Performing music can be very overwhelming to me sometimes. There’s a part of each performance that always has me questioning it. Every time I am onstage or every time I post a video of myself singing, I question it. How can I be sure that this is sincere? Should I be so self-assured to share this with an audience and assume it is valuable? What part of me needs to perform my songs? We all want to be liked, but am I just showing off? Does that part exist purely to feel accepted and admired? How do I differentiate between the mindsets of egotistical and self-confident in performance? Are these questions that only I seek the answer to, or are audiences keen on being aware whether or not the performer is too ego driven? What parts of your ego do you not share with others or even allow yourself to develop? What parts of your ego are helpful to you for being confident to deliver something that you can share with the world?
It is humbling to share your heartfelt work through performing music. There’s certainly a specific humility that is needed to get up on stage but it is obvious that you have to believe in yourself as well. What drives you to take it out of the bedroom and onto the stage? Often, after a performance, someone will express to me how my music made them feel, how it helped them through a hard time. Well, there’s the proof, my music is useful. Still, I have to believe that I am not the only one that finds the questions will find their way back to me. What if the performance you are sharing isn’t helpful, or doesn’t add value in anyway to someone else’s life, well then, what’s the use of sharing it?
Carrie Cheadle, a mental skills trainer, who approaches these questions of humility from the field of sport psychology, answers this very well :
“There is a difference between having a healthy ego and being egotistical. Once you cross the line to egotistical – it can be detrimental to your performance. There’s a continuum that has self-assured on one end and arrogance on the other. When you’re self-assured, you’re confident in yourself and confident in your ability regardless of the competition and what’s going on around you. When you’re arrogant, your “confidence” comes from exaggerating your importance and belittling others.
Working on humility helps you move towards the self-assured side on the continuum and a great way to work on humility is to stop passing judgement on others. We ALL do it. At some point you’ll find yourself talking shit about someone else in order to feel better about yourself or your own situation. We don’t consciously realize we’re doing it, but that’s exactly what we’re doing. One of the most AMAZING impacts of actively working on humility and having a deep respect for the people around you, is that it can actually help you improve your own performance. When you stop judging others, you stop judging yourself. When you stop focusing on them, you start focusing on you.”
This mindset can help performers manage their emotions and persevere under pressure. What are the other ways that you have found help you reach your peak performance without the battle of the ego hindering your flow?