Board-game lovers. You know them. The type that gathers around over family holidays, clad in pajamas well into the day or evening, and commit to hours of rolling dice or pushing buttons or flipping cards. There are lovers and then there are board-games-as-blood-sport types. Where shuffling cards can turn into slamming doors at a moment’s notice. When we start to care more about the game than the people with whom we’re playing. And this is when I started to notice how singer life can start to imitate the game. We are all in this game of our choosing. Amassing diva points as fast as we can. Trying to pass go and collect $200 as often as possible. As our turn stretches from month to month and year to year, it is possible to forget that this game is completely optional. What we mustn’t forget is that the people are not.
Your 29 Days to Diva – Day 1 Challenge is to Explore What You’re Taking For Granted.
The goal of 29 Days to Diva is to demystify the systems that make success possible in today’s musical world. So, this is not the New Age Lit bullshit line about “gratitude.” This is an important first step to understanding our careers. Look around you. Pay attention to the souls who fill up your home. Notice the friends who are showing up to rehearsal after rehearsal with you. Recognize the individuals who are making your life in the arts a reality. Isn’t that incredible? Realize that you are in this game for them – not in spite of them. You are pursuing your goals to be the best version of yourself for them.
Time for some action. Divas, this is just the beginning.
- Only express gratitude if it’s genuine. Full stop. Read it one more time. Okay, now let’s go on…
- Thank the people in your innermost orbit now. They are the ones who see you at every moment of your career. They are there when it is good and they are there when it is gut-wrenching. One of the trickiest elements of the human experience is that the closer we are to people the more we assume they will just be there. The truth is: everyone close to you is also choosing your career. They are making choices that validate what you do too. Thank them for making that choice on your behalf even when you can’t see it… especially when you can’t see it.
- Now, thank the first person who told you that you have what it takes to make the art that you make. There may be many people along your path that have reassured you that you are actually the artist you think you are. Go ahead and thank them too. They may not have always told you in words. But, you know exactly who those people are. You may not be able to personally thank them by calling or writing anymore. Find a way to still put that thank you out there.
- Now, look around you at what you might be taking for granted. Make a list. Even better, write it out by hand. The profound and the trivial revel in each other. What keeps your life humming along?
Perhaps you have had a really terrible day. Or, your resolutions didn’t end up quite going your way last month. Maybe 2015 really knocked you down or almost took you out of the game entirely. Do not gloss over that pain with a false sense of gratitude. The gratitude will show up later in different ways. Do recognize the things and/or people who have kept you alive. The more we focus on what keeps us alive the more we will seek out those people, things, and experiences.
Remember, the game is optional; the people are not.
Thank you so much for joining me today as we kick-off the 2016 version of 29 Days to Diva.
One of the things that keeps me alive and passionate is the community I’ve found online. I couldn’t be more appreciative of the way you have supported these ideas by sharing and championing them and living them out in your various corners of the world. Feel free to tag me (@mezzoihnen) throughout the series or use the hashtags #29DTD and/or #29DaystoDiva. I can’t wait to see your Day 1 challenge in action – thanking the people who mean the most to you.
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