Your work and personal environment can make all the difference in the world to your success. In the same way that environmentalists promote saving our planet, a negative or even toxic atmosphere at work or at home can make it extremely hard to do your best work. When I say this, I don’t mean that you won’t be moving forward. It just means that you don’t want to stay in that environment for the long haul.

Like most people, I have had my fair share of not having a lot of choice in where I had to work in order to pay the bills. And having the very specific goal of being a full time composer/musician, a field where that is almost unheard of, has always made it that much harder.

A few things from my past come to mind when thinking about achieving my goal. Despite some successes that led to very big let-downs, I always have to consider those times as stepping stones and times when I learned from mistakes.

I was in a popular, original, regional rock band that had enormous potential. Unfortunately, the leader of the group thought that he was the only person who could write a song and the band was only about him. When I found out that he was trying to get a record deal without the band, it was time to walk away and start again from scratch. But without that experience, I wouldn’t have been able to take those next steps that led to bigger and better things.

There have been other places where I’ve worked, where my talent was not appreciated and rewarded, or the politics became a toxic environment to creativity. However, I have always tried to learn what I could along the way and to keep moving toward my goal. No situation is all bad or all good. But at the very least, you should come away with more knowledge than when you started.

When you realize that you need to be in a better place, start researching your options. I’ve been caught more than once thinking that my job was safe, yet knowing in the back of my mind that it wasn’t a healthy place for me. Delaying your search only means that you might get stuck with no job at all.

And above all, don’t let obstacles discourage you. The most absurd thing I continually hear on reality TV shows is, “This is my final shot at making it.” A career in entertainment (or most any other career) is a marathon – not a sprint. You are not going to make it overnight. So when bad things happen, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start fresh in the morning.

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