Musings with a Violin about Business

· Business Owner,Violin,Lessons,Research,Growth

A few months ago I started playing the violin again. Mostly for the relaxation of it all, but also because I was inspired by other players I listened to and heard. I played a lot in high school and college, but really haven’t touched it much since then.

The more I played, the more I came to two major realizations:

  1. I still have a lot of my former skill, but also still have a lot of room to grow!

  2. A lot of the same lessons I learned in business apply to my hobbies (like playing the violin)

I’ve particularly noticed two lessons while learning the violin again that apply in the business world as well!

Lesson #1

I can get better sounds out of a better instrument.

It sounds silly! How is this a lesson? It should just be a fact, right?

But I’ve seen talented violinists bring sweet music out of a beginner level violin. When I bought my violins in college, I didn’t have the money to buy anything but a cheap <$100 beginner set. I felt spending more money on a violin would end up being a waste of that money. Additionally, I didn’t want to cheat my way to sounding better on the violin. I figured if I learned how to play on a terrible instrument, if I upgraded later, it would be a drastic improvement!

Well I finally feel like I recognize how the instrument is holding me back and how I could do better on another instrument, so I started researching.

Hours and hours and hours of research. Hours and hours at violin shops.

Spending late nights online listening to different violins played by the same hand and trying to hear what difference should be attributed to the violin. Tuning my ear. Reaching endless opinion blogs and lists of good and bad violins. Then I took a half-day to go to multiple shops and play multiple violins.

I realized something!

How often are we willing to put in that kind of time to ensure our skill set is on-par with need and that we’re making the right decision in our business? I spend more money in the business pretty much daily than I was going to spend on this violin. And I spend that money with a LOT less thought!

I personally believe that this is where most business owners fall down. They don’t spend enough time online learning or working to bring themselves and their skillsets that apply to their business to the next level. Don’t get me wrong. Many of them spend lots of time learning how to do their JOB better. But fail to apply that level of commitment to the skills necessary to build and grow a business.

Lesson #2

I actually hired a violin teacher this time around. Up till now, I’ve been almost 100% self-taught. I had one lesson when I first started playing on how to hold the bow and violin and where the notes were. The lesson lasted 30 minutes and I’ve carried that through 14 years of playing.

So I sat down with this instructor for our first lesson and had to remind myself to slow down and be patient.

The first lesson was a recap of the basics. How to hold the violin and bow correctly (and let’s be real, over the years I’ve gotten sloppy in how I hold the bow, so that was needed!). The homework assigned after the lesson was also extremely...remedial. I choked back impatience and reminded myself of the stories I’ve heard of Tiger Woods.

When Woods started his career with golfing, he came onto the scene and he blew everything up. He won everything that first year, and then he kind of disappeared and caused everyone to wonder what happened. What happened, was that Tiger Woods realized that he had gotten to where he was using habits that were only going to get him to where he was. And coming behind him was a whole crew of new golfers who were going to be able to surpass him because he had little issues here and there in his game. So, he hired teachers and they broke his entire golf game apart down to the basics. And he wasn't able to win for quite a while, before suddenly he came back on top because he’d sat down to get back to the basics.

Despite the homework being remedial, it exposed some gaps in my musical education. Despite the practice activities feeling basic, I can also tell how they are building muscles that I didn’t previously use for the violin, and starting to see more bow control (a problem that has plagued me across the board!).

Sometimes, getting to the next level takes going back to the basics! In business as well as with hobbies.

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No one likes going back to things like making sure that their finances are organized every month, or that their systems are working smoothly. But those are exactly the things that have to be done to keep a business running smoothly. And they are exactly the things that have to be mastered if you want to move to the next level of business.

To Sum Up…

My two points here are this:

1 – Don’t be afraid to invest time in research for your business. You’re going to have to invest the same kind of time you invest in your hobby, to your business if you want it to be successful.

2 – Don’t be afraid to go back to the basics. Going back to the basics is one of the most imperative and helpful things you can do in business.

If you feel like you need to go back to the basics but you don’t know where to start, I’d suggest checking out the Business Basics program that Grow Disrupt has available here. It’s super helpful (I know because I helped design it for the business help I would have needed when I started my business!) and might be just what you need to go back to the basics and perfect your business foundation.