Step Off the Productivity Treadmill
Try this simple strategy to refill your creative tank
*Welcome to The Musician's Mindset! I'm Katie, a certified life coach and flutist who helps musicians overcome performance anxiety and bring their best selves to the stage. I would love to talk to hear your stories about being a musician and what happens for you on stage. Click HERE and we’ll find some time to chat!*
We live in a world that tells us that we must continually lean it, push harder, achieve more and be productive. Oftentimes as musicians, our days are spent running from rehearsal to teaching to gigs, spending hours in the car, hustling to do this thing that we love. We find value in it, and feel like we are doing everything we can to make our dreams come true.
There is a sense of identity and purpose in the busyness. Like, if we are So Busy our lives must have meaning. We see this all the time on social media. People literally list all the things they accomplish each day and then check them off as the day goes on. To me, it simply perpetuates this hustle harder mentality and feeds into the toxic mindset of pushing yourself to the breaking point.
At what point did this become the way of the artist? At what point did we find our value in our hustle rather than in the privilege of making music?
My hope is that in this community at least, we can shift the paradigm. Let us be a people who strive for balance. Work and rest, productivity and recovery, intensity and restoration.
Let us be a people who honor our humanity. Who treat ourselves like whole entire humans - physical, emotional, spiritual, and creative beings who nourish each aspect of our personhood.
We cannot perpetually make withdrawals from our creative reserves. Our imaginations were not designed to function that way.
I know from experience that our art absolutely suffers when we treat ourselves like performance machines rather than the complex, creative spirits that we actually are.
Now, lest you think that I am living in a fantasy because there is no way to find this kind of margin in your own life, I assure you I Get It. I am not suggesting you take a week-long silent retreat at a monastery in the mountains or that you visit art museums every week (although wouldn't that be magical?!)
The beautiful thing about refilling our creative tanks is that it really doesn’t require that much. Tiny moments throughout the day are all it takes.
Today I give you, my dear hardworking and diligent musician, permission to tend to your creative spirit. I give you permission to step off the productivity treadmill and create space that brings you back into alignment with your fullest self.
When I need to shift from my get-er-done mindset to one that is more nourishing, I start to Beauty Hunt. I love this strategy because it is desperately simple and only requires me to open my heart up to wonder.
Something happens when we become singularly focused on a goal - we lose perspective on the depth and breadth of the world around us. At times this can be helpful! But when we are overtired and exhausted, this skill prevents us from finding true rest.
When we beauty hunt, we soften our minds and allow our hearts to lead. We release the To-Do List and embrace the Drink-It-All-In List instead.
Beauty hunting is the process of actively seeking out beauty in your everyday life. It requires nothing except a shift in perception.
Bumblebees on the roses,
An elderly couple holding hands,
A dad picking his daughter up from school,
An act of kindness from a stranger,
The way the shadow falls through the window,
The beautiful warm-up your colleague plays before rehearsal,
The way the light sparkles through the chandelier in the hall.
An inspiring quote,
The sound of the woodpecker hunting for food,
The flash of your sneakers on the pavement,
The way the air conditioner hums in the heat of the summer.
All you need to do is NOTICE. Notice the magic, notice the whimsy, notice the beauty. It’s right there, right in front of you. All the time.
Beauty hunting reminds you that there is goodness in this world, that there are things worth fighting for, things worth making music for.
As artists, our calling is to create. We make something out of nothing. Only, we don’t really, do we? We create from the wells of our experience, from the art and ideas we have consumed, from the love we have loved or lost, from our ideals and passions.
It is vitally important that that well be refilled regularly! Otherwise, our art will suffer. Imagination requires space and vulnerability to be activated. When we are pounding out day after day without respite, how can we possibly enter into a space of creation?
I invite you today to begin this new habit of beauty hunting. Take micro-moments throughout your day and fill your creative spirit with something lovely. You’ll be the better for it, as a human and as a musician.
Next Steps and Additional Resources
Here at The Musician's Mindset, we have some incredible resources for developing and implementing mindset practices that will transform how you perform on stage.
First, check out our Personalized Mindset Tools Quiz to discover the mindset strategies perfect for YOU!
Schedule your FREE 30 Minute Call with Katie. It’s free. It’s my pleasure. And it’s the first step to releasing stage fright once and for all.
Founder of The Musician's Mindset
Katie is a certified life coach dedicated to helping musicians overcome stage fright and believe in their own unique artistic voice. She believes live classical music is a powerful antidote for the division, pain, and loneliness pervasive in the culture and strives to support all artists to confidently share their work with the world. She lives in Cincinnati with her husband, three kiddos, a dog, a snake, and a goldfish named Orca.