This Is Enough: Accepting and Appreciating Your Career at Every Stage

I am all about that hustle. We are in an industry that requires you to be constantly striving, creating and reaching for the next goal. An industry that necessitates self-marketing, up-to-date websites and recordings, as well as careful attention to the instrument and technique itself. However, I believe it’s possible to be present and appreciative of your current career stage even when you’re striving and hustling. 

Social media has made it more difficult than ever to feel satisfied with your lot. It’s so easy to fall down the rabbit hole of “compare and despair.” It is human nature to want what you do not have. I call it “grass is always greener syndrome.” 

What if we made a conscious effort to sit with, accept and even be proud of the grass we are standing on? After all, you’ve worked very hard to be on this grass. Pick up the hose and water it. Look it over, take it in.


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Below are some strategies for sitting with and appreciating your current career stage:

-Think about a time when you imagined you would be where you are now. Remember all of the work that went into getting here, and congratulate yourself on making that journey.

-Imagine stepping outside yourself and viewing you and your career as someone else might. This could be a specific person, or an imaginary person. Point out three of your accomplishments that would be perceived by that person to be amazing or inspiring.

-Confront your inner gremlin, that nasty voice that says terrible things to you. Would you speak to a close friend the way the gremlin speaks to you? Of course you wouldn’t. You owe yourself the same kindness.

-Revisit the “why”. Why do you sing? Do you still feel that spark of passion? Write down the reasons you got into singing in the first place.

-Don’t be afraid to say no. You don’t have to take every opportunity that comes along simply because of fear of missing out (FOMO). Take the time to sit with each possibility and consider it from all angles. It just may be that passing on it is the best choice.  

-If you have a correlating career, take a moment to appreciate it. Think about the skills you have developed or furthered because of it. Think about the people you’ve met. Cultivate pride instead of shame when it comes to your correlating career.

-Consciously avoid compare and despair. Comparison discounts your own experience as well as the experience of the other person. You are two completely different people at different phases of their careers. Pick up the phone and congratulate them on their #thrilledtoannounce. Sit for a moment and be truly happy for them. That’s what you would want them to do for you.

-Finally, don’t “should” yourself to death. There are no “shoulds”, there is only your unique and individual path. When we take the time to live in, accept and appreciate the moments along our own paths, to stand on our own grass, we allow ourselves to feel whole. This leaves us freer to express ourselves artistically and to move forward on our paths without guilt, doubt and fear. 

Dana Lynne Varga

Dr. Dana Lynne Varga is a sought-after soprano, voice teacher and career coach, as well as the Founder and Artistic Director of MassOpera. She was the 2016 first place winner of the CS Competition; Emerging Professional division. Dana is currently on the Voice and Opera faculty of the Longy School of Music at Bard College in Cambridge, MA. She regularly presents vocal master classes as well as classes on business and entrepreneurship for singers all over the east coast. Please visit www.danavarga.com and www.theempoweredmusician.com.