I recently had the honor of giving the opening keynote at the Leadership and Advocacy Conference for the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO). Over 1,200 hospice center executives from across the country, who each have dedicated their lives to serving those who face serious illness, death, and grief, gathered together in Washington, DC. I was brought in to inspire the attendees to move from a state of competition to a state of collaboration so that they can focus on the higher purpose of their work: the people whose lives they can transform.
As I prepared to give my presentation, I had to reflect honestly on times when I find myself, as a performer, consumed by a mindset of competition. There are moments when I am sitting in the audience and I hear someone else's performance as a sonic reminder of my personal failure. But you see, the performer who’s threatened by all opposition, lives a life of self-inflicted anxiety. They spend their days fighting against foes they have created in their own mind. They will spend their lives in a fight against beauty itself, simply because they did not create it.
And so, whether our stage is a hospice center, a home, or an office, we must ask ourselves: Do we care about who has created the music more than we care about the impact of the music itself?