Betting on your strengths is the best thing you can do in life.
It makes a lot of sense, but many people will not do it because often what we are best at is not always what we desire.
I am a mastering engineer. Most people in the music industry do not known what I do. Almost everyone outside of the music industry for sure has no idea what I do. Often my work and credit gets unnoticed. The mastering engineer gets left out a lot, yet it's a crucial part of every song that you ever hear.
For many years I ran away from mastering. I wanted to be someone who was known, who did something that was glamorous or sexy. Something that people would know. I started my journey into music as an electric guitar player. It was on stage, in front of people. When I played people knew who I was, it was easy to see what I did. Playing guitar was something I was good at but it took a lot for me to get good at it. Learning how to play was one of the hardest things I have done in my life. It was not natural and I often practiced far more than the next guitar player who was essentially better than me. Some people viewed it as as strength, but in reality it was not.
After the band thing kind of fizzled, I moved into engineering. I started engineer vocals for hip hop and pop. This came to me a lot quicker than guitar. I was dialing in vocals quicker and better then a lot of people. I started getting business because of the way I could make vocals sound. I enjoyed this and still do it, but ultimately it was still not my biggest strength.
As I made my journey into the industry farther I began mixing. With mixing, I was good at that. It made sense to me. My brain clicks when I mix. My ears are made for mixing. I learned quickly that the more I consumed about mixing the better I got. This was very different then playing guitar. Playing an instrument is 4x harder for me then mixing. For me mixing became a strength until I discovered mastering.
Mastering is my golden goose. It's my strength. I crush my masters and I have doubled down on mastering the last few years. I know this because people affirm me and I also know that naturally I have a gift with the way I hear things as well as having an elaborate catalog in my head of music and how it should sound. I work really hard at mastering but when I began to do it something inside of me woke up. It was like I finally found my strength and when you find your strength you bet on it. You invest into it and you know without a doubt that you can deliver to people what they need.
Mastering is not something that puts you in the spotlight. It's not super fun work for most people. It's often misunderstood and is often done by people who are obsessed with making things perfect... hints the name "mastering". What I am expected to do is make music "perfect" and ready for the world to consume in all speakers. This is hard but it's my strength. When I stopped trying to be a rock star, or a songwriter, or some other part of the industry that's a little more known I began to really thrive at a person. You could call this finding your lane.
I talk with a lot of people who are fighting their strengths. They are focusing on their weaknesses because it's socially more sexy and understood. Not everyone gets to be Justin Bieber. He clearly has a strength for being an artist and an entertainer. He knows it too. I will never be Justin Bieber. If I took the next few years to write and sing pop songs, I think I could get decent, but I still wouldn't be a pop star.
A lot of people never find contentment or enjoyment in life because they are fighting their strengths. Some people are good at things that are not currently popular in our society and they can't come to terms with it. This creates a life that's always lacking and unfulfilling. This leads to depression. When you lay down the burden of being liked or viewed as cool to society, life gets better. When you start investing into your strengths you become a better person. You become more confident because your doing what you're wired to do. If something is not working after a few years then it may not be your strength. If you have exhausted your resources and it's still not working then you may need to re-examine what your doing. This doesn't mean that the thing you are doing isn't exactly what your good at but you might be trying to do it in the wrong context, location, atmosphere.
I want to challenge everyone to examine what they are chasing. Are you fighting your strength because it's not what you want to do in life and you're afraid people may not like you as much or are you investing into yourself, beting on your strength and owning it?
I can testify that once you start being true to yourself and your natural abilities the rest of life seems to fall into place.
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