ADN 025: — The Completion Backward Method

Artist Development
3 min readMay 14, 2023

Hey Friends -

Welcome to the Artist Development Newsletter.

Every Sunday, I send an email providing actionable tips for artists and industry on the music business.

Last week we talked about 5 time management techniques for better focus.

You can re-read last week’s newsletter here if you want to refresh.

Today we will walk through the “Completion Backward Method.”

Let’s jump in.

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When I started my first band in high school, we dreamed of playing sold-out shows in arenas and amphitheaters all over the world.

I’m in a different band now, but that dream hasn’t changed much over the years.

Anytime touring has felt impossible or like we aren’t making progress, the dream of accomplishing that goal has motivated me to keep going.

“You can’t fail if you never quit.”

Whether thinking about your life’s desired outcome or how you’d like your next concert, meeting, or moment to go, it’s helpful to ask yourself, “What is the best-case scenario I can imagine.”

Once you have that outcome-focused in your mind, you can use it to guide you when you need to make a decision or find motivation.

I like to call this the Completion Backward Method.

Here are 5 easy steps to put the completion backward method into action.

1. Identify your desired outcome:

Think about what you want to achieve in your life or career.

Write the ending of the story you want to tell and use it as a guide to making decisions that move you closer to that outcome.

2. Focus on the big picture:

Instead of getting bogged down in the details of a decision, start with the end in mind.

Ask yourself, “Does this choice bring me closer to or further away from my desired outcome?”

Use the answer to inform your decision-making.

3. Be intentional:

Every choice you make should be deliberate and purposeful.

Don’t make decisions based on what’s easy or comfortable.

Use your desired outcome as a compass to lead you toward the decisions moving you closer to your goals.

4. Embrace uncertainty:

You don’t have to have all the answers.

Instead, use your desired outcome to help you through the uncertainty of decision-making.

Trust that you will find your way if you keep moving forward toward your desired ending.

5. Learn from your mistakes:

Don’t be discouraged if your decisions take you further from your desired outcome.

Use the experience as a learning opportunity and adjust your course accordingly.

Remember, the Completion Backward Method is a tool to use on your journey toward your goals.

If you aren’t sure what your desired outcome is, try using these prompts to identify your goals:

“In X amount of time, I’d like to accomplish X goal.”

Example:

“In 3 years, I’d like to have released two albums.”

Next, ask yourself:

“What is the most straightforward path to accomplishing X goal within X time?”

Example:

“What is the most straightforward path to release two albums in 3 years?”

For more short-term goals (like a meeting, songwriting, playing a show, etc.)

Ask yourself:

“At the end of X, what would be the best outcome I could hope for?”

Example:

“At the end of this (meeting, songwriting session, concert), what is the best case scenario or result?”

Then:

“How can I best prepare myself to accomplish the X outcome I want?”

Example:

“How can I best prepare for this show so everyone tells their friends how great it was?”

Knowing what you want will help you on your path to accomplishing what you dream.

The Completion Backward Method is a great tool to help you with both.

See you next Sunday!

Neil Mason

Artist Development

P.S. — We announced our first hometown amphitheater headlining show this week :)

If you are in Nashville on June 9th, join us!

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