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Zoro the Drummer: How to Create a Vision for Your Life

Every successful business starts with a clear vision. Your life shouldn't be any different.

Thanks for joining last week’s conversation with interview expert Anna Papalia on SFS live. If you missed the live show, check out the replay and learn how to identify and leverage your personal interview style to crush your next job interview and always make sure that you hire the best candidate.

If you’d like to get more insight into how to better assess and take advantage of your personal interview style, check out Anna’s company Interviewology.

This week on SFS Live we’re speaking with Zoro the Drummer, an internationally recognized musician renowned not just for his rhythmic prowess but also for his dedication to teaching and inspiring others. Known as "The Minister of Groove," Zoro’s dynamic style and charismatic performances have earned him a place on stage with artists such as Lenny Kravitz, Bobby Brown, and Frankie Valli.

Zoro with Lenny Kravitz

Beyond music, Zoro is an accomplished author, coach, and motivational speaker. He recently completed his memoir, Maria’s Scarf (which is exceptional btw), which chronicles his journey from homelessness to achieving his dream of becoming a renowned drummer.

Zoro’s philosophy of success centers on helping individuals create a vision for their lives, encompassing a trifecta of goals spanning personal, vocational, and spiritual domains. He emphasizes the importance of having a clear vision, drawing from his own experiences and the challenges he has overcome, including his journey to publish his memoir after numerous rejections.

His teachings encourage students to think deeply, act purposefully, and pursue their passions with diligence and heart. Zoro’s own life story is a testament to the power of vision and persistence, making him not only a remarkable musician but also a true mentor and inspirer.

The power of vision

Zoro would be the first to tell you that other people didn’t expect him to amount to much. He grew up in poor and fatherless to a Mexican immigrant mother, in a family with 7 children. Before his 10th birthday, he had already moved ~30 times, often spending nights sleeping in his family’s car and days showering at public parks.

Zoro credits much of his success to creating and never wavering on his vision for his life. Just as entrepreneurs must start with a vision for their business, creating a vision for your life starts with an honest assessment of the life you want to live. But for most people, it’s not good enough to simply think about your vision — you need to write it down.

Crafting the vision for your life

In the Apple TV show Ted Lasso, the titular character (played by Jason Sudeikis) is a former US college football coach who has taken over as coach for an underperforming English soccer team. One of the most famous scenes from the show’s first season is when Ted puts a sign reading just “Believe” over the locker room door.

This is an example, albeit a fictional one, of creating a vision for part of your life. It’s also an example of why it’s important to write down your vision and examine it deliberately and often: the act of doing so forces you to confront it and makes it more likely that you’ll follow through on making it happen.

Writing out the vision for your life doesn’t have to be complicated, but it must be concrete and precise. Zoro offers a basic framework for creating yours:

  1. Start with reflection: Reflect on what a fulfilling life looks like for you. Consider all aspects—personal, professional, and spiritual. What do you want to achieve, and who do you want to be?

  2. Be as specific as possible: It’s not good enough to say “My vision is to be a professional musician”, because the path to becoming a cello instructor is dramatically different from becoming a lead drummer for a rock band. Whether you’re thinking about the personal, professional, or spiritual, the more specific you are the more likely you are to be able to map out a realistic path to success.

  3. Write it down: This is the least utilized but arguably most important step. Write a few sentences or a paragraph describing your ideal life. This simple act of writing can clarify thoughts and solidify intentions.

  4. Think holistically: Ensure that your vision considers multiple facets of your life. If you vision is to become a world-class jazz drummer, you’ll need to think about the demands of that path and what it might mean for your personal and spiritual goals.

  5. Think realistically: This is a difficult one, because what’s realistic is both person- and context-dependent. You may have the talent to become a world-class drummer, but if your vision centers around time at home with your family, it may be incompatible with what it takes to be one of the best in your profession. The other difficult truth is we don’t all have the talent to do the exact thing that we want. However, that doesn’t mean that we can’t be successful at doing that thing and still living the life want.

Putting vision into action

As an entrepreneur, creating a vision for your company is important, but it’s only step one of many on the path to success. Without effective execution of that vision, your company is destined for the scrap heap of failed businesses.

Executing on your vision doesn’t happen through a single, defined step. You must consistently assess, iterate, and re-assess to ensure you’re on the right track.

  1. Set the blueprint first: Like an architect, your vision is your blueprint. Without it, you're building blind. Knowing and writing down where you want to go are the first step towards getting there.

  2. Define specific objectives: Break down your broad vision into specific goals. If you aspire to be a drummer, decide what kind of drummer and the steps needed to excel in that area.

  3. Assess the steps to get there: There’s rarely a single path to get to a destination, but there are usually steps in common. If becoming a touring jazz drummer is your dream, look at what others who are living that dream have done and figure out what they have in common. Try reaching out to some of them to get their advice — you’d be surprised at how many people are willing to share their experiences and advice with people who are at an earlier point on a similar journey.

  4. Embrace the Journey: Understand that the path to realizing your vision might be unclear at times, and that you’ll inevitably hit roadblocks along the way. You’ll probably have moments where you’ll want to quit. But if you really want to achieve your vision, persistence, iteration, and adaptability are nonnegotiables.

Join today’s live conversation/Q&A with Zoro the Drummer

This evening at 5:30pm PT / 8:30pm ET we’ll be hosting a live conversation and Q&A with Zoro the Drummer. We’ll be discussing his early life, how he rose from poverty to build an amazing career and loving family, and how used the vision framework above to turn his dreams into reality. During the second half of the show we’ll open it up as a group coaching session and live Q&A from audience members, so come prepared with your questions ready!

This show is open only to SFS Live members. If you’re not yet a member you can sign up using code SFSFREETRIAL1 to get an invite to the show and enjoy a 1-month free trial.

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