Several weeks ago, I started posting videos of myself on my Facebook wall covering songs by artists I like.
Many of my readers may already know this, but long before there was a RevFit to speak of, it was all I wanted in this world to be successful as a musician. I started recording albums when I was in high school and my last recording of note was shortly after Marissa and I started dating.
And I didn’t start posting these videos recently because I want to be back on stage. I don’t know that I do. The videos became a point of accountability to pick up my guitar a few times a week, knock the cobwebs off and try to regain some of my former skills.
For the record, I was never a great guitar player. I can’t play a solo. I can’t read music. I play chords and I sing. That’s it.
But by leaving my guitar in it’s case and barely picking it up, I lose the dexterity in my hands and my voice doesn’t fare much better.
Because I thrive on rituals and routines, I made a vow to myself that for the foreseeable future, I would post a new video of me doing a cover song every week. That forces me to sharpen my skills more routinely and regain a former glory, if you will.
There is an important distinction to make about this and I don’t want to offend anyone by saying it: I don’t put these videos up for your approval. I do them to hold myself accountable.
Yes, it’s really nice when people like the videos or if they comment with their thoughts on the rendition. It does make me feel good but the videos are my way of showing up for myself and putting the work in.
I very much doubt that I will pick up new clients because they liked my version of a song made famous by Nina Simone or that I didn’t completely butcher an Elton John classic.
And that highlights another point I want to mention.
Every video I’ve posted so far (and every one I’m likely to post) has mistakes. I might flub a barre chord, lose my rhythm, or not hold the key of a note I’m trying to sing. I post the videos to show me, completely imperfect.
Granted, some videos took more tries than others. There are some songs I’ve wanted to post but, in listening back, there were mistakes so grievous that I didn’t want to release them. Back to the drawing board I go, to put something together that isn’t a complete massacre of a song.
Thankfully, my playing has gotten better over the last several weeks. My voice, well, let’s be honest. All those drugs I did way back when did me no favors. Things I would have been able to sing with more proficiency before are not the same. I can opt to change the key, change the style or scrap the song altogether. That’s been a bit of a letdown but it’s my reality to deal with.
All the same, I do this for me. I do it because I truly love singing these songs but that fire that once burned so intensely to be on stage has all but extinguished. I just wanted an outlet and an avenue to put something out there again.
This is what I want to you to think about with regard to yourself.
You have goals. You have dreams. You want your body to look like, feel like or weigh (insert goal here.)
Maybe the kickstart for you was to be more attractive to your spouse or significant other. That’s all fine and good but is it going to keep you motivated on the days when you just don’t feel like showing up and putting the work in?
People want magic with weight loss and reaching their respective goals. Here’s my tip: the only magic you’re going to get is by doing the uncomfortable when you don’t want to and when you don’t feel like it. The things that come easy are rarely appreciated. If I could wave my magic wand and remove fifty pounds from your frame, would you really change how you eat?
I don’t want anyone to restore my voice of old. I don’t want the gift of being able to solo like a virtuoso. I want to put the work in and NO ONE, I mean, NO ONE is going to do that for me.
My wife won’t love me more or less if I pick up my guitar. In all honesty, I played it more often when we first dated than I do now. And if I’m keeping up with that honesty, the real desire to play my guitar damn near vanished when my Dad died in 2011. He was my biggest fan. When he left this world, almost every bit of energy it took to play a chord or sing a note left with him. His death crushed me.
But I know that if I leave my guitar in it’s case, I don’t honor the gift that he and my mother gave me. The gift to play, to sing, to entertain and to find joy in these simple pleasures.
For you, I ask you to show up for yourself. To have a point of accountability to keep you on path. Like me, I ask you to put your imperfect self out there in some way and to find a sense of joy and solace in your process.
Do it for you. Do it because you matter. Do it because the alternative of feeling like shit about yourself leads to nowhere good. What you do to improve your current condition will frequently not be a perfect path.
Put the work in anyway.
Do it even when people don’t applaud your efforts. ESPECIALLY when they don’t applaud your efforts. You won’t get a gold star, high five or pat on the back.
Put the work in anyway.
For however many videos I post covering songs of artists you may love or have never heard, I will feel good about it. I will know that despite the imperfect performances, I showed up, I put the work in and I left it out there, flaws and all.
Love your flaws, embrace them for making you uniquely you but honor the gift.
The gift is life.
The gift is health.
The beauty…is in showing up for yourself.
That’s where “magic” happens.
“We Make Great People Greater”