I’ve always wanted to see Paul McCartney live in concert and realized a few months ago that my opportunities to do so were beginning to run out, so this past weekend I finally made that goal a reality. I have to tell you at 75 years old this guy can put any young artist to shame. He plays 3 hours of non-stop sing along hits, never stopping for a break or even to take a small sip of water.
As a former musician, I can tell you it’s probably every artists dream to maybe write one song that means something to millions, that stands that test of time, and that maybe can change the world. Paul McCartney has a dozen of those and barely breaks a sweat during his performance of these songs that mean so much to so many. Pretty impressive.
As usual anytime I witness something that really moves me or speaks to me, I’ve found there are some valuable lessons and Quarter Turns that I can extract from the experience and share with those that I serve as a speaker and a coach.
Here are some Quarter Turns I learned at a Paul McCartney Concert, I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.
1. Give Your Audience What They’ve Asked For– At one point in the show, McCartney announced that this year was the 50th anniversary of the release of “Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band” and he promptly played a song from the album. Think about that for a minute? There were songs in his set-list that he’s performed thousands of times for over 50 years, and yet this night he played it with the energy and enthusiasm of a teenager.
I’m certain that Paul McCartney doesn’t get super-hyped about playing “Love Me Do” for the ten-thousandth time, but throughout the entire concert it was clear that he wasn’t there to be a self-indulgent, self-centered artist bent on playing new material that no one knows or really cares about. He was there to serve, and boy did her serve. He knew exactly what his audience wanted and the hits just kept on coming.
In our own businesses and in our lives, I’m sure there are times when we would like to change up things or offer up the latest and greatest products and services we have for our clients and customers. Yet in our quest to build and grow it’s easy at times to lose sight of what actually created your success in the first place.
Of course we want to make improvements and push the envelope, just remember not to lose sight of what really matters in the process. Serving your loyal audience, and giving them exactly what they’ve asked for, over and over again.
2. Refuse to Phone it In– One thing that was evident during the concert is that Paul McCartney’s’ voice wasn’t quite as strong as I’ve heard on previous live recordings. Certain notes are now out of his 75 year old range and some songs are a bit more difficult for him to attack in the same manner he’s grown accustomed. The thing is he went ahead and played them anyway. I’ve seen so many artists over the years cancel the performance, cut the show short, or simply avoid playing well known songs because they couldn’t quite perform at the level they are used to and the audience leaves feeling a bit cheated.
Not Paul, he doesn’t ever just phone it in, he gives it everything he has, and you know what- the audience doesn’t care that every note isn’t perfect. Every scream, every high note, everything he had, he went for it, on every song for 3 solid hours- again 3 hours? When was the last time you ever saw an artist play for 3 hours? Unless you are Bruce Springsteen fan you probably haven’t.
What’s so great is the impact McCartney has on the rest of his band. When they see him going for it with everything he has even on an off night, there is no way they can phone it in either. His energy and passion to deliver a high caliber concert spills over to them and ultimately out onto the audience.
As a leader in your organization- have you started phoning it in with certain situations or clients? What message are you sending out to your teams and your customers if you are simply out there going through the motions?
How about the most important relationships in your life? Have you failed to put in the time and effort to truly show those you care about how special they are and what they really mean to you. Or are you phoning in those precious moments, busy on your smart phones and social media?
I get it, there are days when we are unable to perform at the level we’ve grown accustomed to, or days when our best efforts aren’t getting us the results we would like, yet it’s in those times that high performers give themselves a gut check and simply refuse to phone it in.
3. Appreciate the Moment– Throughout the entire concert it was extremely clear that McCartney and the members of his band were living in pure gratitude and appreciating the moment.
Again as a former musician I can’t even imagine what the members of his band are thinking as they launch into some iconic song and look over their shoulder to see that they are playing along-side one of the greatest musicians ever to walk the earth. It must be a truly surreal moment and yet it’s a moment that you can see no one on the stage is taking for granted.
Paul himself throughout the night shares stories of his over half-century in the entertainment business, talking about encounters with other legends like “Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Mick and Keith, and of course his fellow Beatle legends” and in his voice you can still hear the appreciation he has for being able to experience such seminal events and still be here to talk about them.
The fact that he remains so present and aware of what is happening during the entire concert is something I believe every artist could learn from.
In our own lives it’s so easy to fail to be present and in the moment as we are so busy thinking about what we are going to do next. Think about the ride you are currently on with your own business? Are you taking the time to appreciate the amazing moments and accomplishments of your teams? Are you grateful for the opportunities that have been afforded to you as a result? Or are you simply checking off the box and moving onto the next thing?
Life is not a dress rehearsal and there are no do-overs, so take some time this week to celebrate your success, and little wins. Step off the treadmill of our daily lives, take a deep breath and appreciate the moments. After all if you don’t than who will?
Thoughts for the week: Inspired by the Lyrics of Paul McCartney
-When you were young and your heart was an open book, you used to say live and let live-
-For well you know that it’s the fool who plays it cool by making his world a little colder-
-Some people wanna fill the world with silly love songs, what’s wrong with that?
-Baby I’m amazed at the way you help me sing my song, you right me when I’m wrong, baby I’m amazed at the way I really need you-
Yesterday, love was such an easy game to play, now I need a place to hide away, oh I believe in yesterday-
-And in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make-
Looking forward to our next connection