Here’s a heart-on-sleeve post for you guys. I was just writing an article that compares some out-of-the-box promotional ideas; the ones that were successes and the ones that were failures. The thing is, I couldn’t think of a single “failure”. And before you bite my head off, it’s not because I think I’m some huge success. It’s simple: We never fail.

I’ve had many “failures” in the casual, muggle sense of the word: I’ve tried to raise money for records, to get people to come to shows, and made hundreds of cold calls only to hear hundreds of “no’s”. Yet none of these occur to me as a failure. At the same time, I have a constant little voice in my head that chants “you’re not succeeding yet”, which must mean failure exists, right?

Perhaps I’m a “glass half full” kinda gal, because my only explanation for not being able to think of specific failures in my music career is that every time I haven’t succeeded, I’ve learned something. Or… perhaps it is in the semantics of it all: to me, “not succeeding” is simply not reaching specific expectations I had. “Failure” is not the same as “not succeeding”. To me, I’m on a road, a journey, and I will never really fail until I stop, cold turkey.

It’s not a white-or-black type of conversation. There are plenty of times I haven’t succeeded. None of my 3 piano-pop records have hit platinum or gold status, let alone have sold enough copies to regularly pay my NYC rent. And no matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to pack a mid-size New York venue. And as depressing as that all sounds, there are bright sides to every effort, despite the fact whatever expectation I had wasn’t met…. for example, my fan funding campaign allowed me to pay my band and an orchestra for my record, a dream come true for me.

All of this leads me to believe I have fairly high standards and often out-of-reach expectations. Don’t we all? It’s taken me years to get this, but setting out big goals and “only” getting mini-results doesn’t qualify as “failure”. I had a goal of winning a Grammy before age 30. If you’ve read any of my past entries, you know that when I hit 30, I had massive panic attacks, anxiety, and overall misery. What I was thankfully able to recognize was that at that point, my whole life was focused on the one thing I didn’t obtain, the one failure (as I initially called it) and I wasn’t able to recognize all the steps I took and results I did accomplish in my time of being a full-time artist and musician. Eventually, I was finally able to acknowledge myself for the results I created in this crazy life I chose and got clear that I was committed to having an impact on this crazy industry. That is when I realized success was not about winning the Grammy, it was about living the life of someone who is out to win a Grammy. I am on that path. If I get there, I get there, if not, I’m living the life of someone who’s on a road they are passionate about.

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  • Jack

    Thanks for the wonderful article.

    I’ve been a musician for over forty years now and what’s always kept me going is what a saying my mom used to have. “When you love to do what you have to do, then you’ll get to do what you love to do.” Hope this helps someone.

  • Well gosh…perfect read at the perfect time for me! Thanks for your honesty and kindness!