Take The Test, by Tom Hess
In my music Careers Mentoring
Program, I ask my students (those I mentor) to take a very special test in one
of the first few sessions. It’s an eye-opening experience for everyone who
goes through this (I’ll share this valuable test with you in a few moments).
Before my own professional music
career began I had been spinning my wheels for years, unaware of why I was not
yet a pro, even though my guitar playing and composition skills were already
highly developed. There was something missing that had prevented me from
getting the big success I was after. The biggest problem was that I wasn’t
even aware of what was missing. Years passed and a great mentor came into my
life who told me, “Reasons come first, answers come second”. This one
statement had a profound impact on me as I began to develop my career. It
became clear what it was I needed to do (get clear and conscious about the real
reasons behind what it was I wanted). Prior to that revelation I was basically
clueless about “how” I would ever develop and sustain a great career in the
music industry as a recording artist and internationally touring guitarist.
Once I had clarity of purpose, I was able to move toward my goals much more
On the surface, it may seem too
simple or too obvious how one can define one’s purpose and reasons behind an
ultimate goal. I assure you it is not as simple as it seems (as I will show
you soon). I asked and answered a series of questions for myself, which
eventually led me to the “true” path of success. 95% of my goal has been
realized and I continue to work towards the attainment of the remaining 5%.
With this new insight, I began to turn my attention towards my music students
(especially towards the career-minded musicians I mentor) and am happy to say
the results have been great for them and very rewarding for me.
All right, so if you have read this
far I’ll assume you are still with me, optimistic and open minded. Please get
a piece of paper and something to write with. (Do NOT try to take this test in
your head). You will get a lot more out of this, if you can see your answers
written on paper.
- Write down your goals (for now, lets stick with purely
musical related goals).
- Look at your written goals and choose one that is most
important to you (this is probably one of your long term goals).
- Now that you know your most important goal, imagine
that you now have it. What does this give you that you did not have
before? (write it down)
- So now that you have that, what will that
give you that you did not have before? Write this down.
- Now that you have this, what will this give
you that you did not have before? Write your answer down.
- Ok, so now you have another thing that you did not have
before. What will this other thing give you that you did not have
before? Whatever that is write it down.
- Continue going through this process of asking yourself,
“What will having this give me that I did not have before?” Ask yourself
this question as many times as it takes until you have refined your series
of answers down to the most fundamental answer – to the point where you
can not refine your answers any further.
- When you have that final answer, THIS IS WHAT YOU DESIRE
MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE. THIS IS YOUR TRUE GOAL.
If all of this seems confusing to
you, here is an example to illustrate how this works. Lets say your biggest
goal is to be wealthy. Following the steps above, it may have looked something
- Question: Write down your goals or things you want to
Answer: I want to be wealthy.
- Question: What does this give me that I did not have
Answer: It would allow me to stop
worrying about having enough money to pay for my expenses.
- Question: So now that I would be able to stop worrying
about paying for my expenses, what will that give me that I did not
Answer: It would give me the
ability to buy whatever I want and do whatever I want.
- Question: Now that you have the ability to buy and do
what I want, what will this give me that I did not have before?
- Question: Ok, so now you have this new freedom, what will
you do with it that you are not doing or experiencing now?
Answer: I wouldn’t have to work and
could spend more time with the people I care about.
You can see in this case, what
this person desires more than anything else is to spend more quality time with
people he/she cares about most. The wealth (money) was simply the vehicle
(method) that this person choose to use, but the heart of the matter is time,
not money. And the real obstacle isn’t a lack of money or time, it was a
perceived lack of freedom to spend more time with people without making big
sacrifices to do so.
Although becoming wealthy is a
perfectly good vehicle (method) to use, it may not be the most effective
vehicle for all people. Perhaps there are better, easier and faster ways to
reach the true goal of spending more time with people. And perhaps a perceived
lack of freedom is not the real obstacle at all. There are many other
possibilities that may be more valid reasons for why this person has not
reached the true goal yet.
If you have separate goals related
to music such as pursuing a career in music, go through the same list of
questions again and really dig down deep to find out what it REALLY is
that you want. You should discover that your ultimate final answers are deep
human emotional needs, not external material things. Getting these needs met
may have nothing to do with music and in fact you might be able to get your real
needs met by doing something else outside of music all together.
Now look back at your original
answers when you took the test and consider your present situation. Consider
these four things.
what you really want different than what you first stated your original goal
was? Notice how different it is. Can you see that your original stated goal
was probably a “vehicle” and not a real goal.
- Consider that what might have seemed like your primary
obstacle might not really be your real obstacle.
- Notice that your old strategy (if you had one) may be
ineffective in getting what you really want because it was focused on a
vehicle only and not the deeper goal.
- Are you on the right path?
Take the time: I
cannot overemphasize the point enough to really dig deep, so take your time and
don’t rush through this assignment, because doing so may literally save you a lifetime
of regret. In the corporate world, it’s common to hear stories of highly
successful business men and women, who sacrifice many things in life to climb
the corporate ladder. After many years, they reach the top and finally are
able to see the view of things with a broader perspective of their efforts and
all that they have worked so hard for. The tragedy for some is that the ladder
they climbed was leaning against the wrong wall and it is only in the end of
their career (or life) that they finally realize it with great regret.
That is part of the reason why I
have my music careers students go through this test. It is designed to allow
some people to discover for themselves that maybe a music career is not really
what they need or want in life. It is such an eye opening experience for them
since 5 minutes before going through this process, they thought they
were sure they wanted a music career. So obviously those people should not go any
further in the pursuit of a career in music and instead should change paths
toward what really matters in their life. It would be a shame to climb
the wrong ladder.
…However, for those that do
discover that a music career really is for them, new possibilities,
opportunities and powers are born and strengthened from their own clarity of
purpose and certainty of destiny. Because of this, their chances of success go
Go far beyond your
music: Putting music aside for a few moments, I have one final
request. Consider ALL aspects of your life.
Your relationships with your
family, friends, teachers (if you are a student), your employer (if you work),
career goals, personal goals, your creator (if you are spiritual or religious)
etc. Go through the entire series of questions I gave you in the test above.
Notice that in some areas you might already be on the right path to personal
fulfillment, happiness and success. With other things you may find yourself on
the wrong path. It’s a whole lot easier to get what you really want when you
have total clarity about what that really is based on the “reasons” of why you
want it. It’s extremely difficult to hit a target you can’t see.
I wish you the best….……really.
For further study on developing a career in the music
industry click here:
See Tom Hess on the HolyHell
world tour in 2006/2007. Tour dates posted here.
Copyright 2006 by Tom
Hess. All rights reserved. Used by permission.