As a performer, the temptation to show off can be enormous. It is difficult to defeat the impulse to impress others with your skills, improvements, humility (ohh the irony), and success (not to mention the incredible stigma of what success means to different people). DON’T DO IT. The effort to impress is not worth your time or energy. That incredibly loud voice in your head that says “I am not enough” can be gagged and stuffed in the closet as soon as you want.
You are so enough. While you may not have the experience of other artists you meet and work with, you are not their subordinate, you are their equal. It is my belief that if you are working hard and dedicated to always learning, you have a place in the artistic community…which is not to say you disregard what those with more experience tell you, but that you find it important to learn from EVERY person of EVERY experience level. You are no better and no worse than any other artist because we are all working together to put compassion into this world.
Therefore, be the kind of artist who seeks knowledge. Who does not aim to impress, to please, to hear words of appreciation and surprise at how amazing you are. Be your own number one fan and earn your own approval every day with the work you do.
This is a lesson I have come to understand in my heart only recently (as opposed to in my brain, you know, where something is “true” but you’re still kind of like ehhhh that doesn’t apply to me). I finished a long, incredibly rigorous contract, and came out the other side as a completely new artist. A seeker. But once I went home for vacation, I felt myself wanting to impress everyone I encountered with my achievements, with how much I had learned at my job. I wanted someone to be proud of me. To somehow validate my experience and therefore myself and therefore my abilities. Then as I laid down to take a nap one day (I take naps on naps on naps because I’m on vacation!!!) I called bullshit on myself. I realized I am the only person who needs to be proud of me, and everything else is just sugar: sweet, but not a staple. I was embarrassed by my desperate need to impress, although my humiliation at my own actions wasn’t helping the situation either. So I decided to be proud. Proud of myself for everything I’ve accomplished. And learned. And will continue to learn. And for taking a vacation (all my workaholics say heyyyyy). And for doing my best. Because how can we show compassion to others if we are not compassionate with ourselves?
Mantra: I am proud of my achievements. I am rooting for myself.