10 Steps To Success
We all have hopes, plans and dreams. But how do we take our dreams and actually make them a reality? Check out these 10 steps to find your own success!
1. Know Your Vision
The first thing you need is vision for what you want to achieve. There is a reason why one of the top job interview questions is, “What is your five year plan?” “What is your ten year plan?” People who don’t know what they are striving for won’t know how to get there.
So, you have a vision for what you want to achieve, now the next step is setting up goals for yourself that will help you along the way. Whatever your dreams are, create achievable goals that will help you get there. I say achievable, because often people set their goals too high and then they get frustrated and give up when they can’t meet them. When I decided that I wanted to not only be a singer, but a songwriter, I didn’t just sit down and try to write an entire song by myself. First, I surrounded myself with people who actually knew how to write songs and I contributed what I could and learned from their feedback.
3. Follow Through
Vision and planning is essential, but without follow through, it’s pretty worthless! You can want something until you are blue in the face, you can even plan exactly how you are going to do it, but none of that means anything if you don’t follow through and actually do it. You planned to practice guitar at least 3 hours a week, but are you actually doing it?
Way to go! You have vision, you plan well and you follow though! Now what? Repeat steps two and three over and over again until the end of time. If you are planning well and following through, it is inevitable that what once was a challenge, you can now do with your eyes closed. Now you have to set new goals for yourself that will challenge you again and help you achieve your ultimate vision of success. You can always keep growing and improving!
5. Put Yourself Out There
You are as good as anyone out there in your field and getting better all the time, opportunities will start knocking down your door, right? Wrong. Unless your daddy is rich and famous, chances are no one is knocking down your door offering you the opportunity of a lifetime. Now is the time to start putting yourself out there. One of the main questions people ask me is, “How do you start a career in music?” I say, “You start playing/singing anywhere and everywhere you can. The more people who see you, the more opportunities that will begin to emerge.” Understand that you have to work your way to the top; you don’t just start there. So if someone asks you to sing for opening day ceremony for little league baseball, you say, “Sure” and you sing for the little children. I said yes to that, I learned how to sing a killer National Anthem and 2 years later I was singing for major league baseball games.
6. Expect Rejections
When you start to put yourself out there, it is nearly inevitable that you will be turned down. Depending on your career choice, you may get turned down hundreds of times (especially if you want a career in entertainment!). I laugh every time I hear about an “overnight success” because usually if you research more about that person’s story, you will find that they have been working hard year after year making projects that no one cared about until they finally had their “overnight success”. Don’t give up just because you encounter a little, or a lot of rejection.
7. Remind Yourself Why You Love It
Your initial vision in step one- did you have that vision because you wanted fame and fortune? Now is probably when you start to realize that that doesn’t come nearly as easily as you think. Remind yourself why you love what you do. If you wanted to be an actor, singer, entrepreneur- you fill in the blank, because you wanted to be famous, you will become depressed after a few short months of rejection. If you want it because you absolutely love it, you are on the right track. But time after time, and rejection after rejection, you need to remind yourself why you love it. So take off the pressure every once and a while and do what you love, not because you have to, or because you are trying to make a living, but because it satisfies the desires of your heart.
8. Pick Yourself Back Up Again
You didn’t get the job you wanted and that hurts. Now you have a choice, give up or put yourself back out there, work harder, knock on more doors, be willing to start lower down on the ladder than you wanted and prove that you deserve to be higher. Make it a challenge to prove some people wrong!
9. Don’t be Afraid to Redefine “Success”
When I was 16, my biggest goals were:
1. Win a Grammy
2. Tour the World
3. Get cast in my favorite TV show
Do I still want those things? Sure, what singer wouldn’t? But those things are no longer my definition of “success”. Now, my goal is to write music that really matters to me. I want to focus on making music that impacts people in a deep and profound way. When we first start out, we often have naïve ideas of what will really make us happy in life. Don’t be afraid to let your desires change and grow as you change and grow.
10. Work Hard No Matter What
Whether you are working a $9 an hour job or you are making 6 figures, commit yourself fully to the tasks at hand. Those who are faithful in small things will also be faithful with big things. You put a hard working person into any job and they will likely work their way up. You put a lazy person in a high position and they will likely fall back down.
“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” ― Norman Vincent Peale
9 Fun Ideas to Fire Up Your 4th of July!
No plans for the 4th of July? Read on for some fresh new ideas!
1. Discover Something New
Have you been to the same fireworks show every single year since you were 5? Why not check out a new town and show this year! Just pick a town near or far, google it and see what they have going on! Chances are there are great shows, entertainment, food and fireworks near by may put a new spin on your 4th of July fun!
2. Plan a BBQ
So no one invited you over for the 4th of July… Why not be the one to invite! Pick up some burgers and invite everyone else to bring something to go along with it. Looking for an awesome playlist to get everyone in the patriotic mood? Check out Billboards “20 Awesome America Songs”.
3. Cool Off With Some Water Fun!
The sun is shining; the heat is rising, what better way to have some fun than with water? If you live near the ocean, head on over for some surf, boogie boarding or pattle ball competitions on the shore. Live near a lake? Rent some kayaks and head out for the afternoon, or even better, at night when the fireworks are rolling! Don’t live near any water? Get some friends together for an epic water balloon fight!
4. Go Camping
Nothing says American pride like going out to explore our beautiful land. Hike during the day, toast up some smores at night and veto the tent for a night under the stars! You may just see some amazing shooting stars that are better than any firework show.
5. Bike Ride
There is so much energy and excitement going on all over your city. What better way to explore it all than a bike ride? Make sure you bring a bike lock because you might just want to stop and explore once you get to an exciting area!
6. Go on a Selfie Rampage With Your Friends
Excitement in the air means a lot of people around doing really odd things. Head down to the busiest spot in town and see who can take the best selfies with the strangest things going on in the background!
7. Have a Patriotic Costume War
You know all of those crazy patriotic t-shirts, pants, and accessories that all the stores are selling right now? They usually go on mega sales right when the 4th of July hits. Go on a patriotic shopping war with your friends and see who can come up with the most ridiculous over the top outfit for the lowest price.
8. Try Making a Patriotic Dessert
Are you in the mood for some creative fun? How about trying your hand at one of these tasty patriotic desserts? Maybe it will turn out just like the picture, or maybe it will turn out like an awkward blob, but you will sure have fun trying! Check out some patriotic dessert ideas here on Pintrest.
9. Play a Game with a Twist
Break out your favorite games and invite some friends over. But try it with this twist: the loser of each round has to stand up and perform their cheesiest rendition of a patriotic song. Go over the top and aim for the laughs. Need a new game to play? My favorite is “Spot it!” which you can find for $14 at Target!
Do you have a fun idea to add? Let me know and maybe I’ll try yours next year!
The #1 Thing We Need to Stop Doing
You know that awkward moment when you trip and fall, laugh too loud, stumble over your words, or react to a situation in a way that no one else in the room did? The heat rushes to your face and all eyes in the world seem to be on you. We usually react in one of two ways. We either try to brush it off like nothing happened, or we mumble some apology like, “I’m sorry, I’m so _______ (awkward, clumsy, loud… you fill in the blank)”.
We tend to hate it when we stand out from the group. Sure, we’d like to be unique, but we want to be unique in a way that is cool, in a way that makes people want to be like us. We want to be the person that everyone likes, not the person who everyone thinks is weird.
Because of that, we tend to spend our days monitoring ourselves in comparison to those around us. “Did they all laugh at the joke when I did?” “Is everyone else into this game like I am, or do they all think it’s lame?” “Am I going to be the only person at this party wearing a dress? Maybe I should wear jeans… but then what if I’m the only one wearing jeans?” We have these conversations in our head all day long as we constantly try to assess whether we are normal or not.
I have a news flash for you… You are not normal. I am not normal either. In fact there isn’t a person in this world who is “normal”. The truth is, there is not a single other person on this planet who is exactly like you. You are the only person ever created who responds to situations the way you do. No one else makes your exact facial expressions. No one else laughs like you. No one else loves every single thing you love and hates everything you hate. Suddenly it seems so ridiculous that we try to act like everyone else.
What is the #1 thing we need to stop doing? We need to stop apologizing for who we are and how we react to the world around us. Instead, we need to embrace the fact that we are completely unlike anyone else in the world and that in itself is something to be proud of.
I love to study people. One thing I have often found is that the people who everyone loves aren’t necessarily the best looking, the coolest, the most talented or the funniest. The people we all love to be around are the ones who are confident in who they are no matter what their personality seems to be. We are drawn to them because they never try to impress us, so we never feel like we have to impress them. They never try to compete with us, so we never feel like we have to prove ourselves. They don’t make us want to be like them, they make us want to embrace ourselves the way they do.
The truth is, I laugh too loud, I fall on a constant basis, I often talk in accents because I think its more fun, I sing any time someone says something that reminds me of a song lyric and I am unlike anyone else on this planet.
I never apologize for who I am. If I fumble over my words, I make a funny face and start speaking in gibberish. If I fall, I strike a dramatic pose when I land. If I am in an awkward situation, I tend to laugh and say, “If you are feeling awkward right now, I’m right there with you. Lets just laugh our way through this.” When I’m practicing a song with a band and I totally mess up, I yell out “Nailed it!” I laugh and start over. I go into the awkwardness instead of trying to ignore it.
So what if you are not like everyone else? I think that is the coolest thing about you.
I shared some of the most unique things about myself, now it’s your turn. What is one thing about you that makes you beautifully unique?
photo credit: Jessica Fairchild
The Greatest Gift You Can Give
I have 24 kids, 24 husbands and I’m 24… I’m pretty sure I told that to someone one time. I’m not quite sure because they were speaking a different language than me. All I know is she asked me a question three times in a row that seemed to require a number answer to which I always answered 24.
I was on a mission’s trip in Mexico and I don’t actually speak Spanish. On this trip I often confused “Como te llamas” with “Te Amo”. For those of you who are fluent in Spanish, you are probably already laughing at my stupidity because one means, “What is your name” and the other means “I love you with all of my heart”.
We visited an elderly home full of people who had been abandoned by their families and left on the streets. I was in a conversation for a half hour with a woman who was speaking to me entirely in Spanish. I figured I could just read her facial cues and respond with an appropriate “Oh” or “Si” accompanied by a facial expression to match whatever emotion she was conveying to me.
But then she started asking me actual questions and suddenly I was caught… I didn’t have a clue what she was asking me. After fumbling through a broken sentence in Spanish telling her how terrible my Spanish was, I figured she would feel rather offended that I had spent the last 15 minutes pretending I knew what she was saying and she would stop talking to me. But she kept talking, and talking.
I actually learned a profound lesson.
Sometimes people just need you to listen. They want to be heard even if you don’t understand.
This woman didn’t care that I clearly had no idea what she was telling me. She was just looking for someone who cared enough to sit with her and listen. I realized that so often, I feel the need to fix everyone’s problems when they share their heart with me. That can be overwhelming! But 90% of the time, they don’t really need us to say anything. They just want to feel like someone is there and someone cares enough to simply sit and listen.
Who is that person in your life right now that could really use someone to talk to? Are you willing to be that person?
Sex: The Secret the Media Won’t Tell You
Name this movie scene: The guy walks the girl home, they linger outside the front door for a moment deciding whether or not they should kiss, they share one awkward kiss, pull back for a second to look each other in the eyes, then they start making out, she fumbles for the door in the midst of his passionate kisses, gets it open, they fall through the door as she points to the bedroom and they start pulling each others clothes off.
Did you figure out what movie its from? Or are you sitting there saying “Which one?”
The truth is, this scene is in nearly every single romantic comedy movie and tv show that I can think of. Hollywood seems to tell us that the perfect time to have sex with someone is on the first date, right after your first kiss. It can almost make it feel like if we wait longer than date 3 or 4 we are already waiting too long. So, is that right?
I won’t tell you what’s right and wrong -that’s something you get to decide all on your own. In fact, that’s exactly what I want to tell you. You have a choice, and despite what the media tells us, there is more than one option.
We live in a world that assumes that everyone over the age of 18 has no problem having sex, whether it is a one-night stand, or with someone they really love. But no one actually waits until like… marriage, do they? I mean after all, this is 2014, not 1914.
I am here to tell you, I chose a different option. I waited until I was married, that’s right full fledge married, to have sex and there isn’t a single day that goes by that I regret that decision. I can guarantee you this wasn’t just something that happened like “Oh wow, it’s my wedding day and somehow I’m still a virgin”. First, it took a decision and then it took a lot of self-control and wisdom right up until the day I said “I do”.
The question you may be asking yourself right now is, “But why did you wait? What is the point?”
All I can say, is that there is something truly powerful about standing at the alter, looking the love of your life in the eyes and being able to say, “I give you my whole heart and every part of me. I waited for you. What I am giving you now is something I have never given to any other person and I never will. You alone will know me in this way because you alone have committed your entire life to me.”
There is something beautiful to be said about sharing this experience with one singular person who you know will never leave you. Sex is so much more than a physical act. It literally makes two people one.
All I know is- it was worth the wait.
What do you think? Is the idea of waiting until marriage:
2. A nice concept but impossible to live out in this world
3. Something you’d actually want to strive for yourself
photo credit: Jessica Fairchild
Discover my BIGGEST Secret!
If you were to think of the biggest life altering decision you can make, what would it be?
If you were to ask me, I would say marriage. I have to admit, I’ve been holding a secret from all of you…
I GOT MARRIED!!!!
On May 4th, 2013- I married my best friend- Jonny Miller! There are obviously so many details of our story, but for now, I’m excited to share with you exclusive pictures from our amazing day and even a never before released song that I wrote and sang at my wedding!
Photo Credit: Jessica Fairchild
If I picture is worth a thousand words, what are the top three words that come to your mind?
Go ahead- Embarrass yourself
"If your work does not sufficiently embarrass you, then likely no one will be touched by it." -Anne Bogart
Have you ever had this conversation with someone?:
"Hey how are you?"
"I’m good, how are you?"
"Cool. Well it’s good to see you!"
I have that conversation with people all the time. Even though my intentions are good in asking, I actually found out nothing about the person I was talking to and they found out nothing about me. Likely, we would have both said some form of “good” whether it was a great day, or an awful day. We hold each other out at arms length, unwilling to be vulnerable because we just don’t think they actually care to hear what is actually going on, or we are worried about what they will think of us if we said something real. We play it safe to keep ourselves from getting hurt. And this, my friends, is the murderer of creativity.
If you approach songwriting, or any art, with your guard up, fearing what people will think of your struggles, fears and questions, you will never allow people to see the only thing they can actually relate to. Have you ever seen a great movie with a terrible actor? They are faking the crying sounds but don’t actually have a single tear in their eyes. That’s what it is like when we try to write a song without putting our whole selves into writing. That is what it’s like when we allow our fear to control our expression. No one will buy that it is genuine, because we all know what it actually feels like, and looks like to actually struggle. You have to allow yourself to be vulnerable, accept that not everyone will understand it but also embrace the fact that it may be the very thing someone else needs to hear to help them see that they are not alone.
My goal for 2012 is to allow greater transparency, especially in my writing. My goal is to not allow my fear and insecurity to determine what I let people hear. I challenge you to try it with me:)
Check out a preview of my song “Crazy Confident” which is airing tomorrow night on Episode 15 of “I Used to be Fat”!
You can watch a preview of the show and watch the full episode after it airs here: http://www.mtv.com/shows/i_used_to_be_fat/series.jhtml
"Crazy Confident Confusing Contradiction" Written by Britney Christian (ASCAP), Michele Vice-Maslin (SESAC), Joachim Jorgensen (KODA).
Having a Fighter Mentality
A lot of you know by now that not only am I a singer/songwriter, one of my hobbies is Martial Arts. I’ve been doing Tae Kwon Do for over 7 years now and this summer I competed in a world tournament and took a gold medal, making me a 2011 World Martial Arts Champion (definitely never one of those things that I dreamed I’d be able to say, how random right?!).
This weekend I tested for my 4th degree black belt, and I can’t help but see the correlation between the mindset of an actual fighter, and the mindset of someone who desires to have a career in the entertainment field. Part of black belt testing is the sparring portion (aka where two people put on gear and actually fight each other). No joke you guys, I got my butt kicked in sparring this weekend!!! I took my fair share of cracks to the head from people who were easily twice my size. One of those hits involved me flying back five feet into a wall!
As much as I love sparring, there will be times when it just isn’t fun- times when you take hit after hit and spend all of your time picking yourself up off the ground (or off of a wall!) And sometimes pursuing a career in the entertainment industry is the same exact way. You can be the most talented person in the entire world, and you will still face tons of rejection along the way in pursuing your dreams. But here’s the great thing, (I promise I’m not a pessimist, there is always a moral to the story!) the very act of getting hit and picking yourself back up off the ground will always make you stronger if you don’t give up, and there is no shame in getting hit! I might be so bold as to say that if you never experience rejection, you never attempted anything great. I could spend the rest of my time in martial arts sparring people who aren’t as good as me and don’t intimidate me, but chances are, I will never get any better. I got hit so much this weekend because I was up against people who were superior in size and skill, and those are the kind of people who will make me even better than I was before.
So if you want to be a singer, a songwriter, a musician, an actor etc. and you are about to pick up your world and move to Los Angeles, my advice to you is: attempt great things, expect rejection, take a moment to tend to the bruises, pick yourself back up, and repeat this process until the end of time. Along the way, you will experience amazing things that make it all worth it, and you will come out stronger. A fighter isn’t phased by a hook punch to the face, they let it serve as a reminder to keep their guard up for next time and they continually become harder and harder to beat. You don’t need a black belt to have a fighter mentality, but you are going to need a fighter mentality when you follow your dreams;)
Behind the Scenes at a Recording Studio
Lots of people always ask me what its like behind the scenes in a couple different places
a) recording studio
b) tour bus
So I thought I’d do a couple blogs and share some pictures with all of you:) I’ll let my words be few and let the pictures do the talking. After all, a pictures is worth a thousand words, right?
Big huge soundboard where the engineer and producer hang out:
My favorite place, inside the vocal booth:) (thats a microphone on the left)
Outside view of the vocal box, a couple different mic to use depending on the vocalist;)
This one is just cute- its a speaker but it looks like a music robot to me
Ok, kinda awkward but i couldn’t help but share… there is a digital record player in the bathroom. Weird? Yes. Noteworthy- of course;)
That’s all for today:) The next one will be pictures on the Gibson tour bus! Stay tuned:)