Recently, I read a Vanity Fair profile about Bruce Springsteen and watched a new HBO documentary on David Bowie, two pivotal cultural influencers of the past 50 years. What struck me in my reading and viewing was the continual creative quest these men were both on and how, whenever they completed one endeavor, they were already thinking and working on the next. And those next quests were always something different from what had come before. It wasn’t so much that they were perfecting what they had previously done. They were looking to express themselves in new ways. They were evolving and exploring, always tinkering and learning.
“If you feel safe in the area that you’re working in,” Bowie said at one point in the film, “you’re not working in the right area. Always go a little further in the water than you feel you’re capable of being in. Go a little bit out of your depth. And when you don’t feel that your feet are quite touching the bottom, you’re just about in the right place to do something exciting.”
Bowie was, and Bruce is, in what we term a permanent state of serious shift. How they chose to express themselves through their work was always to make it more, always more. It is a state of the spirit more than anything else. It is being excited about change, about discovery, about personal expression. The result is infectious. This type of work reaches others; it influences and shapes them and changes them in some memorable way.
Your journey through life and through your work is no different. You create an environment unique and appealing and reflective of your quest and ambition. It doesn’t matter that theirs is music and yours is advice. To steal from another favorite band, the song remains the same.