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Let's talk about one of my favorite topics: artist empowerment.
Several weeks ago I presented one of my first "Unleash the Artist Within" workshops. While promoting the event, I discovered that different people have different interpretations of what it means to "unleash" themselves as an artist.
Many people assumed at first that the workshop was about developing your creativity, along the lines of Julia Cameron's book, "The Artist's Way." Some of what I talk about does relate to giving yourself permission to create and feeling worthy to do so, but my definition of "unleash" is more far-reaching than that.
What do I mean by "Unleash the Artist Within"? Well, I believe that to be a successful musician, you must be willing to ...
- Unleash your creative leanings, artistic inclinations and natural talents. Yes, exercising your creativity has many benefits. For one, it's personally rewarding. Denying yourself the opportunity to write, perform and record music can lead to stagnation and frustration. By feeding and answering the call of your creative urges, you improve the quality of your own life while enriching the world with your talents.
- Unleash your potential to create something of beauty or significance. When you take action on your musical interests, you bring your ideas to life. Too many people only dream about their creative desires and never see their talents materialize. When you "unleash the artist within," you transform your music into a tangible form that can be enjoyed, experienced and shared. And that's a powerful thing.
- Unleash your belief in yourself. While you're busy unleashing, be sure to set free your confidence, desire, optimism and enthusiasm. Many creative people are plagued by fear and doubt. It's no wonder, with all the misguided "struggling artist" advice heaped on creative people. Don't buy into it. Your fears are self-imposed. So brush the self-doubt aside and choose to let your belief in yourself shine through.
- Unleash your creative gifts and your artistic contribution to the world. Playing music and being recognized for your talents feels good. It's this personal reward that draws most people to music in the first place. However, I believe the most successful musicians quickly evolve and begin putting more emphasis on the benefits they deliver to fans. Making an artistic contribution and sharing your unique brand of music should be the ultimate thing that drives you. And, interestingly, putting a priority on your fans leads to more personal satisfaction for you.
- Unleash your worthiness to receive and be rewarded for your creative contributions. I also believe that empowered musicians go through three stages:
1) Playing music for themselves.
2) Playing music for the benefit of others. And ...
3) Playing music for profit.
But many people get hung up on #3. To truly "unleash the artist within" you must know that making money with your talents is not only acceptable, it's part of the abundant nature of the universe. You have something of value to offer, and you deserve to be rewarded for your contribution to the world.
To hammer home these thoughts on why it's important to "unleash," let me share a great quote from Patanjali, who is credited with founding the philosophy of yoga more than 2,000 years ago:
"When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bounds: Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be."
Think about that as you contemplate your rightful place in music.