Weekly Recap–30 October

Let’s have a look at what came off the to-do list from last week.

  • I’ve now got a set of rehearsals scheduled. Not enough rehearsals, of course, since it’s really hard to coordinate the schedules of four freelance musicians. But something to start from.
  • Um, okay, well that’s it for major accomplishments. But it’s a big and important one!
For the coming week:
  • Get at least a rough set list in place for both January 15 and February 5 performances.
  • Work on scheduling another performance sometime between January 31 and February 7 — Mike Wittgraf will be in town, and it would be fulfilling to play his piece, “Autogeneous Mining,” a second time while he’s here.
  • Get out an announcement to the mailing list, to build enthusiasm. This has to happen!!

I’ve been reading a book called “Uncertainty – Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance” by Jonathan Fields. There are a couple of points that have stuck with me so far.

One way to mitigate the stress of taking on projects with uncertain outcomes is to have regular, stabilizing routines. These routines help to calm the mind and maintain order of some sort when the things around you seem highly disordered. I expect that most musicians will recognize their practice routine as something which brings order to their days. I know that I feel better when I have had regular time to practice. Fields calls these “uncertainty anchors.”

In addition to having mentors, whose role is probably pretty well-known to musicians and businesspeople alike, Fields asks you to find heroes and champions as well. Where a mentor is someone who is available to you to provide guidance, advice and encouragement on a personal level, a hero is someone who has all the successes and qualities that you would pick in a mentor, but who is not available to you personally. In spite of not being able to engage directly and immediately with your hero, you can draw a lot of strength and wisdom from observing and following them and their path.

A champion is someone who believes in you and is there to help you, even provide for you, no matter what happens. Fields cites his own wife as his champion (and himself as hers, neatly reciprocal). He describes his own decision to leave a job that he disliked in order to follow a career that called to him, even in the days immediately following the September 11 World Trade Center bombings, which threw so much into chaos and uncertainty. His wife championed his cause, offering him unconditional support, because she believed in what he was doing. Such is the power of a champion.

There are hints of some other important support structures for uncertain ventures. I won’t summarize them right now, because they’re not yet firmly in my head, and I’m not going to just re-key them here. I’ll write about them next week, perhaps. I will say that among them is something like tribal leadership, a subject of some interest to me. What better form of leadership for an entity like a chamber music group? Related: for those in the area, check out Si Alhir’s seminar on Agility and Tribal Leadership this week. Having worked closely with Si during his engagement at Cars.com, I believe this will be a valuable seminar.

Perhaps in future posts on this blog, I will be able to tell you something about the mentors, heroes and champions I choose to follow.

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One Response to “Weekly Recap–30 October”

  1. […] you compare this to last week’s list, I think I’ve done okay. There is still plenty of detail work to do, but I am on track and […]

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