I just read this on an email from one of so many I receive: “Stop sabotaging your efforts with a self-defeating outlook and stay motivated to reach your goals with these effective techniques. The internal dialogue you have with yourself can make or break your success.”

We all do it.  Tell ourselves we’re not good enough.  We don’t belong in this group/orchestra/quartet/etc.   So read that quote above once more.  First of all, you have to have goals or you can’t sabotage them.  Do you have specific, quantitative goals?  I’ve always said “I want to sound like a cellist” but that’s incredibly vague and non-specific.  You have to be able to measure your progress in some way.  Often it’s the level of the music you’re playing, thus the Suzuki progression of books is one measure.   It could also be going from paralyzed at your first recital to feeling relaxed in your orchestra concert.   It could be unable to sight read at all to being a bit more comfortable with sight reading and learning to keep going even when you goof.  We all goof.  Even the pros.  Certainly the students!

So set some goals.  Something you can really look at in time and say, YES I did it.  Or No, not there yet, but this is what I need to do.  Your teacher can help, or your inner-teacher.  As adults, we have this.  Or we’re learning to listen to ourselves and trying new things.  The point is that your inner dialogue is useless to your progress unless you fill it with positive, motivating, uplifting words.  Try to eliminate the ones that don’t move you forward and your growth is undeniable.


3 thoughts on “Be your own cheerleader

  1. It is SO difficult to see what we did well, especially amongst a mixed efforts. As somebody who evaluates public speaking quite a bit, and who knows there is NEVER such a thing as a perfect speech, I remember that the key to a good evaluation is “does the speaker want to try again?”

  2. David B Teague says:

    Be kind to yourself. You are always with yourself, you can’t escape. So, please, be kind. Recognize what you did well, and what you didn’t. But don’t beat yourself up. Understand why what wasn’t “up to snuff” wasn’t that good, then devise a way to fix it. The definition of a good teacher, is a teacher who helps you do this. Find one.

    When you have learned to do this a bit, you can listen to recordings of yourself. I only recently have been able to listen to recordings of myself. It’s hard.

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