I've entered a business plan competition put on by the Brooklyn Public Library. The winner gets $15000 and their name on one of those fancy big checks.
Daily I've wondered what the hell I was thinking, signing up for this expedition with a new baby and all. A business plan is a 20-page document clarifying what the business will be and why investors should give you money to start it. It needs to include a lot of research and statistics. I dread working on it as I dreaded working on final term papers, years ago.
And yet I'm not quitting.
Others in the classes required during the competition (Marketing, Financial Projections etc etc) seem to know exactly what they want: "I am going to open up a gelato shop in Bushwick".
I don't even know what I want, exactly. I know I like performing on the piano, and helping other humans learn how to enjoy the same even if they are blocked after years of non-playing. I know that once I gave a workshop to a few classical pianists at the University of Idaho. They wanted desperately to improvise but were afraid. So afraid that more than one of them broke down when we were doing even basic exercises. I started thinking outside the box; turning out the lights, meditating, playing as crazy as possible, having fun. Gradually their spirits started to lift. There were more tears, but tears of breakthroughs, and I realized, I'm good at this.
That week culminated in a concert, the students sitting around me on the stage. It felt so empowering. Over the years I've found some private students who want to start playing piano, and the results have also been beautiful. They find themselves through the piano. They find songwriters, performers, comedians, storytellers, and, yes, gods and goddesses.
But I, as they are when they start, am full of self-doubt. "Why would ANYONE want to give money to a business called Piano Goddess? It sounds way too New Age. Or, "I'll never find the time to do it. Forget it. This is the worst idea I have idea had!!" (stomps feet, breaks into tears of frustration).
If I give up, though, aren't I sending a message to any people who have ever thought of coming back to the piano, or starting it for the first time? That it's okay to give up on your dreams? I can't do that. I have to be brave, to find time every day to figure out how to do this imperfectly. I will be inspired by those I myself teach.
I now have only 35 days left to do it. This post today feels like a start.
Deep breath. Approach the keys. Begin.