Chris Smith Learning Journal II

Below are my answers from the previous Learning Journal assignment with my follow up preceding each response.

What is your unique gift? – Do you believe in it enough to invest everything you have in it?

My unique gift is my craftsmanship. I would like to invest everything I have in my gift, but I’d like to also diversify my skills. I do not currently have all the skills necessary to run a fully functioning business in which I could utilize my craftsmanship, but I’d like to do so in the future.

  • I have continued to place a strong focus on building my skill base. Everything I have done outside of academics and performances on campus has been geared towards building a future career.

What difference are you trying to make in the world? – How passionate are you about doing this?

I would like to see a greater variety of instrument options offered to consumers in music stores. When visiting local music stores I found the number of percussion and drum products disappointing. This issue is something that has frustrated me for almost the entirety of my career as a musician.

  • Continually seeking out smaller issues in the drum industry that I can remedy with my designs and approach with my own business.

How do you define success for yourself? – What challenges do you face in order to create success?

I define success based off my personal growth. The challenges I would face are my own thoughts and insecurities and other people’s opinions towards my goals.

  • I’ve since sought out new ways to stay motivated when faced with harsh criticism from outside sources. I’ve found that simply staying focused on your goals helps you to silence any negative thoughts.

What is career vision and a mission?

My career vision is to open a business that offers the aforementioned diversity in instruments so many of the music stores lack.

  • My vision has remained the same since first answering this question. I’d like to expand on this without straying too far from my initial goals.

Can you innovate and create value and successfully communicate that value to intended audiences?

I can communicate value through my marketing, pricing, and mission statement. I would like value to be a primary focus for my business model.

  • This continues to be a huge priority for my business model. I want my customers to understand what they are investing in is worth everything they paid for.

Do you have a positive attitude?

I strive to have a positive attitude especially when surrounded by others.

  • I believe a positive outlook is absolutely necessary in building a lasting business and in interactions with others.

Have you set your goals? What is your road map to success? Can you set inspiring and realistic goals?

I have set many short term goals for my business but would like to come up with a solid road map for the future. I believe I have the capacity to set these goals and pursue them to completion.

  • I have not yet established a solid roadmap but am in the process.

Do you have and/or acquire the necessary expertise to actualize your vision?

I have many of the necessary skills I need to create my instruments, but I want to constantly evolve and network with others that have the skills I am looking to acquire in the future.

  • I have become involved in two outside groups since last writing this answer. These groups have allowed me to grow in areas necessary to actualizing my vision.

What are your priorities? Can you set priorities?

My priority is to share my creative vision with others. I can set my priorities easily when they pertain to my passion but I would like to get better at prioritizing things that do not directly correlate with what I am pursuing.

  • This is still a constant struggle but something I am continually trying to get better at.

What opportunities are you looking for? What opportunities are you creating or intend to create?

I’m looking to grow my marketing and sales experience. I’m currently looking for a job in sales that would prepare me for owning my own business.

How comfortable are you with uncertainty? What risks are you willing to take?

I struggle with uncertainty but believe I will become more comfortable with it the more time I spend in the realm of uncertainty. Part of this process is taking risks so I plan on trying new design ideas out and collaborating with other artists.

  • I’m beginning to become more aware that this is a business of uncertainties but that with hard work along with constantly setting goals for myself, I can make a name for myself.

When facing challenges, do you persevere or do you walk away?

I would like to develop greater perseverance. I am guilty of walking away when faced with challenges but I try to always come back and hit them with greater tenacity the second time around.

  • Constantly striving for greater perseverance.

What experience have you learned the most from?

I learned the most from my internship at Coe Percussion in Tallahassee, FL.

What actions are you taking to realize your vision? Are you consistently taking action?

I’m constantly seeking out new inspiration for instruments and projects. I try to devote at least an hour each day to research and development. I also consistently search for networking opportunities.

  • I have become involved with two bands that have been amazing creative outlets for me. These groups also allow me to promote my instruments and my business to those who take notice. The members of my groups are supportive of my business and help me to network.

How well do you put things in context? Are you able to easily respond to changes in your environment? What’s your best example?

I sometimes struggle to put things into context but almost always grasp the concept after some time. I have always prided myself on adapting to whatever scenario I find myself in. I relocated to Tallahassee, FL over the summer of 2018 and was quickly able to surround myself with a group of people interested in my work and had skills that complimented my own.

What is your plan to continually grow and evolve? How have you grown or evolved in the past year or three?

I plan to continue educating myself through additional sources once I’m out of college. I believe I have learned how to properly accept criticism and apply it to my work.

  • I’ve become more aware of my strengths and weaknesses and how to apply them in various situations.

How easy is it for you to reach out to others to ask for support and to offer help?

I typically do not struggle with getting help. I have realized there is nothing more important than admitting you need help when you are all out of ideas.

  • I believe this has helped me in some very difficult situations. I never want to become so stubborn that I am opposed to getting feedback.

Published by Chris Smith

Christopher Smith is a musician and entrepreneur based out of Jacksonville, Florida. As the owner of CJS Percussion, he crafts innovative percussive art pieces that have been described as organic and cutting edge. He is currently pursuing a degree in Music Business at Jacksonville University under the guidance of Mark Snyder and is studying percussion with Tony Steve. Christopher performs in the Jacksonville University Orchestra, Percussion Ensemble, Jazz Combo, and is the principal percussionist for the JU Wind Ensemble. He is involved with Dolphinium Records, where he is the head of manufacturing and licensing.

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