Photo by Barry Schwartz

Salsa, country music, rap, and rock often contain an instrument that holds a steady, unwavering beat: a kind of metronome, a through-line.

In salsa, it might be the high, percussive strike made by wooden claves or a cowbell at the same point in every bar, cutting through the other instruments. In rock, it might be a snare drum or a tamborine. It’s there from the beginning to the end, a foundation, something to come home to, the anchor around which voices and instruments can maneuver safely without drifting too far away.

Reliability and steadiness allows for a kind of freedom: variations on a theme, the trust to take chances, the support of the sound as a whole. The skills, talent, and training supporting creative careers are grounded by another kind of through-line: you.

It is easy to get sidetracked when you are your only employee as a creative entrepreneur – the distractions, deadlines, satisfactions, frustrations, and plain hard work – to remember none of it matters if you don’t have a personal life.

Even more, it’s your personal life (otherwise known as “you”, not to get too fancy about it) where the unique qualities that make your work different than your competition are engendered because of your taste, particular people skills, ability to to conceptualize then actualize, or maybe just because you’re someone who turns stuff in on time. Whatever it is, it’s you.

So take care to take of yourself – you’re all you got.