Digital strategy is similar to learning an instrument. A lot of back work, practice, and perseverance go into both.
I’ve played the violin for many years. Classically trained from age 9 to 18, I became burnt out by the constraints and rigid style of classical music. In seeking a new outlet for music, I gained more than just the melodies.
Fake it till you make it.
Improvisation is not a skill that I learned in the classroom of my college business courses. The widely used phrase “fake it till you make it” is a well known adage to millennials entering the digital workspace. In relation to music, I spent my first year out of school learning how to improvise on my violin. This is on the opposite side of sight-reading music, which I had grown quite good at doing, but as with real life, there isn’t always a handy piece of paper telling you directions. More often, there are no guidelines and many paths to take. Learning to improvise and jam on my violin was like learning to carve a career path even if I didn’t know if I was making the exact right decision.
Be comfortable with mistakes.
When I first started to jam, each wrong note I played rang in my ears for minutes later leaving the nasty feeling of regret in the pit of my stomach. The truth is, you have to play a few wrong notes before you can begin playing the right ones. If you are a perfectionist, try not being so hard on yourself. When you play music, most people don’t even notice a couple of out-of-place sounds, the same goes for your work life. When you make a mistake the best thing you can do is acknowledge your blunder, take note of how you will do differently next time, and move on. Make sure you take note– and by take note I mean track your efforts weekly. So you can actually know how you are performing and where you can improve. There is no good in beating yourself up or harboring self-disappointment. In fact a positive mindset is favored in the US. In one study economists surveyed more than 1,000 U.S. CEOs, they found that more than 80% scored as “very optimistic.”
Stick with it – the best things take time.
When climbing a mountain there are parts of the journey that are very enjoyable and then sometimes you twist your ankle or lose your favorite rain jacket (this one happened to me). When you get to the top the view may be breathtaking and spectacular or obscured by clouds. In the case of the latter you might never attempt a summit again or you might try again next summer. The point is the best things are difficult to accomplish and they take time. There is not much that makes me happier than performing with my band. Dedicating your efforts to something and having it finally pay off is an indescribable feeling. The same goes to work. I’ve been helping grow HCFmedia’s digital presence from the ground up. Every time we get a lead is a small victory, each new subscribe is like a pat on the back, and a compliment from a client is like a Christmas present! Okay that may be a little bit of an exaggeration but you get my point. When I first started playing my violin, my sisters begged me to stop screeching. Now I can make sweet music with ease. This did not happen overnight and neither will your greatest work accomplishments.
Work can be frustrating at times. Sticking with it, learning from your mistakes, and becoming a pro-improviser are a few ways I’ve learned from music to find success in the workplace.