Good To Great – How I Get There By Dan Nichols


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FLASHBACK ARTICLE FROM NOVEMBER 2009
I bring the best gear; even my backup equipment is top shelf. I bring more songs than I could possibly play in a lifetime. I arrive 2-3 hours before I play and I make sure all the evening’s details are ironed out and in order. I am even careful to work with the clients that feel right to me. Truth is, 80% of my clients over the last 18 years make ab line for my table after an event to thank me for the job well done. I was one of only 2 independent operators in my state to make the Knot Magazine’s Best of List which is quite amazing when you consider the odds against an independent running in the primaries with a much smaller reach.
If this feels like I am bragging, I’m not. I am however stating some facts to validate the fact that people like my work. I even matured enough over nearly 2 decades of doing this to know simply that I am good at what I do. With all that said there was something that kept me from being great. Something so subversive I couldn’t see it, couldn’t recognize it, and could only at rare times feel it.
After a ton of soul searching over a period of 42 years, it came to me that though I was all about the bride and groom having a good time and wanting to serve them – I was far, far away from taking good care of myself. I was not loving myself for who I was and where I was at as a mobile DJ. I felt embarrassed when people asked what I did. I beat myself up thinking yeah, I’m a 35-year-old dj, 36-year-old DJ, 37-year-old DJ and so forth. I would only share this self-abuse with my wife and a few close friends but it was there. You see at the age of 14 or so I determined I was going to be a motivational speaker and real estate investor — not a frikkin DJ. That wasn’t even on the radar screen.
At some point down the road, I determined that part of getting to the pro speaker category would require me to be comfortable in front of crowds. So I decided I’d DJ for a few years, make some money and get in front of crowds at the same time. One year became a dozen and then eventually 18 years. I had actually grown to not just dislike myself but have disdain for myself. If there were laws against mentally, verbally, and emotionally abusing one’s self, I’d have been on death row in solitary confinement for multiple offenses – a danger to my “self”. I didn’t like myself. I would regularly beat myself and my business up. I disrespected God’s divine work in me, and the world could feel it.
What I’m learning about myself is that being gentle and caring for myself is paramount to being a better husband, a better father, and a better DJ. I learned that when I did an event with appreciation and a grateful heart when I did an event with love for me, where I was at in my journey that in an instant I could go from good to great. That shift in my opinion of self-made all the difference in the world. It affected the world around me and changed my reality. When asked what I do now, I pump up my chest just short of thumping it and say, I’m a mobile DJ.
I go to gigs now with a grin I can’t wipe from my face. I get to deliver this evening’s entertainment. I stand there in a sea of ​​excellence as the chosen one, the emcee of this evening’s event and a custodian of this page in this couple’s life story. Time and space synchronized to make this moment possible and this couple chose me to make their event, the event they dreamt of. What are the odds? Are they even calculable? Not only am I here to deliver a great time for the client but I am here to deliver a great time for me.
This DJ/client relationship is symbiotic. This may seem uber-spiritual but science is beginning to back it up as well. When I love what I am doing and who I am, they can’t help but feel that emotion. I used to get fleeting glimpses of this ecosystem, now I see it clearly more often than not. I am experiencing a tipping point from feeling separate from the whole. I don’t feel so much of us and them anymore. I now feel more a part of the whole of life, a unity, a oneness than I do a separateness. Today and hereafter, I am a Deep-J. Today and hereafter I will love me and respect me so I can share this true authentic love and respect for those I play for. There will be no sugar water. I will deliver exactly what I have for all of us to enjoy. Today we will all enjoy this time together as one. My client will only “get” my excitement to make this the greatest day of her… our life.


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