Centricity Blog

Work On It

Posted November 2, 2010 by in Uncategorized

The first year that Centricity was in operation, we pulled away from our work for a few days and engaged in what we called a “Work On It”. We’ve continued the practice to this day (in fact, we have one next week) because these times have proven to be some of the best investments we’ve made in the vision and direction for our company.  The name isn’t original to us, we got it from Northpoint Ministries who got it from Michael Gerber’s book “E-Myth”.

In the book, Gerber tells the story of a world-class baker. A man who was profoundly gifted and passionate about baking, and loved every moment spent doing it. He loved it so much, that he started his own bakery. The opening weeks of the bakery were a big success as people discovered the amazing goodies that were being carefully prepared by someone who had found a way to make a living doing the thing they loved.

The bakery was such a success, that soon, the issues that come from running any business soon began to pile up. The upkeep, the bookkeeping, management, budgets, codes, customer service and on and on.

It wasn’t too long before the baker began to hate everything about the bakery, including the baking. This thing that he had loved doing for so long, was now a weight that he had no capacity to carry. The bakery closed, and tragically, with it, the baker’s heart for baking.

Gerber’s moral of the story? You can’t expect success to flow from only working IN the enterprise. Occasionally, you must step away and work ON it. Had the baker taken some time  away to access his strengths and weaknesses; his goals for the bakery; what he was going to need to make it a success; what he wanted the customer to experience when he walked in the door and how to make that happen; had he given himself some time to work ON those things, he likely could  have continued to find joy as he worked in it.

Are you dreaming of doing what you love to do, and make a living at it? You would do well to consider the story of the baker. So many young artist’s careers have been shipwrecked on the shore of poor planning and bad business practices.

Get with some people who know and love you. Make sure some of them have different takes on the world that you do. (and please, make sure some of them are not fans of your music!) Find a day if possible, if not, a morning or afternoon to work together on your dreams for your music. You’re not going to have much time for that when you’re trying to juggle your day job with writing, performing or recording.

If you need a place to start, here are some good exercises to work through on your “Work On It”…

1. SWOT. (what are your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats)

2. Vision and Values (what do you want people to say about you and your music after you’re gone?)

3. Goals (6 month, 2 years, 5 years. How, what and who do you need to reach these goals?)

4. Evaluation (What’s working and what’s not?)

I promise you, a day or two invested in prayerfully working through one or two of these exercises with a group of people who care about you and what you do,  and who have the freedom to speak honestly about their opinions, will reap rewards for years.

“Plans are nothing, planning is everything” Dwight D. Eisenhower

Get to work (on it!).


About The Author: John Mays

John Mays, VP of A&R for Centricity, is one of Christian music's most respected executives, having worked in A&R at Word, Sparrow, and Star Song Records before serving as president of Benson Records. Over his 35-year career, Mays discovered and signed Point Of Grace, Scott Krippayne, Cindy Morgan, Matt Redman, Nichole Nordeman, Warren Barfield, and the Passion worship recordings. Mays helped found Centricity Music in 2003. He began his career in music at 17 as a musician, eventually landing jobs as a bass player with several bands and many Christian music recordings during the '80s. Along the way, he co-wrote "Love In Any Language," a career song for Sandi Patty included in CCM's list of 100 greatest Christian songs. The Andrews, TX, native has been married to Dianne for 32 years and continues to brag on his two kids, Kelsey and John Austin, now both in college.

  1. Gina said

    Good post, John.
    In the process of seeking direction, it is important to acknowledge feedback outside of one’s own head. It is true in any situation… wise council and accountability are essential to progress. Anyone can develop plan (or accept a premade plan) but it takes constant re-evaluation to remain on course. A solid list of goals, actions, and reactions – frequently revisited – can help a person remain focused when uncertainty sets in. Accountability and encouragment can inspire growth through the toughest of obsticles.

    Your post can apply to anyone… from those seeking weight loss to those starting a business or launching a career. A well constructed plan is essential for keeping one’s ‘eye on the prize’ – and doing so for the right reasons.

    Been praying for you all as you plan out the next year.

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