It was the summer of 1965. The Beatles were at the height of their popularity, playing in front of 55,000 screaming, hysterical fans at Shea Stadium in New York. It was the largest crowd the Fab Four had ever performed for and by far the noisiest. In fact, amidst the clamor and the chaos, The Beatles could not even hear their own music. Their art was drowned out by their massive popularity. Ironically, it was epic gigs like this that were, Paul McCartney had said in retrospect, the beginning of the end for the band.
At some point, greatness will collide with gravity and bring it crashing back to earth. Whether it’s a great band, a great couple, or a great company, the time will come when one wonders When did we stop hearing our own music? Consider what happened to Starbucks, one of Corporate America’s greatest success stories. In an unprecedented move a couple years ago, they orchestrated the shut down of ALL 7,100 stores for a three hour period to retrain their employees. This bold decision easily cost them millions of dollars. Starbucks had, by their own admission, lost their way and stopped hearing their own music. They took the time to calibrate and redefine their mission goals, returning to their original focus and since achieved their greatest success.
On a smaller scale, but equally important, you may have been in a great relationship or perfect job when the music suddenly stops. It is human nature to gradually take things for granted, slowly forgetting all the effort and care it took to build something great. We stop nurturing and pouring all our energy into it, and the music slowly begins to fade, like an untended garden starts to die. Cracks appear in the foundation and important pieces start to crumble. Before you realize it, the essence of what made it great disappeared.
Life is all about managing the ebbs and flows, the highs and lows, as we try to fine tune the perfect harmony on this musical journey called life. We must continuously work at and try to improve on the good aspects as this is imperative for long term success. Friendships, romance, health, work – all require us to keep our eye on the ball and focus attention and energy toward that effort. When things are rolling, your mental jukebox will always find that catchy tune to hum along to in your head. Take note of these musical notes and play your beautiful melody.
The Beatles may have scored with their classic Let It Be but it’s the proactive work at making it all Come Together that sustains greatness. Make sure you can hear your own music. And let the band play on…