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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.

Forgiveness Improves Business Productivity

Forgiveness Improves Business Productivity

It’s been awhile since I have blogged – for myself. So why write a blog on business productivity and forgiveness? How does that make sense?

Use the old adage of the cobbler’s-kids-have-no-shoes to explain why someone, like me, who gets paid to write doesn’t take the time to write for her own business.

But you know what I’m going to do about my lack of productivity?

I’m going to forgive myself.

I feel better already.

Being tangled up in guilt and excuses makes effective forward progress difficult. The washed-up seaweed entanglement of my guilt slows my advancement, causes me to lurch ineffectively side to side, and prematurely exhausts me.

You can’t change the past. Small business owners are natural problem-solvers. But fixing the past is impossible. For everyone.

That inability to change history may bother a small business owner more than sane people who haven’t chosen to work for themselves. Fixers like fixing. The events of the past can’t be fixed, but they can be forgiven.

How would forgiveness improve your business productivity (not to mention the quality of your life) if you let go of: what could have been, things you should have done, and the lost opportunities?

Could your leadership benefit from a clean slate of forgiveness?

Take a moment of your present, to revisit your past. No clock chiming, zero visits from apparitions, no grainy television footage with British actors – just you and your thoughts. Try this:

1. Take an inventory.

What part of your past is weighing you down? Are there ghosts chasing you? What nags at you in the dark? If no ghosts are chasing you is there one sitting in the boardroom, quiet, but ever-present and distracting? What’s holding you back from your next step?

Take some time to consider your regrets – your words, action, or lack of words or actions.

2. Accept it.

Accept that you can’t change the past. You’ve heard it before. Believe it this time.

Don’t give this caution the same level of heed as running with scissors, really digest that truth – you can’t go back and change the past.

President Harry Truman used to sit at his desk and pen angry notes when he was frustrated with a particular person. He never sent them. Instead, he put them in his bottom desk drawer. But he explained that for him the process was therapeutic.

I wonder if writing down some regrets and filing them away in a bottom drawer, like Truman, would help us accept our regret and move on.

3. Learn from it.

Our best use of the past is to learn from it. Ask yourself:

  • What could I have done better?
  • Is there a risk I should have taken?
  • What discipline did I fail to start then that would have been useful today?
  • Did I enlist help and wisdom from others?
  • What was a waste of time?
  • How did I serve someone else?
  • Did I get the “big stuff” right?
  • What did I ignore?
  • Was I moving too slowly? Too quickly?
  • What baggage would an honest friend tell me to toss?
  • Is there an opinion of another that I am allowing to color my opinion of myself today?
  • What distractions did I allow to derail my goals?

By freeing yourself of past hurts and learning from your mistakes you pave the way for more creative freedom and success in your future. You may actually profit from forgiveness. An increase in business productivity.

4. Forgive yourself.

Take whatever time necessary to mourn the loss of what might have been, the mistakes made, and then forgive yourself. Forgive yourself fully. Put a pin in it, stuff it in the bottom drawer (or incinerator), and move on.

Professional coach, Marc Chernoff, outlines 5 Things You Must Leave Behind To Get Ahead. His number one suggestion is to let go of the past. Forgive yourself and leave the negative things behind.

5. Forgiveness for someone else.

Now that you feel the zero-gravity effect of forgiving yourself is there anyone else you need to forgive? Someone who wronged you? That someone who let you down? Someone who didn’t believe in you?

Forgive them before bitterness can unpack its cancerous baggage in your life.

They say harboring bitterness for another person is like drinking poison and expecting them to die. Unforgiveness for another ultimately harms you, not them.

I can’t say I ever thought I’d write a business post about forgiveness. Even one on business productivity. But the topic seemed to follow me around every corner until I jotted it down. So, forgive me.

And forgive yourself.