March 11, 2014

Don't Fail to Be Bad

Once upon a time, I was in a band.

That picture to the left; that's one of our albums.

Sometimes it seems like it was so long ago that it was some sort of fairy tale from another life or something. At the same time, some of those memories feel like yesterday. Good memories. Amazing opportunities. We did some things that I'm still very thankful for and incredibly proud of. Some of my favorite memories include:

Playing the opening concert for Student Week at Glorieta. (The stage, which opened out of a flat bed trailer, was insane!)

New Years Eve at the Berger Center in Austin, TX. 2500 screaming teenagers create some serious energy.

Leading worship at tons of camps throughout the summers, meeting & ministering to students.

Hours upon hours upon hours in the studio creating music from nothing. I miss that.

And of course, the weekly opportunity and privilege we had at our home church to lead students in life and worship.

I loved it!

Sometimes. Most of the time.

But other times, just to be clearly transparent and honest...I absolutely hated it.

Hours upon hours upon hours of practicing.

Getting mad at Nathan for showing up an hour late for practice on a Saturday morning. (Of course, he'd usually bring donuts. So that was good.)

Staying in a cigarette smoke infested roach motel in Nashville so we could play in front of some people who could not have cared less that we drove 12 hours to change their lives with our music. Jerks.

And man, did we write some BAD songs. And when I say "BAD", I'm not talking Michael Jackson "BAD". The other bad, that's really bad.

We wrote some songs that I would love to have wiped out of my memory for good.

We wrote some songs that we still text each other about just for a good laugh.

We wrote songs that the United States Army could pump out over enemy territory just to make them come out, lay their weapons down, surrender, and give up. Just make it stop!

So many songs. So bad.


We wrote some really good songs as well.

We wrote some songs that I'm still incredibly proud to claim.

We wrote songs that I've let my kids listen to and they actually want to hear again.

I still get emails or messages every once in awhile from someone telling me, "Brian, that song was just what I needed at an incredibly hard time in my life." And I will never in my entire life forget the email I got from a young college guy who told me that our song "The First Step" kept him from committing suicide. You don't forget that.

I say this without reservation: We wrote some great songs!

But at the end of the day, WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?

You should care because this blogpost really isn't about our band or my songs.

I'm not writing this so you'll give me a "Way to go!" This isn't an attempt at resurrecting a Sycamore reunion show either. (We'd probably need a lot of Red Bull & a 30 minute intermission.) I don't care if you ever hear those songs or not. What I do care about is the fact that so many people never even tap the surface of the GREAT thing they could do because they are so scared of what it will take to break through. 

If you want to write a great song, you've got to be OK with writing 50 (or 100) BAD ones.

If you want to find that great idea, you've got to be OK with plowing through 100 FAILED ones.

If you want to sell that non-profit idea that you know can (and will) change the world, you've got to be willing to hear "No" 100 (or 1000) times before you ever hear "Yes!"

You can't be afraid of failure. You can't be allergic to bad. And you sure as heck cannot be overly sensitive to "No". Get over it right now. Failure and bad are not the things that will keep you from success and from great. Your FEAR of failure and bad are the enemy. And as Jon Acuff says in his latest book, "Punch fear in the face!" Let me put it to you this way: Don't FAIL to be BAD! If you do, you'll never get to GOOD, much less GREAT.

So play that horrible song for your Mom. She likes everything you write!
Keep writing. Keep trying. Keep asking.

If you want to make your mark on this world, understand ahead of time that it's probably going to leave a mark on you. Wear it proudly. 

If you want to make an eternal impact on this world, just know in advance there will be some temporary pain that comes along with it. It's worth it.

The only path to GREAT goes straight through FAILURE and NICE TRY.
Keep walking!

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