Four Magic Words

Over the last year, I’ve become a Gary Vee fan.

I’ve listened to his audio books and saw him speak in person.

But the one thing that stuck out is his recent appearance on a sports talk show.

He was a featured guest on the Jim Rome show.  One of my favorite shows.

It sounds like an odd pairing, Gary isn’t an athlete or involved in sports.

He’s an entrepreneur.

However, one of his lifetime goals is to own the New York Jets football team.

The host, Jim Rome, hadn’t met Gary before, but he had done his homework.  He asked great questions.

One of my favorite parts of the interview is when he said to Gary: “Can you tell the audience about the four words of advice that you gave to the woman in the crowd?”

Without pause, Gary responded:

“You’re going to die.”

Four powerful words.  Not the ones she was expecting.

But the impact of those words is immediate.

It forces one to stop thinking about the little things.

Oftentimes its the little things that prevent us from taking action on our big goals.

Being reminded that we only have one life creates urgency.

It makes us realize that we should spend less time worrying on what we can’t do, and more time focused on what we can.




I was rewatching one of my favorite movies “Up In The Air” starring George Clooney when I heard Anna Kendrick’s character talk about the term Glocal.

I’m sure the term has existed before but this was the first time it really resonated with me.

The concept is simple : think global, act local.  But as an entrepreneur – and especially a music entrepreneur – it takes on further meaning.

As an entrepreneur your focus may be local.  If you run a neighbourhood bakery, you aren’t marketing to countries around the World.  But as a musician, you may sipping coffee at that bakery thinking about how to get your music out to people around the globe.

With the Internet and social media this is easier than ever.  You can post a song and people from every continent across the globe can hear your music instantly.  It’s tempting to focus on these markets.

One thing I hear often from artists is “Well, China has a billion people, if I can get even 0.1 % of this market then I’m good!”

The problem with this way of thinking is that they have likely failed to do any ground work to determine how they can even get that 0.1%

Other artists will tell me “I want to take my music to Japan – it will do really well over there.”

But how do they know it will do well?  What are they basing this information on?

When an artist tells me this I don’t judge them.  I don’t correct them.  I’ve been there.

I’ve wanted to have my music heard around the Globe.  But the thing is, I took trips.  I went to conferences, I made contacts, I went to those places and with that knowledge I learned what it took to break into different markets.

I used to think going to the States was going to make me as a rapper.  That if I went to the states they would embrace me with open arms.  They appreciated real Hip-Hop.  But then I went to New York, Miami and Chicago and found that we were facing the same challenges – indifferent crowds and more love for out of towners.

It led me to realize that I needed to focus on my core.  My city.  My neighbourhood.  Once I had done that, then I could start looking abroad.

Once you grow local you can go global.

Step by step.


Take Down The Clock

One of the first things I do when I am about to get down to business on my computer is take down the clock.  I don’t need to be constantly reminded of the time.  I find its a great way to get in the zone.

When you keep looking at the clock you get distracted.  Sometimes it feels like time hasn’t passed by fast enough.  Sometimes you feel like you need to rush because it is moving too fast.

I will often set an alarm so that I know how long I’ve been working.

Usually I am surprised at how fast time flew by.


Knowledge Isn’t Power

One of the most popular motivational sayings is: “Knowledge is Power.”

On the surface it sounds great.  When you learn you have the ability to achieve more.  It’s a commonly used saying when addressing youth.  Doing well in school will create more options and opportunities for youth as they become adults.

But knowledge alone isn’t power.  Not if you don’t do anything with it.

That’s why I like this quote from Tony Robbins in his book Money:

“Knowledge is not power – it’s potential power.  Knowledge is not mastery.  Execution is mastery.  Execution will trump knowledge every day of the week.”

If you don’t put knowledge to work it becomes wasted.  It leads to unfulfilled potential.

You can learn about eating healthy and exercising, but unless you execute you aren’t going to lose weight.  You can go to College or University and specialize in a profession or trade, but unless you put that book knowledge to use, you won’t have the power in that field.  This is especially true with reading motivational or business books.  Reading can be a passive activity.  You sit back and relax with a book.  But to get the most out of a book you need to be active.  You need to do the worksheets at the end of the chapter, you need to make notes, and then you need to take action.

It makes me think of some people I know that have gone to college and university but haven’t applied what they have learned.  They’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars and committed years of their life but in the end, they waste it by not putting it to use.

You may not end up in the field that you went to school for but that doesn’t mean you can’t apply the knowledge you’ve learned.  I went to University and took English.  I thought I was going to go to teachers college after my degree.  Although I’m a Rapper, my degree is something I use all the time.  I use it when I’m writing an email to book a show, I use it when I’m writing a blog, I use it when I’m writing my raps.

Learn as much as you can, but make sure you put it to use.


Just Do It Anyways


I was having a day where I just didn’t feel like working or doing anything.  But it was 10 am on a Tuesday, not 2 pm on a Saturday afternoon.

I knew I had to snap out of it and be productive.

So I set a list of five things I wanted to accomplish and began attacking them one by one.

An hour passed and still wasn’t feeling into it, but kept on.

Then I took a break from the work to do a jog – another item on my list.

I had been doing well with my jogs lately and as soon as I started I felt positive that this would be a good run.

And it was.

I set a personal best for my 5k.

It felt strange that on a day where I didn’t feel like I was going to get much done that I set a record.

But to me that is what Staying Driven is all about.  Doing the work even when you don’t want to.

For those that workout, I’m sure you can relate to this story.

The time that you don’t want to go to the gym, but you go anyways and have an amazing workout.

For those days when you aren’t feeling it sometimes you have to just do it.


Small Steps

One of the best ways to attack big goals is to take small steps.

It’s sounds basic, but it is something I’ve found true over the years.

A big goal can often be intimidating.  It’s something that can’t be achieved in day… or a week… month or even year.  That can lead to procrastination – might as well start tomorrow since it won’t get done today.

Only thing is, the same problem arises the next day.

I think that one of the reasons most people fail is because they don’t take – and don’t value – taking small steps.

When you break your goal into small steps you develop momentum.

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve heard is to write down five goals that you want to achieve each day.

It can be something like working out, posting a blog, eating healthy throughout the day.  When you achieve these five goals you feel confident.  It makes you want to do it the next day to achieve five more.

When you develop momentum you also set yourself for going on a streak.

When I’ve worked out for ten days in a row, of course I want to go for the eleventh to keep my streak going.

When I freestyled for six hours, of course I wanted to keep the streak going and go for over eight.

After you accomplish small steps, its amazing how much closer you are to your big goal.

I Get Paid To Practice

“I get paid to practice. I play the games for free.”

  •  Junior Seau

Read this quote on Peter King’s Monday Morning Quaterback site.  Football player Rodney Harrison was sharing his fondest memories of his friend, former teammate and Hall of Fame inductee – the late great  Junior Seau and this was one of them.

Football is a sport where practice time greatly exceeds playing time. In baseball you play 162 games. In basketball and hockey there are 82 games. Football has only 16 games for a season. It means that each one is crucial.   There is little room for a error or even a short slump.   Practice becomes essential.

But there is also another side to it.  When you are committed to practice you begin to trust the process. The hard work is done.  When its Gametime you can be in the moment and enjoy yourself.  You can get in the zone.  Playing the game becomes fun.

As a performer I can relate to that. Prior to going on tour or doing a big show, I will practice for hours. Knowing the lines is a given, I want to hone in on the small details.  But for me practicing doesn’t just mean rehearsing my live show. Performing is only a small part of the job of being a rapper.  I need to be on top of my accounting, I need to book shows, I need to stay on top of emails and paperwork.  For me, this is what I get “paid” for doing. Getting out on the stage and rocking the crowd – that’s “free” – that the fun.

I think the saying “make your vocation your vacation” is inspirational but it’s not completely accurate.  It’s great to enjoy yourself, but you have to be committed to the details which oftentimes aren’t fun.  As an athlete it can mean running laps or staying in the gym.  As a musician it can mean being in the studio, or taking care of the business tasks.  As a student, it means completing homework and studying extra hours.

The key is to keep the long term goal in site while working on the small tasks daily.

For every athlete that believes in practice, there are some that don’t…
Who can forget this classic clip…