In this issue’s interview with Cheikh Ndoye, I spent some time getting his opinions on what he felt were the necessary steps to be aware of (beyond his immediate skills on his instrument) for getting ahead in the business.
No matter how old this subject is, or how many times it’s been talked about, it’s always remains to be relevant. What to do to keep your musical life your “vocation” seems to change almost exponentially as time, and the business moves on.
One of the ways to look at this phenomenon on a personal level is to take one of the strategies I work with on my neoCreativity site, being; Sometimes you need to look outside of just your industries specialists (our musical hero’s and icons) to gain a fresh perspective on coming up with solutions. I’m going to take that jump and give you a very seriously “cliff noted” version of a book that has sold as well as helped millions of people, for you to contemplate—Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Here’s my favorite praise for this particular book:
“This book is filled with practical wisdom for people who want to take control of their lives, their businesses, and their careers. Each time I read a section again I get new insights, which suggests the messages are fundamental and deep.” Author Gifford Pinchot.
Habit One: Be Proactive
In the music business, at this point in time, absolutely essential! You are the creator.
Habit Two: Begin with the End in Mind
He is referring to imagining what you’d like to hear friends and family saying about you and your life at “your” funeral, and taking stock on how aligned your life is at present with those imagined comments. This is the mental creation.
Habit Three: Put First Things First
What one thing could you do (you aren’t doing now) that if you did it on a regular basis would make a tremendous positive difference in your personal and professional life?
This is the physical creation.
Habit Four: Think Win/Win
Win/Win is not a technique, but a total philosophy of human interaction, a frame of mind that seeks mutual benefit in all human interactions. (Business as well as musical)
Habit Five: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
What could be more self-explanatory?
Habit Six: Synergize
Synergy simply defined means the whole is greater than the sum of its parts—the true test and manifestation of all of the other habits put together. (Learning to synergize your life, your art, and the business of your art would be an obvious thrust here.)
Habit Seven: Sharpen the Saw
This is the habit that makes all the other habits possible. You don’t want to miss sharpening the saw because you’re too busy sawing. What is this about…the book title has it; it’s about being highly effective.
These are life goals. Speaking for myself, my life and my art have always been one and the same, and looking for mentors outside of my industry has always made total sense to me. I hope this has made some kind of difference for you. I welcome your comments.