This particular article is written just for me but hopefully it will help others out there with the same problem. This is an area that I constantly have to keep checking myself on and forcing myself to just let go.
While having coffee with my daughters, the waiter delivered our drinks. The large cappuccino that I was given had that cool leaf type coffee art that looked really cool. As though it was some great discovery of mine I just had to take a photo. After taking the photo I compared the real life to the photo and commented to one of my daughters that it looked heaps better in real life. Quickly my daughter Emily snatched my phone and took another photo. 500% better. Now the photo looked better than the real cappuccino.
I’ve often been one of those people that doesn’t ask for help. I like to think I can work it out myself, or do it myself. I’m slowly learning, and I mean slowly, that to be successful in anything requires more than one person on their own.
It makes me think about the sound guy when you’re at a gig. I sometimes tell people that if I’m doing the front of house mix, be nice to me and I’ll make you sound great. Be difficult and I’ll probably just turn your mic off… I didn’t do that of course, but it made me think how you could be a great performer but if the sound guy doesn’t know what he is doing then you may struggle to get across what you are trying to present. On the other hand, if the sound guy is great at what he does and you do your part really well, then how can you go wrong.
Too often I feel like I have to do everything, but I’m slowly realising that it’s not an option to have experts help you get things done, it’s a necessity.
If you want to fly somewhere, you don’t just grab a plane and fly yourself. You get pilots that are well trained to fly you there. Pilots have experience, qualifications and have trained to do their job properly. At least we assume they have.
Yet when it comes to our music careers, we weigh up the costs, then often go for the cheap DIY solution that takes us four times as long and leaves us with sometimes a mediocre product and at best something that looks close but still has those rough DIY edges on it.
I’ve discovered there are people out there that do things brilliantly, much better than I can. Yes – it may cost me a little more to get them to do the job, but then I can be busy doing the job that I am good at.
As I am writing this I am both agreeing with myself and convincing myself that I need to do this more often – way more often.
For example there’s a guy, Jason Malouin, a photographer that specialises in taking headshots and portraits . That’s his job, he takes portraits of people that they use on their profiles and in their promotional and published materials. In his words “…exceptional headshots & portraits for professionals on the rise…” Jason is an amazing person and his work is exceptional. Check out his site: http://jasonmalouin.com/
Why do I mention Jason, because I tried doing my own profile pictures and basically, they suck. So the result of this article is that I will be booking in to get a photo shoot with Jason, so I can show you how good his photo’s are and how ordinary my attempt was. We need to stop trying to do everything yourself and start asking for help.
There are so many examples of where I could have chosen to do things myself, but when I get people in that do these things every day, not only is it a better result, but far quicker, more professional and saves me the headaches of having to stay up way too late trying to fix things and make them work how I want them to.
On a side note, asking for help doesn’t make you a weaker person, it makes you a smarter person.
We have this mentality that not being able to do something ourselves is a sign of weakness, but come on, we can’t be good at everything. Give credit where it is due and let people know what you need. There are so many people with years of experience and skills that are just waiting for you to come along and ask.
Forget your pride and give them a chance to prove themselves.
In the same way, you have skills that others need. Let them know what you are good at and show them how you can make their life better or solve a problem that they struggle with.
No one is immune to the “I can do it myself” syndrome.
Let go of your pride. Concentrate on the areas that you love and that you do best and start ‘outsourcing’ the rest.
There is also the tendency in this day and age of the internet and social media to think that if I have a laptop, then I can be my own PR person, my own web designer, my own pretty much everything. The reality is that you could do that, but if you do, you won’t have time to perform, write, record and enjoy the experiences of being a musician.
Definitely learn how all these things work, be smart about it, but don’t think for one minute that you are the solution to everything.
Record companies are there for a reason. Accountants have a purpose and a musician has a job to do. Get on with that job and enjoy the experience.
I feel much better that I don’t have to be the one to do everything, now where is that editor to fix up my typos…
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