When Frank Tate signed me to a record deal with Five Minute Walk, way back in 1998, he was abundantly clear it wasn’t because I was the best, most marketable artist he’d ever met. In fact, what he said was

The songs are pretty bad, actually. But I believe in you and I think that you’ll be writing far better songs fifteen years from now.

15 years?! What about today? I wanted to be good today! He wasn’t concerned about my performance right there and then. He was focused on my growth, long-term.

Not very many record executives think that way or see artists like that. Heck, not many people in general think and see that way. Thank God I had Frank.

So, here’s what I know now:

You’ll be better at what you do next year. And you’ll be even better the year after that. Focusing on performing today or nailing it tomorrow puts too much pressure on your existing skill set and knowledge; too much weight on your current project. Do what you have to do today because that’s all there is to do. But don’t spend much time evaluating and measuring your quality today. Think about who you will be fifteen years from now.

(This is a short thought from the book I’m currently writing. Yet untitled, it will be a followup to Title Pending. Add yourself to my email list to learn more)