We had the good fortune of connecting with Tyler Anthony and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tyler, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
Balance is crucial for the creative, the entrepreneur, and the human. It’s the most important, least glamorous part of anyone’s life. But, because balance is so inherently “middle” it’s hard to talk about and hard to spotlight.
The digital mainstream rejoices in the extremes, rags to riches, 80-work weeks, hustle culture, the big failures. These are the stories of our timelines and our podcasts. The big wins and the big flops.
We struggle to talk about the big middle because it doesn’t always make the best story. But it certainly makes the best people.
In a time of endless access, restraint and balance are essential. Balance doesn’t just represent willpower, it represents self-awareness – a knowing of who you are, how you’re doing, what you need, and what you don’t. Balance isn’t about adhering to someone’s 7 habits or “get-woke-quick” tips, it’s about choosing what is in and out of your life.
Our lives have currents to them, pressures that push us forward towards certain behaviors or ideologies. Work is one of those directives that insists on complete priority. “Work as hard as you can and as much as you can, and you’ll be successful and happy.” We know this to be a trap or at least incomplete, but still, we try and give ourselves wholly over to it. We know it’s an unwinnable game, but we play it.
It’s taken a while to adjust my own levels of work and rest and play – and all the other dimensions that go into a full life. I think there will always be flexibility we have to have with ourselves and our work, but I’ve found that when I take control of those choices when I choose the boundaries and rhythms of work and the rest of my life, I’m more creative, more engaged, more “me.”
The right combination of work and rest and play and “life” doesn’t magically happen. It needs to be crafted and pruned, month after month, and year after year. Don’t just let work or life fall where it will. Build your life how you want it. And if you don’t know what that looks like, then that’s the best place to start.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’m a musician, but even more specifically, I consider myself a songwriter. About 8 years ago, I exited college and started a band, Cereus Bright. We played a mix of folk-pop and folk-rock, toured nationally, and build a modest little following. It was one of the hardest, strangest, wildest things I’ve ever done.
Trying to make any kind of creative art “professional” is an incredible challenge. Why? Because what people like or want to buy is out of your control. Some artists find that what they love to make, people want. Others may find that they CAN make what people want but would rather not. Still, others may not be able to make something “the market” wants at all.
Why does this matter? It matters because the “professionalism” of your art can be a spectrum. It’s also not the only kind of way to measure success. My biggest lesson from pursuing professional music for half a decade? Do the version of your art that you love and have energy for. If you can find a way to make money with it, great. If not, don’t compromise. Be flexible with yourself and your idea of what “success” looks like.
I’ve drastically changed the way music is contextualized in my life. I no longer consider it my “profession” or “career.” Why? Because it was essential to me that I focus my music around what I wanted to make, not what I felt I could sell. I want the songs that I make and leave behind to be reflections of me and what I care about.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
It’s hard to overstate how crucial being in Knoxville, TN has been in me getting to pursue all my creative and entrepreneurial endeavors. First and foremost, I met my wife, Cayce, here who has had, without a doubt, the most profound effect on me – supporting, challenging, and inspiring me more than I could have imagined. Secondly, the mix of friends, musicians, and entrepreneurs that I found in Knoxville has been essential in me getting to grow and explore all these pursuits. Knoxville isn’t a big city. There’s another version of me that would have moved or thought I had to move to someplace else in order to launch new things or connect with inspiring people. I think what’s even more important than a specific place is how you exist in it. I’m so glad I stayed in Knoxville long enough to find my people.
photos by Aaron Ingram