In my case, I made radical changes in my life. I started standing up for myself. I started asking questions and thinking for myself. I started taking chances and stepping out. I started performing and learning to play my songs better when my only tools used to be my drum machine for producing and rapping, I started learning and composing classical music. Something totally different than what I used to do, and I used to be good at. At first, the results of the “new me” were not pleasant. It created conflict at work, at home – just about everywhere in my life. I discovered that other people had grown accustomed to the “old me” who was sort of a doormat. He didn’t cause conflict because he gave in any time there was even a hint of conflict to come. The “old me” conditioned people around me to expect that kind of behavior from me and to take advantage of me, quite frankly.
Nuking the apple cart. When I realized I didn’t like being that guy and started to change, it upset the apple cart. No, it nuked the apple cart. I was tempted on more than one occasion to go back to my old ways. But I persisted. What I discovered was amazing. I lost some old “friends” who liked having a punching bag around. They gone and I started realizing how I wasted years allowing those friends to take advantages, while maybe they were not even conscious about it and I was the one who was inviting them to take advantage of my skills and my resources. When I changed, they had no reason to hang around the new me and they left and that was when I realized I could let them go long time ago and take this very unnecessary heavy weight off my shoulders.
But I gained new friends who actually respected me. Conflict at work turned into respect and a healthy new contract that was a million times better than my old one. I began to actually enjoy performing my songs and I got to travel to some amazing places to play them. I began to notice that I was starting to shape my world instead of my world shaping me. I liked myself better. I made more money. I developed healthy relationships. Without even trying for it, I just opened my eyes and realized around me is filled with awesome people who are around me because we enjoy a mutual respect for each other rather than just being there because they want to get something out of this friendship.
The “new me” was able to start chasing songwriting dreams in a proper way. He helped start Flipside – something the old guy never would have dreamed of. He tried new things and found some exciting things that he loved to do that had scared the pants off him before. I chased and caught many of my dreams. And, I learned to get rid of the fear and regret.
Many of the young writers and producers I’m mentoring have shared with me about their dreams. I won’t pretend to tell them what path to take in that pursuit, but I will tell them this.
Don’t live with regret. Life’s too short. Take action. Do something. Fight the fear.