Setting Goals

When the topic of goal setting comes up, most Indies’ run for the hills. In fact, I’ll bet that right now you’re seriously thinking about skipping this article so you can wait for one that is more interesting. I understand, but I encourage you to ignore those feeling temporarily and stick with this article.

And while you’re at it, just calm down. Planning for your future doesn’t have to be painful. In fact, you’ll find that getting on good terms with the goal setting process will move you toward your Indie Music Career dreams quicker – while also giving you more direction with which to pursue them.

Now I know that you may be one of those people who says, “Planning never gets me anywhere. I run into to many problems and end up angry and frustrated. No, I would rather just let things happen and let nature take its course.” NOT!!

Control Yourself

While there’s nothing wrong with letting your instincts guide you toward your true passion in life, taking the “let things happen” approach too far often leads to stagnation.

How else can you explain the gang of negative, goalless musicians who populate most of the Indie Music scenes? They stumble through gig after gig, waiting for nature to take its course, and then suddenly wake up one day and wonder why they’re no better off today than they were 10 years ago.

The unpleasant truth: If you read nothing else in the Ralph Sutton’s Music Production Blog, at least contemplate this: When you just “let things happen” with your Indie Music Career, you take the control of success out of your hands. You’ll always be at the mercy of someone or something else. In essence, you lose control over where you really want to take your career and talent.

People who have successful Indie Music Careers use goal setting to take control of there Indie Music Career and achieve great success, and this will be you!

The good news is that you already possess the skills to set goals effectively. Have you ever written a song? Have you ever gone into a studio to record your music? If so, you’ve been setting goals already.

Example: When you showed up at the studio for your first recording session, what did you do? Did you look at your fellow band members and say, “Dam, I wonder what we should do? Anybody got any good ideas?”

Well, some musicians do this (I’m a engineer and studio owner I know), and hopefully you realize that not being prepared is senseless. You’ve got money invested in the session, you’ve had a dream to put out your own music for years, plus you’ve got fans who are ready and waiting for the recording you’d be nuts to go into the studio unprepared! You didn’t do this, did you?

Of course not. You went into the studio with a game plan, a list of songs, knowing who’s playing what parts, when the vocal, backgrounds and harmonies come in, you may even have a title for the project. That’s all that goal setting is, knowing what you want to do before you set out to do it.

So in the same way you’d be wasting your time and money not being prepared to go into that studio, so too are you wasting your precious resources by being unprepared when it comes to your overall career. Does that make sense to you?

Flexible and Focused

Goal setting is not a inflexible science. The plans you come up with are fluid – you can expect them to evolve and change over time. This is yet another concept you should be familiar with, especially if you’re a songwriter. Many songwriters write using just a guitar or keyboard and voice.

However, when these artists create a new composition, they often hear much more than that sparse arrangement in their heads. The drums, the bass part, maybe an entire string section… all of it is there in the mind’s ear. Maybe you create in the same way.

Then you take this skeleton of a song and share it with your band members, or co-creators explaining each of the parts you hear in your head. But the song the band ends up playing and recording is usually quite different from the version you originally heard in your head. And typically, the newer version is almost always better.

Bottom line: The plans you come up with when goal setting will change as you work toward them. But the mere act of coming up with an idea, visualizing it in your mind, and acting on it will drive you to take those first important steps. While the end result isn’t always the one you expected, it’s usually one you can learn and grow from and hopefully be proud of.

By pushing yourself, through advance planning, to head off in a specific direction -whatever direction that is – you create the opportunities from which real success can be realized. By waiting for things to happen, though, you set the stage for inaction and apathy. That’s why setting goals for yourself and your Indie Music Career is so important.

What follows next week on the Ralph Sutton’s Music Production Blog, are 11 helpful tips for getting the most out of goal setting. See you then and Take Care

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