Don’t Do It All By Yourself

Do you ever beat yourself up about not doing something you were supposed to do?

Have you called yourself “lazy” when you procrastinate, especially if you’re delaying something you actually want to do?

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from running a music production and motivational speaking company is how to create the conditions necessary for success.  But it took years of frustration to figure it out. 

When I started my music production company, I did everything myself, as many entrepreneurs do.  I produced the music, handled the accounting, did the marketing outreach, negotiated licensing deals, and tour managed live shows.  I had some amazing friends in my network who helped out in various ways, but I felt ultimately responsible for moving every part of the organization forward. 

Eventually, trying to do everything by myself created major burn out.  When you feel like nothing moves unless you move it, it’s easy to feel defeated and overwhelmed.  And when you find yourself dealing with those emotions by procrastinating, even a little bit, it’s easy to beat yourself up even more for not working hard enough. 

So how do you avoid this trap?  The strategy I’ve found most helpful is to create both personal and professional “conditions for success.” 

Personal conditions:  Do you need a certain type of music for you to do your best work?  Do you need to chew gum?  Sit in the library or at a coffee shop?  Whatever works for you (and doesn’t damage your health), find that ritual and use it at every opportunity. 

For example, I work much better when listening to upbeat instrumental music (like EmancipatorBlackmillMitiS, and MaHi).  Whenever I’m trying to work and start psyching myself out, I put on the music.  Don’t be afraid to use these supporting habits to help you – using them means that you’re intelligent, not that you’re weak.

Professional conditions:  Do you work better alone or with a team?  Do you prefer to work uninterrupted for hours or take occasional breaks?  Do you need everything spread out on a table in front of you, or do you need one item in front of you at a time? 

The unofficial motto of my company is “Teamwork makes the dream work.”  When I was working solo, I would frequently try to troubleshoot my dips in motivation and productivity.  I tried working in different places, at different times, and with different mindsets.  Sometimes the variation would help, but usually I would continue feeling overwhelmed. 

Now that my business partner and I work together full-time every day, I see the MASSIVE impact that having a team makes.  We are aligned and focused on the shared goal of improving students’ lives through music and motivation.  Every day we reinforce each other’s mission and drive to build an empire of impact for students around the world. 

So if you’re feeling discouraged, overwhelmed, or wracked by procrastination and guilt, please recognize that you’re not alone and that you don’t have to do everything alone.  Find habits that help you do what you want to do in life, and reach out to people who can support you in achieving your goals.  I promise you, it can get better! 

What do you do to create conditions for success in your personal or professional life?  I’d love to hear about your strategies in the comments below.  

Posted on December 4, 2014 .