I’ve spent some time talking about the importance of sticking to what you do if you wish to produce lasting results. All of that is for naught if you don’t harness the power of focus.
When I say focus, it could almost go hand-in-hand with consistency. Consistent effort will produce consistent results. All too often, we tend to want quantum leaps to happen in our businesses and careers. Not that it’s bad to have breakthroughs or to expect them, but breakthroughs often come as result of consistent effort, which is what we’re talking about. It’s human nature to expect sudden miracles and huge leaps in our lives. However, you don’t expect to work out once and suddenly be 20 lbs. lighter. Over time, as you continue to work out, you will be able to produce the results you are looking for. Likewise, starting a band and hoping that it will explode overnight is futile.
Building your business or building your career is no different. You have to create some non-negotiables in your life. You might be able to book three shows for your band today, but it’s of little use if you can’t produce those results consistently. In other words, it would be better to book three shows per month every month, as opposed to booking three shows for one week and stopping, only to pick up your efforts “somewhere down the line.”
I’ve also made this mistake many times. Doing a lot of something in a day makes you feel like you’re accomplishing a lot. However, building a consistent work habit into your life is going to be far more beneficial over the long term. People who set monthly goals and either come close or hit the mark every month have a better chance than those who exceed the goal once and slip into a career coma for several months.
Moreover, the importance of focus lies in sticking to an effort and not giving up. If you think you will have trouble staying focused on one idea/one project/one band for the next 5 to 10 years, then you may have a longer way to go than you think. I can remember times in my life when one day I thought I wanted to record a Jazz album, and the next day I wanted to book a country-wide tour. My efforts, predictably, tended to be either spread thin or inconsistent.
As the book Outliers suggests, it takes 10,000 hours to reach the point of mastery in any effort. Therefore, think of your music career as a project. Imagine the end result you want to reach and think about what you would need to accomplish every day to achieve your goals.
For more terrific reading on the subject of focus and consistency, make sure to check out Jeff Olson’s Slight Edge.
Author: David Andrew Wiebe
David Andrew Wiebe has built an extensive career in songwriting, live performance, recording, session playing, production work, investing, and music instruction. In addition to helping musicians unlock their full potential, he also continues to maintain a touring schedule with multiple bands.