One of my favorite hobbies is playing the bass guitar. In fact, I've often turned to my guitar to relieve stress and clear my head when working on a business issue. I have found that when I let my mind go by playing music, I'm often able to solve problems without even trying.

In the same way, listening to music and what musicians say about music often gives me insight and guidance when I need it most. While many of their words of wisdom apply to life in general, they also can apply to the business world.

Here are five of my favorite inspirational quotes from musicians to help guide you in how you run your business, manage yourself, your teams, and your customers.

1. "The great musicians are those who can reach people, who can make people feel something." -- Sam Rivers

Your business should never be just about the bottom line. Yes, you want to make money, but all successful businesses offer something that benefits people beyond their actual product or service.

We just celebrated our five-year anniversary at my yoga studio, and I went around taking video testimonials from my customers. The common theme was my clients were getting more from the studio than yoga alone -- it gave them a place for self-care, community, and friendship. This success was not happenstance -- we had cultivated this experience overtime by making adjustments to the studio and our offerings based on feedback from customers and staff.

By creating a business that's more than what you sell, and helping customers understand what inspires you to do it, you can make them feel like they are a part of your business and have an emotional tie beyond money.

2. "There's a lot of integrity with musicians; you really still aspire to grow, and be great, to be the best version of yourself you can be." --Sheryl Crow

It can be easy to get comfortable at work. You're good at what you do, and it's nice to have a steady routine. But if you don't continue to grow, you will end up in the same place, going nowhere.

I have been a speaker for 20 years, but in the past year, I auditioned for TEDx Cincinnati to do a TEDx Talk. I was fortunate to be selected for the main event last summer. But it was not the type of short-scripted talk I usually do. I grew tremendously as a speaker, as I had to go out of my comfort zone and grow in a new way succeed in that venue. It was a reminder to never get too complacent, but to push yourself into areas where you feel uncomfortable and can learn from the process.

3. "When you hit a wrong note, it's the next note that makes it good or bad." -- Miles Davis

If you don't make mistakes, you are not trying hard enough. That's the only way you learn. But as Miles Davis pointed out, it's what comes after the mistake that matters. Have you corrected the mistake? Learning to overcome things that don't go exactly the way you planned is what also creates innovation.

Doing the same thing over and over again because that is the plan doesn't help you grow as a business.  It's how you recover that creates the strength in what you do.

4. "Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are." -- Kurt Cobain

I have learned over and over again that trying to follow someone else will never get me where I ultimately want to go. As a CPA, I have worked with many business owners who are more consumed with what their competitors are doing or trying to keep up with them, instead of trying to define who they are and what makes their business unique.

Don't get me wrong, it's always good to know what your competitors are doing, but don't spend so much time on it that you get distracted from your mission, and don't make yourself so much like your competitor that your customers can't tell the difference.

5. "You are your own best teacher." -- Jimmy Buffett 

I have looked to people more experienced and intelligent than myself for insight and education. But at the end of the day, I have to implement what I have learned by combining what those experts say with my own instincts.

There have been times outside advice was extremely helpful, but other times, in my gut, I didn't agree with it. Take advice for what it is, but be in tune enough with yourself to know what the best next step for you and your business is.

You can find inspiration in a lot of places. Look toward your hobbies for people who could offer insight you can use in other parts of your life and work. You may discover, like me, that what brings you joy can be a wonderful source of insight for your work and business.

Published on: Mar 15, 2018