Yesterday one of my favorite artists, Amanda Palmer, sent out an email to her Patreon email list. She does this fairly frequently, because she believes in staying in good touch with her fans. It’s pretty awesome, actually. This email was different. It was pretty vulnerable. Without diving in too much, she was sharing the vulnerability she experiences related to her relationship with “success.” For a musical artist, there are plenty of places that they can compare themselves. Imagine what it’s like when you’ve made a name for yourself, you play sold out shows, but people you rub elbows with do the same thing in venues five times as big as you. Or sell ten times the record. It would take someone with a heart of stone to not feel something in those cases. One thing is for damn sure about AFP (look up why she’s called AFP), she doesn’t have a heart of stone. Yet, she does the work she believes in. It’s an honor to support her.
Today, my colleague Shannon and I were meeting to talk about an event we are hosting next week. Our numbers aren’t where we’d hope they’d be. They are a bit below what we said the minimum was. At the same time, a friend of ours just started another course. She has a waiting list. It’s easy to compare. There is a part of me that wants to simply walk away from the event space. I don’t like promoting myself. I don’t like doing the marketing work. I’m not cut out for this, I tell myself. By this I mean doing what my friend does. Having a waiting list.
Shannon and I, in our conversation, started talking about the measure of success. How will we know when we are in the right spot? Is it going to be based on metrics we determine now? Is it a certain number of dollars? A certain client? A waiting list? Or is it something we are finding our way into? I think it’s that last one. I’ll write more about this at another time I think, but the essence of the work we put out there, I think, is to act as a radio tuner; dialing into the frequency that we resonate with.
I may be a consultant or coach or facilitator or whatever, but I also think I’m kind of an artist. It’s why I’m allowing myself to draw inspiration from AFP. Definitely in the vulnerability department.