Four Secrets

Did you ever notice that when things are going well in one area of your life, the other areas start going well, too? Likewise, if you’re in a creative upswing in your work life, then your home life, your music and everything else seems to benefit.

Many of us are still holding down a pesky day job while we pursue music in the free moments in between. With this in mind, I want to recommend a short book. This book is not specifically about songwriting or music, but it is about creativity. It is about choosing energy, passion and a positive attitude in all areas of our lives.

For me, the ideas in the book are powerful, energizing and inspiring. The name of the book is Fish! It tells the true story of the World Famous Pike Place Fish market in Seattle, Washington and how their amazing discoveries apply to your life.

The four secrets may not sound like much when I list them here, out of context, so I urge you to read the entire book. It’s so short you can finish it in a single sitting. In fact, you could probably finish it standing in the aisle of your local bookstore.

The four secrets and comments:

1. Choose Your Attitude. There is always a choice about the way you do your work, even if there is not a choice about the work itself. If your work is writing songs, choose to approach it with an attitude of joy and passion, rather than struggle, self-doubt or obligation.

2. Play. Make your workplace a playground. Fun leads to creativity. For me, writing songs is not work, it’s play. Don’t take yourself or your songwriting so seriously that it gets in the way.

3. Make Their Day. This secret is about engaging customers and making a positive, memorable impression on them. In the fish market they do it face to face, one customer at a time. As songwriters, who are our customers and how can we make them feel special? There is no right answer. Whatever works for you is your right answer.

4. Be Present. When someone gives you their complete, undivided attention, that person is being present. This is an attribute that pertains more to face to face communications between people than it does to songwriting. Could it apply to your performances? When you sing, are you giving your audience your undivided attention, making eye contact, soul contact? If not, why not? Is your mind wandering? Are your eyes closed? Being present is the greatest gift you can give.

Let us know if you find this exercise helpful, and if you have any that work for you — we’d love to hear about them!


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