Updated: Oct 13
“The work is the process; The work is the system.” - Mike Muse
Over 700,000 self-help books were published last year promising secrets for a happier life, a better start, or the key to starting a successful business brand. There are plenty of times where these books can motivate you to make a change or show you the smart way to start a business. But sometimes, your personal path to success might not be in a book. Sometimes you just have to start to find out.
That’s the advice we got from our guest Mike Muse, co-founder of Muse Recordings, Music Executive, Political Expert, and Change Agent. Mike Muse shares his unpredictable story of growth from being an engineering graduate to starting a non-profit. Along the way, he shares the importance of putting in the work before building the brand, developing a strong sense of self, and knowing when to say yes to an opportunity. In this episode, Mike Muse tells us that we don’t need another self-help book.
Here are some of his tips from episode 22 of My Dream Big Club’s podcast:
1. Follow Your Curiosity
We often hear people tell us to “follow your passion.” It’s well-meaning advice, but Mike Muse doesn’t believe in that. Instead, he believes that you should follow your curiosity. As an engineering grad from the University of Michigan, nobody would have predicted that he would open a music record studio with a friend. Muse Recordings was born out of his own curiosity to try something that he was interested in, and he credits that curiosity to his success.
By following your curiosity, you’ll always be interested in what you’re pursuing. Whether that’s a new startup or learning how to photograph your products, following your curiosity is all about being passionate about the journey and challenging yourself.
2. Don’t Overextend Your Brand
Overextending your brand is all about stretching your brand in too many directions at once. Instead, ask yourself what do you really stand for? You might have a lot of interests, but what are the key focuses in your life that you want your brand to reflect? Emailing friends or clients about clean energy one day, books for school kids on another day, and fundraising for a humane society gala on another day is a prime example of overextending your brand. Instead, Mike Muse advises us to say no. “There’s such peace knowing who you are in the space of your work,” he says. You can’t have the true impact you want in life if you’re divided in so many different areas, or even areas that you don’t truly believe in. Understand what you value and don’t feel guilty for saying no.
3. Put down the books
Books, blogs, TED talks and more all promise different systems for kickstarting your life and business. For Mike Muse, he doesn’t listen to them. “No shots fired to the self-help system,” he laughs. Muse tells us that the work is the process. Instead of listening endlessly to different methods or systems, we should just do the work. Figuring out the process on the way may lead to some failures, but in the end you’ll find the best process that works for you. Entrepreneurship isn’t a one-size fits all enterprise. Each one of us has a different system that will work for us, and you won’t find that in a book. Instead, you have to find it for yourself by doing and experimenting and following your curiosity.
It’s time to put down the guide books. It’s time to start doing it.
Click here to listen to MyDBC Podcast Episode 22 and catch up on other episodes.