Tag Archives: 89.7 KACC

Why Milestones Are How We Reach Our Dreams

Vision. Milestones. Perspective.

Looking forward to the future and doing a combination of goal-setting and forecasting of what lies ahead, taking into account outside influences and things you have absolutely no control over.

Looking at the big picture and the future of what lies ahead, combined with the aforementioned goal setting, is one of my gifts. It’s what helped propel me into the radio industry at the ripe age of 16, into creating a radio/media property at age 21, turning that property into a business and converting a “project” into an entrepreneurial element at age 26, then setting out on my own to take on a new career outside of the radio industry to work as a coach and mentor for folks like me in the creative business space (musicians, entrepreneurs, startups, etc) at age 32.

Today marks not only a new day, but a place on the map of my future vision that will bring a new set of accomplishments of goals and achievements with it.

MeByAbbeyRoadSignI turn 34 today, and I’m writing about that because aging has been something that I look forward to instead of dreading. I want to share with you the fulfillment and successes of my journey up to this point, a few philosophical lessons learned along the way, and tell you what I hope to achieve in the coming year. As you know, community building is the mantra I live by, and as part of not only my community, but our growing group of creative entrepreneurs, I want to open up to you about the steps taken to get to this point, and the ones I want to reach in the coming year.

Call this accountability or transparency. These things matter.

“Life is a journey, not a destination.”

You’ve heard this phrase before. I used to not pay any attention to it when teachers at school or mentors in my life would say this. It was one of those things I could imagine Mr. Miagi tell Daniel in the Karate Kid or Yoda tell Luke as he trained to be a Jedi, but never really thought it applied to me. However, it doesn’t matter how old you are, the wisdom here is still on point. Yet what if we modified the phrase to have a little more practical application. What about this:

“Life is a series of milestones that lead us the destinations we choose.”

I don’t believe we have to settle for one destination in life. You can choose to have one truly huge, magnificently giant dream and work all of your life to achieve it. However, to reach that big, giant goal you’re going to first reach some milestones along the way. Consider a milestone to be markers that indicate that you’re making progress and give you some direction for how to move forward.

My high school graduation pic. People thought I was 16 until about 4 years ago (I'm in my 30s now)

My high school graduation pic. People thought I was 16 until about 4 years ago (I’m in my 30s now)

I mentioned briefly some of the milestones I’ve had up to this point. At age 16, like any teenager I was excited to get my driver’s license and drive all over town. But looking back that wasn’t the pinnacle achievement of that year. Becoming an on-air DJ on a college radio station while I was still in high school is what I remember as being the pinnacle of age 16. That experience planted seeds in me about what I believed radio had the potential to be, how it could impact the lives of indie and unsigned musicians, and it showed me the skills needed to do radio as a professional. That experience gave me what was needed to become an announcer at public radio station KACU as an incoming freshman at age 18. There hadn’t been a freshman walk in their door with radio experience and a resume that showed on-air and production credit up to that point. I’ll always remember age 16 as reaching that milestone.

TARSLogoTM2014Fast-forward to age 21, which we all have different degrees of fondness for. That was the age I was when I had this seemingly strange idea to make a radio program that played different genres of music from known and unknown artists, all in the same hour. The show wouldn’t follow a format of just rock or just folk music or just jazz. I paired songs that flowed together, or that I thought flowed together. And it stuck. In a little over a year, The Appetizer Radio Show was becoming one of the most talked about programs by the supporters of the station, leading to some positive feedback and later an interview with the Dallas Morning News. That would segue into the start of taking the show to other stations for carriage (syndication). Syndication would lead to turning the show into a business and a myriad of other achievements. It all began with that milestone at age 21.

TARS10thAnnConcert-LindsayKatt-ElliottPark A little over a decade later and a whole lot has happened. The Appetizer celebrated its 10th birthday in 2013 with a live concert at a historic theater in our hometown of Abilene (The Paramount Theater) featuring indie music sensation Lindsay Katt and Billboard #1 songwriter Elliott Park. That was a great milestone for me because I’d never organized and put together a live concert on my own before, but achieved success for all parties involved by utilizing strong community engagement and bringing together a powerful team of people to help make it happen. There were a lot of lessons learned in that process, and it certainly created a platform to do more live events that drew the greater regional community together.

As I enter this new year and transition into casting a vision for what I want for the next several years, the game has changed a lot, not only in regards to media (radio, online, streaming services) and music (both from the standpoint of musicians and the music industry), but also the landscape for how to succeed in the creative marketplace. I came into the world of self-employed coaching from spending over a decade in the nonprofit realm. It’s still an adjustment that I’m getting used to, and there have been a lot of lessons learned in just 2 years. Moving forward I want to achieve two big goals, which will create two big milestones to reach.

One goal is releasing the first in a series of books I’m working on that delves deep into providing a road map and guide into community building, starting with unsigned and DIY musicians (and those on the indie music circuit). Community building is the same as growing your fan base but it includes so much more. It’s the combination of your super fans, your fringe audience, the people who help get your music to other people in other places, and the people who help grow your outreach. It takes a community to succeed, and I’m currently writing a book that not only illustrates the practical steps to achieve this, but highlights some real life musicians who are doing this right now.

I’m going to take that framework and apply it to other books that will show entrepreneurs, startups, and nonprofits how to do the same thing in their fields and regions.

That’s a big vision to have, and some very serious milestones to reach.

DGrant-SpeakingOnStage

 

The second big piece of the vision is taking that message to the streets, and doing speaking engagements that teach individuals and groups the key elements they need to not only build strong fan bases, but cultivate powerful communities of support for their music. Again, this is big picture vision casting, and I am sharing this with you because what I’m building will impact your world. I want you to know what I’m working on so that you can benefit the most from everything I have planned.

This is how I’m going to be spending my 34th year.

BoJacksonOn a side note, another reason I’m excited about turning 34 is it was Bo Jackson’s number when he played for the Raiders. Bo is my all-time favorite athlete. We also share a birthday, which makes it extra special. One of these days, I want to be able to meet him. That will be a milestone for a different time, and one that I can’t see clearly at the moment, but believe strongly to be possible.

What are you milestones for this coming year? As we enter the end of our calendar year and have 1 month left in 2015, share with me the milestones you’ve had this year and what you’re wanting to do in 2016. Let me know in the comments below.

The Art Of Finding What You’re Looking For

abstract-summer-background_MkgLu3u_Remember the U2 song I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For?

Sorry Bono, we’re all in your boat too.

I spent my youth and young adulthood looking for something. I (sort of) knew what it was, yet it remained a mystery at the same time. At various intervals I thought I’d finally found it and could relax. The hunt was over, finally. A short time later, however, it became clear that only a piece of what I was looking for had been found, and not the whole thing. So the hunt began again.

Do you think I’m talking about love? In a way I am, but not the romantic kind (that’s a whole OTHER story for a later time).

I was searching for fulfillment, or purpose. It’s what we’re all on a quest for, partially one reason why we’re artists, creative people and/or individuals who get get categorized as entrepreneurs because we venture into unknowns often without a clear map of what’s in front of us.

Sound familiar?

There was a time I thought I’d found fulfillment by way of occupation. I wanted to be on the radio and had achieved that by the age of 16, working as a DJ at a station in Alvin, Tx (89.7 KACC) while in high school. A decade later I was running a public radio station (KACU in Abilene) and had created a music program (The Appetizer Radio Show) that would eventually be picked up on other radio stations across the country (through syndication). I got a piece of fulfillment in each of these capacities, a degree of purpose, but not the whole thing I was searching for.

Changing jobs and industries at the age of 31 after 15 years in the same industry altered the purpose card quite a bit. Suddenly I was in a new world with many new things to learn. I had transitioned into the realm of infinity, aka online marketing. I still do a little work in this industry, but have since transitioned yet again.

I say all of this for a little context. I’m a pretty consistent person who is big on commitments and not jumping from one thing to the next every so often. After graduation from college in 2004, I held a job with the same organization for nearly a decade. I’m good at sticking with a job. However, after switching to marketing in 2013, I quickly learned that your career path and your purpose in life are a rough marriage. They’re linked, yes indeed. But they aren’t always the same thing.

I’ve since shifted the job stuff again, now more in the self-employed sector of the job market. It’s some of the most fulfilling work I’ve ever done. But that’s not the point. The point is, in each shift, I found a different piece of the fulfillment I was searching for, and made an interesting discovery in the process:

The art of finding what you’re looking for is an evolutionary process that begins at birth and ends at death.

The idea that you reach a destination in your lifetime where you are completely fulfilled with nothing else to aspire to is missing the mark. The pursuit itself is the purpose.

Goal setting is a piece of my life, as it is yours. There are certain things I’ve set out to achieve early in life  that I’m still chasing after. Since I’m still pursuing them, and “success” as I envision it hasn’t happened yet in a gigantic capacity, means there are some more pieces I’ve yet to acquire. So the hunt continues.

At different stages of this journey, I’ve had to learn some powerful lessons, and seek help from people with experience in things I know not of. These stages are necessary in reaching the next fulfillment milestone.

One thing I used to wish was available for me to gain assistance was a How-To guide for radio program creation and development. I spent a few years scouring every online and brick/mortar book store for a book or blog on how to take an existing program and get it carried on stations across the country. When I was looking for this, it didn’t exist. Today, there are millions of artists and entrepreneurs just like you, trying to find the same answers. How do you get your work accepted by other people, people you don’t know, so that you can grow your platform?

I learned from trial and error, risk and reward, mistakes and successes what worked and what didn’t to get The Appetizer Radio Show syndicated. I used my time, energy, and limited financial resources along with networking and relationship building to make it happen. I wanted someone to show me how and instead I found my own path.

Now I know the reason for this: part of my fulfillment in life is teaching others how to do things. There was no teacher for me in this way so I was given a way to learn something that I could later teach others. Now I can teach you how to do exactly what I did. All it takes is a commitment to process, a mind willing to learn, and just a little money.

Want to learn the art of finding what you’re looking for? Reach me directly below and let’s talk about how you can find your next piece of fulfillment with your project.