Fortune Favors the Bold Musician

If you’re waiting for your internal messaging to tell you that you’re ready to take that next courageous step in your career, I have news for you: Fortune Favors the Bold Musician.

Huh? This means that the way to get things happening in your career is not to wait for the feeling that you’re ready. Don’t wait for a new-found sense of confidence to materialize. Or for other people to “make it happen for you.” Or for you to get lucky.

“Fortune favors the bold” means that it’s only when we take action — when we are in forward motion — that the universe favors us. We start seeing more opportunities. And we find contacts and resources. This only starts when we take action and it only keeps going if we’re in forward motion.

Newsflash: you’re never going to feel “ready”

That negative self-talk we all have — the lurking “I suck” messaging — never goes away. Most of us experience frequent self-berating internal messaging. For me, there are times when it’s non-stop.

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It’s the “you’re not good enough” and “you don’t have what it takes” and “this will never work” that we tell ourselves. The more the project matters to us, the worse the negative self-talk is. It’s this Resistance that stalls (or prevents) us from moving ahead. It keeps us playing small.

I see this show up all the time with musicians when it comes to their promotional materials. Whether it’s a bio, a CV, a job application, website overhaul, or a grant proposal. Musicians procrastinate or avoid working on these because they bring up a host of anxieties about being judged. It’s what I call our self-esteem gremlins — all our negative self-talk.

Check your internal messaging

from Michael Alcee’s 2019 NETMCDO talk at MSM

Our internal messaging can vacillate between these self-esteem gremlins and the other extreme delusion (as shown in the graphic above) — the high of feeling we’re invincible. That we’ve got everything figured out and that we’re the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Riding the emotional roller coaster of your creative life

When you experience these extreme emotional highs and lows of self-esteem, you end up without a real sense of your own skills and capabilities — you lose all perspective.

Been there. Done THAT.

So how can you re-gain equilibrium? To find the “sweet spot,” you need to be in the “zone” — where your ego and self-judgment are inactive. It happens when you’re TAKING ACTION.

It’s all about being in forward motion

Doing the scary, necessary work. Taking that courageous, bold next step in your career. Going ahead with that ambitious project. Making the phone call or writing the email you’re afraid of: tackling the work you’ve been avoiding.

Like I said, you’re never going to feel “ready” — what you need to feel is willing.

Willing to step forward, to put yourself out there, in motion. Willing to be bold: to feel the fear and do it anyway.

So what’s the missing piece for you?

When it comes to moving your career forward, what’s the missing ingredient?

I find most musicians tell themselves that they “just need more time” or that the right contact, or the money to start their project. They tell themselves, “When my luck turns, THEN I’ll be ready and my career will finally take off.”

Like I said, most of us are mistaken.

Because all those reasons for not taking action are, once again, our Resistance. It’s our “Part X” seducing us into thinking we need to wait for our ship to come in. Instead of getting outside our comfort zone and doing the necessary bold and scary work.

The real missing piece is the courage to feel the fear and take action anyway.

Fortune Favors the Bold Musician = YOU

Think about how you want to show up in the world and the feeling you want to bring to the work you do.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be hiding anymore behind “some day I’ll do this.”

We only get this one go-around in life. The time to take action is now.

Later today I’m presenting the final live summer webinar for musicians looking for college teaching jobs. 

If your Resistance has been telling you that you’re “not ready.” Or that you “don’t need help with your promo materials.” Or that it’s “all about who you know” — then this is your chance to call your own bluff.

Angela Myles Beeching

Author of the acclaimed “Beyond Talent: Creating a Successful Career in Music,” Angela Myles Beeching directs the Center for Music Entrepreneurship at Manhattan School of Music and maintains a thriving private practice focused on results-oriented coaching and consulting. Previously, Ms. Beeching directed the New England Conservatory Career Services Center and was a consultant to the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. Check out her weekly Monday Bytes blog for a regular boost of inspiration and career tips.