I Traded in My Man Card for Ed Sheeran Tickets and This is What I Learned

Fine. I admit it. I went to an Ed Sheeran concert. And as much as my Y chromosome wants to spend the rest of this post telling you how bad it was, the truth is that it was a great show. Probably one of the better concerts I’ve been to.

In fact, I even found myself in my car the next day listening to his latest album and attempting to sing along. It wasn’t pretty.

But that got me thinking.

How do you create something that is so special that it leaves people wanting more the next day?

Because whether you are a speaker, author, blogger, artist or entrepreneur, that is ultimately what you’re chasing after, isn’t it?

Creating something that grows legs.

And that’s why I spent way too much time over-analyzing Ed Sheeran’s super secret magical formula. All so I could write this post for you.

(See what I do for you?!?)

And here is what I found…

Master Your Craft

Whether or not you like his music is irrelevant. You can’t deny that the guy is talented. He’s a pretty good guitar player. A good singer too. But his real talent is his songwriting.

He has mastered the skill of songwriting.

You don’t get a stadium of more than twenty thousand people singing every word to every song for two straight hours (which can be really annoying by the way) without being able to write a really good song.

Stand Out

If you have never seen him live, it’s just him. No band. No backup singers. Nothing. Instead, he uses a loop pedal and builds the song one track at a time.

Here’s an example:

What’s so cool about this is that it’s different. Sure, he could have a ten piece band with a horn section and backup singers. But that’s what everybody else is doing.

There is nobody else out there taking the stage alone in the same way he is while using a loop pedal to build their songs one instrument at a time in front of a live audience.

Be Authentic

I have no idea what the guy is worth. But I can tell you that he can afford to hire a fashion consultant and get a five hundred dollar haircut.

But he doesn’t.

Why? Because that’s just not who he is.

By his own admission during the show, he’s been told not to dress in jeans and a t-shirt. However, that’s what he’s most comfortable in. It’s who he was before he was famous. And he’s not about to change it now. For anybody.

What you see is what you get.

Embrace Your Tribe

All but about two of the men’s bathrooms at the stadium were converted into women’s rooms. Why? Because the audience consisted of about 85% teenage girls.

That’s his tribe.

Sure, he could change his style, get a different haircut, curse a little here and there, change his wardrobe and in turn attract a different audience.

But rather than doing that, he embraces the tribe he has as his own and speaks directly to them. Regardless of what the rest of the world wants.

These are his people.

Don’t Forget Where You Came From

Rather than running from his past, Ed Sheeran embraces it. If you listen to the lyrics, many of his songs are about specific events in his past.

Where he came from. What he struggled with. And who he grew up with.

What that does is make him human.

In the eyes of his audience, he’s no longer a superstar. He’s just a normal guy. He broke his leg, just like us. He had his heart broken, just like us. And he misses his old friends from childhood, just like us.

By showing us his past, even the ugly stuff, he makes it easier for us to connect with him.


The promise we were made when we bought the tickets was that Ed Sheeran was going to come out and play a bunch of songs. Many of which we’ve heard on the radio.

That’s pretty much it.

What he delivered was much more than that.

He was very charismatic. There was a great light show. He had a bunch of screens behind him that had to be four stories tall (see the header image for this post). The animation on the screens was ridiculous. And he played the hell out of each of his songs.

I think everybody had pretty high expectations walking in the door and yet, those expectations were exceeded.

Be Humble

I can’t say this for sure, but I get the feeling that after the show he grabbed his guitar and spent the next hour and a half sitting in his 1998 Honda Civic Hatchback stuck in traffic like the rest of us while on his way back home.

While that’s unlikely, it feels like it could be true because he is such a humble guy.

Too humble to be running around town in a limo flashing the bling and lighting cigars with hundred dollar bills.

It’s almost as though he’s just as surprised by his success as the rest of us. And that’s pretty refreshing.

So, What Does That Have to Do With You?


What do you think it would look like if you approached your life as a speaker, author, blogger, artist or entrepreneur from the same place?

Where you are a master of your craft. And the work you do stands out from your competitors. And you put yourself out to the world authentically. And you embraced your tribe for who they are and not who you want them to be. Where you never forget where you came from. And you over-deliver with everything you do. And when all’s said and done, you are humble and grateful for everything you have.

Create from that space and I bet people will wake up the next morning singing your song too.