Challenges for Performing Artists

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HySoS to solve Challenges for Performing Artists and Public Speakers

One of the greatest fears people experience is the fear of public speaking.

Whether you are a professional presenter, musician, actor, or public speaker, if you make your living on stage and you feel plagued by the fear of failure the SoS Method is for you. But even if it’s not related to your profession, many of us are, at times, expected to present, speak, or perform within the scope of our personal relationships, our families, or the groups we belong to. The Sense of Self Method can be of great help in overcoming the fear of expressing yourself in front of others.

Musicians often deal with added tension prior to performing at a concert or a recording. As a former bassoonist in the Amsterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and in various other orchestras (between 1972 and 1987), I know what goes on in the minds of orchestra musicians, but most of all I know what used to go on within myself that I couldn’t make sense of at the time. I made it my life’s work to find the answer to these insecurities and I am excited to be able to share it with you.

For some people, performing is in their blood. They seem to feel better on stage than off. If you are one of them, then you are a natural and you may not need this method for yourself. But please take notice of its existence as it could be just the thing your students need to learn how to become more secure and at ease while performing.

Some state that fear of failure is an intrinsic part of performing. The Sense of Self Method (SoS Method) will show you that it doesn’t need to be so. It may be true that a healthy focus and anticipation on what you’re presenting or performing brings about a heightened level of tension, which, in many cases, raises the quality of your performance. But how do you distinguish good stress from bad stress? Good stress makes you perform better; bad stress interferes with your best preparations and intentions, and it even interferes with your ability to stay present to what you are doing.

Suppose you are a musician like I used to be, extremely dedicated to always giving your best performance. You practice and rehearse like crazy to ensure you are in good shape to perform to perfection. It never seems to be enough though. You seldom feel truly confident about your ability to do your job well. You need your instrument, your environment and the people in it “just so” so things don’t interfere with you having your preferred conditions for practicing and performing. You must make sure you are perfect.

Or perhaps you were asked to give a speech or presentation and you happily agreed. But as the date or the moment draws nearer it feels as if butterflies are fluttering around in your stomach; you feel nauseous and you have not been able to eat (or sleep) for hours. You worry that you will forget something crucial or that you won’t find the right words and end up going home frustrated. You so wish that it would be easier and above all more enjoyable

Even the seemingly accidental coincidence of you not feeling well on the day of the performance can be part of the fear of failure. Understanding the dread that can live on a subconscious level can bring light to this ambiguous situation, and allow you to making that shift that greatly enhances your chances of doing a good job and enjoying it.

The Sense of Self Method offers techniques and assessments for addressing unidentified stressors that play a part in what feels like self-sabotage (LINK). The SoS Theory points out that we can do things for both healthy and unhealthy motivations, and that in the latter case we have what we call a Hidden Agenda. The question we need to ask ourselves then is WHY do we do WHAT we do?

Some of us don’t do the things we do for the sake of WHAT we are doing. Our motivation is complex and this is due to the unfortunate situation that we were raised in: our parents were unable to provide us with the building blocks needed to develop a healthy Sense of Self. In such a case a dependency is created on the approval of one or both of the parents or caregivers. Gaining their approval is perceived as a matter of life and death and becomes our Hidden Goal.

When we are subject to having that Hidden Goal the bulk of our efforts and energy doesn’t even go to our performance, but to our Hidden Goal, which we are not even aware of most of the time. We experience great fear around the question of whether or not we will function well enough to effectively retrieve that (real or virtual) approval that makes us “Feel-good-about-ourselves.” “Feeling-good-about-ourselves” is what we are after as it functions as a substitute for our (lacking) Sense of Self.

If you are a musician, is it truly your ultimate goal to be the best channel to the music you perform so it pleases the ear of the listener? Or do you have a different agenda that you would prefer not to admit? Could it possibly be important to you that your music impresses others or even yourself?

If you are giving a speech or presentation, are you really concerned with having your content or your message understood by your audience? Or are you busy proving yourself? In other words, is your performance merely a Vehicle (LINK) to prove that you are “good enough” or even “special?”

The SoS Theory brings your attention to what it means to have a lack of Sense of Self and shows you that people with a healthy Sense of Self are aware of their own worth and don’t have the need to prove that they are anything other than themselves. Even more, you will learn how gaining a Restored Sense of Self™ will help you to develop the skills that will enable you to truly focus on WHAT you are doing as your Hidden Agendas fade away. That way you become less subject to the fear of failure

In short, you can make a big change in the quality of your performance by understanding your own inner workings and by applying the various exercises the SoS Method offers. Having a healthy Sense of Self is the key to fully being your Self. Only when you are fully yourself will you cease to stand in your own way of getting better results.

* I, Antoinetta Vogels, author of Healthy Sense of Self and creator of the Sense of Self Method, am neither a medical doctor, nor a psychologist, but I share my SoS Method with you as it has helped me to greatly improve my own life and that of my family; it can do the same for you.

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