TAG: strengths

Career Planning for Music Entrepreneurs: Tapping Into Vision and Going for Plan A

The past two weeks, I have had a great time working with the future stars of concert music and talking a lot about how to create a successful career as a musician. First, I spent two days with the Fellows at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, located in the picture-perfect hills of Northwest Connecticut on a beautiful estate where the …

Managing Challenge for Arts Leaders: How to Empower Your Leadership by Changing The Situation

This week, I had the honor to work with the 14 participants in Opera America’s Leadership Intensive, a program dedicated to identifying and forming the future leaders of opera by providing them with the skills and contacts that can help them advance in their careers. My role was to teach the “soft” skills of leadership:  how to empower yourself to lead …

Top 10 Public Speaking Tips for Arts Leaders and Music Entrepreneurs

What is the first thing that comes up for you when you think about addressing a group of people, whether it is a wedding toast, a speech to a live audience at a music performance or a presentation at your local charity? If the answer is “fear” or “dread”, you are not alone! Fear of public speaking or glossophobia is …

Playing To Strengths Part 1: Do I Have To Be Good At Everything In Order To Succeed?

My class at Yale this semester is my most diverse group to date, mixing opera singers, early music voice majors, composers, string and orchestra players, one guitar major and a conducting student.  The result is a rich sharing experience from many points of view.  And they are highly motivated to find out what it takes to create success in today’s …

Fighting Your Way To The Top: 5 Ways to Manage Inner Conflicts

We live in a complicated, interesting world today where many in the classical music world are wringing their hands because of perceived lack of opportunities for making a successful career, while others (myself included) view our world today as one of tremendous possibility and opportunity.

This is one of the reasons that I am so passionate about teaching musicians how to look at the world as one of opportunity.  One of my objectives is to help my students adopt a positive attitude towards their lives and their careers since I believe very strongly that happiness and optimism breed success and not vice-versa!
Optimism is also essential to the mindset of the music entrepreneur of the 21st Century.

In my class, we start by examining the different attitudes that one can bring to a music career. This attitude is formed by past experiences and perceptions and it translates into energy:

•    stressful energy for things that make you feel hopeless, fearful, angry, or conflicted or

•    motivating energy that makes you feel that you can manage your life, inspires you to keep moving forward, be of service and find opportunity.

How Happiness Breeds Success: 5 Tips to Enhance Your Career Success

For those who know me, it should come as no surprise that positivity is one of signature strengths (under the StrengthsFinder 2.0 strengths assessment), something that I am truly grateful for.  So when I learned that there was a branch of study called positive psychology, I was most intrigued to find out more. 

Positive psychology, a field that emerged in the 1980’s, is the scientific study of what makes people thrive and excel.  Simply put, it is the science of what makes us happy.

Happiness is often defined as “subjective well-being”, involving pleasure, engagement and finding meaning in life.   This can include:

•    Realizing that you have the capacity to change
•    Experiencing fulfillment
•    Joy in striving towards your potential

Happiness comes along with a positive mindset that looks at the world through the lens of learning and opportunity. For professional musicians, cultivating a positive mindset is an essential element of music entrepreneurship. Let’s take a closer look at how the science of happiness can help musicians to create greater career success.

Managing Multiple Passions: Taking Charge of Your Life and Living at Choice

One of the hallmarks of creative success is having a positive can-do mindset and feeling great about the choices that you make because this makes you feel in charge of your life.  This can be quite a challenge for those with multiple passions. I recently explored the challenges of having multiple passions and how to push through the fears that often paralyze those who love a lot of different things and are afraid to make the “wrong” decision. 

There is another big challenge in managing multiple passions: deciding which one to focus on.  When you love a lot of different things, it is tempting to want to do everything.  However, that is simply not realistic. In my experience, people who do “everything” wind up defaulting on their commitments, jeopardizing their relationships, feeling overwhelmed and often harming their health.  And yet, if we love doing a lot of different things, we might land up feeling resentful if we have to put off doing something we love.

Managing multiple passions is a function of choosing the activities that advance your goals and make you feel great about your decisions.  So here are a few strategies that can help you to focus your efforts and manage those passions!

Managing Multiple Passions: Achieving Creative Fulfillment and Pushing Through Fear

What do you do when you love so many things that you cannot decide what career direction to pursue?

As someone who transitioned from French literature to law to non-profit management to consulting to career coaching to teaching career entrepreneurship at the Yale School of Music and writing, speaking and coaching on career fulfillment, I was plagued by this very issue.  Indeed, over the course of my various career iterations, I went from utter frustration at thinking that I was never going to figure it out to embarking on a process of reflection and experimentation to learning the beauty of aligning one’s career with one’s passions, values and strengths and of honoring the twists and turns of the journey to creative fulfillment and career success. 

Yes, the process takes time and often leaves you wondering where you are going but once you connect the dots, there is nothing quite like it.  If you are someone with multiple passions and feel stuck in your tracks, here are some reflections on what might be holding you back and what you can do about it.

Speaking About Music: How to Be Confident and Powerful

If you happened to wander by my classroom at Yale recently, you would have seen and heard my students and their professor (that would be me!) moving their arms, doing knee bends, rolling their lip, singing scales to the tune of “mi mi mi” and reciting tongue twisters under the tutelage of Professor Brian Lewis who came to my class to help us learn more about public speaking and overcome “glossophobia”(the fear of public speaking).

In fact, in some surveys, fear of public speaking is the number one common phobia, ranking even higher than the fear of death!  So Professor Lewis was there to give us some valuable tips on how to get comfortable with public speaking since he adn I both believe that this is an essential skill for today’s musicians.  Here is a summary of his remarks, together with my own observations on how to speak in public with power and confidence. 

Two Confidence-Boosting Tools for Music Entrepreneurs: Strengths and Flow

One of the goals of my entrepreneurship class at the Yale School of Music is to help my students develop a mindset of positivity and project confidence since this is at the heart of being a successful entrepreneur. My students have learned two great tools for boosting their confidence—strengths and Flow.  These are more than “feel-good props”.  Both originate from positive psychology, the scientific study of the strengths and virtues that enable individuals and communities to thrive and whose mission includes “find[ing]and nurture[ing] genius and talent”.

What’s not to like?

So here is how strengths and Flow can help you to become confident in your professional and your personal endeavors.