Last week I posted about reinvention. I imagine that ALL of us in one way or another will need have a need or desire to reinvent some aspect of our life. Whether it be habits, attitude, relationships, careers, an embouchure, or reed scrape – each of us will eventually succumb to the need for refinement or a complete change in direction.
<–––– has been my reconstruction project for the last few years as I find myself at the crossroads (or the starting gate) of a wonderful music career. And yet, the “little voice” inside my head keeps trying to convince me that this will NEVER work for a variety of reasons. And that voice simply will NOT go away. Dave Matthews coined a phrase in Rhyme & Reason: “My head won’t leave my head alone. I don’t think it will ’till I’m six feet underground.”
I often feel the same way!
So I spend my time trying to figure out what causes this terrible spiraling cancer of inner doubt to happen. Is there a particular trigger that causes my self-doubt. I also look to others who have tackled this monster for guidance and advice for help with my own quest. This post is, perhaps, my way of paying a little of that forward. Not that I’ve conquered the giant, but I’ve made progress. Maybe some of this will help you too.
First a few quotes that give perspective:
” You cannot become who you need to be by remaining who you are.” – Max DuPree
“Life is 10 percent what you make it, and 90 percent how you take it.” ― Irving Berlin
“When it comes down to performance, that ‘little voice’ has no business being there. It was not contracted. You were contracted. You are the one in that audition. You are in that jury. Let that ‘little voice’ sing [or play] sometime and see how easy it is for them.”
– Joyce DiDonato
And this one:
“…early in the 1996 season I visualized winning the American League Most Valuable Player award and holding it above my head. I visioned winning the batting title and holding up that trophy, too. I visioned a .380 batting average. In my mind I could see the number, flashing and blinking on exit signs… .380… .380… .380.
That year I missed winning the MVP by three votes and won the batting title. Playing the game was the easy part. The real work was in the preparation.
Some nights when I go to bed I will tell myself, maybe 150 times, “I hit the ball solid. I hit the ball solid. What do I do for a living? I hit the ball solid.” I see the results from my mind’s eye out. I see myself from the fans’ perspective. From the manager’s view in the dugout. I picture myself on the field from different angles. I believe a champion wins in his mind first, then he plays the game, not the other way around.” – Alex Rodriguez
(from Mind Gym, by Gary Mack & David Casstevens)
It’s all in your head
Now many of you are Red Sox fans, or are caught up in the multiple PED scandals that A-Rod has gotten himself into. Lay those things aside for a minute and reread his quote because there is a LOT of wisdom there.
I have found that visualizing myself as a great performer, or teacher, or business-person, or parent goes a long way to helping to quiet that “little voice.” Couple this with dedicated and effective practice you will become a performer with Confidence!! And when that “little voice” appears to ruin your practice session, or that big performance you have ammo! You have already put in the work, and convinced yourself through positive visualization that the cancerous lies creeping into your head have no place in your brilliant performance.
You may also enjoy Joyce DiDonato’s video blog, where she shares many more insights on different aspects of her performance preparation and career. I especially like this video blog post:
I have found that my missing confidence lies in the middle of the big and little self-destructive thoughts and behaviors that we all struggle with. The secret is to persevere the journey until you reach that wonderful confidence that we all seek! And then remember the journey, and the success you found. Because you will, more than likely, need to make that journey again with a completely different road block!