Lessons from The Boss

OK I admit I am a big fan, but with Bruce Springsteen turning 65 I’ve been wondering… how has he managed to continue to develop his career over the last 50 years? There is talent on every street corner and hundreds of musicians yet only a tiny percentage make it and even fewer can sustain it.

He clearly has great charisma but what else could we learn from him and apply in our own lives:

He works hard, very hard, he is incredibly focussed and driven.

He loves what he does.

He seeks inspiration from films, books, politics, world events and the stories and struggles of ordinary and great people.

He learns from others and acknowledges their influence and inspiration in his work.

He collaborates with a broad cross-section of people.

He surrounds himself with an excellent team from the amazing E Street Band, through to his management and crew.

He is generous with his time and support: e.g.  Dropkick Murphys, The Gaslight Anthem, Alejandro Escoveda.

He is willing to take risks, make mistakes and wants to keep his work fresh and vital.

He has integrity and doesn’t mind challenging or upsetting people or some of his fans e.g.  American Skin (41 Shots) or supporting Obama’s presidential campaigns.

He plays for the people in the back row at the top of a stadium, not just his hard core fans in the pit – he seeks full engagement. In recent years he has won new fans by playing festivals around the world.

He has a set list and a plan but will rip it up, ignore it and trust his intuition, challenging his band mates, keeping them on their toes and the crowd guessing.

He is not afraid to confront difficult issues and to engage with painful emotions.

He acknowledges his weaknesses his struggles with mental health – he accepts help.

He understands about the power of community and family and our need to connect.

He can laugh at himself and laugh with others.

He is a story teller, poet and also paints pictures with music.

I saw him by chance in 2003 and have been hooked ever since going to gigs across Europe once in New Jersey. I have spent many hours and even a night queuing with and meeting some really lovely members of the E Street community. Many, many more stories to tell but here’s a link to just one:

Happy birthday Bruce, a big Wow Thank You for all the hard work and for bringing the transformative power of rock’n’roll year after year, after year.