Fulfilling Career: Do You Have What It Takes to Do Your Own Thing?

Note: This is a guest post by Jeff Fajans of GuitarPlayerZen.com
Ever wonder why the star athlete prom king in high school who was voted most likely to succeed is no where to be found today?
Do you get an eerie feeling in your stomach when you think about your favorite childhood stars, pondering why they are now alcoholic and depressed?
Fulfilling careerWhat about that 9 year old boy you heard about a few years ago who could play guitar just like Stevie Ray Vaughan? Why isn’t he “making it?”
Talent isn’t enough.
Commitment, perseverance and innovation are imperative to success at doing your own thing.
You may truly have a completely innovative style or idea, but the truth is, there are a lot of people in this world who are just as talented as you are.   I have discovered so many talented guitarists from GuitarPlayerZen.com that it truly is mind-blowing, and can definitely be a bit discouraging at times.
But with these three traits (which all can be learned and developed) you are well on your way to having a fulfilling career doing whatever it is that you love to do!


A winner is someone who recognizes his God-given talents, works his tail off to develop them into skills, and uses these skills to accomplish his goals.
Larry Bird

Would you be willing to train 6 hours a day, 6 days a week, without fail, even if it meant training on Christmas day or your birthday?  Well, Michael Phelps would.  Total dedication to his training program has made him one of the greatest world champions in history.  He identified his talents, but what sets him apart is combining them with a commitment level that is unsurpassed.
Are you willing to make sacrifices for the greater good of your vision?  You better be!  You don’t necessarily need to spend 6 hours a day learning the ins and outs of operating a new business, but there is never such a thing as being over-prepared.
If your desire for a fulfilling career truly is strong enough, then having this level of dedication comes naturally; however, there are always certain things that must be done that you will dislike doing.  The successful musician hates trying to make contacts and organize a tour, but his passion and vision for success outweighs his loathing of being on the phone all day.  The trick is to stay true to your dreams and utilize the excitement of fulfilling them to stay committed.


Develop success from failures.  Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.
Dale Carnegie

One reason child prodigies fail is that when faced with social pressures and criticism, they just cannot handle them.  They have been accustomed to adults praising how talented they are, that when they get older, and someone says, “man you really aren’t that great,” they do not know how to react.  Many people in general take failure and making mistakes as a sign to give up and do something else, rather than learning from them and transforming them into success.
Most successful entrepreneurs view failure as the key ingredient to their achievements.  Without making certain mistakes, they would have never learned what not to do, or how to do something better and set themselves apart!


You have to go on and be crazy. Craziness is like heaven.
Jimi Hendrix

Even those who are committed and persevere through hard times may not be guaranteed success.   To make a major contribution in the arts or the sciences, you need a rebellious spirit and the type of mind that can see new opportunities and ideas.  The same is true in the business world.
Sure you can be somewhat successful imitating and modeling others, but to be truly outstanding, you really need to find out what it is that you can offer that no one else can quite duplicate.
When you think of guitar players, Jimi Hendrix most likely pops into your head.  Why is this?  He definitely is not the most technical guitarist in history.  In fact, there are so many players who could play faster and cleaner.   He is remembered as the greatest guitarist ever because of his innovation.
Jeff Fajans, founder of the creative online magazine, GuitarPlayerZen.com, helps guitar players nation wide fulfill their dreams of making music their livelihoods.   Check out GPZ’s  free manifesto, Insider Secrets to Becoming a Professional Studio Guitarist: The 7 Habits of Successful Studio Pros.
This article is part of September 2008 theme: Fulfilling Career
Photo by XirannisX en Off


  1. Nice post Jeff. I agree with the sentiment of your post Talent isn’t enough, but having talent to start with never hurts =)
    I would add that there is a certain degree of luck and opportunity involved as well. There are probably dozens of musicians that are better than those currently on tour with bands, but if you aren’t in the right place at the right time, ready for the opportunity, you won’t be able to take advantage of it =)

  2. You are exactly right Sid. It is also very important to be “lucky.”
    I firmly believe though that part of the dedication an action that you put towards developing and harnessing your talents includes doing whatever it takes to reach your goals, and in the case of musicians, that involves lots of networking and building upon skills not necessarily related to just playing and performing.
    By developing and building these indirect skills, it really helps put you in a place where you are ready to receive and identify opportunity . Maybe the huge major record label deal might not come your way, but that doesn’t mean that you still can’t be very successful in what you do!
    Don’t rely on external circumstances for your success, but definitely be ready to grab those opportunities when life hands them to you.

  3. One reason child prodigies fail is that when faced with social pressures and criticism, they just cannot handle them.

    It is true. EQ is more important than IQ. Child prodigies need sense and wisdom to deal with hardship, or a wise adult appear at the right time to guide them through the process. It needs perseverence or luck or both. Luckily, I got both and survived a harsh situation.

  4. This article touches on the important components of success: commitment, perseverance and innovation. I’ve seen many talented people searching for some secret tip that will open the door to success for them.
    I’m amazed at people who admire the success that Mike Phelps enjoyed at the Beijing Olympics, but fail to realize the tremendous work and dedication that went into those wins. They miss one more thing about Mike. He has not only honed his physical skills, but he has a positive mindset that enable him to face with confidence the tremendous pressure and challenges without being undone by them.
    I’ve been blessed with many talents and skills, but they alone aren’t worth a hill of beans. It’s the time I devoted to finish my education, build businesses and build meaningful relationships that have made for my success.

  5. To make a major contribution in the arts or the sciences, you need a rebellious spirit and the type of mind that can see new opportunities and ideas.
    Funny you put sciences and arts together. when I was a child I wanted to be both. Maybe I still want to be now, but yeah, the major challenge for me is perseverance, especially now that I am trying to go towards that thing I really want the most.

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