Chris Boardman Music Blog: May 2014

Friday, May 23, 2014

Creating a sense of community

What is community? How do we define it? Do we actually know what it is? Ever thought about why we as humans think it is important? With a big h/t to Greg Lexiphanic here are a few thoughts to consider. I will try to paraphrase this great ebook. 
Key criteria to establish a “sense of community” (as defined by David McMillan & David Chavis- “sense of community: a theory and definition”) are:
1. Membership 2. Influence 3. Fulfilment of needs 4. Shared emotional connection.
For a community to exist members must experience a sense of community.
How can you create a community around who you are, your business, your interests? Take the time to understand how these four elements relate to each other and what they mean individually.
Membership implies exclusivity (a barrier to entry or boundary). Either you are in or you are out. Implied in membership is a trust that you will be safe and taken care of within the boundaries and definitions of the group.
Influence is gained by having an affecting change on the group. Influence is only achieved by listening as well as expressing your beliefs.
“People who acknowledge that others’ needs, values, and opinions matter to them are often the most influential group members, while those who always push to influence, try to dominate others, and ignore the wishes and opinions of others are often the least powerful members.” —McMillan & Chavis, 1986
The fuel to drive a community is reinforcement. To receive reinforcement requires participation by the members. If participation focuses on the betterment of the group then reinforcement and a “sense of community” can be achieved. It is a two way street of give and take within the boundaries created by the group. No matter which side of the coin you are on (giving or receiving), if you feel fulfilled by taking part, the group will satisfy your need to belong and a bond will develop.
Shared Emotional Connection. There is a great line from the film Local Color that talks about art: “A shared experience is more meaningful than one experienced alone.”
Why is it we seek out group experience rather than isolation?
Intimacy, acknowledgement, sharing of views in a defined format, reward for your investment of time and energy and spiritual bonding ties us together in groups creating a more powerful experience than trying to do it alone. It is why we identify with and join groups in the first place. We are tribal animals…it is intrinsic to our nature.
Look at your business and personal relationships. Question the drivers and quality of the interactions, what value you derive from feeling connected and reward you receive in return. Productive relationships are always win-win. If you focus on the value you add rather than "what's in it for me" a win-win out come is easier to achieve. 
Attempting to create an online or offline community is difficult and time consuming. However, the rewards can far outweigh your  investment of time and money. People will surprise you. Your reward will be reflective of the bonds you create in your community rather than tied to a specific outcome or expectation. 
Most of us blithely stumble into situations that are driven by habit and conditioning rather than conscious thought. The opportunity for all of us who are interested in creating community is not only to achieve or goals but also to learn more about ourselves.
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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Ideas vs. Execution- Monday Musings

What separates the successful from the wannabes is execution.

Oh man! My dream is to be ______!!!! 

Where do I start? 

As you begin your journey you will be filled with excitement, uncertainty and have many questions. It is all too easy to bounce from one idea to another especially in today’s social media driven environment. Too much stimulation. Too many choices. No clear answers. Knowing which questions to ask and how to assemble what you learn will be crucial to reaching your destination.

Daunting? maybe. Insurmountable? no.

Failing to plan is planning to fail.

When you peel an onion multiple layers unfold. Each one is slightly different with each fulfilling a specific purpose while still being part of the whole. Like peeling an onion, deconstructing your dream into smaller, manageable pieces allows you to see how the puzzle is put together.

Ideas are a dime a dozen especially with creative individuals. Not unlike having a marble continually rolling around inside your head without end. Creating something tangible from your idea requires you to get it out of your head so you can examine it from different angles before you take action.

Any journey or project requires research and planning to be able to execute. And while planning may not seem as glamorous as creating it is every bit as important. And, it can be creatively rewarding too.

If you are considering taking a vacation most likely it is the destination that entices you to choose one over another. And while there may be many things to see along the way the destination is usually the driver. Committing to the idea (of taking a vacation) is the first step. Breaking your trip into manageable pieces (how far you will have to drive each day, where you will stay each night etc) will ensure you reach your destination. 

You can take the same approach to your career. The overwhelming part comes from looking at the mountain wondering how you will ever get to the top?  Without doing the necessary preparation it is next to impossible. And while everyone's journey is different, in the end, the path is remarkably similar.

A big difference between those who succeed those who don't is that the successful person can create a strategy, know what tools to acquire and how to create tasks small enough to be executed successfully. You build a wall one step at a time.

Don't let the size of the mountain stop you. The more aware you become you may realize that your approach will have to change to reach your destination. And if your approach has to change. So be it. Better to take a detour than stay on a dead end road.

The trick is to enjoy the ride. :)

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Monday Musings: 5 steps to increase your effectiveness

When I was in my twenties I discovered that I had some bad habits that were preventing me from getting the most out of my life and career. I was getting in my own way. I was unconsciously sabotaging myself.

Through much effort and plenty of angst I learned that if I paid attention to a few basic truths I could combat my conditioned behavior and not be enslaved by habits that were less than productive. Take this for what its worth. I hope it is helpful.

1. Accountability
Your behavior is never someone else’s fault. Regardless of the situation you are accountable for your actions.

2- Control.
Knowing what you can and can’t control will help you clarify your role in your process. See the big picture. Know the limits of your responsibility.

3- Personal growth
We are all participants in our own journey…the hero of our story. If you can see the pot of gold you desire the path is clear to you. However, most likely it is YOU that is holding you back.  Work on yourself.

4- Observation.
Motivation seemingly comes from many sources but can always be traced back to acting out of love or fear. Awareness of yourself and your feeling while you are in the process will illuminate the true motivation for your actions. Don't be afraid of what you see when you pull back the curtain. The path to empowerment comes from the ability to see which actions are beneficial or detrimental.

5-Be Bold.
The line between foolish behavior and bold action may seem thin to the outsider. However, to the participant bold actions seems like the only choice worth making. The hero makes the only choice they can see...the best choice at the time. 

If you wildly make a choice that results in success chances are it was an accident.
If you make choices and achieve your goal more than once it may be a coincidence.
If you continually progress towards your goal you have discovered a pattern.

If you work to objectively look at your behavior and abilities you will have a better chance at becoming more effective at EVERYTHING you attempt.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Monday Musings: Wash, Rinse, Repeat

Entrepreneurship, composing and survival.

Ever wonder why some people succeed and others don’t? In the past pathways to success were well defined and thus can be navigated. As it was when Henry Ford created the assembly line, finding your pathway to success today it is not so simple. 

Navigating through life and music can be viewed as a continual decision making process—constantly choosing between different options. But how do we determine which choice to make?

There are no rules. Most of us rely on our intuition to help guide us based upon past successes and failures thinking that what has worked in the past will work again. But what if the rules change in the middle of the game?

If our goal is stay in the game (survival) both our attitude and our perception has to change to meet the challenges as we face them. We must change our expectations and goals to stay inline with life as it is—not as it was. Why is that so difficult?

Conditioned responses are very difficult to change. The good news is that it is not impossible. The challenge is to not only be a participant in your life but also an observer. If you make the commitment to being brutally honest with yourself you can apply the problem solving skills you have developed in your creative life and intuition . Here are some steps that helped me:

     1-   Accepting that my previous life no longer exists- and to pursue the future using previous models will not move my life forward.

     2-   Doing a personal SWOT Analysis

     3-   Keeping abreast of leading trends.

     4-   Creating a strategy based on what you have learned.

Wash, Rinse, Repeat.

As we move away from 20th century business practices (mass marketing, media, broadcasting) we will no longer have one or two careers in our lives. We will be forced to adapt from one career to the next as the world around us changes. Uncertainty is the new norm but it need not be overwhelming.

The good news in all of this is that the creative individual has an enormous advantage. The creative individual constantly reassesses and evaluates situations and opportunities.  Who better to define the future than the creative individual?

What is the best news?

If a strategy doesn’t work, let it go and start over. The only person holding you back is yourself.