Live Your Values: 3 Steps to Help Music Entrepreneurs Walk the Talk

In my last post, we examined how music entrepreneurs can find their values in order to make empowering career choices. Now, let’s take a look at how to bring values into your life so that you can “walk your talk” and make sure that you are taking actions that manifest your values or your code of principles. This is critical for credibility as a music entrepreneur.

Being in alignment with your values is at the heart of being successful in today’s world (however you define that success). When you know and act in accordance with your values, you are more likely to make choices that feel right. You will also feel more motivated to pursue opportunities that reflect your top values. And the more motivated you are, the more you are likely to create and seize upon the opportunities that will enable you to achieve success.

That is what entrepreneurship is all about: taking charge and making things happen.

How can music entrepreneurs take those values one step further to make sure that they are working towards their success?

Let’s start by learning the 3-step process designed to take those values off the page and make them a vital part of your life. We will then see how those principles play out in the lives of 3 music entrepreneurs.

The 3-step process of implementing your values is very simple:

Step One: Define your top values

Defining your value is how you clarify what that value means to you and personalize your values. This is how you differentiate yourself and clarify what that code of values means to you.

Two people with the same values might have two very different ways of interpreting what that value means. Take the example of relationships. For one person, the value of relationships might mean building a strong community of people both for social reasons, as well as for professional collaborations. For someone else, relationships might mean intimacy and having a few close friends with whom to share one’s life and work.

Step Two: Articulate the principle behind your value

Once you have your definition, write the principle that exemplifies your value. This is a way to make that value concrete so that you know exactly what it is that you stand for. You can do this very easily by writing the words “I stand for” before your definition.

Step Three: Take an action based on that principle

Taking an action that manifests your value is where the rubber meets the road. By doing something based on a values principle, you are showing yourself and others that you are in fact walking the talk.

Let’s see how this process plays out in the case of 3 different music entrepreneurs. *

Alan: Living the Value of Life Long Learning

Alan is a multi-talented musician who performs on a variety of instruments, actively collaborates with composers and premieres new music and teaches at a university where he directs a new music ensemble.

One of Alan’s top values is life-long learning, which he defines as follows:

Life-long learning means that I continuously look for new ways to be creative and to have a variety of platforms for my creativity so that I am learning and growing all the time.

This definition leads to the following principle:

I stand for variety in my creative life and I seek out opportunities to perform in different ways, expand my knowledge base by learning new instruments, collaborating, commissioning and performing new work and sharing my knowledge through teaching.

And his action steps include:

  • Program a concert for the new music ensemble at the university where I teach where I can showcase a variety of new works.
  • Organize my summer touring schedule with a mix of concerts in different types of venues where I can play different instruments and premiere at least one piece.
  • Commission an orchestral work for one composer for the 2015-16 concert season.

Joe: Living the Value of Relationships

For Joe, relationships are a critical part of his life code. Joe thrives on creating a close community of friends and fellow musicians with whom he actively collaborates.  Thanks to Joe’s wide circle of friends, he is able to create unusual performances in a variety of genres in order to attract a young and sophisticated crowd of music lovers and give them a good time.

He defines his relationship value as follows:

Relationships mean that I have a close community of friends and family with whom I have fun and make music and who provide me with joy, support and security.

Joe turned that value into the following principle:

I strive to maintain integrity and honesty in all my relationships, to be loyal to my family and friends, to be generous and kind and to create opportunities for my community.

Joe has no trouble implementing this principle since this is what he has accomplished:

  • Host a concert of music featuring works by one of my composer friends and performed by various musician friends where we can have a lot of fun and make sure that the audience is having fun too.
  • Invite my friends over for a big party.
  • Gain admission to a degree program where I can work with a stellar teacher whom I admire and teach a large group of talented students.

Michelle: Living the Value of Passion

Michelle is a performer who is also discovering a gift for conducting and composing. Her top value is passion, which she defines as follows:

Passion is whatever makes me feel alive, free and able to inspire others through art and joy.

This translates into the following principle:

I stand for bringing passion to my creative work, my relationships and my audiences.

For her actions, Michelle took a conducting class and volunteered to conduct a student ensemble. In addition, she performed one of her own compositions at a recent recital. And she actively seeks out artistic collaborations with other musicians to make beautiful music with people she feels close to and perform for audiences in intimate settings.

Implement them!

By using this 3-step process, you can embed your values into your life. Knowing your values is a great clarifier. Implementing them through this 3-step process is how you insure that you are living your values. And that can set you up for greater success and fulfillment. Indeed, values can provide you with a sense of passion, positivity, perseverance and possibility that characterizes the mindset of today’s successful musician.

Spend some time with this exercise and then check to make sure that each week, you are taking actions that are in alignment with your values. I’m betting that you will feel a lot more motivated to work towards your success and fulfillment!

*I have changed the names of these musicians to protect their anonymity.