Me? Here’s what I know:
HAVE THE GUTS TO BE IMPERFECT
Have the guts to be out there in the world, even imperfectly, so that you can practice and get better at doing your thing. You can go on my YouTube channel and experience lots of imperfect moments. But, here’s the crazy thing: Sometimes the imperfect moments are more touching than the perfect ones because they showcase your willingness to be vulnerable, real, and ultimately human.
You can always get better at doing that thing you do. I study regularly with a vocal coach. Even though I‘ve been playing the guitar for over twenty years, I taught myself last year how to use a guitar pick by watching YouTube videos. I belong to a Toastmasters club. I videotape almost every gig so that I can watch it from the audience’s perspective. I’m getting better all the time. Always have an eye toward improvement.
HAVE A GREATER VISION
Don’t lose sight of your mission. My mission as a performer is to create a space in which you can access parts of yourself that you might not always access and to connect you with other people. I understand that my music is in the service of something greater, which puts the focus on my audience and takes the pressure off of me being perfect as a performer (whatever that even means). Have a greater vision so that you’re not stuck thinking only about yourself.
Never stop doing your thing, especially when you do not receive any recognition in the form of money, appreciation, or otherwise. I wrote songs when I was in high school, when I was in college, when my writing space was a walk-in closet, when I had a full time job, when I had four part-time jobs, when I had babies, when I lived in a different country. I write when I’m driving, when I’m swimming, when I feel like hell, when I’m supposed to be cooking dinner. You get the picture: Don’t stop. Especially when nobody cares about it but you.
LEARN FROM FAILURE AND REJECTION
Do your best to learn from every situation. The list of my professional failures and rejections is too long to enumerate and I suspect that there are lots more of each to come in my future. When you experience failure and/or rejection, feel the yucky-ness of the situation, learn what you can, and move on. If you’re so afraid to fail that you never put yourself out there, you forfeit your opportunity to lead, and we miss out on our opportunity to learn from you.
Speak the truth. People say to me, “Thank you for sharing yourself. I recognize my experience in yours and that makes me feel less alone.” In order for that to happen, you have to be real. Don’t say what you think people want to hear, or what looks good, or what sounds right. Although it can be terrifying to speak the truth of your experience, it can heal both you and the one who hears it.
LOVE YOUR AUDIENCE
Be grateful for the people who make your dreams possible. I love, respect, and appreciate my audience and am grateful for their interest and support. I am genuinely interested in the people who love my music. While I am partly on stage for me (there is nothing I love more that the opportunity to share my music with a live audience), I am mainly there to deliver something meaningful to the people who have chosen to spend their valuable time with me. Appreciate the opportunities to do what you love doing.
BE CONSISTENTLY CREATIVE
Creativity is having the guts to bring what is inside of you to the outside. That is why every person is creative in one way or another and why creating is our birthright. I never have writer’s block and I never stop creating. I can teach you how to tap into that never-ending fount of creative expression.
So, I’m curious: What do you have to teach? What can we learn from you? What do you know that we don’t yet know? Please let us know in a comment below.
Julie Geller is singer/songwriter and speaker based in Denver, Colorado. She leads a community of creative women and will be teaching The Magic of You, a women’s creativity webinar, in January of 2018.