Are You in Your Right Mindset?

Photo Credit Troy Williams via Unsplash

A couple of years ago after a not so great singing audition that shook my confidence, I started regular voice lessons again. One day in the voice lesson when we were preparing for an upcoming audition, my teacher said to me, “Stop trying to prove yourself. You’re there.”

I didn’t get it then, but she was right.

I had been trying to prove myself.

I had been trying to prove to myself

…that my voice was trustworthy,

…that I could sing with the same quality as others who had been doing this for longer

…that everyone who had ever criticized my voice and thought I wouldn’t be able to do it had been wrong.  

I had been trying to prove to myself and others that I belonged onstage.

Like many of my clients, my mindset was holding me back.. I had come to identify so strongly with being a “wannabe.” I had to shift to a mindset of being “there.”

But how? How could I build that confidence?

Experience. I needed to just keep doing it. I would record the auditions and listen to them to hear how I sounded. My teacher noticed at first that I brought 50% of my voice to an audition. Then the percentage started to get higher. Some songs and auditions felt easier and I did better. Some were harder. I just kept going to auditions, to any event that would let me sing on stage. My confidence started to rebuild.

Even so, it wasn’t until reading Dweck’s book Mindset that I felt a significant shift in my own mindset. I already knew about the growth mindset and that students who considered success to be a result of hard work fared better than those who thought it was a result of a fixed trait like intelligence or a talent. But, I hadn’t ever realized that in the singing part of my life, I was working with the fixed mindset.

“Believing that your qualities are carved in stone — the fixed mindset — creates an urgency to prove yourself over and over. If you only have a certain amount of intelligence, a certain personality, and a certain moral character — well, then you’d better prove that you have a healthy dose of them.”

I recognized myself in Carol Dweck’s words.

Something in her words gave me permission to let go of proving anything, and I shifted to the growth mindset around performing.

Every experience, even those that feel like complete failures (and there have been a few of those!) are stepping stones on the learning path. I now reframe every audition, rehearsal and performing opportunity as a chance to learn. No matter how it goes, I will learn something. And it’s been true. Not only have I learned a lot in the last year I have also performed more reliably in auditions, rehearsals and on stage. I have stepped more into my strengths as a performer.

Choosing to believe I am “there” changed the way I showed up and the way I did things. I can approach them wholeheartedly and with more courage. If I fail, it is a lesson to use for the next time. A small shift in mindset can create big changes.

What in your life are you trying to prove? What kind of intelligence, talent, skill have you always used to identify who you are? Which of those do you need to prov to yourself and others is still there?

What would change for you if you could have faith in yourself to grow and know that any current challenges are just bumps on the road along the way?

How might that change your behavior at this moment?

Contact me for a complimentary coaching session to find your right mindset and explore the underlying beliefs you may need to reach your goals. 

A certified Positive Psychology coach, Leah works with people who want to upgrade their level of influence and impact to lead others towards a vision and a common goal.

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