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Start At The Finish Line

By Justin Gray (Songwriter/Producer/Founder

Close your eyes and think about anything.

It doesn’t have to be music or songwriting related.

Let me help you…

Imagine waking up in the morning and seeing yourself fully clothed.

What are you wearing? I mean literally…what’s your OOTD. “Outfit of the day” for anyone too unplugged from social media.

What are the next steps?

You get out of bed, stretch…maybe drink a glass of water.

You head to the bathroom, brush your teeth, take a shower, and dry off.

You do some grooming…head to your closet or drawers and grab your stuff. You put on your shirt, pull up your pants…pick out your shoes and tie them up. Walk out of your bedroom and off you go!

Carpe diem!

You started with a vision and manifested the steps to get you dressed and out the door.

Now apply that same philosophy to your career.

What’s the finish line? Where’s the inevitable road leading you?

Start there, and plan your steps accordingly. Plot the journey and execute!

Let’s call it the “3 E Philosophy.”

Rhyme intentional.

Envision. Execute. Enjoy

Here are 5 things to always remember when manifesting your mission, forging your future, and curating your career.

Plan The Work - Start simple…and expand from there. Set a goal and stick to it. Create the steps to accomplish your goal. Small or large. This is your roadmap. This is your blueprint. Schedule yourself. It’s ok if you have a day job. Your day job is the sacrifice you make to pursue your plan. But your career needs sacrifices too to work. How bad do you want it, and what are you going to do about it?

Work The Plan - When can’t stay motivated, stay consistent. When you can’t stay consistent stay focused. When you can’t stay focused stay committed. When you can’t stay committed stay disciplined. When you can’t stay disciplined stay motivated. Repeat. It’s a cycle. Stick to it. Luck happens. Hard work lasts.

Follow Through - DO NOT ABANDON THE PLAN! Make adjustments. Of course. Adjust your sails to accommodate for the wind…but keep land in sight. As discussed in the past. Even if the song isn’t great, edit it and eventually complete it. Don’t let yourself off the hook. Quitting once is a slippery slope to quitting forever. Nobody likes a quitter.

Follow Up - Too many writers and creators are so self-obsessed with their art that they ignore the business savvy needed to succeed. Take inventory of relationships that you’re building. Reach out. Communicate. Work the phones. Take mini wins and leverage them into bigger wins. Find your circle and grow together. Collecting relationships and knowing how to use them for your mutual benefit is key in maximizing the follow-up.

Doubling Down - Recognize the things that you do well, and do more of that. Conversely, it is also crucial to identify those things that are weak points, and avoid those. I realize that it sounds simple, but in actuality, it can be quite a challenge. You might love hip-hop music, but you are not good at writing hip-hop music. Just because you love it, does not mean you should do it. Identify where people are responding and reacting to your creativity, and do more of that.

The Coda: There is a famous adage “the longest journey begins with the first step.“ I actually wholeheartedly disagree. Obviously, we need to make steps to get to our end result, but if you can’t picture the ending, how do you know which direction to go in the first place?

See you next week, and keep writing them hits!


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