When we become proficient at something—or even worse, a professional—proper preparation is usually the first thing to be neglected.
It was an intimate environment. Quiet. Reflective. The lights were low—a blue glow lit us from behind. The band and I were playing the last few chords of a song, so my mind was making the shift to what was coming next.
“Ahhh! What’s the progression of the intro to this next song?” I began thinking to myself. “Think. Think. Think.” At that point, I was thinking so hard that I couldn’t think of anything other than thinking. It was too dark to see the cheat sheet I had placed on the floor, and in a moment of desperation, I bent down to sneak a look.
My fears allayed, I stood and began playing the song.
At the time, it wasn’t a huge deal. It wasn’t a disruption. We went on, and the rest of the night was good.
That’s how I thought about it until I was on the other side, watching someone else do the same thing.
In that moment, when I saw it, I realized two things.
1. I do that.
2. That guy is so distracted by the logistics of the music that he is completely missing the most important part of this entire experience.
As a worship leader, my primary role is not showing up and playing songs. It’s recognizing what’s happening in a space, bringing it to light and helping people connect in the moment.
As long as I’m looking at sheet music, I know I’m not focusing on the proper thing.
I came to this conclusion in the midst of a completely nonmusical moment. Another role I have is conducting interviews for a leadership organization. I was recently asked, “How do know you’re prepared for an interview.”
My response: “I usually have a few questions written down on a note card for each interview, but if I have to look at them, I know I haven’t prepared well.”
Because preparing well is about absorbing the content so that I’m not making decisions from a conscious place of thinking.
Rather, I’ve become so well acquainted with the content that it is part of my construct for thinking.