Respected blogger and music reviewer, Music Tour and News, have done an amazing review article on Mikie's latest single Now Is The Time. Follow the link below to read:
Respected blogger and music reviewer, Music Tour and News, have done an amazing review article on Mikie's latest single Now Is The Time. Follow the link below to read:
I’ve said in my last 2 blogs that I would share some of the content and people that have helped me make changes in my life that have brought about an entire new vision, mindset, and way of thinking that has allowed me to pursue the dreams I’ve always had.
So I thought I’d start with Gary Vee, since that rhymes with Blog 3…
Gary Vaynerchuk (known as Gary Vee), is a Belarusian American entrepreneur, author, speaker and internet personality. He is the chairman of VaynerX, a modern-day media and communications holding company, and the active CEO of VaynerMedia, a full-service advertising agency servicing Fortune 100 clients. Over and above his many partnerships in different brands, apps and online businesses, Gary is a 5-time New York Times bestselling author.
Gary and his family immigrated to the US from Belarus in 1978. He lived with 8 family members in a studio apartment in Queens, New York, before relocating to Edison, New Jersey. Gary often calls himself a “purebred entrepreneur” having successfully started a lemonade franchise at age 7, and eventually selling tens of thousands of dollars worth of baseball cards and toys throughout his high school career.
When Gary identified “the internet” as a land-grab opportunity in the late 90’s, he transitioned his father’s local liquor store into one of the first e-commerce platforms for alcohol in America, resulting in growth from $3 million to $60 million in sales during his time spent working at his father’s business.
The first introduction I had to Gary Vee, was a recommendation to read his book “Crushing It” - which I’d highly recommend. This recommendation came in from a good friend of mine, Keith Macleod, (who I’ll talk about in another blog, as he also has some great content) when I was chatting to him about how little I was enjoying my job and how I wanted to do music full time.
“Crushing It” is essentially a collection of case-studies on how every day people have changed their lives through pursuing their passion and using the internet and social media as a tool to turn their passion into successful businesses.
“Crushing It” really puts into perspective that what you love and what you do no longer have to be two different things. Nothing (within the laws of the universe that we know about, obviously) is impossible. But above average results come from above average effort. I found that “Crushing It” really cast a light on the fact that if you have a passion, and you’re willing to put the work and effort into it, then you can make things work. I mean, the case studies in “Crushing It” are just a small sample of the hundreds of thousands of people using social media and the internet to their advantage to allow them to enjoy a life that they have created for themselves.
I hear so many people complaining about social media and jumping to their own conclusions about what it is and what it isn’t. The fact is that it can be whatever you want it to be. Everyone has their own voice on social media - whether you use it now and again to post personal pictures, or you use it every day as an integral part of your business. With regards to business, you can’t say “It doesn’t work”, because all you have to do is read a book like “Crushing It” to see real life examples of how it does, in fact, work. It never occurs to these people that maybe it’s them that don’t know how to use it properly, or aren’t willing to learn and to try it. Gary Vee said in one of his keynote speeches in Philadelphia:
“… I don’t give a shit that you didn’t grow up with it; I don’t give a shit that you hate going to a restaurant and seeing two people on the phone; I don’t give a fuck that you’re judging your grand-kids, their so introverted now, they don’t know how to communicate…
… You can be sad all you want; you’re the same asshole that said you would never get a cell phone, and now you have one…
… Technology doesn’t give a fuck about how we grew up, technology is going to do it’s thing. Technology doesn’t care about what your opinion is…
… Your romantic point of view on how it should be, is the reason you are not moving forward in your business or career…”
From that quote, you get an idea of the kind of guy Gary Vee is. He swears a lot, he’s extremely energetic, enthusiastic, excited and emotional. (All the E’s). Most of all - he says things exactly how they are. I must admit, it took me a while to get used to his personality and I can see why people would be put off at first. But I promise that if you are someone who wants to do something a bit different, or aren’t happy in your current situation, he has some great content that will make you think about your life in a different way and question what you’re doing.
Having read “Crushing It” I began to follow Gary across all social media - Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Tik Tok, Snapchat… You name it - he’s on there. He’s so active across social media, that I see his posts every day. From these posts, I’ve picked up some amazing analogies, mindset shifts, food for thought, how to’s, do’s and don’ts, motivational speeches, you name it! I consume this kind of content every day. In fact, some of this content was instrumental in my realisation that I could quit my job to pursue a career in music. So Gary Vee, you’re on my thank you list.
I don’t see much point in regurgitating too much of Gary’s content in a written blog because it’s never going to have the same effect. I’d recommend, if you’re interested, that you follow him on social media or watch some of his content on YouTube and figure out for yourself if you resonate with him. I’ll admit - it’s not for everyone.
That being said, another quote from one of Gary’s #DailyVee (you can watch the full video below, if you like) episodes on YouTube said:
“… Why are you not willing to take one step backwards, for a step for the rest of your life?…
… Think about this, you’re not willing to take a step backwards, which then affords you the ability to quit your bullshit job and do something else you love or you think you could be good at…
… Take a fucking step backwards… You’ve got your whole life in front of you and you’re worried about other peoples judgements if your living in your parents home or you're driving a less fancy car…”
And that’s exactly what I did. I took a step backwards, packed my bags, and started this crazy journey towards having a career in the music industry - a lifelong dream that I had given up on before even beginning to try.
Moving forward to today, when I am trying to build up my music career, I draw from a lot of Gary Vee’s material and theories when creating online content. I use his book “Jab, Jab Jab, Right Hook” almost like a text-book for creating online content, as well as his content all across social media, YouTube and his website.
So - why am I telling you all this? Well, firstly, you wouldn’t believe the amount of people that say to me “I don’t understand how you can do what you’re doing?” or “what is it you’re actually doing these days?” as if the whole idea is just so alien to them or that I should be doing a "real" job. Or the woman that accosted me in the Indian asking “who I thought I was” and if I “thought I was some kind of instagram star or something?” My hope is that anyone that’s interested in my journey, or annoyed by it or whatever else, if they’ve made it this far in the blog, can go and look some of this stuff up and maybe start to get an idea of what it is I’m doing, why I’m doing it, why I post so much on social media, and how they might be able to apply some of it to their own ideas or passions. Secondly, as I mentioned at the start, I said in my last 2 blogs that I’d share some of this material and references with you and I’ve had several messages since then asking for more information or links - so here is the start of it :D
Share this with someone that you think should pursue their talents, dreams, or even just a different way of life - you never know, it might help them :D
Let me know what you thought of this blog in the comments below? Would you like me to cover some of the other people that I’ve listened to, read from etc. or would you prefer me to write about something else? Let me know.
I wanted to write another blog because the last one went down well and I had a few requests to write another. When I was trying to think about what to write about, I’d not long finished writing down my short, medium and long terms goals for my music career. That got me thinking of content for another blog post. I realise this is a subject where people can think “who does he think he is telling us this stuff when he hasn’t achieved his own goals” - but that’s not what this is about. I’m just sharing my journey with people that care and if this blog helps a single person, then that means more to me than the 10 people it pisses off!!
Setting goals, I’ve come to find, is incredibly important for someone that wants to:
And the list goes on…
How can you measure your progress and success if you don’t have an idea of where you want to be in a week, a month, a year, 5 years from now?! For example, people spend hours and hours in the gym without any idea of a target weight to lose or target weight to lift in a specific exercise. Which might seem fine, but how can you actually take measure of how you’re getting on if you have no idea what you want to achieve? How can you celebrate those small wins if you’re not actually aware you’ve had one in the first place?
These points often seem obvious once you realise them - but are not always immediately obvious to everyone (and weren't to me until recently). I don't think I am an expert on any of this stuff, I'm just learning it all as I go along.
You’ll notice that I keep capitalising YOU and YOUR. That brings me to the main point of this blog. Setting goals for YOUR life achievements is, for me, two important things:
What you want to achieve and the timescale you want to do it in should be YOUR idea of success and happiness for YOUR own life. I’m not going to share my goals here, because I don’t believe it’s the place to do it, but what I will say is that I have laid out in great detail where I want to be and what I want to achieve over the next few years. But they’re my goals, and they don’t matter to anyone reading this.
It’s up to me to dedicate and commit myself, and go achieve them. But, it’s not for anyone else to form opinions on or judge - even though they will. People will also assume your goals without even knowing them, and then judge you for having not achieved goals that they set out for your life...
Don’t let anyone make you feel bad or stupid for having big goals. The chances are that anyone that does that doesn’t actually have goals for themselves - so what does their opinion even matter? Another tip for this is to let people who think your goals are unachievable or silly fuel your desire, commitment and dedication to reach them!
And on that subject - make your goals big. Imagine the greatest success that would make you happy and feel successful, write them down and start working towards genuinely believing that you can achieve them (that’s content for a whole different blog discussion altogether - I still have days where it seems impossible).
You have to really believe that you CAN achieve something before you’ll actually have the ability to do it. Did you take driving lessons with a deep belief that you would never be capable of passing your driving test? No! Did you learn to swim with the genuine belief that you would never achieve that and that anytime you went near water you were going to drown? No. And if you did, you soon altered that mindset as you continued working towards those goals. So why would you set out goals for yourself that you’re not sure or don’t believe that you can achieve?
My singing teacher Raymond Bremner used to call me Mikie “I can’t” Henderson - because he’d tell me to do something and I’d take a huff, throw my arms down and say “I can’t.” There will probably still be times that I’ll do that in the future - I’m sure of it. But what I have realised is how utterly ridiculous a statement that is/was. Because if I genuinely believed I couldn’t do it - then I was wasting both Raymond’s and my own time!
Time for a controversial belief - argue with me if you think I’m wrong:
IT DOESN’T NECESSARILY MATTER IF YOU ACHIEVE YOUR GOALS OR NOT WHEN YOU ENJOY THE PROCESS OF WORKING TOWARDS THEM
I touched on it in my last blog (https://mikiehenderson.com/blog/blog/the-big-realisation-that-allowed-me-to-quit-a-career-job-to-follow-my-dreams) that as long as you’re happy and enjoy the day-to-day process of working towards your goals, then it doesn’t actually matter if you achieve them or not - the point is you are trying and you are actually enjoying trying. If you achieve them - fantastic. If you achieve some of them - great! If you don’t achieve any of them - well, you tried and you enjoyed trying. What’s the worst thing that’s going to happen in that situation? The person that said your dreams were unachievable or silly is going to say “I told you so.” And that’s about it. But you’ll always be equipped with the ability to say you tried, and you enjoyed the process of doing so.
That brings me to another point - your goals aren’t set in stone for the rest of your life. I’ve gone back to square 1 in my life to start everything again and achieve goals I’ve set out for myself. But eventually, my lifestyle or circumstances might not align with my aspirations or happiness. For example, I’m back living at home with my parents after over 6 years away. It’s great being back, I’m extremely grateful that they’ve taken me back in (no questions asked) and for now it’s allowing me to really work towards my goals in the best possible way. But in 5 years time, if I’ve not made the progress in music that I wanted to, and I no longer want to live in the family home and having my own place again becomes a higher priority than chasing some of my pre-existing goals - then guess what? They can be changed, reprioritised and reordered. As you work towards your goals your vision might change - just like my vision changed when I was working towards my engineering career and realised I wanted to do music full time.
Make sure that working towards your goals brings day-to-day happiness - because happiness is a NOW thing. You shouldn't be happy once you've achieved your goals, you should be happy as you're working towards them and then celebrate once you reach them.
So to summarise the key points:
I have loads of resources on how to write goals, track goals, and all the mindset stuff I’ve touched on in this blog when it comes to believing in yourself, dealing with people who don't share your vision/haters, etc. If anyone wants more information on any of this, I’d love to hear from you - send me a message on Facebook or Instagram/send me an email and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.
Go have fun writing YOUR goals! :D
"You must be mad?" "What about your pension?" "No one will pay your sick pay." "You’ll be taking a wage cut." "If you need to come back to this line of work your current peers will be so much further ahead of you." "Don’t you feel like you’ve wasted all this time doing engineering?" "So can you explain to me how 5 years of Scottish tax payer subsidised education in Engineering is going to benefit your music career?"
… Was what I eventually realised was the response to these questions and statements that I received on a daily basis when I decided to leave my engineering career to follow my dreams of making a career in music.
I left Wick High School in 2012, having been awarded the Dux pupil of the school and with a solid set of qualifications. Prior to this I had to choose subjects for my Standard Grades in third and fourth year, Higher in fifth year, and Advanced Higher in sixth year. A problem I believe that exists in society is not allowing kids and young adults to do what they want. Instead, society moulds youngsters into doing the jobs that are considered “good” or “clever” jobs - often jobs that are required for the existence of society itself.
Do 3 sciences, do academic subjects. There is such an unfair weighting by society (including many teachers and parents) on subjects that are considered “clever” over subjects that are not - unfortunately for us in the Arts, related subjects are the latter. And even within the Arts there are unfair weightings - music might be seen as a better subject to study than drama or dance. But this just simply isn’t fair, neither is it true.
If you find the 6th Year Yearbook for the Wick High School 2012 class, you’ll find on my page an answer to the question “What is your worst memory of Wick High School” - “Higher English, all of it.” or something to that effect. I guess this could be considered somewhat an apology to my then English teacher because as it would happen; and contrary to what I believed at the time; I use more of my higher English in my career as a songwriter, than I do my 5 years worth of Masters degree in Engineering.
At the end of the day, and in many cases, it takes longer and more blood, sweat and tears to become a successful musician or actor than it does to become a doctor or engineer. Let me be clear - not for one minute am I devaluing these jobs or degrading those doing them. All I am saying is that they’re no better or worse than the next job because to me, the definition of a good job or career, should be entirely an individual opinion. Someone sweeping the roads that is happy in their job and life is doing better than a mechanical engineer that dreads Monday morning and buys time to Friday night - in my opinion. I mean these days, you can make a career doing whatever you want with the opportunities provided by the internet. Food vlogger, travel blogger, make up tutorial creator, online gamer - you name it!
Anyway, rant over. The point I was trying to get to was that I chose all science, maths and technical subjects because I was good at them and I was heavily encouraged to pursue them. Would you believe it - I have NO musical qualifications. I’m not trying to blame anyone else for my decisions and I take full responsibility for them. What I am saying is that if society was different, I’d have chosen different subjects in school and realised how much more creative subjects meant to me and how they are just as important as maths or physics.
Throughout my school career I often asked the question of how I would go about doing music as a full time career. But I knew it would be extremely hard, no one was supportive of it and I was good at academic subjects - so why not continue and get my qualifications?
As a natural progression, the next chapter of my life would see me studying a degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh later in 2012. Everyone said “get your degree while you can, and then you can do what you want once you’ve got it.” It just seemed correct, the natural progression - and who was I to argue?
During my degree, there were many, many times where I could have quit to do music full time. In fact there were times where I could have quit to do anything other than engineering. But during those times, it was easy to hide away from the fact that I wasn’t doing what I knew I truly wanted to do thanks to the big city of Edinburgh. I made so many friends in Edinburgh, there were always so many things to do in the evenings, so many parties and nights out to go on. I also often had my next weekend gig to look forward to. This made getting through the tough parts of my degree easier. Little did I know I was becoming caught up in the rat race.
There were two options for my degree - a 4 year Bachelors degree, or a 5 year Masters degree that included a 6 month industry placement. Of course we were told that our degrees weren’t really enough, and what we needed these days was practical experience to go alongside our paperwork. So with that, I found myself on the 5 year Masters programme. I graduated with a Masters Degree with Distinction in Electrical and Electronic Engineering in the spring of 2017. Don’t get me wrong - I was and still am incredibly proud of my achievements in engineering. It is part of who I am and the entire experience allowed me to realise the things I realise about myself today. I also had the chance to meet some of the most amazing people that mean so much to me today, and will forever.
But who would have guessed - “Your degree alone isn’t enough, you really need to build your CV up by getting yourself a place on a graduate scheme after graduation.” So I did. Luckily, during my degree I carried out my industrial placement at a worldwide defence firm who have a base in Edinburgh and who took me on as a graduate engineer. For that I remain grateful and I met some amazing people at that company with whom I remain good friends. However, while this job was considered a “good” job, and while some people working for the same company love their jobs and lives (and I am genuinely delighted for those people), I did not.
A friend once said to me “your job is much more clever than mine.” I told him how much nonsense he was speaking. The only reason my job seemed like it was a “more clever” job, is because of the point I mentioned before. Designing a fast fighter jet radar is more clever than being a chef - incorrect. Most people in my old company couldn’t write a menu, or fillet a fish, certainly not to the same quality or professionalism of a trained chef. And that same friend spent just as long training to become a professional chef as I did becoming an engineer.
In a group of university friends, we would often make reference to a metaphor that we came up with which we called the ‘moving walkway theory.’ As in the moving walkways you race through airport terminal buildings on. We felt that from a young age - as I explained previously regarding the time of choosing high school subjects - that we were directed onto this moving platform that once you’re on, it’s hard to get off and almost impossible to change your direction. No 15 year old choosing their Standard Grade (or National 5 or whatever they’re called now) subjects would realise that they were stepping onto a moving walkway that would hurtle them on their way to a planned out path of Highers, Advanced Highers, Degree and then career. Again, I must reiterate that this theory isn’t true for all, because as some develop on their path they begin to, or just genuinely enjoy what it is they are doing - and that is fantastic for those people!
Even once you’re in your career you’re still on the moving walkway. Complete the graduate programme, get promoted to senior or principle engineer to earn that bit more money or boost your CV. The trouble for me was - earning more money or getting promoted didn’t motivate me because at the end of the day I wanted to have a career in music. One of my favourite Jim Rohn quotes is - “If you don’t design your own life plan, the chances are you’ll fall into someone else plan. And guess what they’ve got planned for you?… Not much.”
I began to really hate my job. I began to hate the 9-5. I hated being stuck in a routine. I hated the chase for the next promotion. I hated someone else defining my worth. I actually became quite miserable. I did things that I wouldn’t have otherwise done in my personal life. My person changed, and I didn’t like it.
I went on like that for some months - buying time to Friday night and dreading Monday morning - until the big realisation...
All of this was a choice.
Personal choices that I made. Choices for me, made by me.
And that’s what our lives are. A collection of the consequences and results of making choices. And remember, this is all very personal. The right choices for me, might not be the right choices for the next person. But the point here is that if you have made bad or wrong choices in the past; that led you down a path in life that you came to realise you didn’t want to follow; after you realise this you can stop making those bad or wrong choices. Your past DOES NOT determine your future and everyone can make the choice to change. Once I took responsibility for my own choices I was able to stop blaming things on society and the moving walkway. While I believe they are among the reasons that I got into that situation, they had nothing to do with my ability to forget about them and make different choices about my life. Gary Vaynerchuk said, “I’m just always looking forward. I spend very little time looking backwards.”
I loved Edinburgh, I still do love Edinburgh. But it was time to leave. I resigned from my job, worked my months notice, and began a career as a full time musician. For this to become a reality I had to move back into my parents' home. I took a small step backwards to allow myself to take a giant leap forward in my own life and personal development.
I make my money through live sound engineering, session musician work, work with live bands and events while trying to build up my career as a singer, songwriter and performer. I earn less money than I did when I was in my engineering job, but I’m happy. Every day I have a purpose. Every day I can decide what I want to get out of that day for myself. Today it's writing this blog (and likely watching England beat Scotland in the Six Nations).
Do not get me wrong. I am still delighted and proud to have a good engineering qualification and experience on my CV. I actually still use my qualification to do some other engineering work as and when I want. It will always be a skill that I have and can use again. It will always be a back up. There are always other options.
And if all this doesn’t work out, I will always be able to say that I tried. You won’t win the lottery if you don’t buy a lottery ticket. Jim Rohn once said, “if you don’t sow, you wont reap. You don’t even have a chance.” If there’s something you want to do in life, do it. Take advantage of the fact that you have been given the gift of life. People say that “you only live once” is a cliché. It isn’t a cliché - it’s a fact.
If you’ve made it this far - I genuinely thank you for reading all this and hope that it has brought you some value. To summarise, the big realisation that allowed me to quit a career job to follow my dreams was that everything in life is a choice and if you want to change your life, you have to make the choice to change.
I’d like to go into some of the references and books or videos that helped me with this realisation - but I think that is material for another blog. Instead, I’ll leave you with some inspirational quotes from some of those references and some of my idols.
“Work harder on yourself than you do on your job” - Jim Rohn
“If you make the mistake of looking back too much, you aren’t focused on the road in front of you” - Brad Paisley
“For things to change, you have to change” - Jim Rohn
“Skills are cheap. Passion is priceless” - Gary Vaynerchuk
“Despite everything, no one can dictate who you are to other people” - Prince
“Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write yourself a good one.” - Brad Paisley
“When you know what you want, and you want it bad enough, you’ll find a way to get it” - Jim Rohn
“There no longer has to be a difference between who you are and what you do” - Gary Vaynerchuk
“You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something that you have charge of.” - Jim Rohn
“Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it’s something you design for the present” - Jim Rohn
“I’m the happiest because I’m doing exactly what I want to do” - Gary Vaynerchuk