Why I Quit The Rock Band

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When I was young I would tell people that I wanted to be a rock star when I grew up.  Most of the time they took it as a joke; and most of the time I delivered it as a joke.  But a good joke is funny because it speaks some amount of truth.  For me, the truth was that I wanted to be a rock star.  I wanted the lights, the stage, the enthusiastic fans.  I wanted all of that.

At this point I’m not on that trajectory.  It’s not that I don’t love music, because I do.  I actually think that I’ve let myself love music even more as I’ve let go of that desire (and continue to let it go).

There’s something to notice about the rock band desire and my choice to give it up.  I still have that desire and I’m pursuing it, but in a very different way.  I don’t want to tour non-stop.  I don’t want to rehearse for hours on end.  I don’t want to have to start playing small shows and work my way up over a matter of years.  I don’t want any of that.  I don’t think I ever did.

There was something beneath it all that I did want and still want.

I wanted to be known.  I wanted to make an impact.  I wanted to feel like I matter to a specific group of people.  I wanted to lead a community of dedicated people.  I wanted to speak the truth.  I wanted to make something that causes people to act.  I wanted to express things that people need help expressing. I wanted to move people.

I’ve let go of the rock star dream— I no longer tell people that I’m going to do that when I grow up — but I haven’t let go of the impact that it was connected to. Now, more than ever, I am pursing the impact that attracted me to that idea. Sure, blogging and helping people find and do work worth doing is less glamorous than a packed-out stadium of screaming fans or playing the Superbowl half-time show (Bruno Mars killed it this yaer), but there are similarities.

I want to be known.  I want to make an impact.  I want to feel like I matter to a specific group of people.  I want to lead a group of dedicated people.  I want to speak the truth.  I want to make something that moves people.  I want to express things that people need help expressing.

I want to move you.

I may not be a rock star, but I am making the impact behind some of that desire.  I’m just doing it in a different way now.

You too were made to make an impact.[tweet that]

Your impact can have many manifestations—different jobs, roles, opportunities, relationships, adventures. But they all connect to some deeper impact that you were made to have.

Your work in the world isn’t in how you do it or in what job or career you have. Your work is in the impact you make through what you do.

Dan Cumberland is on a mission to push you into the places meaning, life, & work intersect. He is the author of The Meaning Manifesto. Read more about him here, and connect with him on facebook and twitter.

There Are 7 Comments On This Post.

  1. Alex

    Thanks Dan for this post. For a long time I wrestled with the thought that perhaps I was the one making this complicated. That this desire to make an impact was just one that I needed to ignore and just do my job, and do what I am asked to do. But the more i tried silencing that voice within me, the more i would realize that ever since i was little girl, i would have this need to say’ hey, hear me out, i’ve got something to say. I have stopped judging myself for that desire – but I decided that i owe to myself and my maker to discover the best way to channel through whatever it is is I am to give. Although I struggled with the fact that i have been perceived as a leader, and I have been dodging that, i know think : okay, how do we work on that and give something good and constructive?
    You may not be a rock star, but you are engaging us on a deeper level – because you leave with food for thought…that unfortunately we cannot ignore. Thank you – keep up the good work.

    • Thanks so much for this, Alex! I love how you’ve been wrestling with your desire for impact. It sounds like you’ve done some good work! We need that desire. We need you to keep bringing your voice. Keep up the great work 😉

  2. Bill

    Do you think it might have turned out differently for you if you hadn’t delivered your desire to be a rock star as a joke?

    • That’s a good question, but I don’t think so. I was testing the waters— trying it on to see how it fit, plus it wasn’t always a joke 😉

      • Bill

        That’s kind of what I thought.

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