Some students must be taught motivation, curiosity, or interest, that is, to establish their own goals. No thinking adult wastes time in idle pursuits that are difficult and meaningless. How can the teacher expect everyone automatically to want to learn, especially when it may represent work? The rewards of learning must be fully established (Madsen & Madsen, 1998, p. 24).

Madsen, C. K. & Madsen, C. H. (1998). Teaching/Discipline: A Positive Approach For Educational Development. (4th ed.) Raleigh, NC: Contemporary Publishing Company of Raleigh, Inc.


What Life Expects From Us

“We had to learn ourselves and, furthermore, we had to teach the despairing men, that it did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life – daily and hourly. Our answer must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and right conduct.” -Viktor Frankl


Definite Major Purpose

“There is one quality which one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to possess it.”

Kimberly Sena Moore began her excellent private practice e-book with this quote from Napoleon Hill, then before diving into great guidelines and insights on establishing and expanding a successful music therapy business, she first asks you to reflect on your highest priorities. She references Hill’s book Think and Grow Rich (1937) in asking you to illuminate your own Definite Major Purpose (DMP). It is “the one thing you want to accomplish in your life. It is your main mission in life. Think of it as a personal mission statement.” (More on mission statements here.)

“Defining your DMP will also bring you much needed clarity. You will find it easier to make decisions, to focus on the task at hand, and to have the drive to keep working at it until itʼs complete. You will inevitably feel frustrated, angry, stuck, and depressed during your private practice journey. But if you are clear with your DMP, you will have the drive and focus to keep going during the tough times.”

Whether we are entrepreneurs or not, let us take a few minutes to wonder… What is your DMP?


Mission Statements

What is your business’s mission statement? Your professional mission? Personal mission?

Mission statements are 5-second elevator pitches. If everything your entity stands for, accomplishes, and dreams of were a dissertation, your mission statement would be the guiding thesis statement. Mission statements should highlight the most important long-term initiatives of your business, yet fit within a single Tweet. Your statement should be easy to understand. It should inspire support for your cause. It should remind you why you started this initiative, prioritize your daily struggles, and guide your future growth.

A mission statement simply and succinctly summarizes a purpose, goal, niche, agenda, or more. Whereas your vision statement will explore where you want to be in the future, the mission statement says what you will do today to get there. Your mission is the cause, and your vision should be the effect. Your mission is the process, and your vision is the product. A mission statement can be whatever you want it to be. They are not required and they can change over time. They can also be develop for your practice, your career, and your personal life.

What mission statements guide your work and your life? Why do these few, concise words matter? How will you better communicate and enact your ideals?

At the end of every day you may ask yourself: “What did I do today that advanced my business (or career, etc.)?” Perhaps you drafted a new proposal, met with a hospital administrator, or simply provided high quality music therapy and communicated with everyone involved. My professional mission statement reflects my “wide net” of interest, guiding my service to patients and the field:

“To advance music, health, and humanity

Through compassionate, evidence-based music therapy

While continuing education, research, and advocacy.”

This public (yet personal) statement reveals that I am more concerned with experience and service than competition and business expansion. By the end of the day, have I shared the Truth in music? Improved health? Helped humanity? Was I compassionate yet scientific throughout my practice? Did I indulge my curiosity and help my fellow colleagues?

This statement is the one I publish on Music Therapy St. Pete, LLC’s website. It helps people understand what my business is all about. However, I’ve also let myself be guided by a simpler mission statement. My private (but more honest) mission statement is simply, “To provide excellent service and foster authentic relationships.” Good service and communication has brought more business than any blog post or business card.

Finally, I do also think about a personal mission statement, as well as a familial mission statement, but these we can chat about in person. Hopefully over coffee! Cheers!


Résumé… or Eulogy?

David Brooks, a well-known author and cultural/political commentator, powerfully asks, “Should you live for your résumé… or your eulogy?” This brief TED talk elaborates on the qualities and merits of both résumé and eulogy virtues. Which aspects of each do you prioritize, and how do you find a balance? What success is possible when you build on your strengths, and what benefits only arise from confronting your shortcomings?


What Are You Doing For Others?

“An individual has not begun to live until he can rise above the narrow horizons of his particular individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity. Every person must decide, at some point, whether they will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness. This is the judgment. Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’
– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., August 11, 1957