There she is again. She strides, practically floats, onto the stage and takes her place in the crook of the piano. She smiles warmly. Her body seems so at ease. It doesn’t look like her palms are sweating. It doesn’t look like she feels her heart about to burst out of her chest. She makes steady, but not awkwardly prolonged, eye contact with a few random listeners. She takes a calm, relaxed breath and then golden notes seem to come pouring out of her. She’s practically radiating confidence.
And you’re sitting there going, “Ugh. Why don’t I look and feel like that?”
Diva Confidence and Self-Esteem
Don’t worry, diva. You can learn to have confidence just like that. What is the key to building confidence? It is two-fold. The key to building confidence is to build skills and then recognize the skills you have built.
Personal achievement and valuable skills promote self-confidence. Confidence is built on the foundation of thousands of mini goals. Things that you can accomplish from day-to-day. Briefly think about the areas of your life in which you experience insecurity. “I feel insecure when trying to make new friends.” Or, “I feel insecure when I audition in front of strangers.” These are little red flags that turn your attention to areas in which you subconsciously recognize that you need to build your skills.
“I feel insecure in my ability to write my own cadenzas” is simply an invitation to do some research. After increasing your knowledge in the area by reading, listening, and doing the work in the practice room, you will feel unflappable the next time you approach those cadenzas. There are very few ways to build skills outside of actually doing the darn thing. So, think about how you can “audition your way” to more audition success. Also, “perform your way” to performing success. In all areas of your life, you need to do the thing to build skill at that thing. It doesn’t mean it is impossible to build skills outside of the crucible of actually doing it. But, you need to be strategically discerning which skill groupings are apparent in the area in which you want to feel more confident.
Volunteering, exercising, learning how to spend time alone, getting organized, and picking up a new hobby are all under the umbrella of building skill. They are all activities that help broaden your understanding of the world as well as your place in it. Each one of those helps you test yourself, physically, emotionally, and mentally, under new circumstances.
Recognizing Your Skills
Confidence is walking out on stage and recognizing that you are ready because you have prepared yourself for that moment. It is important that we recognize the time, energy, and resources we have put into building our skills. It is that level of commitment and preparation that is helping us take on this new challenge.
Recognizing the skills that you have built is a healthy way to swap out negative comparison thoughts. You do not have to worry about what that other soprano wore, how she sang her high C, or what other sparkling interpretations the panel has heard that day. Real confidence is realizing that you have something special to offer regardless of whether or not they choose you for the role. Real confidence means taking responsibility for your experience in each and every moment.
Show Your (Inner) Work
Show up to every moment in your life with the profound understanding that you are meant to be there. Confidence doesn’t happen in a vacuum and it doesn’t happen without hard work. Finish today’s post by completing these sentences:
- I like my _____ because _____
- I am an expert at _________
- I feel good about _________
- I feel insecure in these areas _____________
- The skills directly tied to those areas are ____________
- I will do these activities to build those skills _______________
And divas, if you need a little boost to get you started, you can always remember Mindy Kaling’s advice, “sometimes you just have to put on lip gloss and pretend to be psyched.” Now, go forth and conquer your inner world… and then the rest of the universe.
Let Me Be Your Diva Sidekick!
All this month I will be sending out exclusive content to the email list. Take a moment to sign up now so you can receive things like:
- Self-care for musicians
- Discovering your multiple intelligences
- Tackling your cognitive biases
- Vulnerability in life and on stage
- Blasting out of your thought ruts