To make it, we have to learn to write our own songs

by | Aug 6, 2021

Eagle’s frontman, the late Glenn Frey, tells of a conversation with the old rocker Bob Seger on what it takes to make it in the music business:

“You have to write your own songs,” Seger told him.

“What if they’re bad?” Frey responded.

“Of course they’re bad; just keep writing until they’re good,” Seger told him.

Your definition of ‘make it’, well, that’s up to you.

Define your path, or allow ‘the world’ to define it for you. It is a choice.

Fear will kick in. It might be fear of change, or perhaps fear of regret. Either way, we do nothing. There is a ‘sunk cost’ bias. It feels safer to ignore our own ignorance, to default to what we know. Cling to an answer, even though the question may have changed.

Find your own voice. Have an opinion. Speak to your opinion; put it out there. Seek the counterview, invite a different perspective.

Listen. Allow the counterview to replace yours for just long enough to know whether you need to change something, or stay the course.

As Scott Belsky, Founder of Behance, said, “When 99% of people doubt your idea, you are either gravely wrong, or about to make history”.

To make change happen, you’re in charge.

Let’s write some tunes.

Play on!


The ebb in the flow

For the past few years, I have read and heard often about the concept of ‘the flow’.

“You need to find your flow”, I have read, like when you are shopping for a new bed, testing out the mattresses, until you find the one that is ‘just right’.

It was T.S. Eliot who said, “If you aren’t in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?”

In the tides of life, it is about the ‘ebb and flow’. There is no flow without the ebb.

The idea is to take yourself from the “What I know?” to “What I don’t know?” but also getting out of your head by taking yourself from “Thinking” to “Doing”.

The language in the model above is deliberate, and thank you to Dr Jason Fox for the inspiration.

It might be the competitive nature of elite sport and the often desperate need to seek advantage, even for one game (or one quarter).

Still, it is an environment very energised, almost obsessed, by the “What I don’t know?” mindset. Leaders, mostly coaches, are prepared to ‘brood’, think deeply, ask better questions, experiment and invite different perspectives, go with a ‘hunch’.

The better coaches have shaped their teams such that they have shaped the way the game is played. It hasn’t always been pretty or popular, but it has put silverware in their club’s trophy cabinets and forced other coaches to respond, and the game shaping continues ad infinitum.

The great coaches have taken it a stage further, seeking to shape the sport itself, having a vision for the game that few could see at the time. Ron Barassi and Kevin Sheedy are icons of the sport for this reason. Debbie Lee is the evangelist that the women’s game needed, and her legacy is profound.

These are people who look at the future of the game and see radically different things from most. They are happy to sit at the frontier of what is known and unknown, seeking to turn the unknown into the known if only to reveal another unknown. They are more interested in what we can become than who we think we are already. And it is us, the lovers of the game, who are the beneficiaries, as much as we tried to fight it at the time.

These are brave people. Prepared to hazard themselves for the possibility of fulfilling the promise of the sport.

They also speak openly about how the game has shaped them. How thankful they are for the lessons the game gifted them, always prepared to put themselves in deep and diverse conversation to satisfy their relentless curiosity, being at ease with not-knowing.

Always trying new things, often getting it wrong, comforted by the understanding that, when the healing is done, loss and heartbreak are temporary states and essential for growth.

I am sure they have experienced flow, but it is the ebb that took them there.


“Who you are is what you settle for, you know?”

Janis Joplin


Your first game

Maurice Rioli Jnr learns that he will play his first game for the club he grew up loving, that his late father Maurice Snr represented with mastery.

One of my favourite lines is, “When you get to understand what truly matters, you get to enjoy what seems to matter.”

This is a truly matters moment.

Pippa Grange describes it wonderfully in her book Fear Less.

“Winning deep, or winning shallow.”

This is what winning deep looks like.

In the words of his coach Damien Hardwick:

“All we want you to do is bring your strengths. Your defensive pressure. You are going to inspire your teammates by the way you play the game.”

“I want you to make mistakes because that’s the way you learn, play as hard as you possibly can. So excited to give you the opportunity, you have worked so hard for this, and you are finally going to get the reward, brother.”

“Could not be prouder of you.”

“We love the way you play, and we can’t wait to watch you play.”

“Enjoy the moment.”

…and a timeless song lyric:

Janis Joplin – Piece Of My Heart

And each time I tell myself that I
Well I think I’ve had enough
But well I’m gonna show you, baby
That a woman can be tough
I want you to come on, come on, come on, come on and take it
Take another little piece of my heart now, baby

The YouTube of this song has had 34 million views. Extraordinary.

Cameron Schwab
CEO & Founder


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