Where to put the Effort in Your Performing

How much effort do you put into your performing? The trouble with effort is that, put in the wrong place, it creates tension and distraction, making things harder not easier.

Effort put in the wrong place turns into efforting. Effort put in the right places creates ease.

This episode is all about the right and the wrong sort of effort.

Episode 45 - Where to put the Effort in Your Performing

The Courageous Performer Podcast

Where to put the Effort in Your 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 nailyourperformance.com to find out how to work with me.

Read the episode transcript here:

[00:00:00] How much effort do you put into your performing? Hi, I'm Hattie Voelcker from Find Your True Voice and I want to talk to you today about the difference between effort and efforting. I know that efforting isn't really, um, a word. But it's a word that sums up exactly what I'm trying to express because you know, that really easy state that we get into sometimes when something is going really well, when you're performing and you're not thinking about it and everything's falling into place.

It can be when you're playing a sport or it can be when you are talking and it just flows or you're in flow when you're doing any sort of activity and everything feels like it's really easy. And then, when you are suffering from any level of anxiety, or worry, or stress, how everything seems to be so much harder.

And for me, that's where, efforting comes in. And Things take on a [00:01:00] very different feeling when we start to effort and one of the things I've noticed in my singing is that one of my biggest issues was that I was efforting. So I was putting an awful lot of effort into what I was doing and almost always The places I was putting my effort into were not the most effective places for me to achieve the results I wanted.

And as I'm unpicking my technique and improving my technique, most of what I'm doing is taking away the efforting. And what I'm left with is still stuff I'm doing, but it's so much easier. And in the same way with my public speaking, that, when I'm in flow, I'm not really thinking about what I'm doing.

My subconscious has got that, and my conscious mind is just tapping in and noticing and making some choices. And my subconscious is running the main show. It's throwing up all the right [00:02:00] words. I'm thinking, right, and the next thing to tell them about is this, and then the subconscious goes, Great, I will give you the words to do that.

And everything feels easy. Whereas when I used to be really nervous and anxious, and have notes, and look at them, and check in with them, everything felt so much harder, and I was indeed putting more physical effort into it. And there was an awful lot more tension. And that's where I think it's really interesting for you to start to see.

So, I'm running my Free Your Voice workshop, in just about a month's time, so in April. And, in that, a lot of what I'm teaching is about where to focus your attention, so that, actually, there is less efforting going on. Less forcing, less pushing, less trying, and more [00:03:00] Action. And if you learn where to focus your attention when you're performing, what to focus your attention on, and how to focus your attention, then everything will start to fit into place.

So, for example, how you focus your, well, no, let me go back a step, to focus your attention. on the audience in some way is a good start. Now, obviously, how you focus that attention depends on what sort of performance you're doing. If it is public speaking, then you want to directly focus your attention on that bunch of people.

If you're in a play and actually you are Uh, acting towards another actor, it's almost like the audience isn't there, but still they are there and they are involved with the process. So it's a different sort of attention you are focusing on them, but being aware of them is important, important because they are who you are [00:04:00] feeding.

Now that, I'm not saying that means you don't get into character and totally focus on what you're doing but if you're completely unaware of the audience you might turn face you back to them if you're not, if you're not too careful. So you are always going to have some awareness of what you want them to get from it.

So first of all is to focus your attention on them to some degree and in some way. And then the next thing is to decide what sort of attention and how you want to give them that attention because one of the things we want as an audience is somehow to be immersed in the experience. We want to be included and if you start thinking about things in that way, then actually you start to distract yourself from areas where you might be efforting.

In the same way, if you focus on the message you want to convey, And you focus on what of your material you want to convey [00:05:00] to that audience. Then you will start to focus your attention in a much more effective way. And instead of thinking, well, let's go for the singers for a second. Instead of thinking, right, I want to get louder here and I want to get softer there.

Then the dynamics come from the expression of the message. And in your preparation, you will hopefully have done some understanding of Why that dynamic was put in there by the composer and how it fits with the story and the emotion, etc. And then, instead of having all these layers of lots of things you've got to think about, it starts to flow more easily because you've given a meaning to it and you are focusing on that meaning in the same way I have not written down every single word I am saying to you now.

I know what it is I want to tell you. I know what it is I would love for you to take away from this. And I'm letting my subconscious flow into the space that that creates in [00:06:00] my head, so rather than micromanaging it, I'm allowing it to be free so that I can focus my attention on you and my message, and so that you will receive more from me.

And for me, that is less effort. It's not no effort at all, I'm working here, I'm thinking, and I'm wanting to convey. However it isn't that sort of, Urgh, I've got to get it right, and what am I thinking of now? That efforting where we end up with lots of tension and lots of clutter in your head. Instead, it's when you focus your attention and put your effort into the right places.

Then the whole thing takes less energy and creates less tension. The trouble is, when we feel concerned about what we're doing, what we tend to do is put more effort in. We try harder as opposed to try smarter. So, what [00:07:00] do I want you to get from today? What do I want you to take away? That. efforting isn't the answer.

That putting more effort, simply putting more effort in, isn't the answer, and is often the cause of the problem. Being smarter over where you put your effort, being smarter over how you put your effort, that is the solution. And that It comes from a number of things, and this is the sort of stuff that I'm teach I will be teaching in my Free Your Voice workshop, so do come along if you're available details are on my website, and I'll put them in the blurb with this.

Because if you can get help as to where to focus your attention, or you can start to hone where you want to focus your attention, then your performing will become better. a lot less effortful and you'll have a lot less tension.

I'm Hattie Voelcker from Find Your True Voice. Thank you very much for listening.