Archive for the 'Passion Pays the Bills' Category

Passion Pays the Bills: Sharing

Posted by on Dec 28 2009 | Passion Pays the Bills, Songtaneous

One of the final items on the Passion Pays the Bills list is Sharing.

Sharing has actually snuck into many of the previous posts. Talking about your thing is a way of sharing it. Thanking people for the ways in which they help involves sharing your appreciation. And asking people for help is sharing, too.

Writing this blog series has let me practice sharing.

More important, it’s let me practice sharing in an improvisational and imperfect way. It’s helped me continue to practice my biggest improvisational lesson — finding a place to begin and then figuring it out as I go.

As I’ve mentioned (once or twice *wink*), I prefer to operate out of the limelight. I like to work out all the details ahead of time and in private and then present a perfect, polished finished result. Studying spontaneous singing helps counteract that tendency (at least some of the time *smile*).

Case in point, I had no idea what the posts of for Passion Pays the Bills would be like. I just posted the list and then challenged myself to expand on it.

Once I was in it, however, I could start to see a path. Kind of like untangling a ball of yarn. You can’t work it out by looking at it, you’ve got to get in there and starting pulling strands. The important part is picking up the yarn in the first place.

If I had forced myself to write the whole series before sharing it with you, we would be starting a new year without anyone having read any of these posts. (Because I wouldn’t have written them.)

Giving myself permission to write one post at a time — often not knowing what I was going to say each week until I finished the post — let me explore what each topic meant to me and to articulate what I’ve learned.

(It’s interesting that the posts that were the hardest for me to write were the ones that garnered the most response. It was as if these slippery topics — talking about your thing, asking for help and using what you know — resonated so strongly because they were … well … slippery.)

But, to be honest, when I jotted “share what you know” on the list, I meant sharing in a more direct way.

Sharing resources and information and time and energy. Cooperating and collaborating to support other people in their passions while you grow your own.

Becoming a helper, mentor, consultant or expert are all ways to share what you know and help your passion (and your bank account) grow.

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Passion Pays the Bills: Patience

Posted by on Nov 29 2009 | Passion Pays the Bills, Songtaneous

Often when you’re following your passion — particularly if you’re making it up as you go — there isn’t a road map. Or a timetable. You take action and then you wait to see the results.

You start a blog and wait for people to discover it. You advertise your class and wait for people to register. You invite people to your events and then wait for them to accept.

That’s where patience comes in. Or as a friend of mine calls it — quiet tenacity.

Patience (and commitment!) keeps you doing your thing even when it seems like no one’s paying attention.

That is why it’s crucial to pick something you are passionate about. You need to love what you are doing so much that you will do it even when there’s no recognition, audience or money.

I began hosting monthly Songtaneous sessions in 2006. I’ve held nearly 40 sessions to date. Sometimes I’ve been tired, or busy or only one person came, but I keep this commitment because I want a spontaneous singing space and I want to be a member of a diverse singing community.

(In fact, I’m passionate about both of these things. *wink*)

When I worked in publishing, we identified three years as a common timetable for our customers to adopt a new program or product we created.

(I know you’re thinking THREE YEARS?!? It’s not as long as it sounds. Here’s why.)

Three years is the time it takes for you to  …

  1. figure out what you’re doing (in business speak, we call it “product development”)
  2. figure out how to explain what you’re doing — and why it’s awesome — to other people (a.k.a. your message)
  3. widely share information about what you’re doing — and why it’s awesome — with interested people (a.k.a. marketing)

Depending on what type of person you are, these three steps might take three years (*smile*). But after these steps, you enter a part of the process over which you have no control. (Sorry.)

It’s the chunk of time you spend waiting for your audience to decide they want your thing.

That might take six months or a year. Or two years.

(As the songs says, “You can’t hurry love.“)

Be patient.

You don’t know what’s happening out there.

I can’t tell you the number of times someone who comes to Songtaneous tells me that they’ve been getting my emails for months. Or how often someone misses Songtaneous for months and then emails me about a blog post or shows up at a singing session.

Or take the time I ran into a woman at a concert who excitedly announced — “You’re that singing lady! I’m so glad I bumped into you. I lost your info and having been trying to find you!”

Long story short? People are busy.

People have lives and jobs and relationships and kids. People lose business cards and phone numbers. People have things that they’re passionate about. And it might not be your thing. (S’ok, the reason you talk about your thing is to find the people who are.)

Sure, it can be frustrating (disheartening, exhausting, discouraging, etc.) to keep putting energy out there and feel like nothing is happening.

But if you are genuinely and passionately going about doing your thing, people will notice. And care. And show up.

Just be patient.

Remember Songtaneous is THIS Saturday, December 5 at 2pm.

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Passion Pays the Bills: Thanking

Posted by on Nov 22 2009 | Passion Pays the Bills, Songtaneous

We talked last week about asking for things — money, time, help, advice, referrals, etc. With Thanksgiving on the horizon, it makes sense to talk about thanking this week.

Your parents were right to council you to say thank you. Thanking people is important.

For one thing, I’m much more likely to help someone again who obviously appreciated my help in the past. (Maybe not the most altruistic response, but, hey, it’s true. And I don’t think I’m the only one.)

For another thing, it provides an opportunity to quantify just what someone did to help you and how it helped. And if the help wasn’t exactly what you asked for, that’s a good thing to figure out, too. Maybe you got more (or better stuff) than you asked for. Maybe you learned that your requests could be clearer.

I have a friend who hand writes and mails (or hand delivers) wonderful thank you notes. She sent me one when she graduated from school. In fact, she sent them to everyone she felt had helped her earn her degree — her teachers, her friends, her family.

She was genuinely surprised at how touched people were by the gesture. She said to me “Don’t people thank people anymore?” “Not like that, ” I replied.

Think about how many hand-written thank you notes you’ve received. Now, think about how you feel about the people who’ve taken the time to thank you in that way.

Try to thank people before, during and after they’ve helped you. It keeps you tapped in to the help people (or the Universe) is providing. So even if there is no specific person to thank, take time to appreciate and express gratitude for the progress you’ve made.

Thank you for reading my blog, forwarding my posts to your friends, and for sharing your emails, ideas and comments. I value your support and your interest.

Note: I won’t be sending a post this Friday due to the holiday. See you next Monday! ~sg

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