Focus on the wins

Focus on the wins. In a business where most of the artists that signed to major labels are not commercially successful, in a business where just getting in the game seems nearly impossible, in a business where success oftentimes feels more like an act of God than a reward for your good efforts, it's fair to ask if quote-unquote losing and failure is a typical result, then how do I deal with this prospect of failure and keep my head and heart in the game? I want to share with you some great advice I got from a friend that I think will help you.

As you know I love to play golf and for a while I dreamed about playing golf for a living. Well, that dream didn't work out for me but I never stopped playing golf and I love competing in golf tournaments. Instead of those professional tournaments I had in mind I play in a lot of amateur events, and for better or worse I take it all very seriously. No matter how much I practice though I felt like I never played up to my potential in those key moments and it bothered me a lot so I resolved to figure it out, and I sought out a gentleman by the name of Dr. Bob Rotella, who is one of the top sports psychologists in the business.

I flew down to Charlottesville, Virginia to meet with him. We spent a couple of days together playing golf and talking about the mindset of winners, and it was his observation that I was spending way too much time worrying about what was going wrong or what could go wrong instead of what was right. My fear of failure was keeping me from doing the things that I was capable of doing and I find that it's no different for artists or music professionals looking to succeed in this music business.

His advice, simple, focus on the wins, Steve, you've got to love winning more than you hate losing. Now if you spend any time in the music business you know you're going to quote-unquote fail a lot but you can't let that fear of failure hold you back, you've got to learn from those failures. Figure out what the lesson in each of those failures is and then move on. Resolve not to make the same mistakes twice.

If you're going to fail make sure it's something new, make sure it's something where you're taking some risks. Golf is not a game of perfect and neither is the music business. The key is to stay in the game and to give yourself some chances to win. In the music business that means avoiding what I like to call the career killers or the showstoppers. Give you a couple of examples. You've got to pick your partners carefully, we know that, don't hire somebody who talks a big game as your manager but winds up delivering nothing because you got impatient and now that contract you signed keeps you from getting a real manager onboard.

Don't sign on to some quote-unquote production deal with somebody who promises to get you a record deal only to find out that they don't have any real connections but now they own a piece of your masters and a piece of your publishing to boot. Winning is all about expectations. Put yourself in situations where you can win. Set a goal or a target that's doable. Instead of telling yourself I need to write 10 songs this week and feeling like a failure when you don't, resolve to write one great song a week and then you'll feel like a winner when you do.

Success in the music business is rarely the result of getting one huge win, more often than not it's the result of stringing together lots of little wins that together move the mountain, and when you have that chance to do something great and that fear of failure gets up on your shoulder and starts whispering in your ear remember this, you've spent your whole life preparing for this moment. Instead of being fearful, revel in this chance to show your stuff, trust in the preparation that you've done and instead of thinking about all those past failures and everything that could go wrong remember to focus on the wins, remember to love winning more than you hate losing.