said and did had tough all over it. I hadn’t fully decided that it was necessary, but I had decided that I couldn’t afford to take the chance that he was right.
At the beginning of each year, I write down all of my goals in two columns. On the right is, what kind of person do I want to be? The top of that column is usually ingrained in my faith. I always want to get deeper and stronger in that. When I am spiritually lined up, I am fearless.
In the left hand column, I write more definitive goals like, I want to get $50 million in revenues in my business this year, I want to develop 100 new buyer relationships, I want to lose 20 pounds. (That one’s always on there.)
When I wrote my list at the beginning of ’99, I knew it was a big year. I was up for partnership, I had been working really hard, and I felt that I was truly ready. Doing a CD, doing something professionally on the singing side had always been in my mind. But as I wrote down my goals every year, it was something that was always rolled over into the next one. I didn’t want to get to the end of the year again and have that thing that was so personal and critical to me get rolled over again. So I said, “No matter what happens at the end of this year — whether they make the right decision [about my partnership] or not — I will not look at myself in the mirror and say, I didn’t get this done.”
So I started working on it, even though I had no idea how to produce a CD. Late that year, Carla’s First Christmas was born, and it was just a blessing. It was one of the biggest thrills of my life. I didn’t have any real goals for it, but the distribution people told me that most new artists don’t even sell a thousand records. I wanted to give all the proceeds to two schools so I said, “Trust me, if I have to sell them out of the back of my car, we’ll sell a thousand records!” So far, we’ve sold almost six times that.
At that time I was on the syndicate desk, so I was pricing deals — four or five a week, working 12 to 14 hours a day — then leaving, going into the studio and never missing a beat. I remember the day that I started laying down the tracks. It was the same day I kicked off the Martha Stewart IPO. I laid down my last track the day I priced the United Parcel Service IPO, which, at that point, was the largest IPO in U.S. history. I tell people all the time, pursue your passions because they can fuel what you’re doing on a daily basis. It was probably the busiest year of my life, but it was also the most rewarding.