Written by: April Vargo
I recently recorded a presentation I will be giving at the International Music Education Summit called "Music and Entrepreneurship - How to use your passions to further your career." This will be my second year presenting, however, instead of being able to be live, my presentation is prerecorded. This year the summit happens to be right around my due date and there was no way I could be in two places at once. Being a new parent with a first time delivery I have no idea what I'm walking into. I wanted to make sure I could give my best to both the presentation and this new amazing life we are very soon to be welcoming.
Putting this presentation together has been a true work of passion for me. If you would have asked me five years ago if I ever saw myself doing this, I probably would have said no. I always loved the idea of speaking, but had no idea how one became a public speaker, and honestly, what would I talk about?
Fast forward to present day and I realize I have quite a great deal to talk about and share. Much of my experiences have been an evolution of the past eleven years as a working professional. I am able to take my experiences inside the classroom, as well as those, of an independent business owner and meld them together.
I've learned that the person I am today is a combination of my experiences. You think you know what you want when you're sixteen, eighteen, twenty-two and so on. The truth is you have a very vague outline and idea of the path you want to take. You might have a general direction, but life and experiences help to create the person you become.
You don't truly know what a career will be like until you begin. Much of careers are known from books, movies, classes, and stories you hear from other people. Reality is very different from what you thought you knew. The people we are evolve so much from that sixteen year old trying to figure out what they want to major in during college and the 22 year old with their diploma trying to tackle the world.
I have slowly learned that many people don't get to realize their true potential or find what else is out there. Sometimes it's out of fear, life happens, marriage and babies, or they are set on sticking to the path they created for themselves early on. I can't tell you the number of people who have told me, "I wish I could do (fill in the blank)," "wow, you're living the way that I wish I could but am afraid."
Making a change is incredibly scary, there are so many unknowns and huge risks that come with big changes. However, sometimes staying stagnant is also scary, "is this all there is?"
The other part that many people struggle with is when they realize that they themselves have changed. They're not the same person they used to be. They have developed different opinions, different interests, their lives have taken them in different directions....and that's okay.
Evolution is healthy and sometimes we are lead in a direction that's even better than anything that we could ever have hoped for.
I've recently realized that I am not the same person I used to be. Many of my priorities have changed, relationships have evolved or dissipated, and I'm moving in a direction I never would have imagined myself in. However, I am so incredibly happy for how my life has turned out and proud of the person I've become. I've enjoyed every stage of my life, but feel like I'm really finding who I am supposed to be.
For the past year or so, I have talked about wanting to write a book. I have sat down so many times to write and come up blank....or wrote a few pages and realized I didn't know where I was going. I have let the idea hang out in my mind for a while and revisit it every now and again.
Last week I was in the shower and, as weird as this might sound, the words started coming to me. I knew exactly what I wanted to say, the direction I wanted to go in and what my focus was going to be. I quickly got out of the shower and started writing before the moment passed. I am slowly continuing to work on it when I have time. I'm not sure how long this project will take or where it's going to lead me. I was so excited that I was finally able to start something that I had been planning for such a long time.
I think the big thing that changed was I stopped putting pressure on myself. I stopped trying to sound fabulous and all-knowing, but instead let my mind take me to a place that I needed to be.
This past Christmas my brother got me a couple books. I am not the most avid reader, however, when I get into something I really find myself enjoying reading.
Bill has always been a person who has challenged me, been supportive, and then asked well what's next? He's my younger brother but doesn't let me get away with anything. Sometimes it can be incredibly frustrating, but his line of questioning always make me want more....how can I get to that next stage? These last couple years, he's really helped me to become better, want more, and ask myself the tough questions.
One of the books he got me was by Questlove called "Creative Quest." I will admit this is not the easiest read, it's not something you will just sit down and absent-mindedly peruse. It's, instead, a book that makes you think, engage, and really commit to his message. I absolutely love it! It's been a challenge for me, and I make sure to put reading time in when I can truly focus.
One of the messages that really struck me was his concept of being creative and what creative people really go through. Many times people who are creative have difficulty accepting it or finding it, because they are always questioning whether it's good enough or profound enough. People put so much pressure on making something new, that many times they are a block to their own creativity. Stop overanalyzing and critiquing yourself, and organically let the process happen.
I found myself really identifying to what he has to say. This message started carrying over into the bigger idea of who we are as people and how evolving into the person we want to be or the person we are becoming is intrinsically connected to getting out of our own way. Stop overanalyzing and thinking about what could go wrong and how you may not be "good enough." Instead, chase the dreams and run after the vision we see for ourselves.
Embrace the person you are and the person you are becoming. Watch the amazing ways your life will evolve. Love the people who come into your lives and cherish the memories you have made. We only get one ticket to ride, you might as well enjoy it!