This blog is a follow up to the "Lonely Road" blog I wrote last week, if you didn't read it, go check it out here first.
That blog got a lot of feedback and conversations going and I felt like there was a resounding echo that kept coming up, so I wanted to share some more thoughts on it.
When we decide to go after our dreams we often find excitement at first followed by a serious drop off. I touched on this in the other blog. We have friends and family or significant others who are encouraging at the starting line and then somewhere along the journey it seems as if they are just waiting for you to get a "real job" or to get serious.
The following statements were kind of the overarching themes that have been shared with me since the last blog post.
"You're not really going to do that forever are you?"
"Come on, give it up!"
"You don't make enough money"
"What will you do if XYZ changes, fails, stops working with you?"
"How will you pay the bills?"
"You spend so much money on gear and not us!"
These statements cut deep. Real deep. They go to the very core of who we are because they are statements that essentially question the very thing we feel wired to do. The thing that we feel deep down that we must do in life is being questioned by the people that love us the most. The people we look to for support quickly become reasons why we stop chasing the dream and get a "real job".
I don't think it comes from a place of discouragement or hatred or disapproval at its core.
They are uneducated in what you actually do.
What I've learned is that most people that I feel like don't support me, actually do support me, they just are uneducated in what I do.
I get asked all the time, "Who have you worked with?" "Do you have any songs on the radio?" - the list continues of questions that circle around people trying to find some common ground.
What I do is master albums. I help bands and artists finalize their music and help them have a product that's ready for release to the public. I am the frosting on the cake, I am the safety net and last set of ears to help improve the product. Within this, I study RMS levels, LUFS levels, frequency charts, compression ratios, attack times, release times, Red Book standards, DDP, UPC code, convertors, sample rates, bit rates, MP3, WAV, MFiT, digital encoding, gain staging, shelfs, parallel compression, cables, and the list goes on.
The majority of people who work in the music industry don't even know what I do, yet they need me for every song that ever gets heard.
Now lets take our friends and family and significant others. Let's assume they do love and support us at the core. They have no idea what I am talking about. It might as well be a foreign language. My work is essentially so unknown and hard to follow for the "normal" person that there is next to nothing for us to relate to.
It's easy to ask Bob who works at a real estate company what he does. We all know what a real estate company does, we all need it, we all understand where it fits in society. It's easy to support Bob because it's tangible, easy to understand, easy to lay down a foundation and create a relationship, and this is great. We love Bob, he sold us our house......
But with entrepreneurship or starting out on a new dream it's all unknown. It may feel like people don't support us simply because they have no idea how to connect with us. What I have learned is that I have to help educate everyone around me in what I do. I have to break it down and take it back to the beginning. I have to explain what I do in order to help people connect with me. This is something we take on when we decide to go after things that are unknown to people.
I heard a quote once that "professionals educate and amateurs get frustrated". This rings so true.
When I made this mind shift to focus on educating people instead of getting frustrated when it felt like there was a lack of support it changed everything. I started to let people watch what I do. They may not understand what I am doing from a technical standpoint but they can hear the difference from where we started to where we ended.
I think for a lot of people they view entrepreneurship as kind of a fly by the set of your pants thing. That all you do is sit in a coffee shop or wake up late or take crazy risks, which may all be true. But what they don't know is what you're doing at the coffee shop. What may look like hours on Instagram may be target marketing, what looks like waking up late could be a result that you're an artist whose show doesn't start till 10pm on a weekday, that taking what looks like a crazy risk is actually very calculated and normal. People don't understand why I would ever pay $3,000 for a piece of gear.... It seems foolish. But if I educate them on what it does and show them the difference then all the unknowns and fears of how and why I do what I do goes away.
The key to getting the support back and laying down some foundation again for those relationships that seem unsupportive is to educate. Sit down and explain to them what you do. If they don't even want to know that or give you ten minutes to help them understand you as a person better then you may need to make peace with that and find new people. Not everyone will be a raving fan nor is it their job to be. But we have a responsibility, as entrepreneurs to help educate, to understand that we may be super far along in our journey and that people are just trying to play catch up. I often forget how far I have come and have to often be reminded that what I know now, what comes easy to me, is really a result of spending years and years on it.
So if you resonated with the lonely road, hopefully this helps equip you to maybe get some support from those that do love you, but just don't understand you.
Now go, educate!