[This article was written by guest contributor Anthony Ceseri.]
Songwriting can be a tough business, so having the right mindset and a positive attitude is important. A lot of people create ‘limiting beliefs’ about themselves that hold them back from accomplishing what they want — and songwriters, in particular, do it all the time.
A limiting belief is something you believe about yourself that limits your ability to achieve your goals. The kicker is, they aren’t even true.
What’s so powerful about beliefs is that they’re more than just ideas. They’re ideas that are supercharged with our emotions, so they can seem impossible to shake. But it doesn’t have to be that hard to shake your limiting beliefs.
Change the way you feel about your own limitations
An easy way to get rid of your limiting beliefs is to ask yourself: “Was there ever a time when this wasn’t true?” You’ll be surprised to see that the answer is basically always “yes,” which means you have it within you to accomplish what you want.
Now let’s look at some common limiting beliefs songwriters have, and how to dispel them.
Limiting Belief #1: I can’t make it in the music business. I don’t have any connections. It’s all who you know.
The Truth: Now more than ever, independent musicians are creating opportunities for their own success. Tools like social media and home recording studios have made it possible for someone to create and distribute their own music with relative ease. It’s a better time than ever to be approaching music on your own. Websites like Taxi give you direct access to submitting your music to industry professionals. It happens constantly that independent musicians make a living without having an “in” in the industry.
Having said that, it is good to know people too. For that reason, if you don’t have connections, start making them. Start networking with other musicians. Go to songwriting conventions and classes, and get involved with social media groups online. When you interact in these communities, don’t just meet people and tell them what you want. Instead, build relationships with them. Your relationship with one person can lead to another through mutual friends, and so on. Before you know it, you’ll have a solid foundation of industry contacts.
Limiting Belief #2: I’m too old to start making money with my music.
The Truth: People start making money with their music at all different ages. Again, it happens all the time. Susan Boyle was almost fifty when she started getting millions of hits on her YouTube videos. What if she would have told herself she was too old to try? Do record labels typically look for people in their teens or early twenties to be the face of pop music? Sure, but becoming a pop star in that sense is not the only road to the music business. Like I said, if you make it as an independent songwriter, you won’t be relying on a label anyway. Get great at what you do, so you can become irresistible to who you’re trying to attract.
Limiting Belief #3: I’m too young to be a songwriter.
The Truth: I’ll hear kids say things like “I’m trying to be a songwriter.” If you’ve written a song, you are a songwriter. Period. Eliminate the word “trying” from your vocabulary, and simply do. If you think you’re too young to make money with your music, there are plenty of precedents to shatter that myth. If you’re still concerned about being too young, just wait a while and it’ll go away.
Limiting Belief #4: I can’t build a fan base. No one wants to hear my music.
The Truth: Things like email lists and social media sites make it easier than ever to build a fan base and maintain a relationship with your fans. Indie artists do it all the time. Why would you be different? And if you’re concerned that your songs aren’t good enough, an education and more practice with songwriting will help you with that. That’s why you’re reading this article, so you’re already on the right track. You just have to be persistent and keep doing it.
Now it’s your turn. Make a list of your own personal limiting beliefs and then come up with reasons they’re not true. Find examples of when they haven’t been true. There will be plenty. It’ll help you realize you’re capable of so much more than you thought. The truth is, whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re probably right. So start realizing you can. We’re only bound by the shackles we put on ourselves. It’s up to us to remove them.
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