5 mindset must-haves, for artists and singer-songwriters

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It goes without saying that to be a successful artist you must have talent and experience. You’ll also be honing your skills for many many years – practicing, performing, recording, promoting, learning skills and taking action. The other area not to be underestimated is your mindset. Here are 5 key mindset must-haves to help you progress your career.

– Clarity of Vision
– Your Inner Circle
– Money Mindset
– Creative Process
– Your Artistic Identity

1. Clarity of Vision

Having a creative vision is a must have. Know where you want to go with your music and your career and what that looks like. What does your music career look like one year from now? What does your music career look like 5 years and 10 years from now?

I understand it can be difficult to imagine and plan so far into the future. It’s not about laying out these plans in stone but it is about what insights you’ll receive from thinking about your answers to these questions. If large corporations have a 5-year business plan, then there’s no reason for you not to have one either and reap the benefits too.

Yes, things will change, circumstances will change, you will change your mind but at least you will have a framework, a structure, a skeleton in place from which to move. Sitting down and figuring out what you really want also forces you to take other things into consideration e.g. if you do want a fanbase of X thousand, how does that affect your lifestyle? What type of lifestyle do you desire? Do you want to be a touring artist or a recording artist?

Without a clarity of vision, our minds lack focus and can get easily distracted by ‘shiny object syndrome’ – other projects that take our time and attention away from what we’re really trying to achieve. Without clarity of vision, we have far more leeway to allow ourselves an excuse for why we have not achieved what we want to achieve.

Clarity of vision does not mean that we are restricted in any way – you’re always in the driving seat of your career so you call the shots but it will give you and your team a better focus and allow for better decision-making skills. When you have clarity of vision you are better aware of what you need to do each day to achieve your goals – it gives you greater confidence with all those micro-decisions you’ll be making each day.

2. Your Inner Circle

The people you surround yourself with become very important when you are an artist of a certain calibre. Trust is a vital component. As you progress in your career you can begin to take off lots of those hats you were wearing earlier on and delegate tasks to your team. You’ll be relying on others and they will also be relying on you. Your skills at personal relationships and communication will come into the forefront – how you handle pressure, how you handle disagreements, how you handle conflict, how you communicate your vision, how you handle boundaries. Any chinks you have in your personal relationship armor will be tested, as your career grows. So it’s about you having the self-awareness to navigate all these important relationships and also setting the bar high for who gets the privilege of being in your ‘inner circle’.

– What type of people do you wish to surround yourself with?
– What are your values and what are the values of your team?
– How do you balance your personal and professional life?
– What skills do you need your team to have?
– What are your criteria for knowing that somebody is a good fit for your inner circle?

Start thinking about all this now and implementing so you can be prepared and set up for success.


3. Money Mindset

Ah, money mindset for artists – such a taboo topic in many cases! You just want to be on stage performing and connecting with your fans, you don’t want to have to look at spreadsheets and P&L statements! Money mindset, however, encompasses a lot more than this.

It’s very interesting that many music artists who have earned millions from their art have had many stresses regarding their financial situations. Isn’t that ironic? That someone could earn millions and yet be in financial difficulty? I really don’t want this to happen to you and definitely none of my clients so that’s why this topic is so important.

We all have money stories – these are deep-rooted beliefs around what we believe money is and what it stands for. We PROJECT our beliefs about money on to money, which makes money something that it is not. Money is simply a neutral form of energy. People have all sorts of shizzaz around this topic. Of course, it is a taboo subject for many people and this is one of the causes of the whole issue. I suggest artists do some deep introspective work around their money beliefs.

You can start with questions such as: What do I believe is possible for me to earn as an artist? What beliefs did I inherit about money from people around me when I was a child? Who do I know who is earning what I wish to earn as an artist? What would I need to believe about money in order to have the life I desire? (Because money is the vehicle that will get you what you desire).

You may need to re-wire some of the neural pathways set up around money to clear out any old limiting beliefs that will no longer serve you if you have plans to become a successful artist.
It’s very important to set good habits and mindset in place now so that when you have a very large estate and income, you’re comfortable with it and have the capacity to receive it and manage it well.

4. Creative Process

As an artist, what you are creating is unique. The inspiration for your art can come from a myriad of sources in a myriad of ways. How do you nurture this process? How do you develop confidence in your artistic and creative process? Many artists suffer from creative blocks and self-doubt and this can be debilitating in getting their work out there in the public domain. It requires courage to constantly put oneself in the limelight and it’s tough to handle harsh criticism. How do you know if your work is good enough to be acclaimed and accepted?

Unfortunately, the only way out is through. You need exposure to become well known and you have to be willing to make mistakes and take a few setbacks along the way. Cultivating the right mindset is crucial to set yourself up for success as well as to maintain your mental health and well being. There may be an internal tug of war between wanting to express your art fully and on the other hand suffering from a very critical inner bully and low self-esteem. Luckily these things can be overcome which will make your life and career a whole lot easier. Funnily enough, lots of artists are successful whilst still battling internal gremlins. Working privately with a coach is a brilliant way to handle these inner gremlins that can knock us off track when we least expect it. It’s also a way to enhance a natural sense of confidence, combat performance nerves and learn how to manage the emotional highs and lows of post-performance energy.

Whatever method or tools you use to become aware of your own Achilles heel, use 2018 to figure out what mindset issues are holding you back from that music career you’ve always dreamed of. If you are blessed with natural confidence and performance skills and know how to manage your energy, then identify areas where you can really up your game in 2018. Either way, you’re a perfect work in progress.

5. Your Artistic Identity

Your artistic identity is all about who you are as an artist. This is the key question you must understand and know at a deep level if you are to communicate your music and strive forward in your career with momentum. What do you stand for? What does your music represent? Artists can sometimes have difficulty ARTICULATING all of this. They know it deep down, but they struggle to find the words to express it. The more you can communicate this, the more your true fans will be magnetised to you.

In today’s world artists need more and more to be able to express and communicate their artistic inspiration, process, and vision.

Like Beyoncé when she gets on stage and becomes Sasha Fierce – she’s simply accessing a different part of herself. This allows her to be fully in her artistic identity, rather than being on stage and having a fleeting thought of ‘did I pull out the plug on my hair straightener?’ or ‘I wonder what’s for dinner tonight?’. It’s about honoring the part of you that wishes to express unique creativity and empowering it so that it can be fully expressive. This requires vulnerability, humility, and courage. There is always more an artist can do – sometimes they hold back from this out of fear and self-doubt. The more you can own it, the more you can stand powerfully in your artistic identity.

This article is kindly brought to you by Mary Toolan. She helps musicians, singer/songwriters who want to inspire and empower with their music, create their dream career and lifestyle. Mary runs her own blog where you can find some great resources and coaching tools.

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