How A Growth, Confidence Mindset Can Alter Your Career In Music
Guest post by D. Grant Smith of Soundfly's Flypaper
It’s all in your mind: your success, your growth, your opportunities, your pathway forward.
Sure, there’s work involved too. There are tasks and to-do items to take care of on a weekly basis for you to reach your goals and achieve your dreams. But in the end, it all starts in your mind.
Is that silly? What am I talking about? And more specifically, what does any of this have to do with your music and creative career?
Let me tell you a little story.
When I was a preteen kid, I used to stay up late (for a 12-year-old, anyway) and watch David Letterman. I didn’t get his jokes or really find the spectacle of the show that interesting, what was appealing to me was that Letterman talked with some of the coolest people in the world. He’d interview them, ask them questions, build a connection with them. He seemed to know them beyond the celebrity and fame they had. They talked like friends do.
I wanted to have that kind of connection with iconic people. I wanted to interview and talk with my heroes in media, music, and entertainment. So I’d lay in bed as a teenager and dream about hosting a show where I could talk with the people I thought were the coolest in the world. And I dreamt of getting to be their friend, too.
Those late-night TV episodes planted in my head this dream of being a connector, of being someone who could have conversations and relationships with amazing people who were making a difference in the world. That’s where the seed was planted that eventually led to what I’ve created as an adult: my syndicated radio show, The Appetizer Radio Show, and the acclaimed DIY Artist Route Podcast.
Back in the day, I didn’t dream I’d get to interview folks like William Fitzsimmons, Lindsay Katt, Juan Williams, Seth Godin, Rachael Yamagata, or Bree Noble, because I didn’t know who they were — but I do now. And several of those folks I’ve gotten to know as friends over the years. My work in media created the results that are now tangible in getting to talk with these people. It started in my head, and I kept the dream alive while acting on it, to turn it into a reality.
The same is true for you. What is it that you want to achieve? What are your goals? How big is the vision you have for your future? Think about that.
Now remind yourself that it’s a reality. Seriously. Tell yourself that you already have right now what you dream about having in the future. Even if you can’t touch it just yet. There’s this incredible truth that’s taught in self-help, psychology, and spirituality that deals with what’s commonly called “the Law of Attraction.” What you focus on is what grows. And what you believe is what comes to be.
The good side of that is certainly true. Focus on growth and success, and the opportunities for growth and success will manifest. However, if you let negativity, doubt, and fear take control, you’ll find yourself struggling to have the life and career you desire. You’ll live in a never-ending cycle of stress and frustration, feeling like what you want is always out of reach.
That was my story, too. Yeah, that dream of getting to be in a place where I could talk with and befriend innovators and successful people didn’t sprout into a huge banyan tree overnight. There were dark periods that I had to get through to make my dream a reality, and that was because my head wasn’t in the right place. My mindset was focused on all that I believed was wrong.
Here’s another story. I’m a pretty small-framed dude — short and skinny since 1981 (well, more like 1986, when I went to grade school). Being the runt of my class all throughout school and even in college meant that I was the kid who got picked on by every bully or wannabe bully out there, which made me feel pretty insignificant and afraid. I carried this attitude with me into adulthood, and had this perpetual chip on my shoulder, like I had to prove myself to be worthy or good enough for anyone to stick around.
So the fears grew — and my confidence didn’t. I was pretty shy most of the time with new people. Rarely would I try to introduce myself because I was certain no one new would talk to me. It’s hard to be David Letterman when this is how you think of yourself. Fear and negativity will hinder your personal and professional growth, because that’s all you will focus your mind on. So how did I go from being a scared, shy, skinny kid to being a confident, outgoing, skinny dude?
I changed my mind.
I realized one day that running from what I was afraid of was getting me nowhere, and I decided to do something about it. That led to a journey inside a boxing ring and a transformational experience that revolutionized my personal and professional growth. That’s a story for a different time, but for now, your journey towards a mindset changecomes down to making a decision. Choose to do it, then stick with it.
It’s easy for anyone to write the words “change your mindset” in order to reach the success you want. It’s another thing to do it.
Manifesting change is hard. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you’ve come from, what talents and skills you have, or any other factor. Most people resist change, yet change is what makes the dream become the reality. I had to change my mindset to have the opportunities, success, and life (both personal and professional) that I wanted. I had to go from fears, doubts, and negativity to faith, confidence, and positivity. It all comes down to the stories we tell ourselves about who we are. To change your mindset, you have to change your story. The choice was only mine to make. I’m responsible for my future and you’re responsible for your future.
The same is true for success. And achieving goals. And having the fulfilling and joyful life you dream of. You’re responsible for you. When I started conceptualizing what this process of internal change looks like, I thought of a garden. All gardens start out as dirt. What’s inside that dirt will determine the success or failure of what is planted. If you have weeds and thorn seed in the dirt, anything you plant there will get snuffed out, its connection to resources cut off. That’s why tilling, digging, and cultivating the soil is essential for the growth of any plant.
The same is true in your mind. We cultivate our mind and heart soil by taking note of the thoughts of fear, anger, resentment, doubt, and negativity. Being aware of your thoughts is the fastest and best way to remove what sucks and replace it with what produces life. When you notice a thought that produces negative results, change the thought.
For instance, I used to tell myself often, “No one wants what I have to offer.” It came from my place of fear and doubt. But it wasn’t true. It was only as true as I believed it to be. Changing that thought started with one simple phrase: “Yes, I can.” And that led to another powerful mantra: “I believe in me.”
I’d repeat these two phrases over and over every day until they became true, and I was able to walk around every day with confidence in who I am and what I can offer.
Fearful people tend to flock together. Angry people seem to want to hang around each other a lot. Kind and loving people enjoy each other’s company and spend their time surrounded by like-minded people. Successful people spend their free time with other successful people. We attract who we are; this is natural and it’s called homophily.
So who are you? What’s in your mind? What thoughts are you repeating to yourself regularly, creating beliefs about your future and what you can do?
If you want to produce success, love, peace, prosperity, abundance, and greatness, you have to make a practice of planting that in your head by thinking it, and in your heart by feeling it.
Your thoughts and your focus determines how you see yourself, which impacts how you see others and the world around you, which impacts the quality of the connections you make with others — because it’s all a part of how the Law of Attraction works. We attract who we are.
Speak to yourself in confidence. Tell yourself that you believe in and love You. Be committed to supporting You.
My good friend Steve Palfreyman once told me, “The more you back yourself, the faster you’ll get there.” He said that when I was struggling with confidence and feeling like the world had turned and left me standing still, I had to change my beliefs and daily thoughts. Affirmations and mantras are a fantastic practice to take on to make this change happen. The process is simple, but it takes dedication and commitment. You’re worth committing to. Start and end your day with affirming statements on who you are and what you want. Trust me, I wrote a book on it. It’s really powerful stuff!
Commit to this practice. Start by planting the right seeds, cultivating your inner soil, and changing yourself into the person you want to be. Then all good things you want will be drawn to you, including the right relationship connections and opportunities for more success.