What stops so many people from being themselves and doing their best in so many situations? Is there anything you would like to do with more confidence and enjoyment?
Consider the following areas of your life, what would it be like if you could improve them? Whatever level you’re at, you can always enhance your experience!
Communicating: creating and maintaining relationships of all sorts ( friends, romantic attachments, teacher/student, work environment )
Performance – creative endeavours, physical activities, learning, career (especially interviews and presentations), exams.
As a child I was known as ‘the shy one’. I grew up to be so terrified of public speaking, that I would live in dread of MCing my music students’ yearly concert for at least 6 months before! These days I make much of my living giving talks and training and really love it – so you don’t have to be a complete extrovert from day one to succeed at this stuff. It really is a learnable skill.
If you want to create relationships, learning to connect with other people is essential. Creating rapport, listening skills, appearing interested, making good choices about who to spend time with, are all important. What is even more essential is how you think about yourself in relation to other people.
How you imagine yourself, and the outcome of a situation, is linked to the way you feel, the way you behave, and therefore how people respond. Your beliefs get reinforced with every encounter. Fortunately, there are simple, easy strategies to update all these things, and improve both how you feel AND the results you get!
Performance is all about being able to communicate and connect – whether you’re conveying an emotion, a fact, the value of a product or simply the essence of yourself, making the most of the vehicle is vital. That vehicle can be an instrument, the voice, the body, raw emotion, your energy field and very often, your underlying belief.
It’s not only obvious performance situations that can be distressing. Talking to someone new anywhere can be difficult for many people, or trying an activity for the first time. The issues are all very similar: a fear of being judged (by self or others!) create physical and mental behaviours that reduce effectiveness, which in turn reduce confidence, and on into a downward spiral. Starting with any of these begins an upward spiral, the more options, the quicker the confidence grows.
- a mental reframe, such as seeing the examiner as a fellow musician or the committee as someone for you to interview to see if THEY fit with YOU
- recognising that a feeling of struggle simply means it’s time to find an easier, more appropriate approach, not that you’re stupid or untalented!
- physical relaxation skills
- improved posture
- better breathing – not only for singers, flautists etc. Hyperventilation triggers and maintains anxiety, reduces oxygen uptake to the brain and tightens muscles, so slow, calm, effective breathing is vital
- recognition that there are always choices
- increasing self-esteem by changing the language and images used, especially in comparing oneself to others and perceived standards
- creating a resource state that can be used in a range of situations. For example, we all have triggers that are guaranteed to set off a particular emotion. Think of a beloved pet, a favourite holiday spot, a satisfying success – you instantly get a sort of glow. Sometimes it’s actively learnt to change behaviour: red lights = stop. Others are less useful, such as exams = fear. Anchoring is natural, but it isn’t often used consciously. Once you know how, you can link feeling relaxed, positive, flow states with any trigger you want. And it’s quick!
- learning the performer’s knack of ‘owning the space’ and ‘remaining present and aware’
- communicating clearly – both teachers and students make assumptions, and it’s extremely valuable to be able to ask questions that check for meaning, express doubts so they are understood, and set goals that having meaning for both parties
- neutralising traumatic events or unhelpful messages. How often kids feel they are only loved if they succeed! It’s rarely what parents mean when they encourage good results, but the message can tie people in knots for life. This might involve a therapeutic approach such as NLP or EFT.
- specific approaches for improving learning. One young flautist didn’t realise that she had learnt the ‘dots on the keypads’ approach from her music book so well that she visualised them as she played her scales. We simply moved the dots faster, and she instantly played more smoothly. Absurd, but it worked. Other people only start practising when they tell themselves how bad it will be if they don’t. Not a great motivator! It’s down to finding out exactly what mental processes people use, and upgrade or replace them with something more relevant or pleasant or simple.
- setting up a future that is filled with joy, success, and whatever else is desired – not just a wish, but an intention with skills and processes to create it.
- working with teachers of all kinds to improve their skills in communicating, reducing stress and preventing burnout (in themselves and students!) can spread the results through a large community really quickly.
Ask about individual sessions or tailored workshops, from age 6 up. Video conferencing is also an option.
Feel noticeably better after every session (your definition!) or don’t pay me for that session!
If you’re concerned about ‘therapy’ involving painful explorations of past experiences, or taking long periods of time, you’ll be delighted to know that using techniques such as NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming), Hypnosis, and EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) offer a quick, gentle and effective approach!
Much of the work can be done ‘content free’ using processes that access the experience without pain or distress. Many of my clients are delighted to find that they have spent much of their session comfortably relaxed, even laughing, discovering how easy change can be.
What a relief!