Identity Crisis

A while back I ran into somewhat of a life crisis. I didn’t want to go out and buy a new red convertible..ok maybe I did, but not because of a crisis. This was something deeper, more important. I was starting to figure out that I wasn’t who I thought I was, and I wasn’t sure if I was ok with that. You see, for the past 10 years or so, I’ve pursued a career in music. Let me be the first to tell you that it’s not as glamorous as it looks. Ok, maybe it doesn’t look that glamorous.

If you’re reading this you probably know I’m in a band called The Undeserving. We signed a record deal in 2008, and although I did my best to stay level headed, it was hard not to dream of fame and fortune, or at least making a living. How many people can say they made a living playing music? Not too many, and I was, and still am, determined to be one of those few.

We worked our butts off to get that record deal, and we’ve worked our butts off since. We’ve done everything we know how to do. We’ve surrounded ourselves with great people who truly care about us and our families, and we’ve put every penny we’ve made back into the band. All of that effort, and things were still a struggle. All of the sudden I had started to question if everything I had worked for the past ten years was going to work out.

I had to come to grips with some things, and it wasn’t easy. The first was this: all this time I had been trying to be someone I wasn’t. I was trying to be “Clay the lead singer”. I had placed my identity in my occupation. That had a bigtime effect on me. I worried about what people would think of me if I failed. What would my wife think? Or my family? I skipped college to take a chance on this. What am I gonna do now? What would the hundreds of people who had given us their time and money think if we let them down? I had to throw all of these feelings out the window and realize this: that you absolutely cannot judge success in your life by the success in your career. While this may sound like a cop out, I assure you it is not. What I learned is that being a better husband, or friend, and just loving people is what is really important. I had to stop being Clay the lead singer and start being Clay the human being. That’s a title without limits, restrictions or predispositions, but it’s also a title with much higher stakes.

All of this doesn’t mean I don’t care about being that lead singer. It just means that my being a lead singer is now enhanced because my mood, self esteem, and overall happiness doesn’t ride on it’s so called success. In fact, things have never looked more promising for the band and I, and I am thrilled to see what the future holds. Maybe I had to get a few things in my head before we could get moving. Who knows. I do know this: when you base your life’s success on your job’s success, you’re destined for disappointment. When you do absolutely all you can do to be the best person you can be, you will find success, whether your career does or not.



  1. I like this a lot. I’m glad you wrote this. And I’ve always thought you all do a great job of surrounding yourself with people who know and care about you deeply for the people who you really are.

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