Night sky with new moon illuminating clouds
Rick Nelson TAG Portrait

What happens before the perfect day?

I’ve been involved in a couple conversations lately that either start with or end with the question “what keeps you up at night?” It seems like that question is always asked with an implied negative. Like…. what are the things about your business, your health or your family that worry you to the point where you can’t sleep. 

I had an experience recently that reminded me the things that keep you up at night can also be the most positive, exciting, challenging things in your life and I want to share that experience with you. 

What Keeps Me Up At Night

The night before arriving at the studio I didn’t sleep a wink. 

I was excited. I wanted to take full advantage of the moment. 

I was reflective. What had I learned over my life that I could draw on to maximize my opportunity. 

I was grateful to those that put me in the room. I wanted to make them proud.

I was experiencing adventure, joy and enthusiasm.

I didn’t sleep, but the night flew by. 

The Perfect Work Day

Ironically, the day was like a regular work day. Well… not a regular work day….. the PERFECT work day. 

  • I arrived at the studio (office) early. Excited!

  • The team arrived early as well and there was time for a little banter before we got started. 

  • As we got started the leader immediately laid out the process, the ground rules and roles and responsibilities. 

  • We agreed upon an achievable goal.

  • The team created a safe (emotional and intellectual) space for creativity and collaboration.

  • We set loose rules for challenging, disagreeing and decision making.

  • We respected and supported one another. 

  • By 5:15 we had accomplished our goal “to write a song and record a first cut demo.”


Funny… I went there to learn what it’s like to be a professional recording artist and what I was reminded of was how amazing it is to be part of a team.

The Perfect Team

Funny… I went there to learn what it’s like to be a professional recording artist and what I was reminded of was how amazing it is to be part of a team.

-How invigorating to be doing meaningful work.

-How powerful to set and meet challenging objectives. 

It reinforced the knowledge that the tools for successful collaboration, problem solving, and goal achievement are ubiquitous. 

The entire experience also reminded me how lucky I am. Lucky to be surrounded by incredible people that share my passion for growing companies, developing professionals, and making positive impacts on the world. 

Embracing Sleepless Nights 

The exercise reminded me that not all sleepless nights are bad. I’m going to work hard at finding that adventure, joy and enthusiasm for the next day……every day. 

Next step in the song writing process: back to Nashville to record with a live band. Now, don’t get any bright ideas….this isn’t headed toward a Grammy. But I always like to finish what I start. And I’m excited about the creative process. You can bet there are several sleepless nights ahead. What a gift!


>>Your turn: What keeps you up at night — in a good way?  

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