I want to share a story with you.
Even though most people know me now as a successful recording artist, guitar coach and business owner… It wasn't always like that.
As a young adult, I did like young adults do… spent my time doing a little of this, little of that, and then trying something else.
That was okay at first, but over time it began to wear on me.
The problem was that I never got very good at any one thing.
I dabbled in martial arts… but never got very good.
I worked as an instructional aide in special education for a while. I liked working with kids and felt like I was doing something good, but it wasn't something I wanted to make a career of.
I could play some guitar, as well as electric bass… and even some trumpet and piano. But nobody would ever tell me to quit my day job.
I began to feel more and more disappointed.
And to make matters worse I was getting pressure from home.
Then I came across a course that was a big turning point for me.
It was something I bought with a bunch of cassette tapes (remember cassettes?) and a workbook called “Self Discipline: the Master Key to Success”.
The basic idea was that we all have much more potential than we’re using.
I definitely agreed with that.
It explained that haphazardly going from one thing to another leads to low self-esteem and a feeling of being a failure.
But… we have the power to decide what's really important to us (I heard “I” can decide) and we can make a plan to achieve it.
I could relate to that too…
The course went on to describe how to set a goal, break things down step-by-step, then to follow the steps until the goal is achieved.
Of course I've simplified a bit…
But the point I’m trying to make is that this led me to do some serious soul-searching…
I realized that I really wanted to play guitar, like REALLY…
And I was tired of not being good at anything.
Soooo… I took a leap of faith.
I decided to apply the ideas in the course and run with it.
I felt super motivated, and the training in the course gave me the optimism that I could achieve what I really wanted.
I created a 2-year plan and mapped out how I was going to accomplish it.
I know 2 years might sound like a long time…
You see I already had a bachelor's degree… and after many years of studying at college (and spending heck of bucks) I still didn't feel any closer to what I really wanted to do… but I had the paper on my wall 😉
Now… 2 years to get what I really wanted seemed like a small price to pay in comparison.
I was stoked…
Did it go smoothly as planned?
NOT EVEN CLOSE.
Almost everything took longer and was more difficult than I imagined.
At first I couldn't find a good instructor.
I struggled with keeping my practice schedule.
Money became an issue. Not just paying for education but even paying the bills.
Life came at me from all sides.
I had very little emotional support.
It seemed all my family and friends thought I was wasting my time.
But the worst part was my own self-talk.
It went something like this:
Who do you think you are?
You're not talented. You're not special.
Why are you wasting your time when you could be doing “important” things.
THAT REALLY SUCKED!
But something inside me wouldn’t let me quit.
There was another part of me, a small quiet voice, that told me I owed it to the world, to my children, and to myself to express myself in the way I was meant to.
To be a model of living life “all out”.
Not to play it safe. Not to live how others thought I should.
I truly did not want to come to the end of my life and realize I was going to die with my music still in me.
So I kept at it…
Little by little things started to change.
I occasionally heard comments from others that they saw improvement.
I began to feel more confident.
I found ways to adjust my budget and make some extra money… teaching guitar (imagine that) and playing at parties.
And, in spite of the fears and doubts going through my mind, I was able to take action.
Not always… but sometimes…
And that was enough.
Slowly, momentum built… things begin to go my way.
Instead of seeing myself as someone who wasn't “talented”, I began to think of myself as a “guitar player”.
And the great thing was… others began to agree with me!
I'll never forget this day: my father, who had been one of the biggest critics of playing music while I was growing up, took me aside and told me that he was proud of me and my success.
I tried not to react too much because I didn't want him to see me getting emotional… but I'm sure he noticed my eyes watering up.
Looking back I can see that what I went through actually made me a better person.
It trained me to be persistent in the face of difficulties. To choose the right way instead of the easy or socially acceptable way.
And it gave me the ability to believe in the potential of others.
Tomas “music still in me” Michaud