There’s an extremely important aspect of business which I don’t know that I would have truly learned without the violin…
Done is better than perfect.
Additionally, your tools are a major contributor to your results. But let’s talk about getting done first…
If you’ve been to Grow2021 or Grow2022, you’ve seen me on stage with the violin. But it was a different violin both times. To explain why I used two different (and equally expensive) violins for events one year after another, I have to take you back to 2019.
My Origin Story
In 2019, I had the basics of the violin down. I’d played all through highschool with a grand total of one violin lesson (my instructor had moved after my first lesson), and loved it. But when I graduated and got a job, the violin was put away for years. I still had it, but it wasn’t until the spring of 2019 that I dug out my old, black, electric violin again.
I’d had a particularly long day and needed some creative space, but didn’t feel like spending 2-3 hours with paints. Instead, I went to the bedroom and pulled my violin out from under the bed. That violin playing session was so therapeutic (there is something incredibly cathartic and therapeutic about the violin vibrating against your collarbone, it draws out all the stress and frustration and is incredible to experience) that I began playing every single day!
Eventually I noticed that I wasn’t producing the sounds I wanted to produce. I was so frustrated, and I commented to Susannah on it. Susannah is my team member, but also a classically trained pianist. Her idea was that I get an instructor, since I didn’t have one. I thought it was a great idea: I have mentors in business, why not for my hobbies?
So I did!
What I quickly realized was that the old electric violin I was playing on wasn’t the best fit for the sounds I wanted to produce.
That’s when I found Honey.
Honey is my acoustic violin. She’s gorgeous, and she amplifies everything you do. Literally everything. The good and the bad. For the longest time it was frustrating to me, because she amplified my mistakes as well as she amplified the beautiful notes. Everyone could tell when I made a mistake, and the sheer number of mistakes I was making made me frustrated for a long time. But Honey taught me and I learned a lot.
Ultimately, Honey is the violin that I took on stage with me at Grow2021.
But as it turned out, Honey wasn’t the best violin to take on an electric stage. We had to jimmy rig a mic to her that made it very difficult to play properly. So even though the violin is an incredible tool for concretely driving home points about business (via music), I knew we couldn’t use Honey again.
Once again, I was on the hunt for a new tool.
After months of searching and thought, I discovered that there is a company out of Germany called Mezzo Forte that builds carbon-fiber violins (painted to look like wood) with built-in pickups. This seemed like the perfect solution, because I could just plug it in and play, so I commissioned a violin.
It took three months for Rosalita to be made, but when she arrived I discovered something interesting: she and Honey have different superpowers. Honey made me a better violinist. She doesn’t let me get away with anything, and so I had to become a better violinist to play Honey. But Rosalita makes me sound amazing. She quiets the mistakes while still amplifying the beautiful soaring notes.
Bringing It Back To Business
There are two points to this story that I want to draw out for you, and they correlate directly to business.
#1: Done Is Better Than Perfect
If I had waited until I could afford both Honey and Rosalita, I wouldn’t have gotten where I am. If I had waited even until I had Honey to start playing the violin, I never would have discovered this amazing hobby that has become part of my brand.
In business, there is often value in taking action where you are in order to move your business forward. Because a perfectly half-finished product will always lose the race to a fully fledged and half decent project.
#2: Know When It’s Time to Upgrade
Like I mentioned earlier in this article, your tools have a direct correlation to your success. They aren’t as important as your skill level, but they can limit you.
If I had never recognized that I needed a better tool, I would still be struggling with my results today. I could be making progress, but my results wouldn’t be what I wanted. If you’re having trouble making progress, it might be time to consider upgrading your tools!
Additionally, you might just need a different tool… Honey and Rosa both have their unique strengths, and the result I want often dictates which violin I use. They’re both equally beautiful and expensive, but they have different purposes.
If you’re not getting the results you want, ask yourself this: have you truly started pursuing those results, and do you need a different/upgraded set of tools?
About the Author:
Stephanie Scheller is a TED speaker, a two-time best-selling author and the founder of Grow Disrupt. In just under a decade, Stephanie has been behind the scenes with more than 5,000 small businesses. She has worked in groups and one-on-one to create total business transformation & help business owners live the life they got into business to create!