My family is full of academics – doctors, lawyers, professors, scientists and researchers.
My path was different. Music is what captivated me. But given my surroundings, I tempered that pursuit. I studied Journalism at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and went to law school at the John Marshall School in Chicago.
I followed all that up by obtaining a Masters of Law degree in Entertainment Law from Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles.
This split approach prevented decisiveness when career development time came around. Being pulled by the practicality of law and the dream life of a musician created a conflict that I’ve only recently resolved.
The most crucial lesson learned from this struggle was the importance of balance. It is possible to meld the narrative non-fiction presentation style I learned in college with the logical, persuasive style learned in law school, with the creative voice I’ve cultivated in my decades as a professional artist.
This balance in developed skill would enable me to study a situation, understand the core issues, and develop a creative and holistic solution that accounts for multiple perspectives and areas of life that would be affected.
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My dream has always been to see every country on Earth. Life isn’t a game to me, it is a limited license to explore this moment in time. And because we are never sure how long this license will last, it is incumbent upon us to make the most of our time here.
My hope is to never have a desk job again. I will not allow a desktop image to substitute for the real thing anymore. And I want to help others in achieving that same freedom, regardless of industry.
I wouldn’t be embarking on this career path if I had a resume filled with platinum records, bestselling books, an Oscar, a Nobel Prize, or some other socially recognized emblem of accomplishment.
I have won awards. I founded a law practice that struggled to gain a foothold until we found a focus. And then the practice thrived. I left it when I could no longer justify sacrificing my passions for a paycheck. I was part of a startup that was supported by the Polsky Accelerator at the University of Chicago.
I helped launch a creative collective and through that helped curate museum exhibitions, produce documentary films, launch a recording studio, and record dozens of albums.
I’ve toured parts of Europe, Central, and North America as a member of a few independent bands (Animate Objects, mindswimmer).
But the best thing I have done so far?
Keep pushing. When I hit a roadblock, I don’t turn around. I don’t immediately change course. I pull over and study how I got there and why. I am not afraid to ask for help, to seek counsel, and to implement the advice of others. Most importantly, I’m learning to love and forgive myself. I’m much kinder to those that I work with than I am to myself.
I’ve had the pleasure of working with artists, bands, collectives, startups, and professionals looking to transition to an art career.
Along the way, I’ve come to learn the issues that prevent us from continuing along our intended paths are not industry or geographically specific. However, resources and opportunity matter.
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To gauge the quality of our potential partnership, I base my work around a few key principles:
- I cannot help those who do not start with themselves when trying to solve an issue;
- I cannot make you do the work, I can only point you in a direction;
- My role is to identify the root causes for disruption in your process and help you solve for them – but implementation is on you, otherwise, we’ve created an unhealthy dependency that will compromise your efforts in the future.
I truly believe that blame is a distraction. Rather than looking to point fingers – at others or yourself, ask yourself compassionately, ‘how did I get here?’ And work your way backward. This causal chain approach offers fascinating results.
What I bring is an unyielding commitment to you and your issues. I utilize patience, intellectual curiosity, and a flexible perspective. I am unafraid of opinions that directly conflict with my own and I am not bound by any label to make prescribed decisions.
Instead, I try to identify the initial impulse that allowed a problem to take root and proliferate. And I do this in a judgment-free manner. I’ve failed enough to learn that mistakes are even made by the well-intentioned.
My core philosophy centers on the belief that all humans are capable of genius. We spend too much time measuring ourselves against other actors and not enough time measuring against ourselves.
Over time, this creates an unfair standard by which we gauge our own progress. It causes us to resist constructive criticism and to lash out at others.
While I believe all humans are capable of genius, I am not convinced all humans will have a chance to achieve it. It is less about how you stack up against the rest and more about how you move the needle for those who share your perspective.
It seems like a smaller task when put that way, doesn’t it? Einstein didn’t invent science, he advanced a conversation. Michael Jordan didn’t create the game, he elevated it.
And we celebrate those that do it to the highest degree possible, all while overlooking the contributions of those that helped make such dramatic leaps possible. Every journey is comprised of individual steps, which when broken down, reveal infinite contributions to a ‘small’ amount of progress.
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What does this mean for you?
To me, it stresses the importance of perspective. Measure yourself against your own goals and expectations. Who was the person you desired to be when you were on the playground? How close are you to achieving that and why? What roadblocks are in your way? How did they get there?
Taking the time to answer these questions (and many many more) will yield amazing insights into what makes you the wonderful person you are today.
An objective view of one’s own station in life enables rapid growth.
Objectivity, in this age of groupthink, cognitive bias, and social programming, is increasingly harder to come by. The message here is simple, tune that out and tune into yourselves and the impact you have on those around you.