Last week a singer-songwriter, who had been most insistent (like the old woman and the judge) that we get together for a ‘one on one’, dropped by my office. The songwriter hoped that I would agree to a) be her songwriting coach and b) introduce her to producer‘s or labels that would be interested in signing her.
After we had moved on from discussing the weather and completed the usual pleasantries associated with meeting someone new, she took out her acoustic guitar and played some of her original songs for me.
I could hear the makings of a good writer in her… and I can honestly say that I was impressed with bits and pieces of each song… a melody here and a lyric there.
But that’s like saying that the parts of the apple the worm hasn’t eaten are quite edible.
For each song as a whole was… lets say… not quite ready for the market place.
It didn’t take long for me to work out that she was not interested in the coaching part… and that she had only dropped by to have a peek at my little black book of industry contacts.
For she, like many American idol contestants, had been ‘so’ encouraged and endorsed by Mom, Dad, friends, family and her posse of loyal fans that she was convinced that she was already the finished article.
Who was I, a mere mortal, to differ?
And so, after a few failed attempts at communicating some ‘fatherly’ advice I politely thanked her for dropping by and wished her well on her big adventure.
After she had driven off I sat staring into space for a few moments, pondering the subject of ‘being open to change’. It is especially difficult when things are going well for us.
Because as soon as we gain confidence in something… when we have forward motion… it seems silly to stop and listen and consider an alternative view.
But no matter how young or old I am, if want to grow, or better myself, or discover something new, gain wisdom, chance upon a solution and or maybe ‘find myself’, then I need to approach each hurdle before me with a beginner’s mind.
Like anything else in life though, to become good at being a ‘beginner’… takes practice.
I practice by saying “I know nothing”.
I am becoming a better person since I began this practice… and a better musician, writer, communicator… and listener. I’d love to be able to discuss this on a deeper level… or open this up to take your questions… but in truth… as Sargent Schultz would so aptly say… “I know nothing”