A Beautiful Story About Following Your Passion


This is a guest post from my friend and colleague Jim Neglia.  Jim has followed his passions his entire life, and recently finished his book, “Onward and Upward”; a truly inspirational story about the relentless determination it takes to succeed in the arts. 

The book is a true account of his pursuit of a dream; a career in music. In this around-the-world journey, I share my stories of culture, family, laughter, friendship, wisdom, and heartache, with a generous splash of the likes of Strauss, motorcycle chases, and Hollywood. 

Any aspiring artist, would-be world traveler, or entrepreneur, will benefit from reading this book. Learn from another’s experience about dedication, passion, and culture. Partly by behind-the-scene memoirs, partly by means of journal entries, we will walk hand in hand on this most extraordinary journey through a life in the arts.
Click here to purchase from Amazon

Click here to purchase from Amazon

“There is only one success—to be able to spend your life in your own way.”—Christopher Morley 

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a professional musician. I began my quest hoping beyond hope that my desire alone would be enough to magically propel me to stardom. I soon learned that there are no shortcuts to success, no magic wands to wave; and that my desire was just the tip of the iceberg of what was actually needed. Therefore I changed my approach. I began to settle into a groove that took me on a journey of unparalleled proportions. The journey began by spending countless hours in an eight feet by eight feet practice room for up to ten hours a day, determined to sharpen my skills as a budding percussionist. The beginning years were extremely crucial: I felt it was either sink or swim. It was imperative that my dedication take root and ultimately evolve into my desired profession.

All the hard work, sweat, tears, anxiety, passion, and love ultimately paid off.. Years later, I found myself performing with wonderful orchestras and chamber groups, both in the United States and throughout Europe. I had realized an unimaginable goal.

Learning Curve

Many years later, I focused my energy on the next stages in my career: contracting. I saw firsthand, from the perspective of the musician, what it takes to be a successful contractor. Focusing on productions, presentations, preparations, and details seemed a logical starting place. It was during my early performance days that I found myself fascinated by seeing how productions unfolded before my eyes. I thought to myself, Someone had to hire the musicians, work with the union, prepare payroll, and be accountable for the day’s events. The more I learned, the more I wanted that person to be me. It was during this transition period from musician to producer that I began keeping detailed notes on how I could best succeed. I also took notes on many other topics, some of which I have included in the pages to come. All the while, I kept my performance chops up to snuff.

Keeping a Journal

More time passed, and I found myself sifting through endless pages of notes, stories, and thoughts I had jotted down over the years. There were such a variety of offerings; I knew I needed to begin organizing my thoughts more carefully. In doing so, I was able to choose some of the more ridiculous, interesting, sad, scary, absurd, but hopefully mostly entertaining situations to share with you.

Accountability Partners

There were many people responsible for nurturing, prodding, and pushing me to offer these stories. They knew exactly when the support was needed the most. These are the same people who, years before, had pushed me to work harder on the music I was preparing. They are the same people who picked me up from the practice room floor when I had fallen asleep from exhaustion. They are the people who helped push me beyond the limits of the normal, and they showed me how to achieve the impossible. These are the people who have helped make my life as successful as it could be. I wish to thank them all. I think of my dear friend Ray, mentor Chuck, brother Joe, wife Alexandra, and a number of others who helped show me that hard work and determination were indeed a good thing. Be relentless in your passion and steadfast in your drive, and you will achieve all that is possible.

The 3 “D’s”

In the pursuit of any career, one needs the proper guidance and support. This idea, along with the ability to recognize the help offered to succeed, were constant thoughts in my mind. I was taught about the three Ds, all of which have served as daily reminders to stay on the road of my chosen path. Drive, determination, and devotion have served me well. I have kept these principles in the forefront of my being all these years. Unyielding determination always rose to the top of my daily thoughts and routine. I was fortunate during the early days to recognize these essential elements, and with steps, albeit baby ones, I slowly turned each step traveled into feet, yards, and later miles.

Jim Neglia is a veteran force in the Performing Arts. He has been a working percussionist as well as music contractor, personnel manager and music coordinator for more than 25 years, working closely with some of the best-known names in the industry. Jim covers the entire gamut of music production and performance.  For relaxation, Jim enjoys traveling, reading, writing and keeping his website, www.JimNeglia.com up to date.  Click here to purchase Onward and Upward.


  1. Congratulations on getting your book into the Amazon store!
    Glen @ Monster Piggy Bank recently posted…A no-headache checklist for moving houseMy Profile

  2. Thanks for the post, Jim. It’s interesting how empowering the people around you can be….especially ones (at least in my life) that you don’t expect to be empowering. I love your 3 D’s also. Good stuff.
    AverageJoe recently posted…What Do You Do When Things Go Wrong? – 2 Guys and Your MoneyMy Profile

    • I cannot agree with you more, especially regarding the three “D’s” Thank you for taking the time to write and I hope you enjoy the book.

  3. Great story Jim, I love to see that you didn’t let fear or limiting beliefs get in the way. No success happens overnight and we tend to see only the end result, not the years of sacrifices behind it.
    Pauline recently posted…Try change! It is good!My Profile

    • YES Pauline, such true remarks! Fear takes us nowhere so I did my best to eliminate all of those feelings. Hard work, perseverance and dedication was my chosen path. The end result of sleepless nights, hours in the practice room but above all, always believing in your goal. Thank you for writing!!

  4. Great post Jim! I love your 3 D’s, so simple yet so powerful and true. Fear can be a very powerful thing, but when you turn it on its head you can see some real growth.
    John S @ Frugal Rules recently posted…Taking the Plunge: How to Build a Client Base For Your Small BusinessMy Profile

    • Hi John,
      Thank you for writing and believing in my message! Of the three D’s Devotion may be the most important. To truly feel you meaning in what you are committed to doing… it is a wonderful way of life. I am devoted to getting my message out to all who are interested in my very inspirational story.

  5. Great job getting your book on amazon. I can say that when I was younger, I never really had drive. Now that I have finished college and am a responsible adult, the drive is burning a red hot fire now. I coasted through school getting good grades, it was not until my first paycheck that I really saw what drive was. 4 sites, one board of directors, 1 job, 2 kids and a happy wife later…i have all the drive and determination in the world to make a better life for them!
    Christopher @ This that and the MBA recently posted…How to help a new employee settle quickly into their new officeMy Profile

    • Hi Christopher,
      So glad you wrote and shared your story with me! Keep that fire burning bright and continued success in all you do. Thank you for your well wishes with my book.

  6. Wow, Jim. Congratulations on the release of your book and, most importantly, all the work you did to get you to the point where you can be the expert, mentor, and inspiration for others. After being married to a classical guitarist for 15 years, I can attest to the fact that it’s all about putting in the hours to keep up your skills. I wish you continued success!

    • Hi Tammy,
      Thank you for your warm response, I sincerely appreciate it. The book represents a life long goal realized at the same time, I was able to check off one large item off my bucket list!

      I love music, art, literature, dance and all forms of inner expression. Thank you again for taking the time to write.

  7. Great post and I totally agree with you! I believe we can truly accomplish anything if we are determined enough. If you want to be great at something all you have to do is put in the proper time! Very inspiring.
    Nick @ ayoungpro.com recently posted…Why You Can’t Get an InterviewMy Profile

  8. Congratulations on publishing your book, Jim. It sounds very inspiring. My passion has always been financial literacy and I have been blessed to live my passion as well. I’ve been a financial advisor for twenty years and now I’ve branched into writing my own children’s book and blogging to help parents teach their children about money. I love what I do, but it is A LOT of hard work and some days it’s tough. But I remind myself how much I believe in what I do, the need for this education and no matter what anyone tells me – no one is an overnight success. There are years of hard work leading up to their great success. I look forward to checking out your book in Amazon.
    Shannon @ The Heavy Purse recently posted…Meet Shannon Ryan: Financial Literacy AdvocateMy Profile

    • Hi Shannon,
      Wonderful to connect here! Yes, indeed lots of hard work but now, all these years later we see it was worth the trip. I laugh now, thinking that I actually don’t work for a living, rather do exactly what I have always wanted to do. Like you, I believe in myself, … don’t ever stop believing and your books will come flowing forth.

      Continued success in all you do!

  9. Passion continues to follow me each day of my life! Came and read my story and see where my passion as taken me. Onward and Upward by Jim Neglia available at: http://www.amazon.com/Onward-Upward-Jim-Neglia/dp/1477298975/ref=tmm_hrd_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1356991595&sr=8-1


  1. […] @ We Only Do This Once writes A Beautiful Story About Following Your Passion – For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a professional musician. I began my […]

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