Finding something of value you weren’t looking for can be thrilling, especially when it
Recently, I wrote a post about how learning something unrelated to your job can actually boost your career.
I figured if that advice was good for you, it would do me good too. So I started taking acoustic guitar lessons where I’m learning more than I ever imagined about myself and my career while making a little music.
It’s easy to get comfortable with our lives, even when we aren’t happy about the trajectory.
Deep down we know there are things we’d like to do, but the energy or the courage to make the effort isn’t there.
What we often forget is that new experiences add to our portfolio, broadening the skills and reference points we bring to our careers. Simply put, new experiences make us more interesting and more confident.
My interest in learning guitar was just a curiosity. I’d played piano as a kid but the guitar’s portability and intimacy seemed more suited to me now. I may have continued putting it off except in passing my friend, Pam, said she’d often thought about taking guitar. That’s all it took. We were both in.
And the beat begins.
Expect the unexpected. That’s how it goes when you try something new.
This process is pretty much the same no matter what you take on:
Get properly equipped–The first guitar I got was too small, so I exchanged it for a Martin that was perfect. Then I learned it had to live in a case where the right humidity was managed. After I got that straight, I needed a metronome, a tuner, and picks. Done!
Learn skills and right attitudes–I signed up for lessons with Joey Mutis, a teaching, performing, and recorded musician/song writer, perfect. In two sessions, he got me comfortable with my guitar and began helping me overcome my perfectionism anxieties while teaching me playing mechanics.
Build new perspectives–I needed to understand and accept that playing isn’t about getting all the notes right, but rather about making music. Ultimately, playing guitar is about playing with others, so it’s important is that everyone follows the beat and ends together, a few bad notes generally go unnoticed by listeners. Who knew?
Nurture your aptitudes–I learned that everything about guitar playing can be taught, but not rhythm. Luckily I have that. It was a relief that I brought something built-in to the experience.
Get connected–Now every time I see guitar players, I’m transfixed by their playing. I’ve discovered friends and colleagues who play, so now I can talk about gigs, gear, and techniques, enriching our connection and building a broader bond.
While expecting a good time learning guitar, I found a life-enriching experience.
The deeper vibe
Things we do for fun become fuel for professional growth. This guitar experience for me is no exception. As a coach and consultant, I will bring new perspectives to clients on:
Mistakes–Expecting or seeking perfection becomes useless and punishing self-criticism that only hampers performance. In spite of some wrong notes, the music still reaches you. The same is true for your projects, presentations, and plans. So you need to just keep going, correcting for any serious mistakes in the next take.
Teamwork–Successful teams work through their problems, helping each other out, shaking off incidental mistakes, and reinforcing their collective purpose–to get the right work done in the best way possible. A good band does that because, to each player, the music matters.
Practice–Practice makes progress, not perfection. What matters is to stay committed, discover your ever-increasing capabilities, and enjoy the process while you wait for the next opportunity to showcase what you have mastered.
Learning is a process. The more we invest, the greater our return. It brings insights and revelations at every turn, through every experience, and by the sheer strength of your curiosity.
Today’s another day for you to revisit something that you’ve always wanted to explore. Then go ahead and do it. Your career will thank you.