What does it mean to be a Courageous Performer…

In this recording I'm going to introduce you to the most important mindset change you can make to help you be a Courageous Performer. To really be able to step in front of any audience and perform with freedom without the fear of rejection or failure.

If there were one thing you would want to change about your performing, what would it be? This mindset change  will help you achieve it....

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The Courageous Performer Podcast

What does it meant to be a Courageous Performer

Read the episode transcript here:


Hi, I'm Hattie Voelcker, from Find Your True Voice, and I want to talk to you today about being a Courageous Performer.

What would it feel like if you felt truly courageous as a performer? Because for me, courage is at the centre of performing with freedom, and performing with freedom is what creates success around performing, whatever sort of performing you do, whether it's singing, acting, speaking, presenting; and courage is all about mindset.

Now, if you had a magic wand, what would you change about your performing. Magic wands obviously don't exist, but changing your mindset can make it feel like they do exist because it can transform the way you feel about performing, the way you perform, and the way your performance is received by your audience. So today, I want to talk about what I see as the most important change to your mindset to make in order to be successful, and to be a Courageous Performer.



So what is that a willingness to fail. I know what a willingness to fail, you don't want to fail. That's the point. However, I'm not talking about a desire to fail, I'm talking about a willingness to to fail. So for almost all performers, their biggest fear is a fear of not being good enough, a fear of being judged and found wanting a fear of making a fool of themselves when they stand up in front of whatever audience they stand up in front of. And there are two solutions that are commonly pursued to solve this problem.

The first will almost always lead to failure, or a worsening of your performing, and will absolutely certainly lead to you being more miserable and less happy in your performing. And the second will lead to freedom.

So what's the first? The first is perfectionism, and for true perfectionist amongst you, you may not think you're a perfectionist, because you know that you can't achieve perfection because perfection, you're not good enough to achieve perfection, so you might talk about these as being high standards.

But it's this idea that if you can perfect what you do, or get it to a certain standard, you will be immune to criticism, you will defacto be good enough, and therefore you won't have to feel vulnerable, and you won't have to risk failure.



The difficulty with this is that perfectionism is a false God on three fronts. Firstly, you can't guarantee it. Even if you could guarantee that you will never make a mistake, which you can't, there are so many other factors involved with performing that you have no control over that you can't guarantee that there won't be some cracks through which you'll slip. It might be the the location, it might be the other people involved in the performance, it might be something goes wrong with the audience and you're not expecting these people, or is there something, there's some issue there, there are so many different factors, you cannot control them all.

And perfectionism is about the search for control, because if you feel like if you can control all those factors, then you can control the outcome and make sure it's a good thing. And the other thing is, the second thing is that perfection creates fear, the search for perfection creates fear. Because the more we seek perfection and fall short, the more anxious we become. Because if we think that getting perfection and reaching that high standard will make us feel safe, then we will feel unsafe as long as we don't achieve that level.

And finally, and this is a biggie and so perhaps for another for another episode and not for today. People actually don't connect with perfection. They don't even like perfection when we dig into what perfection is. But as I say that's that's a biggie and that's for another episode.



But just focusing on one and two for the moment. If we look at the idea that no matter how hard you work, things can go wrong. If you're relying on perfection to keep you safe, when things break down, you will feel unsafe and find it hard to cope, when inevitably things break down, because things go wrong all the time. You will feel more brittle and more vulnerable, not less vulnerable.

The second thing is when you, and I talk about the search for perfection creating tension, if you think about it, not only is it when you fall down and you don't achieve the perfection that you strive harder and feel less safe, but it quite literally leads to physical control, it leads to the voice in your head getting louder and louder and louder pointing out where you've made errors, because with perfectionism, there's this idea that if you shave off this, or add a bit to that, and fix this problem, and fix that problem and fix this problem, then you'll be safe. What you're doing there is always looking for problems always talking to yourself about problems, which leaves no space in your head, for just performing.



So the other solution, the one that I say leads to freedom is to be okay with failure, to be willing to fail. But what is failure? For some people, it will be forgetting their words, it will be mumbling or stumbling over their words, for some people, it'll be a crack in their voice, it might be falling over, or making a fool of yourself some way, it might be not getting the part or the job, that's failure, or in some way sounding stupid. And whatever it is, whatever level of failure and however you define failure, the higher that fear, the more tension will be in your body and your mind and your emotions, and the more daunting the whole thing will feel, and the more tension in the more daunting, it all feels, the harder it is to perform at your best.

And the more daunting it feels and the more fear you have, the more out of control it feels. And so the critical voice in your head will seek to take back control and take back the reins to try and make it feel safe again. So you create this situation in which it gets worse and worse and worse.



The reality is things will go wrong, things go wrong all the time. Sometimes they're tiny things that you don't even notice. And sometimes they're massive things that you do notice. And if you know that whatever goes wrong, you will survive, because this is the thing with performing, when we put ourselves out there, it can feel like it's an existential threat, it's absolutely about, it threatens our very existence, and we might sink into the floor or collapse, or everything will just become a complete disaster if it goes wrong.

The truth is, we've survived failure all our lives, and we've survived things going wrong all our lives. In terms of survival, a hundred percent success rate so far, and if you remember that failure doesn't mean that you disappear, or your whole life falls apart. It means it went wrong, and actually, if it goes wrong, and then you save it, because you don't panic, because you're feeling out of control, nobody, it might be that nobody notices.

It might be it actually goes wrong and is better. It might be that another opportunity arises out of what goes wrong, that makes the situation better.



We have this idea of what right looks like, but so often, mistakes can be good. But they're certainly survivable. And if you if you think that way, and if you believe that, it frees you up to lean in to the performance and let go and just perform because you're not trying to control all of those elements that you really can't control. And it frees you up when you're not trying to achieve perfection when you are performing.

It frees you up to not try and achieve perfection in your preparation which makes preparation more joyful, and you will, are likely actually to do more preparation as a result. And you can build that excitement over what you're going to share. Because once you've let go of the fear of you're not sharing it in exactly the way you want to, you can just lean into enjoying sharing it.



So if you assume that failure is not a disaster, three things happen.

#1 You will be less anxious, because if the worst happens, you know you will survive.

#2 You will perform better because you will be more relaxed, because you're not worrying about failure. Failure, embarrassment, and all of those elements, and

#3 You will actually prepare more because the preparation is not for something you're, not for something you're dreading is for something you can feel excited about. And so you will actually do a better job because you will do more preparation.

So the belief that fear makes us perform better is an absolute fallacy, because actually it's our desire to perform and to perform well that makes us perform better and if we take the fear out of it, we actually perform better. And the belief that we'll be okay frees us to do that.



So I hope that helps. Do feel free to comment if you've got any comments or questions, and thank you for listening. If you've liked what you've heard, please do subscribe, and I look forward to talking to you next time. I'm Hattie Voelcker from Find Your Voice.