Make your own kind of music …

Staying true to yourself

Listening to the Paloma Faith re-release of the old Mama Cass song got me thinking the other day. It’s a wonderful anthem to being your authentic self, to staying true to who you really are, and it very much feeds into the zeitgeist of individuality and designing a life that works for you.

For me, there’s a certain irony that the re-release is by a performer that a lot of other young women idolise and try to emulate, rather different from the plus-size Cass Elliott whose 250+ pounds didn’t stop her succeeding in the music business of the more accepting 1960’s. But that’s a side issue.

The real issue is that final part of the chorus:

“… even if nobody else sings along!”

Successful authenticity

There’s a knack to being successful at being authentic. Not just in the heady world of pop stars and performers, but also in the more mundane world of you and me. And that is to find the people who want to hear you sing your own special song. Stubbornly singing it alone, with nobody else joining in, is a recipe for disappointment.

And stubbornly continuing to offer your genius in a way the world isn’t interested in is a recipe for bankruptcy.

Hold the faith

But that doesn’t mean you should change your song – your genius, in my lexicon – to suit the mainstream audience everybody else is trying to satisfy. That would mean twisting yourself all out of shape, becoming someone you’re not. Not making the music – the magic – you are on the planet to make.

That would be a terrible waste.

Finding your tribe

But it is also a waste to be singing your song to an empty theatre. Or offering your genius to a market that doesn’t want it. The solution is not to try to change yourself, or your own special genius, but to change the people you offer it to.  Finding the people who need it, want it, value it, and are willing to pay you for it.

It’s not about stubbornly sticking to your guns and hoping that somehow the world will discover your genius. Staying idealistically authentic is only a part of the equation. The part that believes in fairy-tales like “just do what you love and the money will come”.

Test and measure

The other side of the equation is where you apply sound business principle of ‘test-and-measure’ to how and where you show up in the world. That latest blog you wrote, how many views did it get? What were the comments? Who appreciated it? And who didn’t? Did you post it on the right social media platforms? Which influencers picked it up? In other words, what were the metrics of your authentic self?

And if the metrics don’t stack up, and you can’t see how they are going to lead to a healthy following (and income), tweak something. That might be the exact words you use, or maybe where you publish it, or how you attract attention to it.  Maybe even the emphasis you give to each element of it. But you don’t have to change the core of yourself that it represents, just the details of the delivery mechanism or the audience.

Preach to the choir

There is nothing wrong with choosing to share your message with the people who are ready for it and want to hear it.  Find the people who love what you are saying, and who you’re being when you’re saying it.  Those are the people who will support you in getting your genius out there – by engaging you to do it for them, or by telling other people about you.

And when you’ve found them, give them more of what they love –

Make your own kind of music,

Sing your own special song,

And earn yourself a tribe who sing along!


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About The Author

Andrew Horder

Founder of Joyful Genius Coaching, Andrew has been working with business owners for many years, helping them find and maintain their unique focus - those activities and opportunities that they love, and will produce their success, what Andrew calls your Joyful Genius! Andrew's first book, The A to Z of Loving Work is available from Amazon

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