Whenever I teach my “Make It Rain” workshop for other musicians, composers, and creative professionals, I talk about three main pillars of a career: your talent, your network, and your materials. In fact, the slide I use for this has a cute little pie chart with talent, network, and materials broken up into color-coded 33% portions. Then, there’s a one percent slice of the pie in blue. The color-coding key informs that the blue color corresponds to “luck.” I always make sure to explain that luck, in this case, means that when a decision is on the line the dice simply fall in your favor. That’s it. Sometimes you will be up against another person who is equally good for the role, knows all of the same people that you do, has comparable materials, and sometimes the decision falls in your favor. That’s luck. The work we do during 29 Days to Diva, and all 365 days of our diva lives, on our talent, network, and materials helps to ensure that there are fewer times when we are in the situation in which we need luck to be on our side.
Who Am I?
My name is Megan Ihnen. My work (and this site) are devoted to helping singers radically transform their relationship with their careers one micro-action at a time. Furthermore, I believe in illuminating the work of individuals, organizations, and companies changing the world through classical music.
What Are We Doing?
Part of that mission is about getting better every year. I’m in the trenches of my singing career just as you, dear readers, are “doing the work” in yours. Most of us make resolutions at the beginning of the year in an effort to give some direction to our holistic “better every year” goals. That’s where 29 Days to Diva (#29DTD) comes into being. Figuring out tiny, actionable items, over the course of one short month, helps me practice the necessary work of the career so I can dive deeper into the work of the art. That is exactly what I want to help you do during this time together. We are still committed to the original impetus of this series, “One action item per day that wouldn’t take very long but helps set you up for success.”
What’s Different This Year?
Illuminating the work of individuals changing the world through classical music is really important to me and how I operate in this field. I was preparing to write this series for 2018 and felt unsettled about the approach. I’ve written the “post-graduate school primer” version. I also wrote the “business plan for divas” version and focused another season around marketing plans. I’ve written one inspired by Monopoly and gamifying our careers. Last year, I wrote a version in the style of “The Hero(ine)’s Journey.” My good friend and colleague, Griffin Candey (please perform his music), asked me, “Megan, have you ever considered creating a Diva Buddy System?”
I’ve been thinking a lot about how some of our hang-ups as creators come from being self-minded, lone-wolf-ish. Is there a way that you could encourage this series to be something that multiple people undertake together?
Another composer friend and colleague, Alan Theisen (please perform his music too), added, “I was thinking something similar. The ‘I can’t do it alone’ version.” I wasn’t totally sold. In fact, I was resistant to this at first because I couldn’t see how that retained the same sense of the blog series. Griffin continued,
They could support one another, chat about the difficulties of the path — maybe it could be someone slightly more experienced paired with a younger person to let them know that there’s actually some remote amount of light at the end of the tunnel?
A 29 Days to Diva Family
And, they were right. I haven’t developed an entire fully-functioning mentorship network for divas but I have amassed dozens of musicians, mostly singers, to share their wisdom. I reached out to them to beg their kindnesses with their hard-won information to share it with you. I wrote to them, “I’ve been percolating on the subject and gotten some excellent feedback. This season focuses on the transition from grad school/post-grad singer to entering fully professional or even mid-career. I had someone explain to me that school felt ‘like navigating a river – sometimes the mouth of the Mississippi and sometimes the delta; but, after school it felt like you were spit out into the ocean and just told to paddle with your little oar until you couldn’t keep going.’ I can’t say that I haven’t also felt that way at times. So, this season is about leveling-up when you’re in the ocean part.” Their tips run the gamut from incredibly practical, technical items to kernels of advice that have stuck with them for decades. I cannot wait to share these challenges, my research, and their advice with you all.
So, it’s time for your first challenge of 29 Days to Diva 2018, my dears…
Your Day 1 challenge is to pick your own diva buddy system for this month.
Reach out to two or three friends with whom you would like to do the challenges. Email them, text them, Facebook message them and keep each other accountable for your goals together. Send them a short note today, “Hey! I’m doing the Sybaritic Singer 29 Days to Diva this year and I would love to team up for music world domination with you. Will you join me and we’ll help keep each other accountable and cheer each other on as we go?”
This life is better together, divas. Here’s to another year of us leveling up together.
Let’s Be Facebook Friends
Come join me and almost 600 other diva friends over on the Sybaritic Singer Facebook page! Share your epiphanies and discoveries! Share your challenges with people who actually get it! We’re just waiting for you…
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