Music is a powerful entity that can captivate your emotions, change your physiological states, help you hone your focus, and can keep you dreaming for better on your toughest of days.
Transcendent talents such Duke Ellington, Prince, Michael Jackson, Bob Dylan, Nina Simone, Miles Davis, Frank Sinatra, and Marvin Gaye are all still impacting millions of people today. Speaking of the latter, Marvin Gaye has been gone for 35 years and today marks his 80th birthday.
After reading numerous books on him and listening to his music on repeat, I've taken multiple life and business lessons from him. Here are three lessons that you can take away from the late and unmistakable Marvin Gaye.
1. Step away from the comfortable and fight for what you believe in.
Throughout the 1960s, Gaye was a hit-making machine with chart-topping songs such as "Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing," "How Sweet It Is," "I Heard It Through The Grapevine," and "You're All I Need To Get By."
However, there came a point where he decided to break the mold and tap more into his artistry. Gaye had an idea for an experimental concept idea that consisted of socially conscious songs that discussed the Vietnam War, drug abuse, inner-city violence, and unemployment.
Safe to say this was a 180 from the existing Motown formula which played things more on the conservative side. Gaye remained firm on his intentions and was even mentioning that he wouldn't record anymore if this record wasn't going to be put out.
After enough persistence, the record was released and What's Going On was birthed.
While you're not fighting with a record label, as an entrepreneur, there will be moments where you will have to have belief and persistence with what you're going after. This could be standing ground against family, friends, or industry norms among many other things.
2. Good things come to those who move with speed.
If you're anything like me, you have a reluctance to release products and services for fear of something not being perfect. However, much like I learned, and you probably did as well, through trial and error, there is no such thing as perfection.
Delaying and "tweaking" is a sophisticated and well-dressed form of procrastination. Money loves speed and the world favors those who act swiftly.
And when it came to Marvin Gaye recording 'What's Going On', it took a mere ten business days to record. For those a fan of rap, legendary rapper 2Pac recorded his classic 'All Eyez on Me' in two weeks.
Both examples are powerful reminders that urgency and shipping rather sooner than later can lead to great results.
Apply speed and urgency to everything you're doing. Could you be making more calls or could you simply just release that project that's been simmering for way too many months?
3. Your troubles and heartaches can be used to create masterpieces.
It's no secret that Gaye was troubled inside which led to unfortunate events in life that panned out. While there were a lot of mistakes on his part, one thing he did masterfully was channeling his emotions into musical masterpieces.
Whether it was the emotional gravitas and real-world heaviness from 'What's Going On' or the display of lyrical romanticism from his later albums, listening to his music made you feel something. He created a connection through many factors. The big one being authenticity.
As an entrepreneur, creating a connection through your products and services is pivotal. Many people sell digital marketing, health coaching, podcasting services, consulting, life coaching, and many more things.
Therefore, to separate yourself from the sea of sameness, it's imperative to get the spotlight on your uniqueness. And one way to do this is to wear your emotions on your sleeves. Show your humanity and share some of your backstories.
Don't worry about portraying a pristine online image. People buy from people they trust and more importantly, from people who they see pieces of themselves in (this can be an ideal version of themselves as well).
Gaye was one of the most prolific R&B artists of all-time who pushed boundaries most notably with albums such as What's Going On, Let's Get It On, and I Want You. While you're most likely not going to record a classic next week, you can extract the behaviors and habits that lead to classics being made and transfer them over to your specific domain.