To Be or Not to Be Yourself

Should you be yourself when you perform? For me this is not really the issue. The issue is whether you are able to be yourself or whether there is some reason you find it hard to be yourself. Is there some part of you that feels like an imposter or that you should somehow be better.

If you are constantly feeling that you are not good enough it will take your time, attention and energy keeping this at bay which will impact your performing. If you let go of this not only will you perform better but you will be happier!

Episode 49 - To Be or Not to Be Yourself

The Courageous Performer Podcast

To Be or Not to Be Yourself

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] Being yourself as a performer. Now this is a, an interesting concept that I think is worth exploring. So I'm Hattie Voelcker from Find Your True Voice and that's what today's episode is going to be all about. Because when I started as a performer as a kid, one of the reasons I loved performing was because I didn't have to be myself.

It was the place where I got to explore being someone else and I didn't have to be this strange, awkward, shy, in some ways nervous and in other ways really not nervous at all, young person, I could pretend to be somebody else. And that was incredibly freeing. , but the more I have done this performance mindset work with performance, the more I have realized that The ability to be yourself is hugely important, because if you're not able to be yourself when everyone's looking, there's a reason [00:01:00] you're not able to be yourself, or you don't feel able to be yourself, and that is often to do with some fear of or anxiety, or worry, or imposter syndrome, something that's holding you back from feeling okay as you when other people are watching.

And when I say other people are watching, I mean, it can be a one on one conversation, or it can be 50, 000 people watching. It's that idea of, are you good with yourself? Because it is, this came up when I was running the Fearless Performer Program recently and somebody said, Do you have to have good self confidence to have great presence on stage?

And my answer initially was yes, and then I realized there are people who doubt themselves massively and yet have amazing stage presence. And I think those are the people who really struggle in life. So although they're perfectly happy on stage where they often inhabit another persona, they're not so happy being themselves in real life.[00:02:00]

And that leads to discord, discomfort, and I think shame. And often these people struggle with their self confidence massively and then often struggle with stage fright as a result. That doesn't mean when they go on stage they're not amazing and captivating. It means it's not always a wonderful experience, not because of the experience on stage because often that's amazing, but the experience before they go on stage and the experience when they get off stage where they have that vulnerability hangover, where they are going, oh my god, what do people really think of me?

So what I would say is the ability to be comfortable being yourself, the ability to have strong, robust self confidence and self esteem is really important for having longevity in your performing and real enjoyment both in your performing and in life. And if you have the ability to be yourself and you're comfortable with being yourself, it also means that [00:03:00] you are able to inhabit other people more easily because there's not a part of you that's wanting to hide you.

There's not a part of you that feels like you're an imposter. There's not a part of you that feels ashamed of who you are. And when there's not a part of you that's ashamed of who you are, that frees up space because if you're always trying to hide a bit of you or make sure that you've got a good angle, if you're not comfortable with who you are, then part of your brain is

used up doing that, and that part of your brain is then not free to be committed to the performance, and you can't be wholeheartedly committed to the performance. So what does being comfortable being yourself entail, look like, feel like? So let's start with entail. What does it entail? It entails an acceptance of who you are.

I'd say warts and all, but the thing is our warts aren't our warts because what [00:04:00] we see as the bad things in us often are what other people see as the amazing things in us and we might see things as negative and other people will see them as positive. So the ability to accept ourselves where we are right now, and there was a lovely singing coach on Instagram who talked about this.

Can you accept your voice where it is right now? Can you accept where you are right now? That doesn't mean you can't improve your skill set. What it means is that you're okay where you are. There's nothing to be ashamed of for being where you are and being comfortable with yourself means letting go of that shame, acknowledging it and letting it go and realizing that nobody's perfect and it's actually our imperfection that is so lovable and human about us.

So that's what it entails. What does it look like? It looks comfortable. When you see people who, have good [00:05:00] self confidence, you will feel comfortable around them. They look comfortable. Somebody said to me the other day, you look like you really enjoy life and you're at ease in life. Now I am definitely not always there, but when I am, that's exactly what it looks like.

It looks like somebody who is comfortable in life. Doesn't mean I'm not trying to increase my skill set, improve what I do. But I am not ashamed of where I am, so it looks like somebody who's at ease and feeling comfortable. And that's what it feels like, too. It feels like you can let go of that big weight of not good enough, and just breathe.

be who you are. And what I've discovered is the more I do that, the greater my capacity to learn and improve. Because when I'm not ashamed of my failings, I can really look at them. And again, using the word failings, I don't want to use the word failings. When I'm not [00:06:00] ashamed of the things that I would like to do differently or better, it's easier for me to really analyze them, to lean into them, to notice them, and then, improve on them.

When I'm not ashamed of the things that I feel I've done wrong, I can improve them or I can apologize for them. And that's back to the Brene Brown concepts of the difference between guilt and shame. Shame is there is something wrong with me and guilt is I did something wrong. And when you are in the phase where you're looking and you just said, I did something wrong.

You can go and say, right, I'm going to, Either do something about it or make sure I don't do that thing again or work to not do that thing again Whereas when I'm in shame, I'm small and I'm not open to learning in the same way. So actually feeling good enough and feeling okay as a person opens up your ability to learn and improve, because you're less brittle.

There's this wonderful video of a singer [00:07:00] who makes a mistake, very famous singer, I can't remember who it is, and she laughs and you can see as she laughs she lets go of the tension involved with it and because she's done that she's more likely to do it better the next time. She's less likely to repeat the mistake because she hasn't gone into herself, she hasn't created tension, and she's leaning into it being okay to make mistakes.

learn from them. And so that for me is all about the importance of being comfortable with where you are and who you are right now. It is so helpful for improving your performance. It is so helpful for enjoying life right now. So ask yourself the question, are you comfortable being yourself and what would help you get there?

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