The Key to it All

This weekend I had a revelation. It came out of something I said to one of the people who joined the Free Your Voice Live Online workshop, and because they noticed it I started to think about it and realised it was the key to everything.  To find out what I'm talking about, listen to this episode.

If you are ready to make this change for yourself you can register to join the programme here:

The Fearless Performer Programme

Podcast 17 Title

The Courageous Performer Podcast

The Key to it All

Read the episode transcript here:


Hi, I'm Hattie Voelcker from Find Your True Voice and this week I'd like to talk to you about another thing that came up this time in the workshop I did on Saturday. So my last podcast, if you haven't listened to it was about something that had come up in the previous Saturday's workshop, and this one is something that came up in this Saturday's; and that's what I love about these workshops, because being a coach and doing the work I do, it's all about the space. And the space is different, depending on who you've got in it, the weather, what they feel like what's going on for people what's going on for you. And so magic sometimes comes out when you least expect it.



And sometimes I feel like, it would be better if I paid my clients, because I get so much, because this sort of work is the sort of work where you've got this intellectual theory, you know, it works and it's worked for people, and then something about a situation will just bring the magic. And something that's worked for lots and lots of people will suddenly work on a different level for somebody, or a different level for me, and I'll, suddenly something will click and I've gone off, and the philosopher in me has gone away and thought about this and come up with some really juicy ideas that I would love to share with you.



So that's what this episode is all about. Now, it was about someone's takeaway, and someone's takeaway was literally something I said, I said that they went, "I'm taking that away." You know who you are. So thank you so much, you have created such a catalytic process in my head, or you've been the catalyst for such a process in my head, I really appreciate it. And now, I've said this before, for those of you that have been with me for a long time, you'll probably have heard me say this on one, if not more occasions, that we have a tendency to look at the audience as a judgmental mass, and sort of lump them in one.



It's like we say 'The Audience' we make it a singular, as opposed to the audience members, and I think it makes us view them in this way. And there is this presumption in our heads with the vast majority of performers I work with, that they are going to judge us harshly, and as I've said, again, as I said before, they will definitely judge you, they will absolutely judge you. We are human, that is what we do, but they have a different agenda. And what I bet you do is what so many performers do is that you believe they will judge you the way that you judge you you may not be consciously aware of this. But I reckon this is what is going on in your head. And this is, this is the quote that this person took away, "Your audience are not arseholes." Apologies for the for the swear word. I may say it again, because I don't know quite how else to put it, because idiots doesn't cover it.



Really, your audience aren't horrible, and it's you, that is the arsehole to yourself, you are the one who is being horrible to yourself. So you assume that other people are going to judge you the way that you judge you. And probably a little bit how you judge other people because the more judgmental you are of yourself, the more judgmental you are of other people. But in my experience, three things are true. As I just said, the audience will absolutely judge you. But they have a different agenda. They don't want from your performance, the same thing that you want. Their wants may overlap with your wants, they may want you to sing well. but that's probably not top of their list. They may want you to speak well, but that's probably not top of their list. top of their list might be an entertaining evening, to find the right person for a role, to get the information they want.



You know, you've you're listening to this podcast, your priority is not whether I speak well. It's what I have to say and what you might get from it. My priority will be, will used to have been, what you think of how I said it, have I said it in the right way, am I approachable? Now I'm getting to the stage where it's automatic for me that my priority is giving you the information that you want. And as you know from the work if you know me well. By focusing on your priority, I actually relax and become better at doing it. So number one, the audience will judge you by their agenda, not yours.



Number two, the vast majority of your audience are not horrible. They're not arseholes. Some of them them, maybe some, of them will judge you harshly. Oh, sorry about my phone. But that's because they've got stuff going on. And I can, I'll talk to you about about that to you in a little bit. But the vast majority are not horrible. You are the ones, you're the one being judgmental here, because you're judging them as being horrible, before they've even had a chance to judge you in a horrible way.



And the third thing is, is that even if they are arseholes, even if they are horrible, and they happen to be important, so even if one of the judging panel is one of the people who is not very nice, is on the board and has a chance to make a decision over you, they still have a different agenda to you, they still will judge you differently. Again, there may be crossover. But let's take for example, an audition panel, or a job interview panel. They're not looking for perfection, they're looking for capacity, for capability, they will be looking for someone who is capable of doing the job and will bring something, probably something extra to it something special to it. They are looking for someone who will put the work in to get the job done, and they are also looking for someone who is good to work with.



They don't want you to get everything perfectly. So if we're looking at a singing audition here, they don't need you to nail every note, get every word right. If they believe that you are capable of doing it and capable of doing it in the time and will put the work in to do it, and you bring the best expression of the story, or you bring something that is unique that they really want for the part, they will forgive you things that you won't forgive yourself for. Even if they are judgmental, and not very nice. They have an agenda and they want to meet that agenda.



They would rather have engaging potential and capability and capacity than tight perfection. If someone walks into the room who is nervous and on edge and sings it in a controlled but maybe technically beautiful way. Do they want to work with that person? Do they think they can brings the right thing to the to the role? And, you know, how do they feel about spending time with that person? Because that is their agenda. And they won't judge you by your agenda and remembering that it's really important.



But one thing is overarchingly true about this concept of the audience are not horrible. Assuming they are horrible, means you will be tense and nervous and stressed out and probably less expressive, less able to connect with them. And it will lead to a worse performance. Assuming they're not and they are kind and warm hearted will make you perform better, even if you are wrong! So it's this wonderful, I don't know is it irony, I never know whether I'm right when I use the word irony that actually if you don't care if they are horrible or not, and you assume they are nice, you will be better. If you care and worry about them being horrible and judgmental, you will be worse and you'll give them more to be judgmental about. Not worrying about it and not caring and believing that they are really nice and kind empowers you, it doesn't disempower you. So even if you happen to be wrong, when you assume they are not horrible, you will perform better.



Here's the rub though. Believing that your audience are kind and are good is really a really hard to believe, to stick to, because when I said at the very beginning that what we do, what you are probably doing is imposing your own judgement of yourself on your audience, until you change your judgement of you, it's really, really hard to believe that your audience are kind and kind hearted and good people. Until you can be honest, wise and kind with yourself, this won't change. And here is where this is the absolute key to performing really at your best.



If you can develop an honest, wise kind of opinion of your, yourself and your work, then everything changes. Because as I just said, you will then start to impose that honest, wise kind opinion of yourself onto your audience and believe that they will be honest, wise and kind with you. You will become, if you can trust your own opinion, less reliant on external validation, and you will also be able to distinguish between genuine compliments, and also be able to process criticism without falling into that shame spiral. Because, and you know that, we all know that, when we're reliant on external validation, we often take on the criticism, but don't take on the compliment. But if you can genuinely go, "I believe that's a good compliment, because I agree with it," you're more likely to take it on board. If you can process criticism and go right, that doesn't mean I'm a bad performer, and I'll never be able to do that. That actually means yes, I agree with them, I could work on that aspect of my performance, and by working on that aspect, I will be better.



And this is the next thing it does for you. Because it helps you work out where to put your the work in where to next focus your effort on being a better performer. And that means you will become better faster, you will become even better faster, because you'll be working on the areas that you really feel are important to improve.



And finally, if you can trust your opinion, to be wise, kind and honest, you'll relax, because you'll no longer be trying to assess all the time as to whether you're right or whether you're wrong, because you know, you are honest, wise and kind, and you can rely on your own opinion.



So how do you get to that point where you can trust your own opinion and be honest, and kind to yourself. For me, there are basically eight steps, eight processes to go through. And that's, firstly, hear your inner voice. Hear what it's saying to you and how it's treating you.



Secondly, start to see the reason your inner voice is behaving the way it is, or inner voices are behaving the way they are. And the next step is then to start work to, working to change what the inner voices are saying, but doing that with that agreement. Not getting into a battle with your inner voice, because you'll never win that, but starting to have discussions with your voice to move forward and change it. Then it's to understand your inner voice, really understand the reason it's doing what it's doing, and how, although on the face of it, you know, it's not helping, how it really isn't helping and why it isn't helping with its agenda either. And to do that, you have to understand your fears, really understand your fears, then you can start to create a different dynamic with your audience. A different dynamic by changing the way you feel about your audience, and you approach your audience and how you influence your audience.



Next, it's about building those new neural pathways into your way of behaving and your way of thinking so that you can make this change, consistent and ongoing and self improving in one way. And finally, and this I would say bring to all of these steps, steps is to introduce or if you lost it, you had it but you lost it reintroduce, joy and enjoyment to everything you do. Because as you've probably heard me say before, that is really the key to doing a performance which really resonates with people and being able to put in the prep work.



Now, these are all the steps and you can do this and go out and there are plenty of books you can do to learn how to do this. If you feel you would like some help doing this. This is exactly what the Fearless Performer Programme does. It that is, these are the steps it takes you through and it teaches you and if you're interested in doing the fearless performer please DM me or email me or go to because now is a really good time to do it because I'm running. I'm starting a an eight month mentoring programme, where I will take you through the Fearless Performer Programme module by module, really giving you some personalised feedback and support to take you through the programme so that you can achieve this change for you.



So if you're interested in that, or get in contact and drop me a message. But if there's one takeaway I want you to take away from this, it's that your audience aren't horrible. Shh they're not arseholes. You are the one who's being an arsehole. Change that and change that will change everything. And when I say change that I don't mean become smothering or indulgent or always telling yourself you're brilliant and amazing. No, no, no, wise, honest and kind. That's where you want to be. I'm Hattie Voelcker from Find Your True Voice, thank you so much for listening.



Thanks for listening to the courageous performer podcast. If you've enjoyed this episode and found it helpful, please share it with a friend. And if you feel ready to take your performance to the next level, I can help you banish the fears and overthinking that keep most singers, actors and public speakers stuck. This is what I specialise in, and what I've been doing for more than seven years. Go to nail your and find out the many ways you can get to grips with what's holding you back from success and become a truly confident performer who can take the world by storm. On that page. You'll also find a free audio training to calm your nerves and tap into your confidence. The five minutes right before a show. Until next time, keep being courageous.