What is Freedom in Performing?

Almost everyone who works with me is seeking more freedom in their performing, but what does that actually mean?

Freedom is about having the headspace to make choices, adapt when things don't go to plan, and lean into connection with your audience.

This episode is all about getting freedom in your performing.

Episode 47 - What is Freedom in Performing

The Courageous Performer Podcast

What is Freedom 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 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:

[00:00:00] What is freedom in performing? Hi, I'm Hattie Voelcker from Find Your True Voice and singers and actors and public speakers come to me and often they ask to have more freedom in performing, to be able to let go and lean in. So what is freedom in performing? For me, It's very much about what goes on in your head.

It's very much about your mindset. How much of your head is cluttered with self sabotaging thoughts. Thoughts that get in the way of you doing what you're doing right now. Distracting thoughts, self critical thoughts. Thoughts about what you should be doing. Thoughts about what you should have done.

And all of that clutters your brain and makes it really difficult to have choice. in the moment when you're performing. And for me, that's what real freedom is. Real freedom in performing is being able to have choice. Having the freedom and the headspace to, in the moment, make [00:01:00] artistic choices, reactive choices to what's going on in the space.

Choices about what to do if something's gone wrong. Choices to, as to what to do if somebody, if it's public speaking or even if it's a certain sort of performance, what to do if somebody interjects. How to deal with heckling. And all of that stuff. I worked recently with a performer who is meant to get heckling and does get heckling, and some of the conversation was about how to deal with that.

And fundamentally, All of this comes down to trust and how much you trust yourself. Obviously, the more you trust yourself, the less of those voices you have in your head, but getting rid of those voices sounds easier said than done, doesn't it? It is actually easier than you think to quieten those voices or to change those voices to something that actually supports you and helps you in what you're doing.

How do you do that? Well, trust isn't about not preparing. Some people [00:02:00] think that what I'm talking about is not preparing as much and really what they're doing is they're preparing really thoroughly. For me, it's about the nature of the preparation you do. Because actually what I've realised over my years of doing this is now I do more preparation than I ever used to.

It's just a different sort of preparation. Because the preparation I do now is not about control. It used to be I wanted to prepare in such a way that there was no possibility of it going wrong. And no matter how much I prepared, in fact, it almost felt like the more I prepared, the worse it would be. Now I prepare in a way that builds up my trust in myself.

I prepare so that I know And feel confident that if things go awry, if we go off piste, it'll be okay. And that's a very different form of preparation. I prepare a lot more about my message, a lot more [00:03:00] about the reason I'm there, and who I'm wanting to communicate to, and what I want the people I'm communicating to, to take away from the experience, and what they might want to take away from the experience.

That very much forms a part of my preparation these days. And that leads to trust because trust is about being able to respond because trust isn't a guarantee that it'll all go right. You can't have trust if it's a guarantee it'll all go right. That is certainty and certainty and trust are not the same thing.

Certainty has rigidity, control has rigidity. Trust has faith and belief and confidence and is a very certainty. different beast and is a much more responsive beast. When you're in a position where you trust yourself and you trust your audience or trust that you can deal with whatever your audience sends your way, [00:04:00] then you are in a much better position to not only respond to what comes your way but make use of it.

So when something goes awry, I like awry rather than wrong because it just goes off the pace. You trust that you can deal with it. You trust that you'll be okay. You trust that the whole thing will be okay. And can you see how that then leads to the voices calming down? Because the voices are almost always about control.

They're about Trying to have control to make it certain that you will be right and okay and people will think good things of you. You haven't the control to do that. All you, you haven't the control to control what your audience thinks. You can influence what your audience thinks and this is where it comes in.

If you trust that you'll be okay, you start actually to trust the situation more. Okay. And funnily enough that reflects in how [00:05:00] your audience feels. We all feel much more comfortable when we're in a space where we feel like the presenter, the performer trusts the space, trusts themselves. We feel that they've got this and that makes us as an audience feel safer and the whole space relaxes.

This crosses over with the, coaching work that I do, and the mentoring and supervision I do for coaches as well, because in that space, the coach is trying to create a space in which the person, the thinker, is able to think, is able to feel safe, unjudged, and okay. And when they feel safe, okay, and unjudged, they can think better.

They relax and they're more likely to connect with the coach and the coach to connect with them. In the same way, we can do that as performers if we create a larger space that feels safe and comfortable and warm and non [00:06:00] judgmental. Then the audience will connect with us on a much deeper level, and that enables us to talk to them more directly, it makes them more open to hear what we have to say, and the whole thing starts to work.

And when you take all of that tension and that overthinking out, then you have more headspace. And with that headspace, you can make choices. And with those choices, you can respond to the audience. And when the audience feels like you're responding Responding to them, they relax even more, and you create this wonderful, warm spiral of development in a positive way so that you then relax more.

And when you relax more, it doesn't mean you are off your game because you are enjoying it more. It means you are more likely to get into a state of flow, which ultimately is what freedom in performance is all about, getting into that state of flow where you're not thinking of the how, you're just communicating.

You're communicating what [00:07:00] you know through your actions. Thoroughly inside yourself, which is why I say it leads to often you doing more preparation. So you do thoroughly know it in this really beautiful, flexible, responsive way. And that means you trust yourself more, which means the voice is quiet and down, which means you connect with your audience more and you create this cycle that goes on.

So what is freedom in performance? Freedom is giving yourself space. Through trusting yourself to make positive choices, both artistic choices, strategic choices, responsive choices to what is going on in the space, which makes the space more beautiful, warm, and enjoyable, both for you and your audience, and so much more productive.

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