Grateful flow fo musicians

Here’s a favorite tool from Phil Stutz and Barry Michels, the authors of Coming Alive and The Tools. Who know that gratitude was a secret weapon for success? Here is Grateful Flow — the Music Success Tool.

Barry and Phil are LA-based shrinks whose clients include A-list Hollywood writers, directors, actors. They champion a set of practical tools to help us get past obstacles so we can fulfill our creative potential.

Their “Grateful Flow” tool is terrific for changing your frame of mind and getting out of “the maze” of negative thinking.

On the surface, this may seem like a “counting your blessings” exercise. That it might help for a second or two, but then you’re back to the same old negative loop.

Why Gratitude?

But here’s the deal: by making this quick exercise a part of your daily routine, it helps re-set how you habitually see the world and your circumstances. This can change how you interact with others, and how they respond to you. This tool may just be the real ground zero of making positive change in our lives and in our careers. It’s a great foundation.

If this seems too “woo-woo” for you (it did to me at first!), you don’t need to buy into anything. Try if for a week and see what happens. I’m interested to hear!

The thing I find so helpful with the Tools is that they focus on sensing with your body. It’s not simply about thoughts or abstract concepts. These are practical, in the moment interventions that cause a real shift.

As I write this I’m struck that the tool is named Grateful flow. The “flow state,” of course, is one of peak creativity—the ideal state of mind for performers and composers to operate at their best. Whoever thought that gratitude could help us get there!

Get your gratitude on with Phil and Barry’s quick instructions for tapping into Grateful Flow.Grateful Flow

Now, to take things further, let’s unpack where you are now. Answer these two questions . . .

#1 What has hindered your creative projects?

(By ‘projects’ I mean both artistic and ‘career’ projects: composing a new work, launching an ensemble or concert series, recording an album, booking a tour, etc.)


Negative self-talk


Lack of time: too many commitments

Missing: an organized approach or system

Lack of accountability

Needing support (emotional and otherwise)


Think how gratitude might factor in this. How having a positive, forward-leaning attitude and energy could shift your focus. Consider how Grateful Flow might help become your go-to music success tool.

#2 What has helped you overcome these obstacles? (Be specific about music success tools)

Scheduling system (please detail what you use)

Accountability partner

Specific time management software / book / videos / other resources (please detail)

Support group

Re-evaluating and clarifying your priorities

Changing how you respond to fear and negative self-talk


Reflect on your answers. What has helped before that you can use now? What tools are you ready to try now?

Think how your mindset, your basic starting point can make all the difference. Think how Grateful Flow and a feeling of being centered might help you move forward.

Want more music success tools from Barry and Phil? Check out Your Shadow and the Turn Around.

Post your related comments and questions in our free Musicians Making It Facebook group. I am so grateful to be connected to such talented, motivated, and inspiring people—and we’d love to have you join the conversation!

Looking forward to hearing from you,

Dream Big, Plan Smart, Live Well!


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