Monday, October 20, 2014

Passion Party #529 - Failure and Endurance

We all face failure.
 
In the real world everyone does not get a trophy.
People keep score
and there are winners and losers.
 
Fear of failure can stop many a dream.
If you don't try, you won't fail
but you also kill the chance for success.
 
I went through the early part of my life
taking jobs that taught me what I did not want to do.
It did not feel like failure
it was more a situation of learning form my mistakes.
 
Over the years I learned endurance.
Life should not be a sprint,
its a marathon
and I want to be one of the people
that can run 100 miles;
then it is not about winning
it is about personal achievement.
When failure is just a lesson learned
then endurance is often the key to success.

*Come join me tomorrow, at Main Event Masters in San Diego
or
on Wednesday night at Catalina Jazz Club in Hollywood, CA

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Passion Party #528 - A Dream Realized

You would think after 7 self-produced and released jazz records I would have learned my lesson
but actually each experience has taught me different lessons.
 
This album started as a thought:
It would be great entertainment to have a jazz band fronted by three singers who could do Andrew Sisters-style 3 part harmony AND also sing in various solo styles.  The show would consist of an evening of jazz and blues, covering the history of vocal jazz styles from the '40s forward.
 
So the Jazz & Blues Revue was born, initially as a once-a-year special event.
 
Then after 4+ years of performing clubs and concert halls
there was another thought:
Why not make an album of this material that really captures the talents of this group?
 
This is not so easy.  A first-class recording of 13 songs with a 9-piece group including 3 singers would definitely cost time and money to produce and release.
 
In January 2014 I started researching the possibility of using crowd-funding to make this dream happen.
On June 1 we launched our Kickstarter campaign to raise $18,000 to make the recording.
On July 10 the campaign ended,
and over 250 fans had pledged over $20,000.
Two weeks later, with recording budget in the bank,  the band went into the studio and started recording.
Even after dealing with everyone's summer vacation schedules the tracks were all "in the can" by Labor Day.
On September 6  the mixing and mastering process began, along with designing the CD package.
On October 1 the final master, plus all the album artwork went off to DiscMakers, to press the album.
 
And now 1000 copies of the Jazz & Blues Revue sit in my garage, ready to market.
 
The official "Release Date" for the George Kahn Jazz & Blues Revue will be November 20
but NOW, on October 22, we get to share our dream with you with our CD Release Party.
I hope you can join me
in  this dream realized.
 
Wednesday October 22 at 8:00 PM (doors open at 7:00)
6725 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028
                                                RSVP for best seats    Call 323-466-2210

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Passion Party #527 - Blessings

For this blessing of strength
 For this blessing of talent
For this blessing of passion
For this blessing of health
For this blessing of desire
For this blessing of intuition
For this blessing of creativity
For this blessing of vision
For this blessing of generosity
For this blessing of support
For this blessing of friends and family
 
an abundance of blessings
to carry me through this day

Friday, October 3, 2014

Passion Party #526 - Pain and Strength

Some times we are given emotional pain,
we can't see a way out
and we have to dig deep
to find a place of strength  to help us get through.
 
Some times we are given physical pain,
we have an accident
or our body gives out from "normal" wear and tear
life becomes depressing
we question carrying on.
 
Some times we seek pain
in the belief that it will motivate us,
pushing us towards a better life.
The pain strengthens  our resolve
and helps us focus on the pleasure to be found
when we get through to the other side.
 
If pain is the problem,
strength is often the answer
and we need to search inside to find it.
 
Or maybe pain and strength go hand-in-hand
pushing us forward
to a better life.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Passion Party #525 - Disappointment and Patience

We want what we want
and we want it now.
We want to be our own higher power
and we want to control
the beginning, middle and end.
 
But life has other plans
and these often include disappointment.
 
In the end
the amount of happiness we realize
and really, the value of our life
is based on
how we handle disappointment,
and if we have learned patience along the way.
 
As we learn to have patience
we also learn that
disappointment, like happiness.
is a passing emotion,
a chance to refocus, review and reflect
on what went wrong and what went right.
 
Disappointment loses its power
and patience often becomes
its own reward.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Passion Party #524 - Commitment

Why am I so scared?
 
Is commitment the first step towards success, or the last step towards certain failure?
You have all these ideas and plans, dreams and hopes
But to commit to one and not the other
to the song list
to the art work
to the project
to the assistant
to the art director
to the engineer...
 
Commitment involves TRUST
You are trusting the other person to follow through as well.
Commitment is rarely a solitary action
If you commit to a large enough goal
you will need the support of others to achieve it.
No man stands alone for long.
 
Last night I started to doubt my judgement
the closer I got to commitment, the more the doubt arose.
The "what if" and "maybe" reared their heads.
Now it is time to sit quietly
listen to that inner voice that brought me this far
to the edge of commitment
listen, look and feel,
and trust the decision.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Passion Party #523 - Count Your Blessings

"Count your blessings"
 
is something that your Grandmother told you
or perhaps you heard the expression when you were young.
 
But how many times do you
actually
stop
and count your blessings?
 
How many days go by
without realizing
how rich your life really is?
 
Today
even before I made coffee
I took a moment
and counted my blessings,
 realized the richness of my life.
 
Two pages later,
in gratitude,
I am ready to start my day.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Passion Party #522 - Ask

I have to let you in on the world's most powerful and neglected secret to success and happiness:
Ask.
 This simple three letter verb requires you to take action, creates momentum and guarantees a result (not always the result you want or expect, but you always get an answer).
But the key to asking is in learning how to ask for what you want.
Here is a summary from Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen's book, The Aladdin Factor:
1) Ask with a positive expectation
2) Assume you can get it
3) Ask someone who can give it to you
4) Vague requests produce vague results.  Be clear and specific in asking.
5) Ask repeatedly.  As the owner of a company that I used to work for said, "The 'yes' is easy. When someone says 'no', that is when we have to go to work."
Today is the last day of our Kickstarter campaign.  We asked, and over 200 people said "yes", and we are now on our way into the studio to record our new album.
And it would not have happened if we did not ask.
http://kck.st/1pHBqzB

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Passion Party #521 - Just Lean Into It

Success often happens when you just lean into it
 when you leave yourself open to opportunities
without a contract or any expectations.
Like the snowball that continues to grow as it rolls downhill,
leaning into it creates momentum.
Momentum is that unseen energy force that brings more opportunity
more resources
more people who can help you on your path as it unfolds.
38 years ago I threw my electric piano and all my belongings into a Dodge van,
and drove to Los Angeles to be a professional musician.
I had no job, no contract
I just leaned into the dream
I did not know then that my real purpose
was to help people with my knowledge, creativity and organizational skills
to build better lives
and that leaning into my dream
would lead me to a successful banking career
8 self-released jazz albums
a published book
and a wonderful wife and family.
You lean into it
You see how it feels
 The journey will take you where you want to go - or even someplace better.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Passion Party #520 - Fail Forward

"You can never learn less; you can only learn more. The reason I know is because I have made so many mistakes."
-Buckminster Fuller

Many people fail to take action because they are afraid to fail.
But if we look at each mistake as a lesson to learn,
then the failure is really just part of the learning process.

Mistakes are just opportunities for learning something new
and if I continue to
fail forward
if I am willing to fail and learn
then success will come eventually.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Passion Party #519 - Do It Now

There is no perfect time to start.
Preparation has its place
and you have prepared enough
the lesson plan
the rough sketches
all of the skill-building and training
Now it is time to get in the game
It is time to learn by doing
If you don't do anything
for fear of doing it wrong
then you will never get it right.
Get into communication with the people you want to serve
learn from the feedback
adjust your course as you travel towards the goal
Just take the next step
do it now

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Deep In The Kickstarter Trenches, Part 5


The Jazz & Blues Revue is now 35 days into our 40-day Kickstarter campaign: Four days left in one of the largest "passion projects" of my life. We just hit $15,891.   It feels like an amazing achievement, but we still have $2,109 to go to meet our goal.  And, since Kickstarter is an "all or nothing" fundraising site, we have to still hit the $18,000 number or it all turns to dust. 
 
Are there moments of panic? Absolutely.  Is there fear and embarrassment?  You bet.  But there is no time to waste on doubt and false evidence that appears real.  It is time for action.
Our project will be ending  on Friday July 11,2014 at 2:00 PM in the afternoon, and I know it will be successful.  Why do I know?  Read these last lessons I learned during the process:

1.    Stay Positive
I am not a big fan of positive affirmations - I think there is a fine line between always being positive and being delusional.   But I think it is important to surround yourself with positive, like-minded individuals, so at times like this listening to Brian Tracy, W. Clement Stone or Jack Canfield can't hurt.  My favorite book to listen to this week is "The Success Principles" by Jack Canfield, the founder of the "Chicken Soup For the Soul" Books. I listen to it while I drive, and I always come home with a new idea to promote our campaign.
2.    It's Time To Delegate
We are the smartest. We are the best.  We are unique.  Only we know how to talk to our fans.  Time is running out - it is time to lose this lie.  A lot of what you do to promote yourself (emails, tweets, Facebook posts) could easily be delegated to a minimum-wage employee with some simple directions.  So what are you waiting for?
What is your highest and best use during the next 5 days? (HINT: It is item #3 on this list).  It is time to hire a friend or a high school or college student to work for minimum wage, sending one last email to everyone in your database that has not donated to the campaign yet.
3.  The 5 Most Likely People
If you are like me, you have been putting off the difficult "fundraising" phone calls.  Time's UP! People want to get on board your project, and they are just waiting for a little nudge from you.  Who are the 5 best/most financially well-off of your fans?  Who's missing from the people that have already gotten on board?  Make a list of the 5 most likely people to donate at a high level to your campaign and then call them first thing in the morning.  The missing money is just waiting for you to ask.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Play Big! -Reprint of Passion Party #18

Bigger is not always better.
Sometimes bigger is just bigger.
Look at GM. Look at Chrysler.
Look at Six Flags - this company grew to be the biggest operator of amusement parks in the US. They declared bankruptcy a couple of weeks ago.

There is a difference between getting big and playing big.
You can buy things to get big -
- Playing big is an internal game.
You can consume things to get big
- Playing big is a state of mind.
You can acquire things to get big.
- Playing big builds on your unique ability.

Today I choose to play big. I was not put on this earth to play small.
Playing small does not serve me or others. I can shine my light, turn on my high beams. I have so much to give!
I love to play big, surrounding myself with people that help pull me up to the next level.
Marianne Williamson said, "And as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same".

And if I can't play big here, well it must be time to find a better playground!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Passion Party #518 - Deep In The Kickstarter Trenches

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The Jazz & Blues Revue is now 27 days into our 40-day Kickstarter campaign. Yesterday we crossed the $11,000 mark on our way to the $18,000 goal.  We are 62% funded, and with only 13 days to go the pressure is on. 
My back is aching from too many hours on the Internet, sending emails, posting blogs, sharing in groups.  But I feel a sense of calm.  The events of the last week have made me more certain that we will reach our goal in the next 2 weeks.
Part of actualizing the result is having a complete vision of the final product.  This week I interviewed (and booked) a Grammy-award winning studio in Los Angeles for the recording session, started confirming the musicians and the album art. As they say, "What you think about you talk about, and what you talk about you bring about." The more complete the picture, the easier it is to bring it to reality.
Four weeks in, and more lessons:
1.    Engage - engage - engage
Remember that people are not just buying a product; they are participating in an experience.  Our job is to engage people in the process of creating the project, raising awareness of WHY we are doing what we are doing.  Continuing to write this blog, sending a personal thank you email to each backer, and posting regular updates on Kickstarter are all part of that process.  The most "out of the box" idea: Posting short videos on YouTube, answering people's question about the project (Here is one I posted, answering the question "What ARE you going to do with all this money?"  http://youtu.be/ven1RG2yFak
Next week's video is going to be a visit to the recording studio!
As Captain Pickard on Star Trek says "Make it so - ENGAGE!"
2.    One more time to go wide, and then we have to go deep, and ASK

I had read that when you do a Kickstarter project there is usually a lull in donations in the middle of the campaign, and we have experienced that this last week. Next week is the first of the month, so it is time to send out my monthly newsletter to the whole database - one last blast to remind people to get on board.  After that, with 10 days left it will be time for the final push. This will involve real targeted marketing.

There are people in our database that we know planned to donate, and they have not done it yet.  Some people are waiting until the end, so they can be the "hero" and come to the rescue.  That time is now!
There are people that we know that have the financial capability to donate at a sizable level if they choose to.  Its time to reach out to them, and actually ask them to pledge at one of the higher levels - as an executive producer or to hire the band for a future event they may be planning.  Someone really famous once said, "Ask and it will be given to you", and my Uncle Moe once said, "If you don't ask, you don't get!"
3.    Keep the energy up
We have a new slogan, posted on the refrigerator:
"All I ask of you is to greet each day with a level of exuberance never before witnessed by mankind."

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Passion Party #517 - Jack's Formula for Success

I love simple formulas.

If Einstein can distill the theory of relativity down to
e = mc2,
then I know that the most compicated ideas must have
a root formula that is simple
and easy to comprehend.

Today I was reminded of Jack Canfield's formula for success.
He wrote a nice big book about it which you can spend days reading,
Or you can just remember this simple formula:

It is not the events that happen to you that dictate your life.
If you take ownership of what happens,
if you take responsibility
(in other words, you OWN your response to the events that happen)
then in the long run you control the outcome.

It is the way you RESPOND to EVENTS that creates the OUTCOME.

E + R = O  (Events + Responses = Outcome).