Some people measure their level of success by a dollar amount, but I’d argue that it begins a lot quicker when you work to fill your heart instead of just to pay the bills. If you measure success by a dollar amount more than passion for what you’re doing to make that money, I think you’re missing out on something special. I didn’t wait to move to Nashville until I had a job offer, because I was focused on building relationships with people who saw how serious I was about helping new artists. My heart led me here, not a paycheck, and I took the risk of signing a lease and living on my own without an income. I wasn’t expecting anything to be waiting for me when I got here. This place is full of creative people, and I was just another name added to the list of 100 people that move here a day. I had to find what it was that would set myself apart. The good things that have come my way in music and this new lifestyle are a direct reflection of listening to my heart.
Before moving, one of my college professors told me that things were going to happen serendipitously, and that right when I was about ready to give up is when things would start to get better. I’m a little creeped out at how accurate he was in saying that, because that’s exactly what happened. I went two months without a job, which was mentally exhausting. It may sound like a vacation, but it felt like I wasn’t doing anything right. I was hard on myself and didn’t even reflect on the fact that I just moved 900 miles away from home by myself to chase a dream. I didn’t feel like my days had much purpose, and I would wake up each morning unable find a reason to get ready for the day. Two months went by and I questioned my goals, my reason for moving far from family and friends, and my ability to be successful. I came here extremely motivated, then I struggled, and then I saw things slowly start to get better.
It was important for me to work with people who saw potential in me and trusted that I could be valuable to their company. I found and connected with a friend of a family member, Phil, and he invited me to a Nashville Publishers Network meeting. After listening to a presentation done by the awesome people I work with now, I set up another meeting with them to learn more. I was impressed by what Jammber wanted for the music industry, which is making metadata more transparent for artists and collaborators, so that those individuals can get the credit they deserve. That one email wanting to learn more about them was a game changer. I didn’t send it because I was desperate but because I could relate to their vision for a better music industry.
I’m not doing well because I’m extremely knowledgeable about the music business or because I’m lucky. I’m doing well because I’m willing to learn and make mistakes. Those two things will always get you further than brains; in a company that’s worth working for anyway. I’m not money hungry. I’m hungry to help new artists bring out their unique styles and land on stage at the Grammy’s some day. That comes from the heart, not the hustle.
Honestly, the hustle has been put towards the mundane things at home rather than building relationships with people I’m hoping to work with. That comes easy to me, because I’m passionate about it. Even though I love what I do, it still takes hustle for me to get out of bed at 6am every morning when I haven’t had to do that in 2 years. For those of you that are at work by that time, I admire you. Even if my job was to be a professional beach bum it would be hard for me to get up at 6am. It takes hustle for me to make dinner after being at work all day. It takes hustle for me to stay happy during the moments I’m missing people back home. These are small things that take hustle from me in order to keep moving in the right direction. The hustle for me starts with my mentality. Once I can combine the hustle of these small things that are hard for me and my heart for making a better music industry, my life will change. I’m already starting to see it happen.
The point is, as long as you put heart towards a purpose and a little hustle into improving your weaknesses, your doors will open. Old Dominion said it best, “Chase after the dream don’t chase after the money.” I’ve seen a good amount of rich people really unhappy. Stop chasing the money, start listening to what your heart really wants, and success will come.