Need to Regain Your Sense of Purpose? Think About the Most Meaningful Compliment You’ve Ever Received

By

Jeff Haden

03-04-2020

2 min read

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If the daily grind has worn away your sense of purpose, here’s a simple fix.

 

Tough times often require dramatic changes. Goals, priorities, tasks, routines… seemingly everything changes.

And with it, your sense of purpose.

Rapid change makes it easy to lose sight of the deep “why?” that forms the foundation for your business and personal life: To paraphrase Simon Sinek, not just what you do. Or how. Why you do what you do.

If you’ve lost a little of the sense of purpose that once fuelled you, try this:

Take a moment to think about the most meaningful compliment you ever received.

Not the most gushing or over the top compliment, but the one that speaks to a deeper meaning about not only what you do… but also the person you try to be.

This is the third in my “most meaningful compliment” series. The first featured Michael Hirst, the creator, writer, and executive producer of Vikings. The second, two-time NASCAR champion Kyle Busch.

This time it’s Josh Raven, lead singer of The Faim.

Here’s Josh:

It’s hard to narrow down, but one compliment that’s always stuck with me was in Germany and I was living in my head a bit after a show. It was just the typical, irrational, over-analytical mindset of, ‘You could do better,’ ‘Try harder,’ etc.

At least two hours after the venue was closed an older gentleman with his daughter came to me and said, ‘I used to always find it difficult to enjoy or understand why others would love music so much until I saw the look on my daughter’s face tonight. Thank you for a great show.’

The reason it stuck wasn’t necessarily for what he said specifically, but the sentiment in his tone and expression resonated with me in a way that felt incredibly honest. No matter how my night was before that, I was reminded of every reason why I became musician in that twenty second interaction.

It’s not about all the shit in your head. It’s about everyone who comes to that show to escape from the world for an hour, just like me.

READ: How to Plan Your Ideal Workweek for Optimal Performance

A concert is, ultimately, a performance. In order to grow as a performer and an artist,  Josh needs to analyze and assess every performance. That’s the only way he’ll improve.

More importantly, though, a concert serves the fans. While Josh’s self-critique is valuable, what matters more is how the audience feels about his performance. Voice. Stagecraft. Presence. Charisma. Connection with fans, both as individuals and as a crowd. The list goes on and on.

(As Aerosmith’s Joe Perry told me in pre-in-ear monitor days, “Planting myself in front of my monitor the entire time would improve my playing… but no one buys a ticket to see me sit on a stool. People want to see a show.”)

Concerts aren’t zero-sum games. Performer “success” should never come at the expense of audience entertainment. Art, in its purest form, is self-expression.

But for a performer, art is also about the audience. Everyone who listens to a song. Who watches a video. Who comes to a show.

Making music is what Josh does.

Taking people to a different place, helping them connect with their own emotions, helping them gain perspective on their own lives, helping them escape their everyday world, if only for just a few minutes… that’s why he writes, produces, and performs.

The older gentleman’s compliment stuck with him because it spoke not just to what he does, but why.

Think about the most meaningful compliment you’ve ever received.

Hiding inside is your why.

 

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