Life is like music. You can practice and get it just right, it may be someone elses song, but it is perfect. You can express yourself in performance. You may be out front on your own, in a well-developed band or just another person who is important in the middle of an orchestra. You can help write it for others so the beauty is in their ability to give it life…or you can just play.
I have been playing and singing music since grammar school. There are times it has been quite accomplished and at a very professional level, like the time I got to sing Mozart’s Requiem with the Redding Symphony. Other times I have just grabbed up an instrument I am barely familiar with and stumbled through (playing stand-up bluegrass bass for George Ireton), but had a great time doing it. I consider my greatest work to be two things, singing acapella with the wonderful Harmony F/X and singing Tears in Heaven at my son Scott’s funeral, the single most meaningful and rewarding performance of my life. In every case it has been a joy of expression and a reward for the effort expended in learning the ability. As I have told many people, I just want to play.
Life gives us many opportunities similar to music. It is important in our professional crafts to practice our performance, learn as much as we can, make a good showing of ourselves and have someone willing to pay us for our work. You are at work to perform. You may be doing something you are very familiar with and at times you will be required to do a job where you are a novice, but someone has to get it done. In every case do it with exuberance. Grumbling and complaining are not what you are getting paid for. Your client or customer does not want to hear excuses or accept something less than they are paying for. The show must go on. Find the way to give the best performance possible even if you have to hire a backup band of workers.
You will make mistakes at work as in music. They are inevitable and sometimes costly. That does not mean you stop. The show must go on. As Tom Hopkins says, “I never see failure as failure, but only as an opportunity to practice my techniques and perfect my performance.” Keep on going to a successful conclusion. Fess up to your errors to those where it matters and find the proper solution. Do not dwell on the error, it will take you away from the goal, burn time and possibly cause other errors. Confidently go on to the finished piece.
I see my charity work as a jam session. There is no monetary reward, The ability to bring a moment of joy or relief to someone is as valuable as a pound of twenties. Remember, I just want to play.
The best form of work is the kind where you can see it as fun and for a great cause. Listen to your heart and it will take you in the right direction, if you are not there already.
Now go out there, practice, perform and listen for the beautiful sound of success.