What keeps you small as a performer?

The main things that keep you small as a performer are Doubt, Fear, Imposter Syndrome, Comparitonitis, Perfectionism and Procrastination.

These all lead back to one cause and when you understand that, you can start to make some simple choices that will change how you perform and allow you to step into feeling confident.

Episode 46 - What keeps you small as a performer

The Courageous Performer Podcast

What keeps you small as a performer?

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 why not join me for my FREE YOUR VOICE workshop this April?

£20 will barely buy you dinner and a drink these days, instead spend it transforming how you feel when you perform!

Read the episode transcript here:


What keeps people small when they're performing? Hi, I'm Hattie Voelcker from Find Your True Voice. And it's really interesting when you start to look at what keeps you small, what keeps you hiding, what keeps you from leaning in and doing your best performance, because when it comes down to it, it all relates to one thing.

So if I took And if I take a look at the themes of what keeps people small, we're thinking about things like doubts. Am I going to be able to do this? Is it going to go well? What will they think of me? Will they think I'm good? Will they think I'm terrible? Will it work for me? Will it not? All of those trying to predict the future.

You've got imposter syndrome. I feel like I'm going to be found out, they'll discover that I don't know as much as they think I know or as much as I think, I'll discover that I don't know as much as I think I know. Good old fashioned fear. Sometimes that ties in with doubts. Are they going to like it?

Sometimes [00:01:00] it's just nerves. It's shaking. It's physical. It's that feeling in the pit of your stomach or that tightness in your chest. Comparatonitis can also keep you small as a performer. Are they better than me? Are they worse? Where are they in their careers? Should I be where they are? , Age comes into that particular worry.

Am I too old to be doing this? Am I beyond it? Am I too young to be doing this? Are they going to listen to me? Look at her, look at him. He's older and got more gravitas, she's older and has more gravitas, he's younger and, is more appropriate for whatever it is. Comparatonitis, when you start to compare yourself to others.

Perfectionism can keep you small. I can't do it until I have it perfectly. I can't do it, I can't put myself out there unless I know with certainty I'm good enough. Unless I've got all the words completely perfect and I can do it again and again right. I have to [00:02:00] look perfect. I have to have everything about the performance perfect.

Working and working to try and achieve perfect. And alongside perfectionism sometimes comes procrastination. So if you're a perfectionist, you might not procrastinate. You might be really good at just getting things done, but that creates a huge amount of pressure and self criticism. You might not think you're a perfectionist and come and work with me and you might find out otherwise.

A Lot of people have said that. They said that they do the module I do on perfectionism. They say I didn't realize I was a perfectionist and now I realize I have all those traits, but sometimes, We can actually have perfectionistic traits, even if we don't realize it. And I never thought I could be a perfectionist because surely if you're a perfectionist, sometimes you get things perfect.

And I couldn't be a perfectionist because I never got anything to the standard that I'd set myself. But alongside, therefore, Perfectionism can be procrastination. If I haven't got it good enough, I'll [00:03:00] put it off. Maybe I'll be better next week. Maybe all the stars will have aligned and I'll have all my ducks in a row and I'll be able to do it next week, next month, next year.

And that's where procrastination can come in. I've done other podcasts on procrastination. Take a look at them if procrastination is one of your issues. Now in my, crikey, nearly 10 years as a Performance Mindset Coach, I realized that these all boil down to one thing, and that is our desire to have certainty.

Our desire to have certainty. Be able to predict the future and know with certainty that it's all going to be Okay, and that we're going to do a good job and people are going to like it and it's going to go well Now i've as I i've done other podcasts on this as well on in terms of control and certainty The difficulty is, in performing, there is no certainty.

There is no [00:04:00] absolute. And this was one of the interesting things that happened over lockdown. So in lockdown, people who were doing final recitals at music college and drama college were finding that they were doing self tapes as their final recital. And I met people who'd done 150, if not , 200 takes of their, of the recital that they were submitting.

Because none of them were good enough. None of them were perfect. And they wanted to have certainty that when the tutors listened to them, they would pass. You can't have certainty. You can never have certainty over how the audience are going to react to you. You can't have certainty that everything's going to go well.

There are certain things over which you have choice. Choice as to which take you send in., the difficulty these people were finding was that there was something off in every take they did. And so they wanted to get it [00:05:00] perfect. You can definitely increase reliability, but you can never increase reliability to the point at which you have certainty.

And that brings with it this sense of insecurity. If certainty is what you're after, so chasing certainty always brings with it insecurity.

And in fact, chasing certainty leads to doubts. Imposter Syndrome, Fear, Comparatinitis, Perfectionism and Procrastination. So it leads to the very symptoms you've got, which is why, often as not this cycle can get worse over time, not better. And that's why sometimes feel the fear and do it anyway doesn't work because what we find, what I find is that people get trapped in this cycle of doubt, imposter syndrome and fear, etc, etc.

So what is the answer? Now, the answer is to get comfortable with not knowing. To get [00:06:00] comfortable with lack of certainty. To get comfortable in that space where you know you can't guarantee the outcome. You can't guarantee your audience's reaction. You can definitely influence it, but you can't guarantee it.

So what can you do? If you can't know, what can you do? When you don't have certainty, all you're left with is trust. You either go down the route of fear, or you go down the route of trust. Now that might seem a million miles away to you right now. It isn't. It's closer than you think, and there are steps you can take right now that will start to increase your trust.

And the most important step is to start to change where you put your focus before, during and after your performances. Because where you choose to focus will determine your thoughts and feelings, and your thoughts and feelings will determine what [00:07:00] your actions are and your reactions. And so when you change where you put your focus and change your thoughts, your feelings change, and you then can reduce the fear and anxiety and doubt and imposter syndrome.

One of the things to start to do is to turn your focus outwards. Turn your focus towards things that you can be curious about without judging. And that is exactly what my Free Your Voice workshop is all about. It's about this turning your focus outwards. And the reason that works, where to put your focus, What it does when you put your focus there, what you can let go of when you put your focus there and what you gain when you put your focus there.

And there are a number of different things that you can turn your focus outwards and towards that will change this so that you can start to let go of certainty. And when you let go of certainty, And you start to actually then [00:08:00] enjoy what you're doing. Trust starts to emerge. Trust starts to take hold and the performing feels lighter and easier and you will then connect with your perform with your audience so much better.

I hope this helps. Let me know and if you'd like to join the workshop just simply go to my website at findyourtruevoice. co. uk where you'll find a link to it. I'm Hattie Voelcker from Find Your True Voice. Thank you so much for listening.