The Pillars of Success: Relationships

As social creatures, relationship and community are at the heart of our survival and success. Throughout history and even today, those without a tribe don’t tend to farewell. Building relationships is the process of developing critical social connections. It’s a fundamental skill and the basis of reputation and influence. Being good at relationship building is not only important for living a happy fulfilled life, but also what enables us to close deals, get the gig, and move our careers forward.

Relationships - A Pillar of Success

The Lifecycle of Relationships

There are many types of relationships – family, romantic, friendly, professional – but with the exception of our first family relationships, nearly all of them begin as transactional agreements.

Transactional relationships, the “I’ll scratch your back if you’ll scratch mine” type, get a bad rap. We think of these as insincere, maybe even selfish, versus what we consider to be “real relationships” – those based on intimacy, and emotional connection. But really, the transactional portion is just the beginning of the relationship life-cycle.

We connect with others in a give-and-get agreement (which is almost always unspoken) and the relationship grows or fizzles from there. The things we are giving and getting aren’t always quantifiable. In personal relationships, they may be things like a sense of belonging, emotional support, excitement. But the truth is, we don’t or at least shouldn’t stay in relationships where there is no give and take. As an example, think of how many times people say of estranged family members, “I can’t be around him anymore. I don’t get anything out of the relationship.”

Often, relationships that begin as very transactional grow into something deeper. We should aim for developing these deeper relationships, otherwise, we end up with a network that is a mile wide and an inch deep. But not every connection we make is destined to become close and lifelong.

Why do some relationships grow, and others die on the vine? It’s complicated and different every time, but Will Smith has great advice: “Don’t chase people. Be yourself, do your thing, work hard, and the right people, the ones who really belong in your life will come. And they will stay.”

Analyzing Relationships

There are already hundreds of personal development books written about how to build relationships and grow your network. But a good place to start is to look carefully at the relationships you already have. These three steps can help:

1. Make a list

We all have multiple networks. Make a list of all the people in each of your circles of influence. These may be fellow musicians, people from church, school friends, workout buddies. List everyone with whom you have a relationship.

2. Identify the basis of the relationship

For each person, or group of people, write down what your relationship is based upon – is it a common interest, a common goal, mere proximity? What do you give in these relationships? What are you getting?

3. Focus on service

Now, for each group or individual, think about how you can best serve. Maybe you need to do more to foster those relationships, maybe nothing is needed, or perhaps you need to do less. Sometimes, we discover that we cannot serve people in any meaningful way, in which case you might want to consider how much energy the relationship is requiring, perhaps the best thing to do is to walk away.

We all have limited time, energy, and effort. To build truly successful relationships, we must make sure that we are focusing those resources on the places which will do the most good for ourselves and others.

Why waste your precious energy on relationships where all you do is give and give and get nothing – not even the satisfaction of making a difference? Likewise, why bother with relationships where you take and take and nothing you have to give is wanted or needed?

This is part of our series on the pillars of success. If you would like to hear the live discussion about this characteristic, head on over to ClassicJabber.com now.

If you are ready to learn more about how to build a profitable, fulfilling career as a performing classical musician, check out Concert University, and the free webinar that outlines 5 strategies for success.

Listen in on this excerpt from a live training with Stephen P Brown, conductor, composer, and founder of Concert University, an online coaching program dedicated to helping classical musicians build profitable performing careers.

Want to learn more? Check out Stephen’s next online presentation outlining 5 strategies you can implement today that successful classical musicians use to build a profitable performing career at http://spb.buzz/CUSPBonline.

Interested in receiving more content like this every day? Subscribe to my Youtube channel to receive daily coachings.

Listen in on this excerpt from a live training with Stephen P Brown, conductor, composer, and founder of Concert University, an online coaching program dedicated to helping classical musicians build profitable performing careers.

Want to learn more? Check out Stephen’s next online presentation outlining 5 strategies you can implement today that successful classical musicians use to build a profitable performing career at http://spb.buzz/CUSPBonline.

Interested in receiving more content like this every day? Subscribe to my Youtube channel to receive daily coachings.

5 most popular training snippets

This week we wanted to do something a bit different.

Here are five little excerpts from our live weekly training sessions inside Concert University.

Seriously – they are little! Just a few minutes each and we’ve created them just for you. The snippets we’ve listed below from our most popular live trainings are all under 8 mins so you can digest them right now.

Yes, they are ALL about helping you build a profitable performing career.

Get a sneak peek into the transformational insight we share in my coaching programs, and you can have them now for free! They are my gift to you.

And I’ll tell you what:

If you like them, subscribe to my Youtube channel and I’ll send you a snippet even shorter than these every day to help your career development motivation…

Go on – take a few minutes and be a fly on the wall of what really goes on inside CU!

Thanks for making our world a better place through live classical music.

Classic Jabber Ep. 44 “Value”

Classic Jabber
September 6, 2019

Some people are more skilled at providing value than others, but we seem to find people who provide value as more attractive than those who do not! Why is that, and how do classical musicians come across in society? Click the link above to hear SPB in conversation with his friends and learn more about this.

Listen in on this excerpt from a live training with Stephen P Brown, conductor, composer, and founder of Concert University, an online coaching program dedicated to helping classical musicians build profitable performing careers.

Want to learn more? Check out Stephen’s next online presentation outlining 5 strategies you can implement today that successful classical musicians use to build a profitable performing career at http://spb.buzz/CUSPBonline.

Interested in receiving more content like this every day? Subscribe to my Youtube channel to receive daily coachings.

Classic Jabber Ep. 43 “Inviting”

Classic Jabber
September 6, 2019

Some people seem to be more inviting than others, but we seem to find people who are inviting as more attractive than those who are not! Why is that, and how do classical musicians come across in society? Click the link above to hear SPB in conversation with his friends and learn more about this.

Listen in on this excerpt from a live training with Stephen P Brown, conductor, composer, and founder of Concert University, an online coaching program dedicated to helping classical musicians build profitable performing careers.

Want to learn more? Check out Stephen’s next online presentation outlining 5 strategies you can implement today that successful classical musicians use to build a profitable performing career at http://spb.buzz/CUSPBonline.

Interested in receiving more content like this every day? Subscribe to my Youtube channel to receive daily coachings.

Consciously Cultivate Joy

The developed world is experiencing more prosperity, convenience, and opportunity than could even be imagined 100 years ago. We’ve essentially eliminated diseases that used to kill tens of thousands of people, developed technology that allows us to grow enormous amounts of food, access education, and even travel 3,000 miles in a mere eight hours. Even so, the majority of people we come in contact with every day seem discouraged, unhappy, and anxious.

This is equally true among professional musicians, which seems particularly ironic. After all, music is beautiful – surely a source of pleasure and connection – and yet, so many musicians seem decidedly negative. It’s no wonder that we are captivated by those who seem to have discovered the secret to joy.  

But developing joy does not require a secret recipe. It simply requires practice. And the dividends are immeasurable.

Joy vs. Happiness

We all know what it is to be happy. It’s the elated feeling you have when something goes your way – you get the job, you nail the goal, the cute stranger calls you back. Happiness is wonderful, but it’s fleeting and almost always dependent on outside events.

Joy, on the other hand, is a much deeper feeling. If happiness is the bubbles, then joy is the underground stream. Joy is an emotion of well-being, a general feeling that you are on the right path, and that things are turning out for the best. It’s an excitement and confidence about the world and your place in it.

It is possible to be joyful and not happy. Unhappy things happen in every person’s life – people die or disappoint us, carefully laid plans fall through. But people who are genuinely joyful see these things for what they are – inescapable parts of the human experience, which is, despite the problems, still a wonderful thing.

It isn’t that joyful people never experience sadness or anger, it’s that they understand these difficult feelings to be the immune system of the soul, an indicator that something is wrong that should be addressed if possible.

The Vulnerability of Joy

Classical musicians as a whole can tend to be a pessimistic bunch. We focus on what went wrong, or what is likely to do so.

It’s a defense mechanism. After all, if you point out your mistakes first, then you can’t be embarrassed by someone else doing it for you. If you don’t get your hopes up, you can’t really be disappointed, right?

Wrong.

Those walls you build to keep out the bad feelings are not filters, they are fortresses. Nothing so bad can get in, true, but nothing so good can either. You are trading in hopeful expectation for premature disappointment and calling it “being realistic.”

Get Real

Many people call themselves Realists when in actuality, they are just Negative Nellies. They look at a world of good things, search out the bad, and say, “See, I told you so.” But just because bad things can and do happen, it doesn’t mean that the world is a bad place. On the whole, there is a lot more good than bad, and almost every “bad” thing carries within it the seed of something good if you’re willing to look for it.

Being willing is the key. Cultivating joy is a conscious practice. It requires being grateful, looking for opportunities, and expecting the best.

Here’s an example: You’ve planned a vacation to New York City, including tickets to a Broadway show. But when you get there, a blackout closes all the theaters. A disaster right? All that planning and saving down the tubes. You could choose to look at it that way. Or, you could consider that without a theater, all of the actors are spilling into the streets, putting on a once-in-a-lifetime acoustic performance and you’re there for it.

Choose Your Perspective Carefully

To use an example familiar to performing musicians, consider calling a venue to book a show. You can approach the conversation with joy or trepidation. Trepidation says this call is going to be difficult, it probably won’t work out, the person on the other end will be rude. Of course, you’re sweaty and anxious before making such a call.

Joy, on the other hand, says you are offering something of value that this person will want to take advantage of. You go in expecting the best. Of course, you’re hoping it will work out, but it isn’t just positive thinking that you’re relying on to save the day. Joy also knows that if this call doesn’t work out you will have gained more experience with these kinds of calls, and now have more time to work with people who will appreciate what you have to offer.

We all want to be around people who are excited and joyful about life and the path they are on. But why stop there? Why not practice BEING one of those people?

This is part of our series on the characteristics of attractive people. If you would like to hear the live discussion about this characteristic, head on over to ClassicJabber.com now.

If you are ready to learn more about how to build a profitable, fulfilling career as a performing classical musician, check out Concert University, and the free webinar that outlines 5 strategies for success.

Classic Jabber Ep. 42 “Favor”

Classic Jabber
September 9, 2019

Some people are better at showing favor to those around them than others, but we seem to find people who show us favor as more attractive than those who are not! Why is that, and how do classical musicians come across in society? Click the link above to hear SPB in conversation with his friends and learn more about this.