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7 Life Hacks I Learned From Fleetwood Mac

7 Life Hacks I Learned From Fleetwood Mac

For truly golden life hacks I don’t turn to Tony Robbins or Oprah. I channel Fleetwood Mac.

Have you ever had a challenging relationship with a co-worker or client? Have you burnt a bridge or had the gasoline and match ready? Stevie Nicks had a challenging relationship with a co-worker.

The woman with the goose-bumpy, gravelly voice in Fleetwood Mac that defined a generation had to sing songs about her ex while her ex sang harmony right next to her. Awkward.

So why do it? Why walk through that pain?

When the five-members of Fleetwood Mac hit the studios in Sausalito, California, in 1976 to record Rumours, four of the five were going through ugly break ups – with other members of the band.

Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham had ended their relationship that started in college and John and Christine McVie had just divorced. Now they had to spend 10-14 hours a day singing their hearts out as they share a mic with the one who broke it.

The result of their agonizing determination?

  • 31 weeks at #1
  • 40 million copies sold
  • The 8th-best-selling album of all time

Their tenacity, creativity, and dedication to their craft fascinate and inspire me. What can a freelance or small business learn from this mystic band and their messy journey?

1. Keep moving forward.

Did you realize the band Fleetwood Mac released ten albums and made multiple line-up changes before Rumours won the Grammy for Best Album in 1977?

Ten albums! That is a lot of, largely unrecognized, work.

Keep moving your freelance business, small business, family, and life forward bit by bit even though the future is unclear and the accolades aren’t pouring in.

2. Make your best “music” with the team assembled at the time.

Ever worked with an odd, annoying, or controlling client? Did you wish you could shuffle the deck and choose someone else? It appears Fleetwood Mac did that often, and yet they never quit.

Fleetwood Mac was formed in England in 1967 as a blues group with five guys, two of which, namesakes – Mick Fleetwood and John McVie – hung in through it all. And boy was there a lot to hang through – label changes, legal battles, personality conflicts, their label putting a completely fake Fleetwood Mac on tour in 1974, alcohol, drugs, misunderstandings, and egos.

But they kept at it and churned out album after album with whoever showed up on stage and in the studio.

3. There is no magic formula.

Overnight successes are rarely overnight.

Fleetwood Mac’s monstrously successful album, Rumours, with hits like “Go Your Own Way” and “Don’t Stop,” came 11 years after the band’s founding. If there was a magic formula they hadn’t found it.

Are you (am I) willing to keep producing, keep dreaming for eleven years … or more?

Don’t. Stop. Thinking. About. Tomorrow.

4. If you make magic, don’t try to make Magic Part II.

If you are lucky enough to land the big account, build a skyscraper, win the election, or make a chart-topping album, don’t try to recreate a version of the exact same thing the next chance you get.

Create. Build. Innovate. Write anew.

Lindsey Buckingham who wrote a lot of Fleetwood Mac’s hits says he would have loved to been a fly on the wall when Warner Bros. listened to the Rumours follow-up album, Tusk. It was a total departure for the band, experimenting with new wave and punk rock. It was not Rumours Part II. Warner Bros. was not thrilled, but how much could they complain when the album spent five months in the top 40 and was certified double platinum?

Drummer, Mick Fleetwood claims in the almost forty years of Fleetwood Mac, Tusk is his favorite album. It gave them two top-ten hits and one I’m especially partial to, “Sara.”

Enjoy your artistry. Grow beyond your last “big hit” and explore new frontiers.

5. Another life hack? Press on through the pain.

Life is difficult. New challenges come your way, often on the heels of the challenge you just put to rest. Don’t wait for the perfect conditions to move forward. Press on.

Lindsey Buckingham tells Dan Rather in The Big Interview, “The subject matter [of Fleetwood Mac songs] was what we were living.” He wrote “Go Your Own Way” to Stevie Nicks tell her, “I’m resigned to whatever happens [but]… It’s not what I want.”

Buckingham reflects now, “I think there was an investment in not just the music, but in the people who made the music because of [the pain]” that they rode out and wrote about.

Buckingham told Dan Rather, “We did accomplish what we accomplished under pretty adverse circumstances, and just for myself it was about choices. It was about saying, ‘I’m hurting from Stevie. Here she is. She needs me to do this. I guess I could do a crappy job or I could do the job I know I can do.’ What’s the choice? You try to make right choices that accumulates or adds up to something.”

Press on through the mess.

6. Take a break, but don’t break off.

We all need to catch our breath. Sometimes a break from doggedly plowing ahead can be beneficial, but when you take your break, don’t break ties with your team.

Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie, both significant songwriters for the band, took breaks from Fleetwood Mac. Lindsey talks about needing time off after Tango in The Night. He knew a national tour with the current volatile environment was not a healthy choice for him.

He took a break, but he didn’t burn the bridge. And now the whole band tours together almost forty years later.

7. Share your gifts with the world.

Do you ever wonder why you are like you are? Because, you’re one-of-a-kind.

You were crafted uniquely to do what you do, think what you think. Only you can do and think exactly like you do.

Don’t let adverse or painful conditions, naysayers, or fear stop you from sharing your gifts with the world.

Fleetwood Mac battled for months to make Rumours because they felt they needed to “somehow fulfill the destiny that had been laid out for us.”

Fulfill yours.

Thunder only happens when it’s raining. When conditions aren’t perfect. When a storm is raging.

It may not sound like perfect harmony now, but you could have the magic that the world needs.

Go. Your. Own. Way.

Don’t. Stop.

Imposter Syndrome? Use Your Big Bark

Imposter Syndrome? Use Your Big Bark

Ever feel like you don’t know enough to tackle the task in front of you? Imposter syndrome sets in?

Have you ever thought, “I could learn a lot from my dog?”

I have.

My pound pup lives a charmed life. Most days it is because I spoil him, but other times Yogi’s wonderful “dog’s life” is actually of his own making.

Things We Can Learn

My tiny, odd-looking, too-many front teeth, mixed-breed pooch makes a good life for himself when he

  • loves unconditionally, so he doesn’t ruin any of his days holding a grudge,
  • naps often, especially in the sunshine,
  • must have great dreams,
  • greets every person gleefully when they return safely home,
  • eats only when he’s hungry and exercises often, and
  • barks louder at the big dogs.

Those who live on my street may or may not notice my fourteen-pound, straggly Pekinese-Chihuahua-mix barks louder at the big dogs.

This makes no sense at first glance. But there he is, nose pressed against the glass, shaking with doggie rage, barking his loudest bark at the German Shepard or stout Labrador who dares to use his street.

Shouldn’t he let those obviously big dogs pass, knowing he can’t win a fight if they engage him? Shouldn’t he save his efforts for smaller dogs he knows he can best?

Don’t tell Yogi that. Big dog equals bigger bark.

No Imposter Syndrome For My Dog

What if I employed that wisdom in my business? What about you?

When a large problem or opportunity approaches, bark louder. Give it more than you think you’ve got. If the fight looks big, bark big. If it starts to look bigger, bark bigger.

What would your business, your future, your dreams look like if you barked louder at the big dogs?

To emulate my bug-eyed canine and bark bigger, I need to:

  • Approach my largest, hardest projects when I am at my best, my loudest. For some people that is first thing in the morning. For me, it’s after a workout or lunch.
  • Apply my most effort and time towards the most difficult tasks. How many times do I choose the easy projects where I know I can do well? What effort do I embolden to tackle the impossible?
  • Embrace more risk. Avoid waiting for the perfect time, when things seem to line up … perfectly.
  • Focus on this moment, not on past mistakes. Yogi does not care that the same dog walked by yesterday totally unaffected by his barking. This time it might work. He gives every mutt ounce of himself in that moment. Did your product launch or new blog fail to hit the heights you had hoped? Maybe it wasn’t the right time. Today might be your day.

I need to bark louder at the big dogs.

Tonight my brown and rust spitfire is quiet. He had a long afternoon at the veterinarian so he is allowing all furry creatures to traipse along the street in silence. I miss his spirited, never-say-die barking.

Like Yogi, you might not feel ready to bark at the big dogs every, single day. But I guarantee you, he will break the silence first thing in the morning. To see who barks back. Will you? Will I?

What if you barked louder at some big dogs in your neighborhood tomorrow?

I think Yogi might say, “Go for it! Cats don’t bark. They have nine lives, but not us. Start barking louder now. Today may be your day.”