By Cari Cole
The music business is a roller coaster ride. Depending on how long you’ve been on the ride, there are aftershocks, tremors, fallouts and side effects that reverberate for weeks, months or even years. Sometimes these side effects change your course for the worse. It’s time to get you back in control!
Artists are anxious by nature. Sensitive, deep, anxious, nervous and tightly wound. That’s what makes you great at your art, but it will make you struggle more with deadlines, promoting and the general business side of things. You’ll probably have more than your fair share of anxiety than your non-music biz friends.
The first step is to know thyself and thy artist nature. Accept that you are naturally anxious and do extra self-care rituals like yoga, salt baths at night, eating a healthy plant-based diet and think healthfully (this one is big).
Proving and promoting yourself with each new record makes anyone nervous. There’s a lot on the line. Artists are prone to an all-pervading uneasiness as a result, that left unchecked will run amuck.
Understanding that a certain amount of nervousness goes with the terrain is essential. Nurture your nerves with a good dose of a healthy diet, sleep, meditation, de-stress tools like essential oils, baths and thinking positive (as listed above) help. And try transforming nervous energy into excited energy ~ they pretty much create the same feeling in the body, only one is positive and one beats you down.
3. Second Guessing Yourself.
Anyone who’s been taking advice from the music industry knows how easy it is to lose yourself in it. The myriad of opinions, the conflicting opinions, it’s hard to know what is the right approach which leads to second-guessing yourself. Often times without your own approval ;).
Be sure to filter opinions and develop a small but fierce group of trusted advisors.
4. The Heart on Your Sleeve Backlash.
Most artists wear their hearts on their sleeves. That’s the way it’s supposed to be (if you don’t, put yourself in check.) This is what makes you a great artist ~ vulnerability. But often as you make your way through the industry that gets slammed out of you. Beware of the backlash and keep checking in with yourself.
5. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
Being successful in the music industry can feel as hopeless or overwhelming as winning Lotto. To deal with the stress, some artists are prone to OCD that can render them a victim to their obsessive thinking.
One way to change those thought patterns is to expose them (to yourself first) and then practice the power of choice. The fact is that you do have a choice whether you listen to your obsessive thoughts or not. As you practice the discipline of not giving precedence to those thoughts, your OCD can ease up. Also surrendering to do your best in every situation and trying stress reduction techniques mentioned in #1 and #2 above are helpful.
Many artists struggle with depression – especially when things seem out of your control or hopeless. Depression is different from being a little blue or bummed out ~ it’s like a black hole. Again, because the stakes are high and the odds are difficult to beat, artists can fall into this black hole.
The best natural solution (and some people need medication to help them) is meditation. In scientific studies, it has shown that meditation lights up the frontal lobe of your brain which is generally more lit up in people that don’t suffer from depression. That along with a regular exercise and a plant-based diet have also been proven to help. The most important thing is to get help and don’t wait. There’s nothing to be embarrassed about, our chemistry is complex.
7. Ball of Stress.
One thing after another and not having enough hands and fingers or help to get it all done and BAM. You’re a ball of stress. That’s the main reason why artists want managers and really what they need is a team of assistants and interns to help.
Manage your stress by making an action plan to get an assistant and build your in-house team. You’ll be so glad you did (and you’ll wonder what the heck you ever did without them)!
Burnout is the result of doing the same thing over and over again with the same results (also the definition of insanity). Every artist needs to look at how to grow their business and move from one place to another. Spend time each month planning for the future. Brainstorm with people who are further than you for ideas or consult a music coach to help. There’s always a way out of where you are, you just might not see it, especially when you’re burned out. Oh, and rest up tons and take B-complex (every day). You’re probably low in the B Vitamins that help you manage your stress!
9. Self Doubt.
Everyone at some point in their career experiences self-doubt. It’s normal. If it’s self-doubt about your ability artistically, you might want some professional feedback to help you grow or find out where you need tweaking. If it’s self-doubt about how the heck to make an impact and have a successful career, you’re not crazy. It’s tough to do. Just don’t do it alone. It takes a village, and it starts with your team of two. Once you’ve got that, then build a strategy that fits you and your career. Our Fast Forward Program & Blueprint might be just the ticket to help you figure out where you fit in the industry and how to make it happen ~ for real.
Sometimes getting too much feedback from different sources can be confusing and you end up more confused than before you got the feedback. I use a filtering system for this. First, consider the source. Was it a music exec who is looking for the type of artist that you aren’t? Their advice might not be the best advice for you and your career. Was it a musical theatre vocal coach? They could unknowingly give the wrong advice for your voice. It’s important to filter advice and put it in its place so you don’t believe it when it doesn’t fit you.
Share where you get stuck on the rollercoaster ride in the comments below!