I grew up in a house jammed with music. Or drums, anyway. My dad was a drummer, so these instruments were part of the living room furniture, and a part of me.
In fourth grade it was finally time to join the band. My classmates and I lined up to select our weapons of choice.
“But you have good, long arms – perfect for playing the trombone!”
This was the best sales pitch the music teacher could muster, after informing me that too many kids had already signed up to play the drums. Understandable. The system couldn’t please every one of my classmates. Somebody had to play the trombone, right?
Wrong. Not me, anyway.
I’m still a pretty laid-back person, so resisting all the sweet-talk was not the norm. (Although “trombone arms” definitely was not on my wish-list of manly attributes).
The standoff was intense. After some repetitive pencil-tapping exercises, my insistence paid off. I grabbed those giant wooden drumsticks and ran out the door! It was the only outcome imaginable.
But this kind of “no alternative” resolve has not always guided me. I’ve sometimes fiddled for years on “important” projects, juggling assorted career-instruments so others would not be disappointed.
Sure there were needs to fill, but honestly, it’s a bit scary to commit to one thing you love.
We face pressure from voices inside, and outside, our heads. Think about all the times your teacher, boss, friends, even a text message, try to sway you onto a path where you’re “needed” – insisting how perfect you’d be?
You might be qualified, but deep inside you want to resist and insist.
My resolve to play those drums greatly impacted my life, relationships, and passport stamps. Years later, I toured all over the US, USSR, and Eastern Europe.
You don’t need to have it all figured out – although I do hope you caught the clever drum reference above…
We just have to stop for a beat, and realize how we’re making choices every day – surrounded by high-pressure needs, and our own voices of doubt.
When necessary, resist. Insist.
Someone else will play the clarinet. Not you.
Say NO to something right now. Consider it practice.
Despite the “grown up” world we live in, every once in a while, it’s OK to listen to the wise voice of that stubborn inner-9-year-old.
Question: So, Flute Fingers… What do you really want to play?
This is a guest post courtesy of Mike Loomis, who helps people launch and grow their dream projects. He’s strategic partner to business owners, authors, and non-profits. He and his wife live in the mountains of Colorado with their pet moose.@MikeLoomis