Everybody has their challenge. For me, it was the piano.ou don’t need t
I wasted 30 years worrying about my piano abilities. I knew on the inside that I was this charismatic performer. But when I tried to play in front of people, the voices started up in my head, telling me I was no good. I could never get the music right, couldn't convince other musicians to hire me, couldn't get on the phone and sell myself.
I really wanted to be a high-level professional musician, but it seemed like it was impossible. I wasn't good enough. Nobody wanted me.
What was funny was that I was actually already doing what I said I wanted to do. I played for the Atlanta Ballet, my jazz trio was featured on CNN.com, but no matter how much success came my way, I didn't see it. I had no confidence. I was always afraid to the point of being sick with anxiety. I never enjoyed what I was doing, struggled for ten years, and finally gave up to become a teacher.
Luckily, that wasn't the end of the story.
Do you believe you deserve better opportunities, but nobody else seems to see it?
In 2005 I decided to become a public school music teacher. That meant I’d have to go back to school to get a music degree.
That meant I’d have to audition. On the piano.
I spent a year preparing a piano audition. I was so afraid I literally couldn’t function, and it took a pep talk from a friend to get me through it.
When I did my audition, I made mistakes.
I also got into the program.
I learned an important lesson: “I don’t have to be the best in the world, just good enough to get the job done.”
You may have learned powerful things about yourself, have come to a sense that you’re really ok, and yet you still fall short when you need to shine.
I entered the teaching profession. By day I was working with children, and at night I was writing my books. It was my private world where I could be the greatest in the world, as long as I didn't actually try to publish anything!
Meanwhile the kids at school were trying to teach me a lesson.
They had no interest in listening to me pretend to be a teacher. They would laugh at me, misbehave, do anything but the lessons I’d carefully planned for their success. They’d start fights, throw tantrums, break the rules.
They were teaching me to learn how to do my job. I stopped planning ways I could show off, and started focusing on results. I could let go of some of the ideas I’d had about who I “should be” that were getting in the way of what I needed to do.
It took me years to work out how I was getting in my own way. If we work together, you can figure it out a lot sooner.
I still wasn't ready to commit to accepting my own worth as a musician. I started teaching piano lessons in 2015!
At that time I was still experiencing stage fright, but I could still coach other people through it. In fact, I was better because I knew what my clients were suffering, and I knew what to say to them.
Again and again I saw kids and adults struggling to deal with their perfectionism and failing. All it took was to remind themselves of the job they had to do. Focus on that, and you can get to anywhere.
As I watched my strategies with them working, I began to ask myself, “Should I listen to my own advice?"
The single best thing I ever did was to start doing what I told other people to do in piano lessons.
It was a great insight because not only did I start to get the results I was looking for in myself, I started to understand myself better too! I got more efficient in my practicing, started hitting more bulls-eyes in my performances, and got more calls!
Now I perform my own music. I speak in public about efficiency, marketability, self-awareness. I am the person I dreamed I could be.
What could you do if you knew you had the time?
The answer is: Anything you want!
It helps to have a friend in your corner. You need a mirror to see your own face, and if the process is fun, you'll enjoy what you find out. People hire me because they know as a result they will become more confident and more successful.