Motivation is Killing Your Mojo

There, I said it. We have this whole motivation thing backwards.

There's this common perception that you need motivation to get started. So you keep waiting, and waiting. And unless some miracle happens, you might be waiting forever. When in fact motivation isn't a prerequisite to do sh♥︎t - but instead

Motivation is the sweet reward for taking action. (Tweet this!)

It sets in once you've gained a little momentum, when things get easier and you might be starting to see some first results. And you can forget all about motivation once you've reached the state of flow.

So how can you use this in your own life?

Easy! All you need to do is to get better at tricking yourself into starting. ;-) 

These are my favorite ways:

1. Start with something really really tiny. Want to jog, so you don't get out of breath on stage? Start by putting on your workout gear and give yourself permission to stop after 5 minutes. Need to get your marketing under control? Sit down and take a few minutes to start outlining your goals for the next 2 weeks. Need to book more gigs? Open google and research one venue... you get the drift. And remember to keep it tiny, we're trying to make getting started easier.

2. Block some time in your calendar to do it - and then actually do it. Personally, I can do this with some tasks but not with others, but it works brilliantly for lots of people and you should totally give it a go.

If it doesn't work - do the opposite. Block some time in your calendar for fun stuff - when you can play, or do nothing, without feeling guilty. This is something I first heard from Neil Fiore, psychologist and author of The Now Habit. The point is, get conscious about the time you're spending and don't simply do a bit of nothing all day long. 

And 3. get yourself some accountability deluxe, the kind that really lights a fire under your fashionable pantsuit. Don't just say you'll do something - promise it to someone you actually respect, even better if you need to pay for something or do something somewhat painful, in the obviously very unlikely case that you break your promise. The lingering threat of having to post a video of myself singing, cough, 'Achy Breaky Heart' (thanks for that pick, Matthew!) just led to a very productive week on my end.

If that sounds like something you should do too, why not join a whole group of fellow artists becoming the boss of their careers?! Come on over to Facebook and join the Unf♛ckwithable Artist Mastermind. It's free, and invaluable.

Posted on September 13, 2016 and filed under Mindset, Productivity.

Storytime: A Tale of Comfort Zones, getting Ahead And Gurus...

Once upon a time there was a young woman. A very creative, very intelligent young woman she was. And she was trying to find her place in this world. She knew she still had a lot to learn.

So she ventured out into the wild, looking for advice.

Behind one especially big tree she spotted a tall man in a fancy suit.

"It's a guru!" She recognized immediately. And she was right.

The guru gave her a book. A MARKETING book!

She gratefully took it, and when she turned it over, she saw multiple speech bubbles containing very kind words about the guru in the suit.

She lit up. She knew - she was about to be let in on big secrets.

She sat down on a tree that had fallen during a recent storm, and started reading. The words were very bold. And very convincing. They instructed her exactly on what she had to do.

"You must dress for sucess." "Do this." "Don't do that"

And above all: "Leave your comfort zone!"

There was just one little problem with that. Outside of your comfort zone it can be really, really uncomfortable.

Still, our heroine wouldn't be our heroine if she didn't at least try to be good and do as she had been told. And she stepped into the dark. It was cold there. And it smelled funny. And she got scared.

Her heart was racing. Her mind was completely occupied with all the horrible things that were possibly about to happen. She advanced even slower than when she had stayed in her comfort zone. And she froze. She got so paralyzed, she couldn't take one more step.

So the young woman thought to herself. "Maybe, just maybe, I must not step all the way into what frightens me. Maybe there's another place I can step into."

And she turned to the owl who had been sitting on a twig above her head and watching her for a while, and she asked it for advice.

"Owl, can you help me? I know I need to leave my comfort zone. And I did. But now I'm stuck. Horribly stuck. I cannot take one more step."

And the owl looked at her for one moment, tilted her head, and responded: "Little girl. You've got a lot to learn. Don't take any guru's advice and stop using your own judgement. You already know your answer. What good place lies outside your comfort zone?"

And the young woman lit up again. "My courage zone!" She blurted out. "That doesn't feel so bad. It feels quite exciting, actually. Yes, I will go find my courage zone!"

And she shoved her feet, and took a little jump.

The owl smiled, spread her wings and flew off. She knew she wasn't needed any more.

And the young woman? Ran off into the world, avoiding the very dark places, jumping from one exciting adventure to the next and got further than she had ever dreamed. And she lived outrageously ever after.

And the moral of this story: Your courage zone is the place to be. (That almost rhymes! And anything that rhymes... is good!)

If you too want to find a better way to go about your marketing and building your creative career but haven't had the good fortune to meet your own personal, wise owl just yet, check out what we could do together here. I'm no guru and I wear no suit.

Posted on September 12, 2016 and filed under Mindset, Marketing, Brands, Sales.

"Just be Yourself And You'll Be Successful" is Horrible Advice. Here's Why

You've heard it before, this piece of advice and tempting promise:

"Just be yourself and you'll be successful. Do what you love and you shall be rich."

On some level you believe it. You definitely want it to be true. Honestly, it really does sound good. I think so too. But then again, it sounds a little too good to be true, and when you look around you see a lot of evidence to the contrary. You see people living their lives, doing what they feel like, and they're still broke, confused and overwhelmed. Not successful by any standards. Even though some of them are amazingly talented and very hard workers.

This breaks my heart.

So what is so wrong with 'Just being yourself'? So glad that you asked!

First, let's start with the obvious.

This isn't even giving you much of a direction at all. I ask you: Who is this ominous creature called 'just yourself'?

In my experience, whenever I ask somebody this question, people go into drunken sailor mode. Uh, well... that um, ... yeah.

Go ahead, try it for yourself. And while we are completely honest - I don't even know how to answer that question to satisfaction. Of course there are things that I know. I have preferences, talents, hopes and dreams. But I also know that there is more to me.

The thing is, who you (and I!) are today is actually the result of a whole lotta learned behavior. Much of this happened by coincidence. And it's not to your benefit.

So what you'd rather want is to BECOME more of yourself - by digging, uncovering, unlearning, experimenting, expressing and creating.

And you should. This is the greatest adventure you could have in your life, figuring out who you are. I for sure am on this journey.

I have the suspicion that the main reason for people to hang onto this piece of advice is because it's so easy to take it as an excuse to not make clear decisions, and avoid some of the work that's necessary.

But this is not even my main point. There's a much bigger reason to kiss this piece of well meant advice good bye for good.

Come back in a few days for part 2 of this little series. I know life gets busy, so make sure to leave your email below and I'll email you a gentle reminder once it's out.

Posted on September 11, 2015 and filed under Mindset.

The Networking-Test

What do They Call You? Do you know?

I'd like you to think back to the last time you were at a business mixer and this guy you used to work with introduced you to their business friend.

What did he say about you?

Was it what you wanted to hear? Or did it make you cringe and silently question that other person’s intelligence?

If the latter, then it’s time to make some changes, and to actively position yourself. Because although that might be nice, it’s not their job to figure you out. It’s yours.

Back in the day, when I was working as a journalist, we were always reminded that it was up to us to put in the work to make the reader’s experience easy. We were surprised to find out that easy to read articles are actually the hardest to write. But of course it makes sense—in order to express yourself concisely, you need to put in the thinking and distill your story down to its essential points. Then you begin your story with those.

Only after you managed to grasp your readers attention can you then add in more details and flesh everything out.

So back to you.

What is your story? What are the essential parts of you?

Spend some time digging deep and decide how you want to get introduced, and from now on consistently and confidently introduce yourself like that. People will pick it up happily, because you’re making it easy for them, and they will become your brand cheerleaders.

It’s the same with all aspects of creating your own personality based brand.

Be the metaphorical journalist so you can write your own story and don’t leave everything up to chance. Because to nobody else is your life as important as it is to you.

Decide what you want for your future, and what kind of person you need to be NOW to make it happen. Then it’s time to position yourself. And I hope you will. Because the next time I ask you what they call you, I want you to smile.

Posted on August 9, 2015 and filed under Marketing, Brands.

2 Minutes to a Better Performance

(Maybe even between the sheets. Who knows?)

Ever since my first trip to SXSW*, I've been really into life hacks**.

It's kinda cool how you just need to tweak a few things and suddenly your body becomes like that of a super hero, able to do things you were previously only able to dream about. It's amazing. Fold your shirts in nanoseconds! Optimize your caffein input! Sleep like superman! All possible! Maybe.

And then you stumble over something that is different.

It solves a problem you actually have. It's super simple to learn and implement. And it actually makes your life better. Backed by science. And tried and confirmed by yours truly.

So without further ado, here is the video. It will show you how to become a better performer with just two minutes of additional prep time, be that on stage, in interviews or even everyday life.

The secret are power poses, which lower cortisol and increase testosterone in your body and in return make you more alert, calm, confident, and articulate. In short: a better performer. In all areas of life.

This boils down to 3 simple action steps:

Step 1: Go and sit with your feet on the desk and your hands behind your head for one minute.

Srep 2: And then stand like that for another minute. (picture)

Step 3: Go and perform.

Have you tried this? How do YOU get ready for a gig? Don't keep your wisdom to yourself and leave a comment below.


* big ass interactive+music conference in Austin, Texas

** fancy word for 'uncommon solution for common problems'

Posted on July 15, 2015 .

Your Logo is not Your Brand (is not Your Logo)

KISS in concert. Photo by Andrew King

KISS in concert. Photo by Andrew King

Yesterday I was surfing the web, and I stumbled upon the home page of a branding agency. And there it was written, in big letters: It all starts with your logo.

Nooooooooo! It doesn't, I wanted to yell at them.  (Oh well, I can get a little passionate.) I really don't search out other branding web sites too often because I see this all the time and it has the tendency to make me feel just a little bit frustrated. I don't want to go into too much detail today, let's just say I had my reasons for giving that whole branding shebang my own twist.

But first things first.

A logo is not a brand. It's a logo.

(Tweet this)


Let me give you an example from the world of rock and roll. KISS are the godfathers of branding in the music world. However, KISS are not their logo. Their brand (in very short) can be boiled down to '4 guys in black and white face paint and a metal outfit, playing rock music'. Their logo reminds us of that brand. It's a visual hook. And, that's about it. Without the brand that same logo wouldn't mean jack.

Other artists keep changing their logo, and others, like Madonna, don't even have one. The same with personality based businesses, there are plenty without, and they don't do any better or worse.

So what about you? Do you need a logo?

The answer is a resounding no. You don't need to have one. Unless - you build your brand first and make the logo extra awesome. Then, and only then, it can make a real difference. My personal criterion when working with a client is the 'I need dat on ma t-shirt'-test. It's pretty straightforward. Feel free to steal it:

If the logo looks so good that you'd wear it on a t-shirt even if it wasn't yours - roll with it. Oh wait a minute, it doesn't? Skip it!

Instead, show your pretty face and pick a nice font to write your (business) name in, and leave it at that for the time being. Some of the most iconic logos out there weren't created until the brand behind it already was huge. Think the Rolling Stones tongue. Or the Apple apple. Right now, you've got better things to do and spend your money on than logos.

Know somebody thinking about getting a logo designed? Please share this link and help end the logo madness.

And once you did that I'd love to know: Which are your favorite logos that you would totally print on your t-shirt? Sound off in the comments below.

Posted on June 19, 2015 .

What's your 'thing'?

Aka: Your Unique Selling Point (USP)

You've met them before.

They rock.

The songwriting is excellent, they communicate with the audience, play energetic live shows and put effort into making them entertaining.

Many bands have what it takes – sort of. But unless there is something unique about them, people will just go home and forget about them.

When wanting to make money, bands, artists and businesses are very much alike.

(Tweet this!)

One of the things they absolutely must have is their own 'thing', or in marketing speak, a unique selling point, in short USP. And you my dear? Need one, too!

Now, don’t fret, it really isn’t as bad as it sounds. You really don't need to call it your USP either.

All it means is that there must be something special about you, something unique that people recognize and associate with you. An easy way to find your first 'something' is your style. Let's look into the world of rock'n'roll for some examples.

When thinking about USPs, things like the following come to mind: the rock band with the metal attitude and black & white make up (KISS), the guy with motorcycle helmet and built in telephone (Bob Log III, also pictured above), the guy with the distinctive voice and singing style (Alice Cooper), the band with the blond female singer with a retro do and bindi (old school No Doubt).

Some of these examples might be a bit more extravagant than what is comfortable for you. Especially so if your field doesn't scream 'creative artist.' That’s absolutely fine. A unique selling point works best when it’s authentic, and something subtle sometimes works just as well. However, to be completely frank, bolder can be better. So no need to be shy.

When trying to find your USP, think about what you like outside of your primary field of expertise.

What shows, activities, looks, costumes, characters, other art forms come to mind? How would you describe your most freakish side? What’s your favorite theme party costume? Find a certain look, a different singing or speaking style, accessories, gestures, accents... The possibilities are endless!

There are too many bands out there that play good music, artists with amazing technical skills, and entrepreneurs with passion and commitment -  that are lacking that ‘certain something’, and as a result success. Don’t be one of them! Come up with a few ideas and share in the comments below. And if you’d like some help with pin-pointing your special thing – well, you're in the right place.

Image: Bob Log |||

Posted on June 2, 2015 .