As a kind of follow-up to last week's post...
You’ve probably seen that phrase at some point on a bumper sticker. Aside from the (unintended?) irony of pasting that on the back of a mode of transportation, it makes a good point: sometimes just because one is not on a straight-and-narrow, no-diversions path doesn’t mean one isn’t still heading forward in a meaningful way. It just means that we all travel our own paths, and those paths are as unique and varied as our individual selves.
I think this is particularly important in the arts. Our artistic education is, in one sense, a complete paradox: we strive to learn our craft and develop our creativity, and we do so within a highly-structured curriculum and a highly competitive atmosphere (both in school and certainly in the professional world beyond it). Yet craft and artistry are themselves very subtle, complex, and even delicate things: they often take years (decades!) to develop, and they can do so along an almost infinite variety of paths. Some musicians flower early and spectacularly, but fade quickly; others don’t really find their voice or their true creative purpose until well into their mid-life or beyond. In the meantime, their life experiences are shaping and influencing their art in a myriad of ways.
So, as I often do in these columns, I once again ask: what has this got to do with entrepreneurship? And this week the answer has to do with the role that entrepreneurship can play in the way your professional and creative life unfolds. You see, entrepreneurship is much, much more than simply giving you tools to build a professional career in music. It can certainly be that, if that’s how you choose to apply it. But because entrepreneurial tools are universal tools, learning how to use them opens up options for you in whatever direction you might take – whether it be into professional music or somewhere else (closely related…or completely different!).
There’s one more thing entrepreneurship can do, and it’s about creativity. See, entrepreneurs are creative people – whether they realize it or not. They’re able to look at situations and see them through a unique perspective, a perspective that in turn sees opportunities where others missed them. They find creative solutions to things, and they’re open-minded and flexible enough to drop what they thought was their Main Plan and go down a different avenue altogether in pursuit of an even better opportunity. In other words, they’re willing to allow their creativity to lead them wherever it might go – even if it’s down a path nobody else thinks is worth traveling. They might appear to be wanderers to the outside observer, but they’re simply on a different sort of path.
Maybe you’re not sure where your musical path is leading, and you’d like to broaden your options. Or maybe you have a clear idea of the path you’d like to travel, but you’re not certain the best way to get there. Either way, entrepreneurial tools can help you with your navigation.