One of the biggest challenges in the pursuit of your singing success is the ability to stay positive in your outlook on your career. Staying positive in that outlook also hinges on feeling good about yourself outside of the studio or offstage, as well as nurturing and believing in yourself outside of singing.
The power of maintaining a positive attitude sounds obvious and seems like it should be second nature; but, let’s face it, you are at your best as a singer, singer-songwriter, or singing musician when you are open, honest, and vulnerable. But, there are many factors that can disappoint, discourage, distract, disturb, disrupt, and dismiss that upbeat approach to remaining open, pressing on, and staying on track as you share your gifts.
Make Changes As Needed
That’s not to say that there will be no challenges, frustrations, missteps, stumbles, and closed doors – those will happen. Knowing they will come helps to take some of the sting out of them. Learning from these situations, and making positive changes based on those lessons, will give them a positive spin and give you a sense of empowerment and control. This also boosts your confidence.
Nix The Negatives
Negativity is like a virus or bacteria looking for the slightest opportunity to invade and infect an otherwise healthy system. So, when something does not go as planned or goes completely wrong, it’s important to not dwell on it by beating yourself up or tearing yourself or knocking others down with unnecessary negative criticism.
Each of us has a critic inside, or a whole committee of them, that’s prompted to point out errors and mistakes. This critical nature also has a tendency to attack areas where you feel most vulnerable, insecure, ill-prepared, or just plain uncomfortable.
In order to stay upbeat and maintain a positive outlook there are several simple practices to engage. These will help you avoid the pitfall of picking at yourself and opening up a wound that negativity can easily infect.
Roll With It + Rock On
When you’re well prepared, confident, and comfortable, you can easily dismiss negative comments and even chalk up a fumble or disappointment to experience. You often have peace about an incident or set of circumstances because you know your ability, you love what you do, and you’ve put it in perspective.
But there are those comments that come from others that appeal to that critic or committee inside to the point that negative impulses such as shutting down or punishing yourself are engaged or are seriously entertained to the point of distraction.
Whenever criticism strikes a chord deep inside of you, and you can tell there is the potential for it to fester and infect your ability to believe in yourself, don’t panic. It’s important to take a look at what is under attack, identify any valid criticism, and then put together a plan for taking steps to make any positive changes.
Think of situations where things went wrong or were disappointing, but you did not get rattled. Examine what it was about that situation or experience that allowed you to simply roll with it, learn from it, and move on. Keep note of any positive lessons learned and actions taken as a result of falling short, being disappointed, or even simply screwing up. Use these as positive notes to help map out your singing success.
Circle of Confidants
It is vital to have at least one person you can get together with regularly that you can rely on for positive support in the pursuit of your singing success. You want this to be someone that isn’t always a yes-person or strictly a cheerleader. This person is someone that you are comfortable going to for advice and insight as needed. In fact, it’s ideal to have several advisors or supporters available that offer insight and support from varying areas of experience, interest, and expertise.
This positive contact, or committee of positive contacts, will serve as a circle of confidants for helping you turn negatives into positives. These confidants will help you boost your confidence and fight off infection from outbreaks of negativity.
But what about those issues that keep eating at you inside or those comments you hear after a performance or during a lesson that really get you down? These can be very destructive and can quickly get you tumbling down a path of self-destructive behaviors that create more problems. We’re talking about those negative thoughts that echo specific criticisms and trigger doubts, fears, self-loathing, and even have you thinking about giving up. They resonate because of something that’s an issue you struggle with or maybe fear you have no power over.
Make A List
So, to positively empower yourself, start by making a list of what you believe to be the most hurtful or frustrating comments you most often hear. Add to this list any points of attack that tend to invite negative self-talk that gets you off track, brings you down, or leads to unproductive behavior.
You can make this list in the presence of a confidant or several confidants, if you feel more comfortable. It’s best to make the list by yourself, but only start on pulling the list together once you have set up the meeting with your confidant or group of supporters. That way, if the process of making the list gets really negative or disturbing, you know help is on the way!
You should start with no more than four or five key negative comments or points of destructive self-talk that really get under your skin and bring you down. By taking a few at a time you will not feel so overwhelmed. You don’t want to give these negative thoughts any power to hurt you. The goal here is to bring them to light so they can be defused, discredited, and dismissed.
Run It By Your Confidants
When you meet with your confidant or group, take each comment or criticism one by one and talk about what it means and what it is that hurts or is impacted by the comment or criticism. Your confidants will help you discern the underlying needs and concerns with each statement or criticism. They are there to help you uncover the potential power and treasure that can come from putting a positive spin on these negatives.
Spin It Upward
One by one, turn each negative criticism into a positive statement that can be legitimately supported or validated. If the negative statement or criticism hits an area where you know you need work, spin it toward a statement that affirms the change you plan to make; and then, support or validate the statement by a clearly defined, attainable step you are ready to take.
Your goal is to discredit each negative statement by affirming positives that are not only valid but are resources for real growth and potential power. Think of the things in your life that have presented major challenges, taking fear and doubt to task, and keeping you from trying something you that intrigues you or might make you happy.
Maybe stage fright or shyness or feeling like an outsider have been stumbling blocks or points of attack from negative self-talk and the criticism of others. Think of the role that music has played in overcoming these critical voices. Many gifted, successful singers, singer-songwriters, and singing musicians are in fact basically shy, deal with stage fright, and remain somewhat aloof. And yet, they are successful because they love what they do, are committed to giving their best, believe in their gifts, make plans for necessary changes, and accept the quirks and shortcomings that they can’t change.
So, work with your confidants on crafting positive statements to discredit the negatives. Reinforce the statements with evidence of your potential for even greater achievement and success. Back it all up with clear steps to take to reinforce the positives and kick changes into gear as needed.
Everybody has a few soft spots where they are easily wounded and open to infection. The challenge is to turn this vulnerable sore spot into a resource for power, creativity, comfort, and confidence. The most successful people turn these areas into key markers for their success. Think about someone like Dolly Parton. She didn’t run from her roots growing up in poverty. Instead, she panned for the gold and treasure in the lessons learned, the stories witnessed, the people she knew, the attention given to her obvious physical attributes, and the music of her mountain heritage. She has taken what many would consider drawbacks or challenges and has turned them into drawing cards to play in the pursuit of a profoundly successful career. She has done this through a positive commitment of faith, talent, will, humor, heart, and by cruising on the up side of what comes down the road to success.
Get positive reinforcement through the singingsuccess.tv forums by sharing your positive statements and changes you’ve made that have helped you grow your confidence. Allow yourself to be vulnerable, open, and honest in your commitment to bringing out the best in yourself and in others. Turn those annoying obstacles and pesky stumbling blocks into opportunities to step up and engage the full measure of your potential as a singer, singer-songwriter, or singing musician.
Dismiss your negative self-talk and destructive behaviors. Don’t dwell on unfounded criticism, failures, falls, and mistakes. Don’t dig up and pick at perceived shortcomings and drawbacks. Instead, celebrate your successes, honor the lessons learned, lean on your confidants for advice and support, and maintain a positive commitment to nurture and fully engage your uniquely gifted voice – these are key to what drives your singing success.