Surround yourself with greatness.

One message that I seem to keep noticing, whether it’s through interviews on the radio, tv, or in articles, is that if you want to be successful, you have to surround yourself with great people. And I believe it. I wouldn’t be anywhere close to where I am in my career if I wasn’t making connections with the people I have so far. And even though my career is pretty young, it is a marked difference from where it was 4 years ago when I decided to move out on my own in Toronto.

But I know that if I want to get my name, my brand, my talents noticed out there, I not only have to have a great team, but I have to surround myself with the greatest team. There’s a fear out there that if you’re not the top dog in your entourage that you’ll be overshadowed. I beg to differ. It’s not about being number one. It’s about being supported by people you admire and consider your mentors. The only competition that matters is the one between yourself today and yourself yesterday, and in that battle, all that matters is being better at whatever it is you want to be better at today than you were yesterday. And one of the best ways you can do that is to have a team of greats helping you along, teaching you how they made their way to the point at which you wish to reach (and beyond).

Case in point: an example of this is my album/EP/mixtape/whatever it turns into that I’m currently developing and plan to release in late October. I want to work with the groups I’ve been a part of in the past to create these songs because I know that it will be better with those collaborations. I know that I’m capable of doing the whole thing on my own: writing, production, recording, marketing, artwork, etc. etc. But I’d be a fool to think that having other people work with me would create any sort of hindrance to the quality and success of this release. It’s not just a case of quality over quantity, it’s also quality over ego. I know that I can have the best sounds, the best ideas, the best flows when I’m creating music with musicians better than me. It helps me to discover new ways of playing and writing, and whenever I’m in a jam session, these idols of mine force me to keep up just by doing what they normally do. It’s learning through collaboration and osmosis. All of my favourite jam sessions over the years happened with players more experienced than myself.

I used to be caught up in knowing that I can do pretty everything myself that I would overwork myself and get burnt-out. This was mainly during university, but the effect was nonetheless present. Sure, I was glad that the work was done, was happy with the quality of everything, and was looked at with a bit of admiration of the fact that I successfully took on so many responsibilities and succeeded, but if I could trade some of that back for sleep, healthy living, and a little more time to enjoy my off-time, I would. But on the same point, I wouldn’t just delegate those jobs to anyone; I would want only the best doing those jobs. And while I respect everyone I worked with on those projects, not everyone had the same skill-sets as I did, which should be expected. They were amazing at other things, but not necessarily at the tasks that I took on. This was, of course, a school setting, and we had to work with our own set roster of talents, so hiring outside of our team was not an option available.

But it is an option available to me now. And it’s also an option for you too. It may take a lot more work, dedication, and time, but if you use your resources wisely, you can put together a team of the greatest people available to help you succeed in whatever you want. And when you get there, let me know. I’ll probably be recruiting you.

Greatness, right here:

– Mickey

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