Breakthrough!

We all love stories and I have one I truly love that I’d like to share with you. It’s a story about what I call “breakthrough”. When we’re looking to make major life decisions, we often spend a lot of time gathering information, taking courses, stewing over the pros and cons, and yet feeling unable to make the decision that will propel us through the barrier from confusion to clarity.

The story I want to share with you clearly exemplifies what I mean.

Larrry Zarda is the husband of a former client. He works as a workflow analyst and internet developer at a large Midwestern College. Larry wanted to take steps to find his place in the business world that would allow him to make the most of his potential. I could see he was eager to make some decisions, so we agreed to work together. And so his story begins…

On his first communication to me he wrote “I remember writing in Junior High that I’d like to be: a) a very successful man in a business suit or b) a successful singer/songwriter. Over the past 25 or so years I found myself doing a little of both, usually simultaneously.

I see myself continuing to do the kind of work I’m doing currently in a great creative environment with decent salary, great benefits and potential for growth. I think that because of my creative, ‘generalist’, occasionally unorthodox approach that NYC (or D.C.) is the ideal location for me. How can I get there and make the kind of money I need to live? How should I position myself? Do I still need more training/experience to be the ‘me’ I want to be?”

Here is the Fantasy Job he created:

– work from home or close to home
– nice surroundings/environment architecturally designed
– work with small staff of talented diverse colleagues and assistants
– take calls, and meetings, develop plans of action for clients
– envision and effect business strategies and creative marketing efforts
– develop and consult with small businesses on their websites and internet applications
– record my own and others’ music in home (or close to home) studio
– music composition, audio production in studio
– occasional travel related to above efforts
– preferably in or near NYC

He also wrote what he called a Realistic Job description.

– nice relaxed corporate environment
– smart people, not too uptight
– daily duties would include creative web design and project management
– meetings and calls about deliverables and content for web projects and applications
– make creative suggestions and manage staff of creative individuals including designers programmers and coders
– liaise with marketing staff or production staff for entertainment company
– occasional travel to other offices or to set up new project management team
– have enough time during the week to pursue creative musical endeavors
– preferably in NYC

He was clearly still thinking of himself caught between these two situations. His Personal Asset Profile, however, told me he had potential to merge both of his desires into a single business. He just needed a breakthrough – and a strategy.

To help lead him in the right direction I suggested a brief scenario where he could merge his Fantasy and his Realistic job into one and to have his business acumen merge with his creative musical and production talent.

When I asked him to write out the job he is going to create for himself that would bring all these elements together this is what he wrote.

“LARRY ZARDA’S UNCANNY CABARET

A musical stew of rock, jazz, country and punk.

Collaboration between local musicians, singers, actors, college students, friends, set designers, lights and sound and possibly video.

CONCEPT: A collection of songs (and possibly some original pieces written for it) assembled loosely around a single theme performed in a theatrical and somewhat bawdy style.
(ideas: Midwest living vs. NYC, love and marriage, Latin science-fiction aliens, politics)

So far concrete ideas haven’t flowed too easily for this, but a few friends I’ve talked to about it preliminarily said it’s a great idea.

VENUE: I’ve lined up a local nightclub to try it out, and then hope to move to a late-night dinner theatre setting or at the local theater.

PROMOTION: Initially, I would promote it through flyers, press releases, newspaper ads. Then, I will build a website with interactive elements (perhaps invite participants, audience members and then incorporate their suggestions into the show).

Putting together the songs and the concept will be the hardest part, and I hope to have meetings with my core group of creative collaborators over the next few weeks.

After gathering the songs and working out the concept of the storyline (or theme), I will recruit performers from the theatre department and the music school and make it as good as possible, holding auditions and rehearsals at the school.

By our next meeting, I hope to have at least a list of songs and a better-formed concept in writing.”

Can you hear the joy; the clarity and the taking charge that Larry has done? Do you think Larry has made a breakthrough? Yeah, I do too. How did it happen so easily? He was ready and open to seeing himself differently. He just needed more options (and possibilities) to consider.

Congratulations, Larry. You’ve already started to create the foundation for the business that will allow you to realize your Fantasy Job. I know your Cabaret will be a hit – and the beginning of a wonderful journey.

Thank you for allowing me to share your story.

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TIP: SUMMER DOWN TIME

If the summertime is “down time” for you because people are away or unfocused on your area of business, take advantage of the extra time to catch up on things you’ve put off because you were too busy. If nothing else, you can review your mid-year results and status, make adjustments to refocus your efforts, formulate your next marketing campaign, put a time-frame on your campaign and put it into motion.

See, you didn’t really have any down time after all.