What could you do if you stopped trying to do something and instead just did it?
I received a lovely card from a young cello student thanking me for her lessons. In it, she wrote that she would remember that question.
A lot of effort can go into trying to do something, with the risk of not actually doing it.
- Trying to practice every day.
- Trying to keep a tidy home.
- Trying to post regularly on Facebook.
Whereas if you do it…it gets done.
I have 5 book recommendations for you. They all help with doing. Taking action. Giving you the strategy and steps to improve your career.
Each of them has given me simple action points to help me improve my life. I thought it was only fair to share them with you.
EXCITINGLY, they are non-music specific. We can learn a lot by looking beyond our musical bubble.
1. Busyness Delusion by Chris Gardener
Pre-pandemic, did you find yourself working all the hours and days you could? Rushing from teaching to a rehearsal, then to another rehearsal and then a gig after. A bit more teaching. Just push on if tired. Being busy is a sign of success. This was me back in 2017. It led me to have burnout. I achieved my professional goals and suddenly crashed and burned.
Ever since then, I’ve been looking for better ways to work that support the life I want. To be creative, to help other people and explore the world with my family.
The ever-insightful Chris Gardener offers a way out of measuring success by busyness. Through his playful storytelling, he shares new ways to value your work. In particular, how to create a business to support the life you want. For full disclosure, Chris is my mentor now. He doesn’t know I am sharing his book with you, until now! It’s all too easy to get trapped on the hamster wheel. The Busyness Delusion offers you the opportunity to break free from it. Click here.
2. Content Inc. (2nd Ed.) by Joe Pulizzi
If you’re not sure how online content can help your career, this book is for you. If you are committed to growing your audience through online content, this book is also for you.
I have only just finished reading this myself. The second edition was released last month and is full of pandemic insights for online content creation. So the advice is current.
This is an in-depth ‘how to…’ for becoming known and building an online audience through content creation. As a musician, you need an audience. If you want to create your own performing opportunities, you certainly need to build your own audience. This book gives you a strategy to do this. It also gives you a thorough analysis of the current social media platforms that people can use for their content.
I’m currently on this journey myself. The Digital Recitalist is my vehicle for building my audience. The process is fascinating. It definitely tests my commitment and grit to showing up consistently. Especially when life throws a few curveballs. As it says in the book, it does take time. Consistency is a crucial element to it. Click Here.
3. Cumulative Advantage by Mark Schaefer
Have you ever wondered why some people seem to get all the opportunities? The recital bookings. That patch of studio work. Invited to play on Radio 3’s In Tune. Yet you know you’re as good a musician as they are.
Well, this book shines a big light on this. Once you’ve uncovered the insights from this book, you’ll start seeing cumulative advantage everywhere. Mark Schaefer writes in such a natural and friendly way. He uses a range of examples throughout this book to show a cumulative advantage in action. He even includes an honest account of his own career. A challenging topic he begins to tackle is what this means for our society and how we can help each other.
This book offers a strategy for any reader to put into action. If you’re feeling like you’re stuck. Looking for a new opportunity. Or at the beginning of a journey. This book is for you. Click Here.
4. Everybody Writes By Ann Handley
If you are creating written content, this book is going to be your new best friend. Ann Handley welcomes you in with open arms and bigs you up till you’re ready to write. It’s a skill. Like playing your instrument. Having targeted tips are key to improving. Ann provides this for you with absolute clarity.
She gives guidance on writing blogs, social media posts, website copy and much much more. I return to her book regularly for advice and top tips. I also like the resources she recommends to help you with your writing. I use Grammarly and Hemingway each week for my writing.
This book is like chatting with a lovely, knowledgeable and fun friend. If you want to get into writing or get better at it, I highly recommend this book. Click here.
5. Who Moved My Cheese by Dr Spencer Johnson
If any part of your life is in chaos and you’re not sure what to do next. This book is for you.
The pandemic has given us chaos at full throttle and then some. I re-read this book whilst I had a period of no work. It spurred me on to take action and set up Front Room Concerts. I’m so glad I did as it helped raise thousands of pounds for Help Musicians. It also led me to write to you today.
This book is short, but it packs a punch. There are many lessons you can take from it. Click Here.
These five books all give different angles on how you can take action in this current climate. I suggest taking their guidance and then morphing it into a way that will help you have the life of a professional musician. Take encouragement that there are many ways to do this. That’s the biggest lesson of the pandemic. It’s time to choose how we change parts of our lives to help us thrive. Use these books to help you do this.
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