5 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I First Started Out in Music

By GoGirlsMusic Co-Executive Director rorie kelly

17 year old me, with my first guitar, sitting on my first car.

As we approach the end of the year, we get an opportunity to look back at what worked and what didn’t work for us. With each new cycle we get the choice to either repeat our mistakes, or learn from them and move on.

Today I’m inviting you to look back even further than the past year, and ask yourself what you wish you’d known in the early days of your career. You can’t change the past and this is not an invitation to dwell on “what might have been”. Instead, I invite you to change the present and the future.

What do you wish someone had told you back then? Write down your biggest takeaways, the advice you wish your younger self could have known. Then, I strongly recommend that you step out of memory lane and reread that list as your present self.

You can’t tell past you what to do — but you can take present you in hand right now and tell her what she needs to know to make good choices. Move into the new year and any goals you might set with a firm foundation of what you learned along the way.

Here are the 5 things I wish I’d known when I first started out. What are yours?

1. Spend less time on designing the perfect show flyer, and more time personally inviting people to the show.

2. You don't have to prove your commitment by working nonstop. Overwork leads to health problems and lack of sleep leads to poor judgment. Working less and being kind to yourself actually gets better results everytime.

3. Stop trying to not offend anyone. You don't build a career on a million vaguely unoffended people--you build it on a small but growing crew of fiercely loyal folks. The people who want to experience you as is are out there.

4. Don't try to prove yourself to anyone but you. YOUR belief is the only thing that will make or break your career. If you find yourself trying to prove yourself to another person, stop and ask where your relationship with yourself needs work. Do the work.

5. When taking career advice, ask people of any age who are already doing what you want to do. Don't assume that older = wiser. Be open to changing your beliefs about what works and what doesn't, but don't give your energy to people who seem to want you to settle or aim lower.

What would you tell your younger self if you could go back? What are you going to tell your present self right now? Please share in the comments. Let’s share the wealth and commit to living beyond our mistakes.

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