We continually stress the importance of defining clear goals to help shape your success and chart your potential as a singer, singer-songwriter, singing musician, and other related roles. Goals must be specific, attainable, and provide a sense of satisfaction, gratification, and motivation as you move forward.
These goals must be reviewed on an ongoing basis. So, take your time to engage and apply the information presented as you tap into the power of what rules your goals for singing success.
Clear Steps To Success
You need a clearly defined sense of direction so that steps to follow can be determined, progress can be gauged, and a sense of accomplishment and confidence continue to flourish. Those steps lead you closer to the goal or goals you’ve set. But, in order to not lose focus, you need to streamline your goals so that you don’t end up going in too many directions at one time.
If you’re too scattered, or try to take on too much at once, you wind wind up feeling overwhelmed and even a little confused. This creates frustration, disappointment, discouragement, and can lead to negative behaviors and practices.
What Drives Your Desires
In the process of setting specific goals there is one critical area that is often overlooked or only considered as an afterthought. Because we’re in a results-oriented culture, we often neglect a vital component that drives us. Think about how many times you take on a task but keep missing the mark or putting things off in taking that task to completion. Even though the task is important and makes sense to you, you keep falling short or losing focus because “you just don’t feel like it.”
Sometimes this can be due to laziness, fatigue or being overextended. But, more often than not, that lack of focus or sense of the task not being a priority for you comes down to an issue that has very little to do with work ethic but everything to do with motivation. Simply put: your heart is not in it.
Search For Heart
Set aside some quiet time to search your heart and review the motivating factors behind your reasons for singing. Start by thinking of your first memories of singing. Go as far back as your senses and memory allow. What are your earliest memories of having someone sing to you? What’s the first song you remember singing? What were your favorite songs to sing while growing up? What songs always move you to tears, to laughter, to a sense of purpose?
For The Love Of It
Now, as best you can, think about the specific moment or time in your life, when that light went on inside and your heart said, I love this; I want to do this; I love to sing. This takes you to the place where you can connect with your heart’s desire for singing. This may trigger dreams and visions of becoming a rock star, a pop icon, a killer session singer, or a more versatile, powerful praise and worship leader in church.
Sing With Purpose
Write down how singing makes you feel about yourself, others, and about a purpose in life. This gets you in touch with the emotional and spiritual factors that will keep you moving forward, even when you face times when bookings for gigs and session work are not coming in, or you’ve hit a plateau creatively in your development as a singer, singer-songwriter, singing musician, and so forth.
Emotion + Spirit
Use these reasons for singing, these emotional and spiritual factors, to feed your soul and keep your heart happy when you need to push through, fight for, or simply weather seasons of struggle. Let’s face it, if you’re not true to what’s in your heart, no measure of material success, professional prowess, or public approval will matter.
Perform With Purpose
Let your reasons for singing factor into every performance, audition, session, lesson, and rehearsal. Give yourself a moment to check in with your heart to make sure that what you’re doing is in line with your reasons for singing. These reasons could be as simple as: I want to make a difference, or I want to move people, feel good, or inspire them to keep going. Get in touch with these feelings that drive your desire to sing. Respect them, engage them, and let them have their say in defining and designing your singing success.
Once you’re in tune with what matters in your heart, then let your imagination run wild and free as you brainstorm. Write down every single thing you would like to achieve with your career as a singer, singer-songwriter, singing musician or performer. Give yourself free reign to be utterly wild-minded; believing that everything you crave and dream of is attainable.
What Matters Most
So now you’re in touch with why you sing and what you hope to instill or provoke in others. You’ve let your mind come up with every key goal imaginable to build on your emotional and spiritual factors. It’s now time to create a workable list of goals to then arrange in terms of highest to lowest priority. The following questions will help you determine what goals will make it to your list of priorities.
Apply the following questions to each of your “dream goals” on the list you’ve just created. These questions are: do you have the skills and discipline needed to reach this goal? How long will it take to achieve this, if applicable? Is this my heart’s desire or is it influenced by dreams (realized or shattered) of loved ones, friends, peers, or a current popular trend?
What challenges must I work through to reach this goal? What are the first steps (or next steps) I need to take to set this in motion – now? As I pursue this goal, will I be able to maintain healthy relationships with family, friends, and loved ones? Will it require relocation or lots of travel?
To reach this goal, what coaching or teaching support should I secure, and where? What technical training is required with this goal? What additional training and contacts are needed to improve my business sense as it relates to this goal?
Give It A Rest
After you write out all of your responses to your goal by goal assessment, put it aside, and give it at least a full day before you take another look. The goals that stand firmly and prompt a clear sense of urgency and lasting impact are the goals to hang onto for the next step.
Before you move on to setting priorities, you want to make sure these goals on your list resonate with what’s in your heart and soul. You want your goals to be clear strokes that paint a picture that is challenging, exciting, and energizing, while offering attainable steps toward reaching and maintaining your singing success, however that is defined for you. So, take a day or two off, and give your list a rest.
Check Back In
So now, you have your list of goals that are true to your heart and specific to your dream-career. But now, before you prioritize, take time to state why each goal matters most right now. You want to express each reason as a simple sentence. Any of the goals that can’t be condensed into a simple, straightforward statement of purpose must be set aside. Those that resist simplification might be two issues or perhaps some point of conflict.
Sharpen The Final Cut
Now, take a look at the goals that are still standing. Ask the following questions for each. If any of the answers is a “no” or “I don’t know” or “maybe,” for a goal, you must strike that goal from your list. These questions give you a chance to reexamine the goal’s personal authenticity, integrity, identity, and attainability.
Set Your Priorities
These simple questions to ask are: Am I able to make a commitment to work on this goal until completion? Will this goal take me closer to what I want to achieve in the long run for my career? Is this a noble goal that promotes fairness and a desire for the greater good? When I close my eyes, is it a goal I clearly see myself achieving? Do I truly believe this goal is mine alone? Will achieving this goal still provide a sense of accomplishment during times of struggle and disappointment?
Blow Off The No’s
Once again, if there is a “no” response to any of these six questions for any one of the goals, scratch that goal off of your list. The remaining goals will then be further assessed by asking the following questions that reflect common needs and wants to help you survive and thrive as you arrive. It will give you a better sense of the emotional impact of the remaining goals on achieving your singing success.
The Wants + Needs
These questions are: will this goal help me to find more friends or circles of connection? Will it strengthen my faith? Will it bring me peace about my place in the world? Will it encourage optimism and make me more hopeful? Will it increase my quality of life in terms of health? Will I feel happier and more upbeat as a result of reaching this goal? Will I be more understanding, caring, and compassionate? Will it boost my finances? Will it help to ground me and give me a secure sense of purpose? Will it strengthen family ties and friendships?
This process can be engaged in a group but you don’t want to influence anyone or be swayed by someone as you create your initial free-form dream list of goals.
Now that you have a better sense of key goals and their potential reward, it’s time to make your list of goals with steps to pursue. Your final list of goals must now be shaped based on five criteria.
The Five Keys
Number one, your goal must be specific. It must also be measurable. The third point is that each goal must be attainable or clearly possible to reach. The goal must also be reasonable, rational, or realistic. And the fifth standard for identifying and shaping each goal is that it must be time-sensitive. In other words, your progress can be measured by time engaged, time spent, and time to go before it’s reached.
So, take your final list of goals and hold each accountable in terms of: specific, measurable, attainable, reasonable, and time-sensitive. If any of your goals don’t quite seem to hold up, reassess to see if it’s part of another goal or if there is some legitimate reason that one area may not apply.
Your goal may be to book a regular gig at a local popular venue. You want to do this because they have a track record of having hosted several fairly well-known acts on tour and have been home to a couple of rising singer-songwriters. So, that’s certainly a legitimate goal in building your career.
So, the goal is specific – to book a regular gig at the venue. It’s measurable in that you can track how many times you perform there. It’s attainable because you know it’s been done. It’s reasonable because you believe you’re good enough and still perfecting your craft. But is it measurable? You can measure how much effort you make toward getting book. For example, one call every week or so, or making an additional contact at the venue. Part of the time factor could be how often you hang at the venue.
Keep On Tracking
The point is to take each of your goals, evaluate them based on these five criteria, and then set up a tracking system that holds you accountable either daily, weekly, monthly, or however it best lays out and makes the most sense, especially in terms of time-sensitivity.
You must evaluate obstacles and challenges for each goal with a plan for addressing them. It’s important to find others you respect that will not only hold you accountable but serve as advisers. Assess the music scene in your area in terms of experts such as Brett Manning Associates, college music departments, venue owners, recording studios, and so on. These serve as part of your circles of connections that help to keep you informed, grounded, and moving toward achieving your goals.
Action Plans + Deadlines
Create a list of things to do. These are things to keep you moving forward, to improve your skills, and to network. It includes performance opportunities, coaching, and learning more about the music business. And deadlines give you a sense of urgency in pursuit and satisfaction once goals are accomplished. Always break your goals up into little mini-goals or steps so that you avoid feeling overwhelmed.
Keep Heart + Soul In Mind
Do not neglect your reason for singing. If you set what it’s in your heart and soul aside, every single goal is missing something vital that will help you rebound, regroup, recover, refresh as you pursue your heart’s desire.
If you respect and are mindful of what matters in your heart and soul, your goals will many times be transcended, yielding far more than you ever dreamed. And on those occasions when things don’t work out as planned, you’ll still have that sense of purpose and satisfaction that comes from being true to what drives you to share your gift. It is a fact that you have a unique voice as a singer, singer-songwriter, singing musician or performer.
You’re Not Alone
Proper planning and support from others are both keys to helping you avoid burnout or feelings of isolation. The traditions of “me first” and “cut throat” are insidious and infectious. Their powers are counter productive and destructive in the long run.
Celebrate By Sharing
You want to be able to enjoy your success, share your passion, be proud of your accomplishments; celebrate your gifts without ever having to look over your shoulder because someone you know you wronged or deceived might be waiting in the wings to ruin your chances.
Some people in any business or walk of life are cut-throat. It’s a reality that can’t be ignored. But you have the power within you to rise above that. So, as we’ve often stated, let the Golden Rule be your Platinum Practice for leading by love and fairness as you share your gifts and honor the heart and soul that delivers them.