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Last week, we celebrated living in Nashville for seven years. I know, some of you may be thinking, "7 years? Big deal..." No really, it is a BIG DEAL! People ask me all the time what it's like living out here surrounded by music and talented people and I always say the same thing: Imagine you're a heart surgeon. And you moved to a town where everyone is a heart surgeon. It's like that. It can be incredibly inspiring to be surrounded by people doing what you're here to do... and it can be discouraging. So, to be able to say we've endured all the hard times, trials, the upward climb, the spiraling falls... and we're still here?! It's a big deal. The last seven years have been one big evolution of trying new things and failing and learning what works and succeeding and through those experiences, I've learned some major life lessons. So, today I'm sharing with you seven lessons I've learned after living in Nashville for seven years... and I think these lessons can be valuable no matter where you live or what your occupation!

T H E   S E V E N

1. You're not the best at what you do. Hear me out - you may be really talented. People may tell you that you're the best. You may be able to do the job like no one else. But, somewhere there's someone who does it slightly better. Or different. And that makes them better. This isn't meant to discourage, it's meant to motivate! If you're aware of the talent around you and the gifts other's possess, it keeps you on your toes. So what are you supposed to do with that? Reach out to those people! Try to form relationships with them and learn from them - whether you're a musician, blogger, chef, fitness instructor... whatever! With social media, it's easy to send a message to someone who is dominating in your field - and you'd be surprised, most of them reply! With answers or advice! Or they will actually say yes to that coffee date you're asking them to. Surround yourself with greatness and soon you'll find yourself receiving those same messages or compliments from someone else who thinks you're dominating at what you do. With that being said, be confident in who you are and what you're doing! Always trying to be better than you were before is the secret to perfecting your talent and success. And, being aware of the gifts other's have keeps you humble.

2. The Golden Rule: Treat others the way you want to be treated. Isn't funny how we're taught this as children and as adults, we often forget it? I've heard horror stories from some of my bandmates about being on the road with other artists and having horrible experiences. From sleeping in a trailer in a Walmart parking lot to never being paid for their time and service. If you don't take care of the people working with you and for you - they'll find someone else who will. And, word will travel FAST about their experiences with you. So, be kind and respectful, be fair and honest, and always treat others better than you expect to be treated.

3. BE YOURSELF. The world already has a Carrie Underwood. Or Michael Jordan. Or Mark Zuckerberg. It's great to look up to those superstars who have set the bar so high and draw inspiration from what they've accomplished - but you still have to sing like you. Play like you. Dress like you. Talk like you. Figure out what you're good at or what makes you different and run wild with it. Don't waste your time chasing what's cool because tomorrow when you wake up, it won't be cool anymore. Keep doing what feels right and true to you and in the end it'll come back around to reward you. 

4. Other people's accomplishments have no hold on my own. Our pastor always says, "There's enough pie for everyone." I always love it when he says this because it's a reminder that God's favor in our lives never runs out. God doesn't run out of goodness and blessings. He doesn't say, "Well... I've opened too many doors this year. Sorry. Maybe next year..." I don't miss out on opportunities because someone more deserving get them. The opportunities that come my way are the ones I'm supposed to have... and the ones that don't, well they're not the right ones for me. Or it's not the right time. Or my heart wasn't mature enough for them. In this world that revolves around social media, it's easy to get caught up in what every one else around us is doing (NEWS FLASH: social media is deceiving). I used to focus so much on what other's around me had (especially if I wanted it badly too) that I completely lost sight of the blessings right in front of me. But the truth is that God knows the desires of my heart his plans for my life aren't going to be altered by what he's doing in someone else's life. There's enough pie for everyone.

5. Say Yes. Just do it! Whatever "it" is. Say yes to having coffee with someone who wants to network. Say yes to the job. Say yes to getting up on stage and singing karaoke. Say yes and even if you're not sure how you'll pull it off... you'll figure it out! I can't tell you how many times I've been asked to meet for lunch or coffee from someone just starting out in the music business. I always say yes and that week, I start thinking of reasons why I should back out. I'm too busy. I usually have my coffee at 6am and they want to meet at 1o. It's raining. We will always find excuses to back out of things that we're afraid of or uncomfortable with. But, every time I say yes and just go... I walk away feeling really grateful that I took the time to meet and I'm happy with my decision to follow through. I leave having learned something about someone else and more about myself. Trust me, just say yes.

6. It's not the destination, it's the journey. Right now, I feel like I should Namaste. I know that sounds like some super cheesy quote that was probably used at some point as someone's facebook status (back when that was a thing) but it's SO TRUE! If we're constantly focused on where we're trying to get to, we'll miss out on everything along the way. I used to really want fame. I wanted everyone to know my name. I wanted my face plastered all over every grocery store magazine. And now, that's not the end game for me. Not because I don't think it could happen (anything is possible!) but because I need to live and work for so much more than that. It's not about the money. It's not about the fame or the attention. It's about putting out good, honest art. It's about longevity. It's about doing what feels right and authentic to me even if it doesn't work. It's about trusting the process of growth and through that evolution discovering more about what makes me, me and what I have to offer the world while I'm here.

7. Don't Quit. Ok, confession: I'm still learning this one. In fact, I have to re-learn it every day. I always joke that 80% of my job is convincing myself to get out of bed and go do it everyday. I'm a creative person. It's my job to create things and put it out into the world and hope people love it. Sometimes they do. Sometimes they don't. But it's what makes me tick. And I know and believe in my heart that writing music and singing songs is exactly what I was created for. So, the most important lesson is to never quit. And you'll want to. All the time. But if it's what makes your heart beat, you've got to commit to it. And I believe that if you work hard at something long enough, it will work for you. I don't know how it will unfold or where it will lead, but I know without a doubt it will be good.

Have you been chasing after a dream for a long time? Have you been grinding and working hard at something? What have you learned? What lessons did you take away from this blog? COMMENT below, I want to hear from you!

G E T   T H E   L O O K

All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

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