time next year:

Sam Skirrow – Goals for 2017

  1. Play bass on a headline arena tour
  2. Play on Jools Holland
  3. Play on an American talk show
  4. Spend more time working in America and build up a network of musicians
  5. Buy a new Sadowsky bass
  6. Buy some land
  7. Get 100+ visits per day on my blog
  8. Generate a minimum of £1500 per month of static income
  9. Find this lake (it’s in Kyrgyzstan):
  10. …Go to space 😉

That’s about all I want to squeeze in next year!! Would love to hear people’s thoughts, comments and dreams – leave a comment below and give us a share!!

Hope you’ve all had a great Christmas and Happy New Year!!