Milk of the Moon

(Readin’ time: 2m21s)After my ex-wife left me for a cult leader in 2008, there were two albums that really got me through the following months: Wilco’s Sky Blue Sky and Greg Brown’s Milk of the Moon.I got to see Greg Brown perform last night here in Sebastopol. I’ve never seen him live before, but it was pretty much like I’d expect it to be — great. You don’t sustain a 40-year career in folk music without knowing a thing or two about putting on a good live show.I’d been on the fence about going to the show, but when a previous client emailed me and said he’d be going, that moved me off the fence and got me to leave the warm embrace of the semi-rural world headquarters of Philip Morgan Consulting for the evening. It was great to see the show with a witty, intelligent companion (all of my clients are also very witty, intelligent, and good-looking and you’re all my favorites).The venue was one of the larger church buildings in town. It was supposed to be at the Community Cultural Center’s building, but that building was damaged in the recent flooding, along with The Barlow–the town’s most modern shopping development–which is still closed for repairs because of the flood.I’ve started playing the guitar again. My stated goal was to learn every song on Neil Young’s Silver and Gold by heart last year. That, um, didn’t happen. Like a lot of goals… Part of it was starting with the wrong guitar, and part of it was not pushing myself to practice enough.So what I’m focused on now is singing confidently. How the heck do you do that? How do you find the right note and really nail it with your voice?I’m guessing it’s a lot of practice, or some natural ability, or both. But maybe for most people it’s lots of practice?One of the things that surprised me about working for myself was that I wasn’t immediately good at it.That might sound arrogant (or ignorant), but my experience of life up to the point I started working for myself in 2009 was that things came easily to me (except for singing with confidence, ha!). Or perhaps that I only really tried to do and cared about things that came relatively easily to me.Playing small feels the same as being good at most things you try, doesn’t it? I guess let’s call that the cocoon of competence.I wonder how many of y’all have experienced this cocoon. Maybe coding came easily to you relative to the business of selling custom software development? Or building stuff for clients is much easier than advising them on what to build or how to go about building it?For me, at least, it’s been worth it to grow beyond the cocoon of competence.It’s been painful and not-easy at plenty of points. But it’s been worth it.I can’t say enough good things about the role of discipline and habit in bustin’ out of the cocoon.So I guess that’s today’s question for you: where could you recruit the power of discipline or habit to build up something you want but aren’t immediately good at?As I’ve heard it said: only the disciplined are truly free.Happy Friday,-P