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Does Following Your Passion Really Work?

Under The Piano-30

Many of us know the saying, Follow your passion and the money or success will follow.

I’ve been wondering about it recently. I’ve been following my passion for over 5 years now and it seems the money and success have yet to follow. Yes, an increased experience of satisfaction, fulfillment, and happiness has followed but where is the money? Where is the success?

Recently, I’ve heard a couple of influential and clearly successful people (at least from where I’m standing) refute the follow your passion belief. The first thing I noticed about both of them is how obviously passionate they are about what they are up to in life. I was left laughing when their passionate rebuttal of passion basically disproved itself.

Then, the other week, something happened. It had me question that maybe it is not so much about following the passion and a little more about being crystal clear about your passion or being bold about your passion. There is no doubt in my mind that I am passionate about music and the difference it  makes for people. So what’s missing, other than patience, if it is indeed true that following my passion will result in success?

What happened, was a client came for an Under the Piano session. That client was Mark E. Sackett who lives in New York and San Francisco. He produces music concerts and movies and participates in a whole slew of other amazing things in his life. He’s unquestionably a passionate guy. When his Under the Piano session was over he shared this on Facebook and then again shortly afterward at a live networking event:

“Well last night I had without question one of the top 10 experiences of my life here in Vancouver!!!!

…Craig has a beautiful simple business called Under the Piano… Telling you you lay under a piano as he composes a piece of music for you would be short selling this horribly!

Describing the emotions I went through from remembering my Grandma Harris playing the Piano when I was a child, to remembering past loves, to soaring in my memories from being at the top of a mountain at 14,000 feet all washed over me as I was taken on a 45 minute journey of my life. I was in tears at times and fell asleep in the middle for 5 minutes and then spent the greatest part of my experience with an ear to ear smile washing over my body while in total amazement of what I was hearing and feeling as I reached up touching the underside of the piano, to feel the powerful vibrations of this grand piano moving through my body. Not one to lay still or calm I was simply and blissfuly relaxed and centered.

I cannot say enough about Craig and what is is like to lay under his piano as he literally and spontaneously composes a 45 minute journey for you as you lay underneath it on a fluffy bed and comfy and beautiful pillows with aromatherapy and candles.

I am still chilled to the bone as I recall it here for you!!!”

I let this sink in. At the networking event, Mark got quite emotional and moved as he shared about his experience. So did I and some other people in the room. This experience of being profoundly moved, inspired and connected by music is what Under the Piano is about and this is what fulfills me most deeply. I saw that I get similar responses from many clients but not all clients. There is that “but” word which basically negates what precedes it. Then I saw what was missing for me.

Over the past year I have been creating and clarifying my mission statement. Getting grounded in my passion.

This is what I  had up until now

“My mission is to provide relaxing, beautiful and connecting musical experiences for individuals, couples and audiences. Unique and intimate environments dramatically increase and enhance the impact music has on people emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually.”

Well it’s all just fine. It’s in alignment with my belief that the beauty of music can make a big difference for people and communities AND something is missing. Mark’s testimonial provided the gift of seeing what’s missing.

What’s missing is a challenge. My butt is not on the line. I’m already delivering that mission every time I do a session. It’s not a challenge for me at all. People can get what my old mission provides from innumerable places and experiences in any city or town. Under the Piano cannot not be experienced anywhere and neither can the music I spontaneously create. It’s not an anywhere and everywhere experience and my mission does not say that. I’ve been afraid to say that because of the fear that I cannot reliably deliver an experience like Mark had. My challenge is to have people be moved the way Mark was each and every time I do a session. I realize I have been boringly reasonable and sensible with my mission.

Here’s my new first draft:

“My mission is to provide relaxing, beautiful and connecting musical experiences for individuals, couples and audiences that leave them awestruck, full of wonder, and profoundly moved. Unique musical environments and the miraculous power of spontaneously composed music make this possible by dramatically increasing and enhancing the impact music has on people emotionally, mentally and spiritually”

So, I continue to believe the saying Follow your passion and success will follow. I just haven’t been clear enough or bold enough about my passion. This new mission is definitely a thing worth waking up to and a thing worth causing in the world.


Listen to the music I created for Mark
[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/playlists/12577023″ width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]

{ 10 comments… add one }
  • Anne Whitmore November 5, 2013, 11:08 am

    Wow, Craig. Go get ’em, Tiger! I have to say… I am in love love love with Mark’s track #3. Thank you both for living large and sharing.


  • Craig November 5, 2013, 12:35 pm

    Thank you Anne. My personal favourite from Mark’s session is Track 6 – I’m always a sucker for a sad song.

  • colleen November 5, 2013, 12:35 pm

    Thanks for sharing that beautiful and powerful insight Craig. The difference in your mission statements are immense and I look forward to hearing how this unfolds for you. Good luck!

  • Krista Brown November 5, 2013, 12:36 pm

    Wow Craig! Beautifully ‘composed’ and such a powerful reminder to those of us also trying to bring our passion to the world.
    Thank you!

  • Jill Prescott November 5, 2013, 6:12 pm

    Beautiful Craig! I can hardly wait to see what transpires for you as the new mission statement resonates in the world.

  • Lynne Hooper November 5, 2013, 9:02 pm

    Craig, I was moved by your new heart centred mission statement, and yes, also inspired to bring renewed passion into my work world. Personal favourite: Track 7.
    Thank you for sharing your heart, soul and music.

  • Judy Owens-Manley November 5, 2013, 9:04 pm

    Way to go Craig! I’ve always been listening to you from your NEW mission statement! What you provide for people is beyond incredible! 🙂

  • Nikki Bryce November 5, 2013, 9:47 pm

    Craig. Attaboy! Try this on:

    The miraculous power of spontaneously composed music in a(n?) unique environment dramatically enhances the impact music has on people emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Under the Piano provides relaxing, beautiful and connecting musical experiences that leave people awestruck, full of wonder, and profoundly moved.

  • Craig November 5, 2013, 10:13 pm

    Hey Nikki, so great to hear from you. I love what you have done. I’m pretty sure it’s “a unique” but I’ll check that out. The reason I do not have “Under the Piano” in the mission statement is because this mission applies to more endeavours than Under the Piano. Our new Quiet Hearts musical respites and journeys are another access to this experience and goal.

  • Mariella March 11, 2015, 2:44 am

    Your music is deeply moving and feeds the soul! I am so glad I discovered you.
    Thank you for putting your work into the world.

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