I find it interesting that this is my fiftieth “Lesson From Exile.” (Technically 51st. One of them was a one-off with no number.) One of my concerns before I even began the series was wondering what credibility an unemployed music director had or even if anyone would actually read it.
I decided it didn’t matter. One public firing does not erase 25+ years of experience directing music. If I limited my options to whatever people decided I was “worthy” enough to do, I’d never do anything.
There’s this notion that before we do anything, that we have to be fully prepared and the conditions have to be perfect. After all, what happens if something goes wrong? “It makes you look unprofessional.” “You only get one opportunity to make a good first impression.” “No one will ever take you seriously.”
Why are you putting your decisions and choices in the hands of people who are going to judge you on one moment in time? Why are you making your decisions based on how it will make you look?
Back in that position that fired me, I didn’t have a full worship band until our launch day. I spent the six months before that recruiting people. We started out with just me and my ministry partner. My first recruit was a drummer that was stationed on the other side of the world. Sight unseen, sound unheard. The entire time I was recruiting, I was getting to know people, tapping into my networks, and taking notes. What would have happened if I waited until I had all the pieces together before getting started? Not a damn thing. You can’t build anything if you never do anything! Before I was fired, I was running and scheduling close to 20 people on two worship teams every week.
I started off with an empty music database. No recordings. No charts. I bought the recordings and charted everything myself. As I went on, I figured out what things I could do that would make things easier in the future. What I didn’t do was buy up a manual, wait until I read it, and then start.
Whether you are looking at this entry on social media or my website… Guess what? When I started it, it was empty. There was nothing. I didn’t wait until it was fully populated. Now, I’m not saying that it looks snazzy and there’s high-traffic all the time, but it’s better than it was.
The night before I wrote this entry, I was up consolidating my mailing list and preparing to send out my first newsletter. (Mailchimp has changed significantly since I first started it. Well… and my first form was put together in 2011!) I still have to go through two websites and two social media platforms to redo the capture forms. There’s one website I need to put stuff on. I’m behind on writing/scheduling my blog posts. That whole process is far from done and I haven’t even started promoting it…
I sent my first newsletter at 7:15 AM anyway. I plan to make it a regular part of my routine. Is everything set up perfectly yet? Nope. I don’t even know how it will best work for me. Heck… I don’t even know how I’m going to convince more people to even sign up for the mailing list! Yet, I decided getting into the habit was more important than waiting for everything to get together.
You can’t write a novel if you don’t write a sentence.
You can’t run a marathon if you never take a first step.
You can’t play a concerto if you never touch an instrument in front of an audience.
Put simply… The fear of failure has never helped anyone get anywhere. David was looked down on and ridiculed before he slew Goliath. Oprah was fired for showing emotion before she founded Harpo. Persistence feeds more progress than “waiting for perfection” ever did!
Get started. Even if it makes you look like a fool.