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'Feeling' confident is overrated

Updated: Jun 28, 2023

5 things I wish I knew… Part 2.

'Feeling' confident is not a requirement to success in this industry

In my last post, I spoke about the fact that innate confidence is not a prerequisite for success in the performing arts and that in fact, 90% of my clients (who are all successful in their own right) have low levels of innate self confidence.

Following on from that, I wanted to talk about why we don't need to ‘feel’ confident, in order to take action towards your goals.

Most of my clients come to me with a similar problem. They don't feel confident in themselves and therefore they hold off on taking actions towards what they want, which leads to them not being where they want to be in their career. They have the false belief that in order to take action or put themselves forward for opportunities that they want, they must first ‘feel’ confident that they will:

Perform perfectly

Not make any mistakes

Win

Impress

etc etc etc

But, if you recall what I said last week, from an anecdotal perspective, performers naturally experience lower levels of confidence. Then combined with the fact that the research suggests that performing artists and musicians experience far greater levels of anxiety than the general population, naturally you can see that our community is less likely to ‘feel’ confident, in spite of our successes.

Most of the people I have worked with have their beliefs about confidence around the wrong way. They think that the relationship with confidence is as follows:

Feel confident in what you do and then take action….

But, if performers as a population naturally feel less confident than the general population, then that means we either will take action far less often towards our goals or we may never do so. And if we don't take action, we don't progress. So instead, what I say to my clients is:

Take action in spite of how you feel right now, and the confidence will come…

Speaking from a personal perspective, I can use a recent experience of mine as an example. At the start of the year, one of my goals was to do an Opera Australia audition. It had been 10 years since I had done an audition for them and in that time, I had returned to study psychology and started my business which meant that I had not focused 100% of my time on singing. In the lead up to the audition, I was having thoughts such as ‘I’m not good enough to do this', ‘what makes me think that I can do this when other people are doing this full time’, and ‘you’ve been out of the game too long for this to work'.

Needless to say, going into the audition, I wasn't 100% confident in how I was going to perform or that the outcome was going to be a positive one. The audition was fine. It wasn't my best, but it certainly wasn't my worst. What it did help me realise afterwards however, was that even though I don't sing full time anymore, I do belong here at this level. Since then I have put myself forward for a few other auditions which I definitely wouldn't have done had I not faced my fears and done that audition even though I didn't 'feel' that confident in myself.

‘Feeling’ confident is not a prerequisite to taking action towards your goals. In fact, from mine and my clients' experiences, most of the time we won't feel totally confident going into performances or auditions. If we only took action based on how we ‘feel’ then we would never do anything.

So, what I hope you take away from this is that if you have a dream or a goal, don't wait until you ‘feel’ confident. Instead, take action towards your goals and that confidence you are seeking will naturally come.

If you feel like you're stuck or that a lack of confidence is holding you back, reach out to me and I'd love to arrange a free discovery session.

Stay creative,

Cailin at The Performer's Edge :)

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