Sometimes the journey is just as fun as the fulfillment of the goal. Our son, Ben’s, journey to becoming a full-time musician started in the basement of our old house on 58th Street in Milwaukee. He had picked up the guitar and learned mostly on his own. Before long he bought a little four-track recorder and started writing and recording songs. Tonight he is the opening act in Atlanta for Parachute, a major label recording artist and pop band.
For the first time he will be riding on a tour bus for a run of dates. He will be playing in front of sold out houses. He will be enjoying the green room amenities in each city. He will be selling merchandise and meeting fans.
But it’s all only one step of the journey. The fans in those sold out houses haven’t necessarily come to see him. They have come to see Parachute. He’ll be fighting an uphill battle to draw attention and win over even some of the crowd. He’ll probably be playing over folks who’d rather look at their phones and talk to each other until the major act comes out. He’ll be hoping to sell at least a few items every night so that he can make a little money as he goes*.
(*Side note: if you’re ever at a concert and are tempted not to pay attention to the opening act, remember that this is a huge opportunity for that artist; remember that they have worked very hard to get where they are; remember that they have family and friends cheering them on from afar.)
This is just one single step on the journey to become a full-time, money-making musician. But it’s a pretty fun step. It is the most recent in a series of steps that have brought Ben and his musical project, “My Red and Blue,” to this place in time. These steps have included:
- Moving to Nashville to attend Belmont University, a school for hopeful musicians
- Meeting friends in Nashville who eventually became members of his band
- Writing and recording a first EP on a shoestring budget and some of Mom and Dad’s money
- Being selected to participate in Belmont’s Songwriter’s Showcase
- Being selected to participate in Belmont’s Rock Showcase
- Graduating, taking a corporate job for Warner Records on Nashville’s Music Row
- Deciding that the corporate life wasn’t for him
- Writing and recording two more EPs, the most recent with top notch Nashville studio musicians
- Being signed by Sorted Noise, a company that places music on commercials, TV shows, and films
- Traveling to Los Angeles to participate in a conference for music placement industry people
- Working in a restaurant to make ends meet, while spending the rest of every day writing new songs, making connections in the industry, and learning the business
It hasn’t been always easy, but there’s always been an element of fun. Ben’s goal is to be a musician who makes his living on music alone. Being invited to participate in a small leg of this tour with Parachute is just one step — a big one — but just a step nonetheless.
Before he knows it he’ll be back home and working, writing, learning, and working some more. He’ll be making art under the mantra: “Don’t wait for opportunity; create it.” And opportunities will most certainly arise, just as this one has. Ben hasn’t reached his ultimate goal, but he’s having fun along the way.
What about you? What step can you take today toward a goal you have for your life? When you take one small step every day pretty soon you’ll look back and find that you have traveled a long way toward your goal.
As you take those steps make sure that you are enjoying the journey. There is fun to be had even before a goal is reached. It’s fulfilling to look back and see the steps you’ve already taken. There is gratitude in recognizing those who have helped you along the way. There’s no sense in thinking it’s only the goal that brings pleasure.
The journey itself should be fun, as well.
How are you seeing to it that you are enjoying the journey toward your goal?