The Transformation – Part 5

Every episode in this mini series has really been about a single strategy and today I talk about the overarching strategy.

One that will help you quieten the inner voice, bring more enjoyment to what you do, and connect with the audience more. The only difficulty is that it will probably feel counter-intuitive.

Listen to this episode to find out what I'm on about!

Podcast 14 Title

The Courageous Performer Podcast

The Transformation - Part  5

Here are the other Transformation episodes:

Read the episode transcript here:

Hi, I'm Hattie Voelcker from Find Your True Voice, and welcome to the last in this mini podcast series called The Transformation - Part 5. As part of the Courageous Performer Podcast.



So so far, we've looked at tuning into your inner voice, really hearing how you talk to yourself, understanding your inner voice, incorporating joy and enjoyment into your performing, and connecting with your audience. So the first two of those, were about understanding exactly how you treat yourself exactly how mean you are to yourself, and working on reducing or respecting the battle you have with yourself. So that you can take all of the energy you spend in that battle, and apply it in more productive ways.



The second and third of those were about giving you a different and more and more effective things to think about when you're performing. So the first about the enjoyment. So how do you think about the way you can enjoy this? How do you think about your material and the way you can enjoy it? How do you think about your audience and what you want to give to them how you bring enjoyment of what you do into your performance, because that way, you will relax more, and your audience audience will naturally connect with you more. Because the other thing I talked about was thinking about the audience in a completely different way. Starting to see them as human people rather than a judgmental mass, because you can then start meeting their desires for your performance. And that does two things. One, it distracts you from thinking about yourself and two, it means you're more likely to give them what they want, if you're thinking about it.



But the fundamental strategy behind all of those four is the same, and it's this message of 'Don't be perfect.' Because the irony is that when you actually give up chasing getting everything right and being perfect, then brilliant, actually becomes more achievable.



Hear me out on this because I speak as a recovering perfectionist, not that I would ever have called myself a perfectionist, because don't you have to get things perfect in order to be a perfectionist? I couldn't be a perfectionist, because there was no way I got anything perfect. I'm so chaotic. And I believed that if I could eliminate all my faults, perfect my technique, perfect wverything I did, then I would stop being so daunted. I'd stop, being scared of making a fool of myself, because I believe that if I did all of this, I wouldn't make a fool of myself, because then I would nail my technique, and I would go out and I'd sing really well I'd remember the words, or I'd go out and make the best speech and it would have the perfect intonation and I wouldn't forget anything, and everything would flow. Or as a barrister, I would ask all the right questions, and I wouldn't forget the questions I wanted to ask.



And as I started later to tune into my inner voice, I realised that that was the message my inner voice was sending me that if it could make sure that I got everything right, then I would be safe. I'd be safe from making a fool of myself, I'd be able to prove that I could do this. And I'd finally feel confident that I was good enough as a singer, good enough as a barrister, good enough as a person.



The other side of this that is if you not getting everything absolutely right, then maybe you shouldn't put yourself out there at all. Maybe you've been deluding yourself, maybe you're no good at this. Maybe you never were meant to be a singer. Maybe some people have confidence and others don't, and you should just back off.



Maybe, or maybe you could work harder and do more technical work to get to the stage where you have got everything perfected. Here's the rub. I have people at every level of skill and competence, who think this way. Confidence has almost no relationship with skill. Yes. When we increase our skill we do slightly increase our confidence there's no doubt about it. And over time, we move from conscious incompetence to conscious competence to unconscious competence. Obviously, having started at unconscious incompetence very early on, and that we do but if the inner voice is constantly undermining any successes you have or going "Yeah, yeah, yep, but actually, that's not good enough," then you will never get to the stage where external validation will give you the confidence you need.



Once you start to realise that your inner voice won't be quietened  by external validation, everything changes. I have no doubt that I went into being a barrister to prove that I was good enough. But it didn't work. You know, I had a first class degree. Yeah, yeah, but it was just in philosophy! And I graduated from my bar school, doing my bar exams in the top 20%. Yeah, yeah, but there was always some reason why that wasn't. Yeah, it was multiple choice. That was it. It was multiple choice questions and they're easy. It wasn't all multiple choice questions, and they weren't easy. But I would reduce that because it didn't fit with my belief, fundamentally, that I was not good enough.



I never felt good enough. I got pupilage, tenancy, I had a successful practice, but I never felt good enough. Briefly, I might do something and go, "Oh yeah, that went really well!" But then I would undermine it and I would crash back down. The reality is, you simply cannot control things enough to get everything perfect. You cannot make sure that you don't make mistakes, let alone other people make mistakes, mistakes happen. But more than that, it makes you miserable, trying to get everything perfect. It makes it so stressful and tense, tension inducing. And that makes you actually sing worse, perform worse, speak worse, because your brain is cluttered with all that criticism and self flagellation.



Now, I don't aim for perfect, I aim for better. And the way I get better, is having a conversation with my inner voice about my fears, acknowledging my fears, acknowledging my inner voices, fears, let's face it, they're my fears because the inner voice is me, by bringing joy in what, into what I do, and not taking things seriously, because then when I make mistakes, I take mistakes less seriously. It doesn't mean I don't want to rectify the mistakes, I still want to rectify the mistakes. But I don't bring tension and self criticism into it, which actually makes it harder for me to rectify the mistakes.



I also do it by remembering my audience are human, and they don't actually want perfect. What?! I know, your audience don't want perfect. They want to be moved or impacted by your performance. They don't want you just to get everything right. They want connection MUCH MORE THAN correct. Because actually, what they want is humanity and humanity is, let's face it, far from perfect a lot of the time, but then perfect in its imperfection. Plus, here's the genius. Once you find peace with your inner voice or voices, and learn to enjoy what you do more and see your audience as human and wanting connection more than perfection, you relax. And when you relax, you are more likely to perform better to have mental space to do a good job. To relax, so your vocal technique is better. But you, as I said, you don't stop wanting to improve. You just make it easier to improve.



In fact, one of my clients many years ago said, "Hattie, I knew when I gave up being a perfectionist, I would enjoy life more. What I didn't realise was that it would improve the quality of my work." And my singing whilst far from perfect and I'm proudly imperfect about it, is improving far more rapidly now than it ever has. Because I have space to make mistakes and work out where I want to improve and work out my next area of improvement without feeling like every time I make a mistake, it defines me as not good enough, it proves that I'm not worthy to be out there and singing.



It turns from something that is scary if you don't achieve, so if you don't achieve the level you want to, so if you go out there and you don't sing as well as you want, then that means that it proves that you're not good enough. If you don't do a good enough talk then that means you should never really put yourself out there. It changes from that to improvement beings just something you want. It's not something that is necessary for survival. It's something you desire.



And you desire it to help you enjoy your performances more, to help you connect with your audience more and move them more to serve your material more and communicate your material more. So when you you then view all the improvements you make as serving the higher purpose, not stopping you from looking a fool, and you can build on this new reality using these steps, listening to your inner voice talking with your inner voice, enjoying more and connecting with your audience more.



And you can do this, this is the journey that I have travelled with lots of bits of help from all over, but essentially, on my own. So you can do this. Change  the relationship you have with your inner voice, the way you judge yourself what you want from rehearsal, from practice, from getting out there, and what you want in terms of what you want to give the audience.



But if you do feel that you want some help doing this, then you can go to to find out about different ways that you can work with me, and what perhaps is your next step on your journey.



I'm Hattie Voelcker from Find Your True Voice. Thank you for listening. If you've missed any of the transformation series, you'll be able to see it in this page where this podcast is. But I look forward to talking to you in my next podcast episode. Bye bye.