Podcast: #4 “Are You An Encourager”


Are you an encourager? The only way to answer this question is by knowing solidly who you are and what you’ve been called to do. You can’t encourage anybody if you’re insecure right? If you’re fighting with yourself your inner demons, your girlfriend or your wife or your boyfriend or your husband for your parents–it really doesn’t matter, because you were in conflict.

Conflict will really wreck havoc on our ability to relate to others much less encourage them. So whether you’re on the concert stage, or in a small coffee House intimate gathering, are on a church platform leading worship–you must keep your conflict under control or, trust me, it will seep out and undermine any messaging you hope to achieve. And that in and of itself can hurt and even destroy others around you.

What are the biggest conflicts that musicians face has to do with ambition. In that goes back to the question of why am I doing what am I doing. If you really feel in your heart the guy has called you to do with thing then it’s certainly worth doing well. I know I keep going back to your mission statement data will help you keep in mind why you’re doing this. If you are a solo artist ambition seems to be easier to keep in check because you’re not competing with anyone within your circle. However, if you’re in a band as the lead singer, or even the guitarist Drummer or keyboardist, you’re surrounded by others with a lot of ambition as well.

It’s important that you and your team, whether you’re in the band or on a worship team at church, understand where each person is with regard to the personal ambitions that have led them to this place where they are playing music. A Personal ambition that does not line up with the overall mission calling of the larger group you’re part of Will cause a great deal of conflict. That conflict we’ll then emerge in small spat you have another bandmate, and disagreements you have about the set list, or even the best way to play at particular pattern on your instrument. So it’s important that you understand and that everyone recognizes that you hopefully are all on the same page with regard to individual ambitions.

Is a great story about George Mallory scaling Mount Everest 5 1/2 miles above the face of the earth. George Mallory was once asked why he wanted to ascend Everett summit. His answer: because it is there! The ambition to conquer, to achieve, to excel, has always driven men. Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay his guide let the first successful assault against Everest. Week after week they inched up the face of the worlds tallest temptation. Herculean odds opposed him at every step. Avalanches threatened to claim their very lives. Deep crevasses resisted negotiation. High winds their warnings. Extreme steepness defined their ingenuity. Thin air sapped their strength.

So each day they ascended To the top they would stop at the end of the day and build a camp. They saw that each successive Camp seemed so much further away than the seven camps behind them. In his autobiography Edmund Hillary describe the exhilaration of becoming the first to arrive in Everett apex. At 11:45 AM on May 29, 1953 Hillary and Norgay stood on top of the world.

But here’s an interesting point. 15 minutes after they arrived they turned around and left. Hillary recorded in his diary that unless they began the retreat back down the mountain nightfall would overtake them and they would perish from the elements. 15 minutes at the top. All that effort and sacrifice to stand for 15 minutes on top of the world.

Almost everyone has his own Everest: some goal to scale the upper height, some ambition to make it to the top, some motive to walk among the great. People often describe their search for human dignity along the line of climbing the peak of the temporal summit. Human dignity actually is found on mountain, but it is the holy mountain of God. Most men climb up the wrong mountain. As the cliché states “I climbed my ladder to the top only to find out it was leaning against the wrong wall”.

So is the 15 minutes on top of the temporal world worth the price paid? When you reach the pinnacle of success as an industry around you has defined it, what next?

And this gets back to the question we always come back to when trying to understand what motivates us to do what we do. What is your ambition? And does it line up with those on your team whom God has called you to work with?

When men pursue selfish ambition they invariably climb up a corporeal mountain where no man may rest. It’s a mountain of loneliness. When Christ ascended into the mountains His only goal was never about himself. Rather he went there to meet with the Father. The only mountain worth climbing is one that ascends to our Father God.

The goal of the Christian life is to ascend to the holy hill. It is to surrender the self-will of ambition which strives for human achievement at the expense of knowing God personally. The independent spirit within us, that most certainly can get in the way, strives for human achievement at the expense of knowing God personally. The Independent Spirit wants Everest. The surrendered spirit wants the holy hill. The essential question is found in Psalm 24:3 – ”Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place?”

Everyone has his own Everest. The question is do you have some mountain of ambition that you’re trying to scale? Only a weary few stand at the top. And even those after 15 minutes of glory are forced by the laws of nature to descend. The older man must make way for the younger ones because they two want their 15 minutes of fame at the top. But is it worth it?

So that begs the question for those of you listening to this: are you climbing the wrong mountain? Have you found an ambition in your own flesh that is driving you to do what you do when you stand on a stage, lead from a platform, or minister to your team?

So let’s piece all this together. I started at the top talking about encouragement and how sometimes our ability to encourage others is impeded by the conflict we have inside of us. And I mentioned that conflict will always surface when we least need it. And for many people the conflict is that of ambition, whether it is selfish, altruistic, or God focused–it can cause conflict if I others in your circle or sphere of influence don’t share similar ambitions.

This is actually a question I deal with in seminars I have on how to deal with team conflict. But I’ll save that for another day.

Another thing you want to be mindful of is that when you do encourage others that it comes from a clear heart with no ambition attached to it. Remember, ambition can take the form of encouragement and therefore lead to conflict. 

Here’s an example: you’re at an event where you have performed with your band and someone has told you that the A&R guy from Capitol records is in the audience. So after your set you desperately want to find him and introduce yourself to him, along with total of others with the same goal in mind as you have. So when you finally get to meet him, you Immediately thrust a USB press kit or business card into his face and talked nonstop about how you can be the next best band he’s ever worked with. Trust me, he’s going to look for that out to get away from you as quickly as possible.

On the other hand, when you do find him and introduce yourself to him or someone else introduces you to him, which is preferable, let him take the lead on where he wants to go with the conversation. He may take it in a business Direction and ask questions that will Q you to give him the information about yourself without having to give it unsolicited. Or, he may comment on how well your band played or how powerful the message was. If he goes in that direction, don’t change directions!! Engage him in the conversation as he leads it – and encourage him. You don’t know what’s going on in his life personally, or with his family and perhaps God sent you to him to encourage him. 

Now obviously you don’t want to sound overly religious just to get his attention. Be sincere and caring and that is what he will remember along with the great music you just shared with him. And when the conversation is over, you can hand him a business card and say something like “I’d love to take this chat further, when can I give you a call?”

So your ambition to be at the top of your game was not compromised. Your integrity was kept in check (possibly unlike others who met him that night as well), and perhaps you made a friend first before you met a possible business associate.

However, if you are conflicted about what you want to do & where you want to go with your music, with your band, your team, you would have a hard time hiding that unbridled ambition, take over a conversation, and miss the opportunity to encourage someone.

What about your bandmates or your team? How do you square your ambition with theirs. Well actually that should have been done the moment you all started playing together, where you auditioned that new person for your group or band, or you actually started over with rebranding and re-identifying your purpose going forward. Obviously everybody needs some skin in the game but at what level is the question. Your drummer may see this as a part-time gig so he can earn some extra money to take a vacation with his family in 8 to 10 years. I’ve worked with bands that had players who we’re not in the least bit interested in doing anything related to Sharing the gospel, ministry, etc.

But that was never brought up other when he joined the group at his audition or he was never asked about it because the person conducting the interview did not feel it appropriate to bring it up. So there at the outset is conflict. The Bible tells us not to be unequally yoked one to another. That doesn’t just apply to dating and marriage. I believe it applies in all circumstances including your personal life, your business life, and your spiritual life. Being on equally yoked is a recipe for disaster in a bands life.

That’s why it’s so important that honest conversations with potential band members happen early on in the relationship. 

The second part of the question that I asked last week what are you a taker? That’s in direct conflict with the other question are you and encourager?

Here’s what I mean: you’re only ambition is to climb the ladder of success in the music industry and use whatever means you can to get there then you are a taker. You will use whoever and whatever means it takes to get to where you’re going. I’ve seen a lot of these folks over the past 20 years make this and people like me in the industry can spot a mile away. They think they’re being really opaque but actually they’re quite transparent to those of us who’ve seen it a lot period

The only thing you your coming out of their mouth is about themselves. They only talk about the new song they wrote, the new EP coming out, the latest radio drop, the big national marketing campaign they have. These are the types of people you can stand in front of an have a conversation I never have an opportunity to be asked how you’re doing. You can’t even ask how they are doing because you’re so busy listening to them talking about themselves nonstop. Now I know a lot of you think I am exaggerating. But trust me, it’s more prevalent than you think even in Christian music.

When I meet the new musician, or have an opportunity to chat with them on the phone after an email or text exchange I hope to hear early on why do do they do what they do and why they think they need help from me. Now I’m just shared a little secret about what I’m looking for so if you contact me and that’s all you say or talk about in your text message or when you complete the form on our website then I know you’ve been listening to this podcast and I thank you.

The artist on my roster that demonstrate god driven desire to encourage others are those that have actually been with me the longest. We’ll have a conversation about the new marketing plan or the new radio draw, but whatever it’s about it always ends with that client asking me how are you doing and sometimes even can I pray for you? The relationship was formed early on as artist manager and then matured into a friendship that is very important to both of us.

So let’s wrap this up. I want you to be and encourager of all men. I meant to say that in my daily walk when my wife and I are out shopping or eating out whatever we’re doing when we’re around other people, I love to find something different or interesting about someone else that I’m standing in line with or have had just had an interaction with and complement them. I’ve had random strangers compliment me on my shoes or my hats. And that makes my day a little better. But when I compliment or encourage someone else that makes my day much much better.

So a simple tip on how to avoid conflict within your team is to encourage each other. And it’s a whole lot easier to encourage each other when you know you all share a common ambition. And if you don’t know the ambitions your teammates, or your bandmates then you need to take some downtime away from the studio with no instruments and just talk among yourselves and each person’s share what’s their ambition is as a musician and how it brought them to your band.

After that happens and you encourage one another the person receiving the encouragement will always know that you really mean it because the relationship you have with them is based on a godly ambition you both share. They’ll know the encouragement wasn’t fake. And that Will help keep the conflict out of your band, your team, for your group.

Thanks for joining me today. I trust that you have been blessed by our little conversation about conflict and encouragement. I want to encourage you over the next week to find something good to say to someone else. Please click on the share button and encourage your friends and colleagues to subscribe to this podcast. You can always find each episode at www.tmamediapodcast.com. 

Also, if you are a Christian artist or band or even a worship leader desiring to take your gift beyond the four walls of your local church, visit our main website at www.themanaggementabency.com, click on the Contact Us in the upper right corner and complete the contact us form. I’ll get right back to you and provide you with more information about how TMA can serve your needs. Take everybody and have a great weekend – we’ll see you next Friday for another episode of The Music Creators!

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