Figure Out What's Next

The Blues Make You Feel So Good

career change dennis blank Apr 23, 2010
woman with guitar

by Dennis Blank

photo via pixabay

You can never be sure where you will find your bliss

Dear Lou: I didn’t make much progress this week; in fact I probably regressed a little. There may be something about listening to live blues from 10 a.m. until 1 the next morning for three straight days that is fundamentally incompatible with making a successful life plan. Or maybe it was eating bbq ribs for breakfast. I don’t know, but I didn’t think much about my plan.

But that is not to say that my weekend in the Delta had no value. It was actually a powerful reminder of how much I enjoy being a part of a community. Most of my adult life was lived in cities that were too big for me to have that feeling, so my job provided the comfort that comes from being part of something bigger than me. However, Clarksdale is a real, old-fashioned, community, and this festival brings the whole town together.

The festival is an opportunity for a couple of blues communities to get together. First, there are the musicians themselves; they come mostly from the Delta, but also from around the world. The blues community respects its elders, and you see a lot of young performers sitting at the feet of the men and women who made their marks years before. Many get a chance to play with their heroes.

The blues are often thought of as an exclusively African-American art form, but there are many white players for whom the blues is blood. We saw more inter-racial bands this trip than purely black or white, and the mutual respect was evident and inspiring.

And then there are the legions of hooples like my mates and me who trek to this remote corner of Mississippi to soak it all in. We come from all over America, Europe, Australia and Asia. We don’t know each other, we only see each other for a couple of days a year, and all we really know is we love the Delta blues. And that’s enough. I’d like to have more of that feeling in Life 3.0.


Dear d’:  Although it may have felt like you took a break from the plan, the plan is still working. The time you had at the Blues Festival was an immersion into your essence and living your values. Your connection to community, respect for elders, appreciation for diversity, interest in culture and cultural differences resonates in what you have written. To say nothing of course, for how much you just love the blues.

Whether you were conscious of it or not, you were employing your skills of networking, entertaining, persuading and risk taking. How did they figure into this little adventure? Oh, and you found a way to write beautifully about how it all impacted you.

I am going on a little vacation myself and while I am gone, I want you to be thinking about where else do you experience this laid back, lovin’ feelin’? Where else do you encounter these “hooples” (not sure what that is but it sounds Australian)? Look around and see what you can be part of that is bigger than you, but also a part of you.

Coach Lou

Lou:  Given the lack of sleep and abundance of whiskey, I think I was long on "risk taking" on this trip. I use "hoople" the way some people use "yahoo;" as a way to describe the un-hip. It comes from my favorite TV show ever, "Deadwood."

I'll happily think about other ways to find the feeling I get from my Clarksdale visits, because Life 3.0 will be a short run if I do too much of that.


d’: While I know a little too much likker can put a happy haze around the experience, there was also something in the whole experience that got you to the core. That is what I am looking at. Yes, let’s find the feeling while keeping you alive.


Coach Lou is a co-founder of Chain Reaction Partners, an executive and leadership training consultancy in Boulder, Colorado.  d’blank is the author of The Daily Blank blog.


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