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Tough or Tame

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One of the biggest challenges for singers and musicians in the pop music business is to figure out the right balance of attitude: tough or tame. If you're not tough enough, you'll quit after the first bit of rejection or criticism. If you're not tame enough, meaning nice enough so people can stand working with you, you may find yourself out in the cold. Keeping bands together requires just the right balance of determination, strong opinions, ability to compromise and being just plain fun to be around.

On the toughness side, it helps if you don't take no for answer; you know how to sell and find ways to get what you want while still making everyone feel like they're not giving up too much. On the tame side, you want people to call you back, have them look forward to seeing you, making music with you, dreaming with you.

I'm sad to say that there still exists a double standard, an unfortunate bias towards tough females. Behavior which is accepted as natural among males can be frowned upon when exhibited by gals. There doesn't seem to be a perfect male correlate for the B word, does there?

One of my favorite metaphors is to image yourself as a peach not an egg. A peach is soft on the outside, hard on the inside; an egg, well... you get the idea.

Try turning to the world of sales for answers to the quandry. Sales, as a career, offers a lot of ideas on how to get what you want, how to turn a no into a yes, how to negotiate, how to create repeat customers, how to promote customer loyalty, even how to turn a brand into an emotionally rewarding experience. Consider reading books like Zig Ziglar's Selling 101: What Every Successful Sales Professional Needs to Know or Stephen Shiffman. The 25 Sales Habits of Highly Successful Salespeople” to hone your tactics. That way you too can be a tiger on the inside wrapped in a cuddly coat.

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