Improving self-confidence in performing

What is the biggest thing that gets between you are your best performance?

Your relationship with yourself.

Not only does it impact how you feel when you perform, it determines how you process feedback and implement it. Whether you can accept compliments and rationally assess and process negative feedback.

Changing the way you relate to yourself can change everything. Using a particular type of self-compassion can not only help you feel better about yourself, but can actually help you learn more, process feedback more effectively and perform better.

Listen to the episode to find out more about how it works.....

Podcast 38 - Improving self-confidence in performing

The Courageous Performer Podcast

Improving self-confidence in performing

If you would like to learn how to let go and perform brilliantly, so that you can feel confident (even without being able to guarantee the outcome!) then go to to find out how to work with me.

Read the episode transcript here:

[00:00:00] Hi, I'm Hattie Voelcker from Find Your True Voice and today I want to talk to you about self compassion and performing because so many of the performers I work with seem to equate self compassion and kindness with indulgence and letting yourself get away with stuff in inverted commas, and this idea that if you are kind to yourself, it means you'll end up on the sofa doing nothing, or you won't achieve the high standards that you always have achieved or aspire to.

And this comes from, I think, a message we've got from our upbringing, from our schooling, the idea that you have to be hard on yourself to drive yourself to achieve great things, and I don't agree with that. Yes, it can be short term, effective, but the cost of it is really high. I Have a different view of self compassion because So often we seek [00:01:00] external approval and seek positive feedback from people outside and we want kindness from others.

But this is stuff that we won't give ourselves for fear that it will make you complacent or lazy. And I think it depends on how you treat yourself with kindness. Because people I work with often talk about kindness as Yeah, I'll just not do any practice today or yes I won't do this or I'll let myself off the hook for that.

But for me, that's not kindness. That's actually sending you the message that you're not good enough Don't worry. Don't put yourself out there today. You don't need to you don't want to. Kindness is about how do you want to achieve the things you want to? And sometimes that can be, Today I think it's important you rest, because rest will achieve this for you,[00:02:00]

or today I think it's important you do that, and that could be sitting on the sofa watching a film, because maybe you're absolutely exhausted. But if the sitting on the sofa watching a film is actually avoiding feeling uncomfortable, is avoiding leaning in and doing something that is at the edge of your skill zone, so makes you feel not at your best, then that isn't kind, nor is it wise.

For me, self compassion is actually more about listening to yourself. Listening to what's going on for you. Enabling you to have an opinion of what's going on for you. And so often we don't listen to ourselves. So often we will push ourselves, we'll suppress our emotions and our feelings because we fear if we let them in, they will take over

and we will become complacent and lazy or not have the guts to do stuff . But the reality is, self [00:03:00] compassion where you listen, you say what is going on? What is it that I'm scared of? What is it that is really my worst case scenario? Actually opens up a door to solve some of those fear issues, to challenge some of those fear issues, as I call it, to fact check some of those fear issues. Because it may be you have this sensation of being afraid, but when you unpick it, what you're afraid of is either really unlikely to happen, or, is something that if it does happen, isn't actually the end of the world.

And it's only by leaning in and examining them that we discover this. Self compassion is also about listening to your body and listening to what is going on for you in your body. And it's also about giving yourself what you seek from other people. So giving yourself that approval, celebrating your successes.

Saying I think in my opinion I did that quite well [00:04:00] and that not being something you're scared of doing because we've been taught pride comes before a fall but actually going In my opinion that was good I could have done this better I could have done that better but overall I think I did a good job and then when it comes to the I could have done this better not saying it in that horrible critical inner voice way but actually going On analysis, there are things that I would like to work on so that next time I do it even better.

So giving yourself that approval, giving yourself that wise, kind feedback. Because what I've discovered is that when you are able to do that, when you are able to give yourself valid feedback based on your opinion, it enables you to have a different approach to the feedback you get from others. So you become less dependent on external validation.

You don't need other people to think you did a good job, although it's really nice when they do, and it is validating when they do, [00:05:00] when you're not dependent or reliant on them doing that. It also makes it more likely that you'll hear the constructive feedback. So if you think you did a good job and somebody comes up and says, I think you did that really well.

It will actually hit home, and you're more likely to believe it if it matches your opinion. If someone comes up and then gives you feedback about it not being as good as you wanted, you then can have an opinion on their opinion because you have formed your own opinion. And it could be that they're right, and it could be that they're not right.

Negative feedback isn't always accurate or correct. I remember having feedback from someone who said I hadn't prepared for a workshop I'd run. Well, I'd done a lot of things that I would choose to change, but one thing was not true, was that I hadn't done enough preparation. I had done too much preparation.

I was trying to fit too much into the workshop, and that's why it didn't work. This workshop I ran about, I think, eight years [00:06:00] ago, seven or eight years ago and because I had formed my own opinion, it was much easier for me to go, Yes, they're right about this bit of feedback, but no, I don't agree with them about this bit of feedback.

And therefore, I leave with stuff that I can actually work on to get better on. and disregarding the stuff that actually I disagree with them on. So not only does it mean that you accept compliments with more ease, but it also means that you can process criticisms in a different way. Self compassion isn't about saying It's okay you don't have to bother doing this today or maybe, maybe you weren't cut out to be a public speaker, maybe you weren't cut out to be a singer, maybe you just give up. Because that isn't kindness, that's another way of criticizing yourself.

Self compassion is about listening, listening to yourself, listening to what you have to say. Finding out what is going on for yourself so that you can then have strategies to change what's going on for [00:07:00] you. And self compassion is giving space for your feelings so that you can process them. If you don't allow space for your fears, they'll always sit in the background going, you've got something to be scared of.

If you go, what is it I'm afraid of and let me fact check it, is it right to be scared of that? Then you can then go, Yeah, it probably is right to be afraid of that. Do I want to, still want to do what I want to do? And then you go in going, Yes, it's okay to be afraid of that. I still want to do it. And you can go in front of your audience knowing that you have chosen to be there.

That means you're courageous for being there. Self compassion opens the door for all of these healthy ways of behaving. It opens the door to you having choice, for you to be open to making more improvements to the way you work and what you do, because each time you go out there, you're not going out there trying to hide bits of [00:08:00] yourself because you've listened to yourself and you've understood yourself.

The more you understand yourself, the more you can build strategies for helping yourself be courageous in the moment. If you know that the reason you're feeling particularly vulnerable is there's somebody you know in the audience and that always makes you feel vulnerable, you can then think, well, what will they think?

You can work through the reason you feel vulnerable about the other side. So, self compassion and self love has got a bad rap recently, because people synonymise it with things that it isn't, in my opinion. In my opinion, self compassion is being a wise, kind friend to yourself. Which means you listen.

Which means you feel heard. Even if nobody else is listening to you. If you listen to you, then you can feel heard. If nobody else is offering you feedback, you can give yourself constructive feedback. Which means you can learn from what you've [00:09:00] just been through. And If you start to give yourself what you seek from other people.

including love and compassion, unconditional love. If you start to love yourself, even if you're struggling to hit that note, even if you're struggling to remember the words for your speech, then it will give you that support system that you've been trying to get from other people. It will enable you to process positive and negative feedback more effectively, and it will enable you to integrate that and work out strategies for improving, without having to run yourself down and criticise yourself all the time.

I hope that gives you something to get your teeth into so that you can go away and be kind to yourself in a really wise and constructive way. Thank you for listening. I'm Hattie Voelcker from Find Your True Voice.