Can I be real with you for a few minutes?
I mean, I try to be real each and every week here at The Recording Revolution; giving you tips, tricks, and mindsets that apply to real people in real home studios, and avoiding all the hype, myths, and silliness that pervades the audio world these days.
But today, if you’ll allow me I want to give you a brief look into the messiness that is my life.
Via Christina Xu Flickr
I Can Only Do But So Much
On my best days I’d like to believe that I can do anything I put my mind to. I’m somewhat of a go-getter, I like to work hard and accomplish much.
In the studio I like to take as many mixing or mastering clients as my schedule will allow. In my personal songwriting I like to pump out an EP or two a year. And in my business I like to deliver and improve upon the best audio training courses in the world, giving my students so much value for their hard earned money.
In my personal life I like to love and lead my wife well, with strength and wisdom. I like to be an involved, loving, and patient father to my two girls; teaching them to value the right things and helping them grow into young women. I like to serve my church community by committing time and energy to certain endeavors throughout the week.
Oh, and I like to read good books, exercise, listen to music, watch football, and catch a great movie every now and then.
The reality is – I have limitations. Limitations of time, energy, skill, competency, and will.
I simply can’t do it all – not well at least.
The Myth Of Work And Life Balance
I’m not sure what you think of me as a person, but almost without fail I get a handful of emails each month that ask some form of this question: “Graham, how do you balance everything in your life so well? Family, work, music, church?”
The simple answer is – I don’t.
What burdens me is that one would even think that somehow I “have it all together.” I suppose from simply reading my blog and following a Facebook status or two you might think that everything is picture perfect (or at least close) and that I am handling everything well.
This is sad – because it is a trap. It traps people into thinking that somehow I have escaped the frustrating reality of human limitations. That in some way I’m excluded from them.
I don’t believe in the idea of a perfect work/life “balance” – because it doesn’t exist.
So I don’t want you for a second to think that I have my life balanced.
But it’s funny – our culture doesn’t like the idea of limits. Anything is possible. Just buckle down and try harder. Set your mind to it. You can have perfect balance.
I can tell you from experience that this idea of no limitations doesn’t work. It only leads to heartache.
Sometimes You Have To Cancel Important Trips
Which brings me back to this weekend. After returning home from San Francisco where I taught a two day masterclass at Creative Live – I stepped back into the reality that is my home life right now.
My family just moved to a new house, my wife has traveled more than usual this fall, we took a trip to celebrate her birthday, I had this trip to California last week, I’m mixing an album this month plus trying to finish my own album, and I was about to leave for Nashville for a few days for a conference and some business meetings.
For some reason in my mind this all seemed manageable – that is until we had our first real day off in a while on Saturday and I just was frustrated, exhausted, and angry.
Something had to change.
Well – a lot needs to change, but you can’t do everything at once.
So I made one hard change – I cancelled my upcoming trip. Cancelled flights, hotels, rental cars, and conference tickets. Some money is returned, some is lost, either way it was a bummer. I’ve been looking forward to this trip.
But – that’s where limitations come into play. I simply can’t do it all. And if I try, something(s) will suffer.
My family will suffer, my health will suffer, my ability to think clearly and teach helpful content to you will suffer. I simply can’t do it all.
How Does This Relate To You?
I’m sorry if this seems like an out of place rambling or musing. I’m very intentional with the content I create for you on The Recording Revolution, and I admit this is a bit off topic.
But maybe it’s not.
Maybe you have been led to believe that you can do it all. You can be a great father/mother, husband/wife, employee/student, and get everything you want done in the studio at the pace you desire, with the results you desire, each and every time.
Maybe this post will shed some light on the frustrating (but true) reality that you and I are limited.
Maybe we can start to embrace these limitations. Maybe we can set more realistic expectations for our work in the studio. Ones in which ambition and honesty about our limits can coincide.
Maybe you will be set free from the trap that is trying to perfectly balance your work/school and life (and studio life).
I can’t do it. And I don’t expect you to do it either.
What I care about for you is that you go for the big wins in music. You do the things that make a real difference, that give you results, that fire you up, that spark your creativity. But you can’t do it all.
And that’s OK.
The sooner you and I embrace that fact, the sooner we can slow down and do the things that matter and actually live our lives instead of trying to “manage” them to perfection.
Here’s to a limited week!