Collisions at the Corner of Art and Commerce

Elvis on the Dock, or 'Fishing With the King', either way, it's Part II!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

ELVIS On the Dock  Part 2

So while I don't think I actually saw Elvis in Key West,  I saw a representation of Elvis' persona.   And to a much different level, just as the real Elvis probably felt trapped into the ELVIS persona, I think we all  can get trapped into the persona we create by the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves. Sometimes those stories are true, but just as often, they're incorrect and limiting.  I'm not talking about a stage persona here - but rather the larger personas we take on for our life.  What is it that you tell yourself that is not true, or is otherwise unhelpful or limiting to you and your efforts to build a music career?  Not that the 'promote your own show' example in Part 1 is a panacea, but did you read those lines  and think, "I can't do that"?  If you said that, do you have relevant real world experience to support that response?  Or do you simply shut down the idea before you even start to consider it,  thinking you're no good at stuff like that?   I'm not talking about  objective and wise assessments of your strengths and weaknesses based on experience - that is good and helpful self knowledge.  But if you are shutting yourself out of pursuing ideas and opportunities without  ever trying them, you're starting to become trapped into the persona of you as bad at this, or incapable of that.  This isn't a one size fits all suggestion, we all have our strengths and weaknesses, and honest self assessment  and reasoned planning are vital, but the invitation here is to try to do that real and honest assessment and consider where you might be keeping yourself from opportunities.

Try these on for size:

Do you tell yourself that you're no good at  co-writing songs?
That you cannot have a more engaging stage presence?
That you're no good at dealing with social media online?
That you can't work with other players and have a band?
That you can only work with other players and cannot perform solo?
That you can't sing a love song, or that you can only sing love songs?
That you shouldn't waste so much time reading blogs from cranky artist managers... wait, no whatever you do, don't tell yourself that one!

Or expand the above into general assumptions about your whole life, like how you might tell yourself that you're not destined to be happy or find true love, or get out of a city where you may not like living, or.... or, or......

Questions and assumptions large and small fall under the umbrella of these potentially limiting self stories.

While you're probably right  in your self assessment about some things, it's just as likely that you've got some places where you're wrong about yourself, and trapped in  negative stories, patterns, and habits as well.

In the interest of full disclosure here,  despite my efforts to avoid getting trapped in the unhelpful stories I tell myself, I  am reminded on a regular basis that I am, indeed, limiting myself in numerous ways through these types of flawed self assessments.

Here's another option for you to ask, "is this blog about the music business or Ultimate frisbee?!"...but it all ties together, honest..... the game is a great place for me to be reminded of some of the flawed stories I tell myself about my talents and attributes... it's remarkable how different the outcomes are when I go into a part of a game thinking "Crap, I'm not good at this situation"  vs when I go into the same situation with a quiet confidence that I've experienced this before and I know what to do and how to do it.  Big difference.  But I  also get  (re)educated on a regular basis with some harsh, real world assessments of my abilities - which is  helpful self knowledge.  It regularly happens covering some fast, fit 20 year old guy who can jump ten feet in the air.   In that example, it doesn't mean I don't go all out to play well against that guy, but there's no point in getting too bummed if I was in good position and they still sky over me for the catch.  I've got 23 more years of wear and tear than they do, and what I used to have in terms of 'ups' went down a while back! But I'm nowhere near as sanguine, nor should I be,  when it's someone my age that beats me to the disc.  

For me, Ultimate presents a reference point, helping me find, if I allow it, an objective view of  the places  where I fall short of my ideal. I also get to see the places  where I can improve my skills and my conditioning, but also  see where I'm more capable than I often will admit to myself.   It's a chance to revise and edit that story I tell myself about me.

I try to take those lessons on self assessment from Ultimate and apply them to the rest of my life.    I can also see where I can adjust to my limitations - like the aforementioned young guy that I might not beat in sheer physical terms, I may be able to compensate in other ways to even the odds and allow me to succeed against him.    If I just got lost in telling myself that I'm old and hopeless, I probably wouldn't get to that vision of other options before me in similar situations in the future.

What do *you* do that helps you find an objective, balanced view of your strengths and weaknesses?  If you don't have a person or a practice that helps you gain some unbiased perspective on yourself, I suggest you start looking for one, pronto... and don't tell yourself that you can't do it, 'k?!  

And if you get to Key West, look for Elvis while you're there, he'll probably be fishing down by the cruise ships, (or hanging out at a pickup Ultimate frisbee game?)

updated: 9 years ago