The 5 Best Things Nashville Has Taught Me

I have officially lived in Nashville for two years. I think most of my musician friends would agree it takes at least that long to even start to feel "settled in". That's definitely true for me. I by no means have it all figured out, never will. But as I reflect over the past couple of years there are five really great things that my adventures have taught me.

5. Do not let other people define success for you, define it for yourself! This is a matter of life or death. Write it down so you can continually refocus (often daily for me). What does a win look like for you? My version of success is figuring out how to get out of the way and let the songs/music come out of me, in spite of me. To make this musical journey about other people, not me. A win might be seeing a song that was written through me touch someone’s life in a healing way. When people try to tell me success is a record deal, millions of album sales, or hitting #1 on some chart, I go back to my thesis, my north star, my “win”. This helps me avoid frustration and stay encouraged and focused on why I’m doing what I’m doing. Go ahead, define what your “win” is based on the desires of your heart. Then, don’t let ANYONE tell you you’re a failure. Especially that most persistent enemy in our own head.

All I can be is me ... Whoever that is!
— Bob Dylan

4. Your only job is to be the best YOU. As Andy Stanley (one of my favorite teachers) always says, “There’s no WIN in comparison”! You can’t be everything to everyone. Besides, it’s not even authentic to try to be. When I find myself envying other people’s gifts and blessings I need to go back to my definition of success (see #5) and re-anchor myself. Musically speaking, if I’m concentrating on what I lack, I’m probably not polishing the gifts I do have. Spiritually speaking, if I’m concentrating on who I’m not, I’m not becoming the person God created me to be.

3. I have come to realize that some people are brought into our lives to be a mirror, to be a “dark angel” as my mentor calls it. There are people and situations that have reflected my own insecurities and if I’m being honest with myself I have to admit that it actually has nothing to do with them. My resentment of them is completely unwarranted. I am grateful for the role they have played in revealing wounds and fears that I was not aware of. We have got to get to the root, thank those individuals for playing their role, choose healing, and move on.  

2. On the other hand, there are also instances when people do try to stuff you in boxes because it is easier and more comfortable for them. Maybe there is a lesson to be learned (see #3). But sometimes it’s okay to realize that they created those boxes before they met you and it has nothing to do with you! You can’t internalize it or take it personally. There are times to take responsibility and choose healing, and times to just move on.

1. It’s YOUR life. This is something I’ve always known, but has finally found its way to my heart. At the end of the day your success depends on you and you alone. You can’t rely on other people to take advantage of opportunities for you, just like you can’t blame other people for missed opportunities. Whether you’re in your 20’s looking for a breakthrough, in your 30’s feeling trapped, your 40’s wondering what happened, or your 60’s still looking for a breakthrough … your success and your failure belong to you and you alone. I have finally begun to take ownership and grab my life by the horns.

It’s true, you only live once. So I’m not going to waste another minute debilitated by insecurities or paralyzed by fear.