Tag Archives: change

Why Culture Determines Your Growth & Success

 

The entrance to Bonnaroo

The entrance to Bonnaroo, escaping a place of fear and into a place of love & acceptance

There are so many areas in our world that we blame our culture on. The perpetual violence in the US, especially in places where children or minorities are the victims, leads to division among our own people. When we look deeper into the causes of these problems, a destructive culture is at the root.

How can culture be such a powerful influence on the behavior or people? That’s the question I am searching for answers to right now, especially after returning from a trip where a culture of love and unity had created an amazing culture.

What does “culture” mean

I live in a small town in West Texas. The predominant culture is older and white. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, as the world has become more diverse with different ethnic groups, beliefs, races, and cultures inter-mingling together, we’re starting to taste the beauty of multi-culturalism in ways we haven’t before. There are positives and negatives that come out of this, but I am going to focus on what we can take away from the growth of culture in our every day lives, as well as how we have the responsibility of determining our own culture for growth and success.

Culture is simply this: the collection of arts and expressions of human intellectual achievement and growth.

Culture determines growth because that’s a part of what it is. A=A in simple math terms.

Bonnaroo Main Stage

Bonnaroo Main Stage

As you know, I recently treked halfway across the country to attend Bonnaroo 2016. We had a little caravan of friends go together, and we all had a lot of fun. There were some standout bands who performed including Pearl Jam, LCD Soundsystem, Brett Dennen, and Band of Horses. I also was turned on to the music of Bob Moses, Chvrches, Chris Stapleton, and Dresden  (among others). The music was simply amazing.

However, it wasn’t the music that impacted me the most. It was something else: the predominant culture of love and acceptance to EVERYONE, regardless of race, age, belief, creed, heritage, or ideology.

When you have over 65,000 people converging on one location, you’re going to experience diversity. There’s inevitable (remember A=A). As soon as we entered into the farm (Bonnaroo sits on a 700 acre farm in Manchester, TN), the overall feeling of being safe as ourselves, being accepted for who we are, and love for each fellow person was the established rule of order.

Our Team & New Friends

Our Team & New Friends

The best thing about this culture was that we all knew it going in based solely on what we saw and felt around us. There were no “10 Rules Of Attending Bonnaroo” when we entered in. There wasn’t a form we had to sign that said we agreed to be kind, loving, and supportive of each other before being admitted in. And there wasn’t a punishment of being banished if anyone didn’t adhere to this loving culture. It was the opposite of what our modern society is and does, where rules try to dictate the behaviors of people.

Am I saying that rules and laws are not good and are a problem? NOT AT ALL.

DressedForDay1What I am saying is that it was the cultivation, seeding, nourishing, and continual harvesting of a loving culture that makes this 4 day music festival continue to grow. Any musician who has tried to get on stage at a festival like this runs up against some pretty big-named bands. There’s a reason for that.

Anyone who has tried to start a music festival and build up momentum to keep it going the following year has experienced the difficulties of building something new. The Bonnaroo guys did too 15 years ago.  A farm in the middle of nowhere Tennessee isn’t a beacon light for most people. However, give people great music (arts) and a supportive atmosphere of love (culture) and you can build a winner year after year.

What culture are you building

The tragedies of the Orlando shooting took place on the Saturday (day 3) of Bonnaroo, and we all had a lot of serious conversations with fellow Roo-vians that day and the days that followed. It made us confront ourselves, and look closer at this societal disparity in our modern culture where we turn ideologies into things that divide us to the point of death. Terrorism is all about creating more division by killing off people who cause them no harm, yet whose beliefs contradict their own. It’s bullshit. And it’s cowardly. That’s the terrorist culture.

Is the response to terrorism more violence to send a message? I don’t know. Hopefully our political leaders are discernible enough to find a path that works. My response to these acts of violence in our local and national areas is to operate from a culture that is loving and accepting. AND THAT IS FREAKING HARD TO DO IN THE FACE OF HATE AND VIOLENCE.

Don’t get me wrong, none of this is easy. But we’re uncommon people creating remarkable actions. It’s who we are. A=A. I believe that loving culture creates positive change, where people can be more whole and more themselves. Is this a utopian ideal? Hell if I know. I’ve seen and experienced part of this. What if we carried the heart of Bonnaroo with us in our personal lives, our social interactions, and the communities we’re a part of with our art and business? How would that change our society for the better?

These are the questions I’m asking myself, and the question I’m asking you. Are you the difference that you want to see in the world? Ghandi was. In the face of direct violence, hatred, and a negative culture he became the change he wanted to experience. And he changed his world. More on that in this video:

How To Have Success In Business & LIfe- BE The Change You Want from DGrantSmith on Vimeo.

 

How To Avoid Being An Artistic Scrooge This Christmas

Michael Caine as Scrooge in A Muppet Christmas Carol, one of my favorite versions

Michael Caine as Scrooge in The Muppet Christmas Carol
, one of my favorite versions

When you see the name Scrooge, do you instantly think of a crabby, bitter old man who not only hates Christmas but also hates people?

That’s the common interpretation of Scrooge. The other common thought about Scrooge is that someone with that reference only cares about money and is predominately greedy by nature.

I hope that none of these characteristics mark your artistry or humanity. Yet, the Scrooge aspect I want to highlight and talk about here doesn’t involve any of these criteria. There is something redeeming about Scrooge in the Charles Dickens’ classic story A Christmas Carol that most of us aren’t always mindful of.

The Ebeneezer Scrooge who we first encounter in The Muppet Christmas Carol is not the Scrooge we are left with at the conclusion of the story. There is a transformation that takes place within the man’s heart over the course of the tale, marked in 3 stages as he is taken to memories of his past, realities of his present, and potential for his future. All of these stages have glimpses of hope and tragedy.

The Patrick Stewart version is also a favorite

The Patrick Stewart version is also a favorite

Scrooge is not who he really appears to be

These glimpses show us the real heart of Scrooge, despite how his life has transpired up to the visitation of the three spirits. We see a man who has allowed life to dictate his steps in a way that are counter to his true self. We see a man who, when we comes across boys he knew as a child, has fondness for the individuals. We see a man who experienced joy and love from a woman, but who mistakenly put a quest for wealth above his connection with her love and devotion. The loss of his love was the onset of his downward spiral into greed and hatred for people.

The warning in this tale is simple on the front end, but the real heart of Scrooge’s story is that if we aren’t careful we can easily become manipulated by seeking the wrong things for our happiness, and subsequently rob ourselves of true success. Scrooge was a man who made money by charging tenants for rent and had zero compassion for anyone who didn’t pay on time. He was easily the world’s worst landlord. Yet strangely he had one of the most compassionate and genuine people working for him. Could Bob Cratchet be as deserving of congratulations in turning around Scrooge’s attitude towards life and giving as the 3 spirits? I would argue that and even more.

Scrooge had allowed his loneliness to dictate how he approached other people, and for years that resentment, bitterness, and loss controlled his steps. The results were that, while he was more wealthy than most people in his town, he was also reviled and despised by nearly everyone. Cratchet, on the other hand, had much in the realm of wanting but his life was marked by joy and gratitude despite his low income or the ill health of his son, Tiny Tim.

As artists and entrepreneurs (or people in general), it’s easy for us to fall into the same traps that Scrooge did as a young person, when plans fail or the people closest to us drift away. When our dreams or intentions get off course, it’s common to not correct the ship but continue sailing in a direction that doesn’t take us to a land of opportunity, but instead one of regret. Have you experienced something like this?

We too run the risk of being so preoccupied with our own ambitions, or even allowing the losses we experience in life, to change our perspectives and attitudes towards others. This is human nature. We can spend years in frustration and anger at how our dreams were thrown off or our endeavors spoiled because of one thing or another. And we can build up resentment towards people in the process of just trying to deal with why life doesn’t always go our way.

Or

We can see things differently. We can allow the struggles and the obstacles to provide a new insight into how to change, shift, and pivot. We can look at those in our lives who seem to be constantly full of life and joy and find inspiration in moving forward. We can sit down with individuals, over a cup of coffee, a beer or over the phone and have conversations that build hope and perspective for the present and future.

We can change.

Strangely enough, another (sort of) Christmas story that I’m fond of leaves us with the notion that we can change, and change is one of the best gifts that we can give to ourselves and others. Rocky’s closing speech following the fight with Ivan Drago in Rocky IV not only inspired those who saw it, but ultimately ended the Cold War (want proof? See this video).

You can be a person who is uncommon and makes a difference in the lives of those around you, as well as your own. Don’t be an artistic (or business or startup or entrepreneurial or any other kind of) Scrooge this holiday and Christmas season. If something you have aspired to be hasn’t worked out like you wanted, or a dream you have has not gone as planned, it’s OK. Trust me, I’ve experienced these pains too (something I described briefly HERE). Allow your past to be released and your future to hold hope.

Change. Shift. Pivot. And have joy this season.

Want someone to sit down and talk with? I’d love to talk with you. Contact me and let’s chat.

*Are you surprised that I threw in Rocky Balboa in a post? You must not know me well. Let’s fix that. Reach out to me and we can have a good laugh together. Merry Christmas!

The Coming Trend Of Super-Fan Building

communityOne of the very first posts to this blog was about the importance of musicians building their core audience, or their Super-Fan listener base. That was in the fall of 2014. Here we are in the first quarter of 2015 and that subject is now taking a much larger role across many of the marketing and coaching experts’ platforms.

Do you know why?

You’re going to be hearing the term Super-Fan a lot in the coming years. I predict that the change in how businesses (large and small) market themselves is going to radically shift this year, leading everyone else to have to follow suit. The change is simple, and it’s been on the cusp of breaking out for quite a while.

It’s no longer a matter of growing a fan base that consists of merely a number anymore that makes a difference, or that leads to the success needed to keep the wheels turning on your career. This is true for completely unknown musicians as well as those on indie labels, the DIY artist, and even the big-named maintstream powerhouse. Yes, even Beyonce and Taylor Swift will be changing the way they market their music in the coming years because numbers by themselves mean very little.

Tools-for-Community-ManagersFacebook and Twitter made everyone a celebrity, or at least made it possible for everyone to be known by everyone else. In some cases, this led to better connections and relationships between people across the globe. But it also created avenues by which people worked to cheat the system, creating “followers” of brands that weren’t legitimate or at least not really engaged. Some social media marketers sell 5,000-10,000 fans to unsuspecting individuals to give the impression that the business, brand, or person has a large following. But bots don’t buy, and buying followers does little to create any form of success worth bragging about.

This leads us to the shift that is taking place now, and will continue in the coming year. Honestly, it doesn’t matter if your Twitter profile is “followed” by 50,000 accounts (I say accounts because many of the followers on any profile are not actual people, regardless of how the follow happens). Followers can lead to business, can lead to buys, and can lead to the kind of success you want with your career. But relationships with followers that are cultivated through effective communication and reciprocated benefits leads to ongoing positive results for everyone.

This is where the Super-Fan group comes in. Your core audience are drawn to you for very specific reasons. They are passionate about you and what you do. That passion leads to a monetary exchange between them and you, through concerts/gigs, hard copy/digital copy music, merchandise, etc. These are the key people that create the ongoing success you are looking for.

Which is why I’m seeing more and more marketers, coaches, and music experts changing their messaging to center on the growth of Super-Fans than I ever have before.

Think about it, we have a limited amount of time each day, a limited quantity of resources to tap into for our entertainment, and a limitless, endless volume of choices at our disposal. Endless selection will mean for some people that they never settle on really taking in the products of the people who are making the creation. They’ll just stream here and there, listen here and there, and never leave their house, or buy anything you make. But others, the core Super-Fan, is a different person who operates and thinks about what they take in for their music enjoyment completely different.

These are the people you need to focus on.

Soon  you’ll hear more people talking about growing your Super-Fan reach. It will become a trend, like the platform building model of the past year. But before the trend begins and long after it’s over it will still continue to be the way to grow and prosper.

Like I said, there are several coaches, marketers, and teachers who are promoting this line of thinking. My advice is to pick a few of these people and see what they have to say. See if their insights, advice, and wisdom leads to growth for you. I’m going to do the same thing. No one person is an “expert” on everything, and as long as you’re breathing you still have something left to learn. Here are a few of the music and marketing coaches and teachers I’m keying in on:

Michael Hyatt-Marketing and platform building coach; author of Platform: Get Discovered In A Noisy World

Chandler Coyle: Music coach, teacher, and author of the Coyle Report

Dave Kusek– Berklee College of Music Online Founder and founder of The New Artist Model

Andrea Young-Music curator and founder of Aspenbeat Radio Show and Record Label