The Back Door to the Inner Voice of Confidence

Filed in When Writing Is Hard by on May 4, 2011 • views: 731

Old pianoI just finished a performance tonight at an awards concert.

I accompanied my French horn student, who was the winner of a scholarship competition. I was a little nervous, as it’s been a long time since I’ve played on stage.

I’ve been a musician for decades, soloing in high school and college and leading the horn section as principal for several years with the local symphony, but over the last five years or so, my performances have been limited to classrooms and choir rooms where my students have performed for judges and peers.

Tonight, however, we played at one of the new local auditoriums, which seats over five-hundred people. Not huge, but still a nice, lifted stage with all the proper lighting and cushioned chairs for the audience.

I was surprised to find that as I walked out on stage, I was excited—in a good way. The first thing I noticed was that the piano was a Steinway. What luck! It’s rare that I get the privilege of playing one of those.

The second thing I noticed was that I felt in my element—like here, I knew what I was doing. The stage felt familiar. Friendly. The audience mostly disappeared from my awareness. I was just happy to be playing on stage with my student—even happier to hear him do so well.

The feeling stayed with me as I got in my car and started home, that feeling of having returned to something that seemed like second nature.

Confidence in One Arena Bleeds Into Others

This may not seem so extraordinary to a lot of performers, but for me, it really is, as I’ve always battled with stage fright, sometimes to the extreme.

But it wasn’t like that tonight. Sure, I had a few nerves, but they were the excited kind, not the ones that make you wish you could run screaming from the stage.

What’s interesting is that feeling started to permeate all my thoughts. As I mused about my writing, my work, and decisions I’ve been considering, that feeling I had gained from the stage seemed to inject enthusiasm and self-esteem into everything I thought about.

It was like I had found a back door to my inner voice of confidence.

Get Back to What You’re Good At

Sometimes when we’re struggling so hard to make one dream come true, we can neglect the other parts of ourselves that are equally as important.

It may be necessary, as certainly we don’t have unlimited resources to spend on pursuing three or four avenues at a time. But here’s a thought—if you find yourself questioning your decisions, if you’re unsure about where you’re going, or if you experience a setback that causes you to doubt the path you’re on, return to something you’re good at, but haven’t done for awhile.

Go fishing and bring home a big one. Paint a picture. Do some woodwork. Perform, if you’re a musician. Teach a class. Make a gourmet meal. Ride your horse in a trail competition. Participate in a running race.

Reconnect with another part of you, a facet of yourself that operates without doubt and fear, and is able to accomplish with joy and excitement.

Exercise the “Confidence” Muscle

I think when we do this, we exercise the “confidence” muscle that may have been inactive lately.

It’s one thing to tell yourself to be confident. It’s another to actually experience that feeling. When we’re trying to accomplish something new, we may tap into our ability to work hard, to be disciplined, and to have faith in ourselves, but until we actually start to succeed, it may be difficult to actually experience or feel confidence.

If you feel this is happening to you, switch gears.

Find your confidence—and your inner voice—through a back door. Sometimes all we need to do is get back on the bike to remember how well we can ride.

© Cerber2008 | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

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Comments (2)

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  1. Excellent suggestion. When I’m struggling with a new skill, I remind myself that I learned to ride a motorcycle at age 43. When I was learning to ride a motorcycle, I reminded myself that years before I had learned to drive a car, which was just as daunting in the beginning.

    • Admin says:

      Cool on the motorcycle, Nan! I took a class too and loved it. You’re right—we can learn new things at any age. In fact they say now that’s the key to keeping the brain healthy.