This Extremely Important, Rarely Taught Virtuoso Tip Can Change Your Life.

This week for Christmas I am playing in the band at Verve, our church for people who don’t like church (, writing and directing our Christmas Eve “Star Wars meets Rudolph” comedy/song/dance bit (it’s a weird church), and delivering my What If…? KeynoteIMG_5362 as the message on Sunday/Monday. That’s a lot of work.

Last week, looking ahead at all that was coming, plus the logistics of Christmas itself, I started feeling a sudden urgency about getting all of this done. So I launched and worked feverishly thinking I was way behind.

It turns out, I wasn’t behind. I was actually on time and the sense of urgency put me ahead. Wow! That never happens.

Then, having extra time, I went back, tweaked the details and finer points, and rehearsed more. That, in turn significantly increased the quality of everything we’re doing this week. Wow! My accidental discovery?

Virtuosos create a sense of urgency before it’s urgent! 

Once you know something needs to be done don’t just start early; start early with urgency. First of all, if you work hard at the front end and something goes wrong you have time to fix it. That’s professionalism.

Second, and most importantly, getting a fast start give you the time – that time that everyone wants but few ever make – to go back, reexamine the details, improve the finer points, and do the work that makes the difference between “good” and “Virtuoso.”

This is the same as finishing your Christmas shopping in October, completing a report a week early, arriving at the airport 2 hours before your flight, or just being 15 minutes early to anything.

Please keep in mind, urgency and stress are too different things. It is possible to be urgent without getting stressed out. In fact, being early is proven to reduce stress.

This principle is one of the most important and least known traits of Virtuoso performers. Create a sense of urgency long before it’s urgent, and apply the time you save to excellence.

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