“In the end, what do you really have control over? You can just be proud of what you’re doing, and that’s it. It’s really the only thing anyone has.”
- Jim Adkins, Singer/Songwriter Jimmy Eat World
In 1999, six years into their journey as a band and after three albums with less than 10,000 total records sold, Jimmy Eat World was dropped from their label, Capitol Records.
This is usually the moment when people decide to “do something else” after “giving it our best.”
Instead, they kept playing shows, writing songs, and recording their own demos.
They did it on their terms.
They paid for recordings of their new songs and released them to their fans for free on a disruptive technology called “Napster.”
The bands following grew. They continued to tour, and then they decided it was time to record a new self-funded album.
They pooled all their touring money, got their old producer to work for free, and laid down the tracks.
The album they were working on became “Bleed American.”
During the recording, word spread that the album was incredible, and major labels started poking around.
Eventually, they were signed to DreamWorks, they finished the album, and it went on to sell over a million copies.
The rest is history.
I’ve been thinking about that quote a lot lately as I go about my day, working on a project or reviewing finished work.
Am I proud of this work?
To be able to say “Yes” gives me a feeling of completeness. I turn the page—job well done.
Or sometimes, I say, no, this needs to change. Or, no, I shouldn’t be working on this. There are more important things for me to be doing.
Work doesn’t have to be complicated. You should feel proud of what you are doing. You should do your best. And you shouldn’t worry about anything else.
So here is a reminder from me to you:
If you’re doing something extraordinary, it’s not supposed to be easy.
If you are not feeling appreciated, it’s their problem, not yours.
If you question yourself sometimes, it’s ok to have high standards.
If you feel like a failure, remember that your story isn’t over yet.
It’s all up to you.