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Melanie has always been a very ambitious person. She wakes up every morning at 6 am. Her day is full of different activities. She usually starts her mornings with yoga because she wants to be as flexible as her friend Maggie. After that, she takes a cold shower to practice mental toughness. Maybe, but maybe if she does it every day, she will go through another dreadful day. There is never a coincidence in her behavior. She accompanies her breakfast with the recording she took the day before. As a musician herself, she knows how important it is to track your progress. „B in the 2nd bar is too flat.” That was the note she wrote to herself after shoving the last spoon of cereal into the mouth. There is no time to lose. She has only a few hours to practice before her concert today.

Melanie is a well-established musician. She has a great job at the orchestra. Everyone admires her work ethic. She plans every second of her life. „Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.”, as her mother used to say. You could think that’s an ideal schedule, but for Melanie, every day of her life is a never-ending list of chores. Still, she never complains. After all, she has a great job and a high status in such a competitive industry. She has everything she could have ever wished for. Yet, she has struggled to find meaning. Time just blends up in her life. She feels like a puppet. Someone pulls all the strings. For a person in the audience, her character is alive and happy. Deep down, she knows she is a prisoner in her own body. „Why does a person so successful feel so low?” She would ask every day. The puppeteer has never bothered to answer.

Melanie’s story is just one of many examples of seemingly great success: a stable job in an oversaturated industry, a healthy lifestyle, and fulfilled social expectations. Everything she got in her life was because of hard work and dedication. Nobody forced her to do those things. After all, she is an adult, and only she can take the responsibility. Somehow there is no happy ending, even though she checked all the boxes in a career bingo. There is one missing puzzle in the story. Maybe Melanie checked all the boxes but did she fill them by herself?

How to know your values as a musician? FlowStick Ensemble

Very often, people follow a path that is not designed for them. In her case, she did yoga because she compared herself to a friend. She took cold showers to shut down emotionally. She used every opportunity to dedicate her time to music, which made her neglect other areas of life. On top of that, she spent hours practicing even before a concert because her mother taught her that. Other people’s ideas and values influenced her choices. No wonder she didn’t enjoy her life. The path she took was not for her. It was a result of other people’s dreams. „The worst is,” thought Melanie to herself, „that I used to love playing music.”

 

There is light at the end of the tunnel. It doesn’t mean Melanie should quit her job, travel the world, and go for a meditation retreat to Nepal. She could if her values were: adventure, independence, and growth. However, she can fulfill all of them by keeping her job and change few things around. Let’s take a closer look into Melanie’s life to see how small adjustments can change everything. After a couple of difficult months, she concluded, she won’t force herself to do anything. Besides her work that is her main source of income, Melanie spent days watching TV series, meeting with friends, and going to dance classes that she always dreamt about. She took a break from a strict practice routine in favor of playing just for fun. This way, she felt again like a child who starts discovering music.

How to know your value as a musician? FlowStick Ensemble

To her great surprise, this resulted in better performance at work. Her colleagues noticed a difference and complimented her transformation. Moreover, the first small successes encouraged her to pursue her biggest dream: starting her music studio. Everything went smoothly from that. She invited her friends to build the business together. The studio slowly gained popularity. Melanie felt that for the first time in her life, she was pulling the strings. She quitted taking cold showers because none of her days seemed dreadful anymore. Of course, she still had to face problems, even more than before, but now she was doing what she loved. 

This short story shows how important it is to live a life consistent with personal values. Even the biggest passion can turn into a chore if we let others influence our choices. Melanie didn’t change much at first. She kept her job and practiced every day. The only difference was she made space in her life for new activities. She reminded herself about her dreams and passions and started pursuing them. Even if she consciously didn’t realize she started following her path. Before, she valued organization, structure, performance, and control. Now, she lives by friendship, achievement, adventure, and leadership. None of them is better or worse. They are just tailored for different people.

This post is a part of series about organization tactics. Firstly, we wanted to talk about the importance of knowing your values. In the next post, we will discuss tips on how to identify them.

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