Don’t Push The Suck Button – Ryan Middagh | Ep. 58




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This week on the podcast, we have a great episode with Ryan Middagh. Ryan is the director of jazz studies with the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University. He also is the leader of the Ryan Middagh Big Band, and he also composes, arranges, and performs music all around Nashville, the country, and the world.

I didn’t know Ryan before the interview happened, so this was a cool opportunity to get to meet him and get to know him through the interview process for the podcast. It’s clear his work ethic and his drive are a major factor behind his creative output and his career success. Here are a few takeaways from his episode:

Be Willing To Do What You Ask Of Others

In the big band he directs at Vanderbilt, Ryan describes himself as “very tough” on the students. He has a high expectation that they give 110% of their presence, mindfulness, focus and energy to the two, 90 minute rehearsals they have each week.

One of the reasons he feels he is successful in building trust with the students and getting this level of intensity from them is that he is modeling that kind of attitude himself. After rehearsals, he mentions that he is exhausted from the amount of energy and focus he is trying to give to all the students in that room. If leadership is best demonstrated by example, it’s clear that Ryan’s example to his students is a big part of the success of the program.

Know What You Need

In the time since recording this episode, I have come to understand what Ryan means when he says “You need to know what you need” much more deeply. When you have a hectic schedule and many people depend on you, finding ways to recharge yourself is an important part of being able to fully serve them. You can’t fill their cup if yours is empty.

Examples may be making time for reading, exercising (the gym is one of Ryan’s non-negotiable activities), or meditation. Ryan also recommends doing the most important tasks as early in the day as you can. This will help make sure things that will inevitably come up during the day won’t stop you from those essential tasks.

I hope you enjoyed this episode! If you wouldn’t mind leaving a rating and a review on iTunes, I would really appreciate it. Sharing the episode on social media is a great way to help out too!

Until next time,


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