AMM Inspiration with Stevie Nicks: Finding encouragement from others who have faced their TRUTH
As most of us know, being grounded isn’t easy. It takes concentration, effort, and a sense of overall balance—in addition, it also takes time.
Beloved singer-songwriter Stevie Nicks wasn’t always grounded—she has faced much self-imposed adversity in her life and career. In fact, she advises, “people, especially young people, should know that ego can be just as dangerous as any drug.” It is our ego that often throws us off balance, as Nicks learned the hard way. However, we can learn a lot about how to find that grounding in our own lives, by hearing Nicks speak about her own experience.
Nicks has long been open about her personal struggles and heartbreak. Her music, both as a solo artist and as part of Fleetwood Mac, has chronicled her pain throughout her long career. Stevie remembers recording her first song, “I Loved and I’ve Lost,” on a cassette player on her fifteenth birthday. That song (sadly lost long ago) foreshadowed the tone of her turbulent life and songwriting career. The raw honesty that marks her deeply personal lyrics shows in her willingness to share some of the wisdom she’s gained along the way. No one can describe her journey better than Stevie Nicks herself. So here, in her own words, is Stevie’s story:
“A lot of people would expect me to say that drugs have been the biggest obstacle in my life. And in a way, it’s true. That’s because, like way too many people of my generation, I paid a very high price in my life for the drugs that I took. Cocaine was one of the great lies my generation fell for—and we fell hard. They told us that cocaine was a drug without consequence, but that turned out to be a very big and wildly destructive lie. I know because that particular lie cost me at least a million dollars and put a hole in my nose that could have killed me. Now if that wasn’t bad enough, cocaine use inflated our egos beyond reason—making it even more destructive.”
It is our ego that often throws us off balance.
“In the eighties, I fell for the lies regarding the drug Klonopin (clonazepam, a medication used to treat convulsive disorders and anxiety). That drug nearly brought me down when it was completely overprescribed to me. This tranquilizer not only caused me to lose weight, it actually resulted in me losing interest in my work. And that was a total disaster because it essentially stopped me from being me. After years of sacrifice to focus on creating the best music I could, I was suddenly tranquilized right out of being true to myself and my music.”
“But ultimately, the truth about drugs is how they are usually a symptom of an even bigger problem—in my case, an ego out of control. Sometimes the biggest and most dangerous lies are the ones we tell ourselves. With fame comes the danger of thinking that you are bigger and better than anyone else, and that you can live ‘above it all.’ Letting your ego get out of control can often bring you crashing back down to earth. Like a drug, your ego can stop you from listening to your true self.”
“My true self is someone who writes and sings songs. Then I get to perform those songs—bringing them alive for other people! It’s such an honor to be able to do that: to go around the world and see how your songs—your children in a way—are so deeply loved, understood, and appreciated by others who only know you through your words and music. Sometimes it feels like a lot of work, but ultimately it’s a privilege. Too many of us who have succeeded in the popular arts have somehow forgotten that.”
“So my best advice goes well beyond just staying away from drugs. Check your ego too! If you’re lucky enough to figure out what you are meant to do with your life, follow that passion. For me it was music, but I had to act on that passion to make my dreams come true.”
Fleetwood Mac, and Stevie’s prolific solo career, have produced over 50 hit songs and sold over 140 million albums. Along with her fellow Fleetwood Mac band members, Stevie was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. Stevie says it was one of her proudest moments.
Even though the journey wasn’t always easy, Stevie Nicks found success, balance, and learned to ground herself in her life and career. When someone has overcome great obstacles, we can learn a lot from their journey.
STEVIE’S EMPOWERING THOUGHT
“If you’re lucky enough to figure out what you are meant to do with your life, follow that passion.”
DO IT DAILY
- Keep your feet firmly planted on the ground. Don’t let your ego run out of control and convince you that you’re better than anyone else.
- Don’t be afraid of the tough decisions. Trust your instincts and listen to your heart, not to those things that distract you from your inner-voice!
Jerry Gladstone is the author of the International Best Selling Book The Common Thread of Overcoming Adversity and Living Your Dreams. Jerry is a success and life coach as well as a corporate speaker. TheCommonThreadGroup.com
Jerry Gladstone / Arts Management Magazine (AMM) / December 2020