By Cari Cole
Every day at my studio, next to the box of tissues in a chair by the window, or on my desktop monitor, sit my students. Famous and emerging/aspiring musicians, and singers alike, all with similar issues. They come for vocal help, or help with growing their music in the world. And over some 30+ years of being in the trenches with them, and being one myself, it’s the pieces of mindset that I find often helps my artists the most.
In a business where you have to spend 10-15 years even becoming a viable contender, let alone whether you will ever make a living at it — on top of a significant investment upwards of $30-40 K … your mindset is most often the determining factor in whether you excel or stall out.
Most of the time it falls somewhere between The 3 C’s.
Confidence isn’t something you just have, it’s not something you were born with because it rises and dips all through your life. It’s something you cultivate. Just like a good diet, or your vocal chops, it’s all about what you think and how you think about things.
Action step: Don’t mistake doubt for lack of confidence. Doubt is a normal reaction when you haven’t worked hard enough on your art. It just means you need to double down and dig in more. The road to success is paved with many detours, puddles and potholes. Staying fast to finding your way and stepping over the landmines (and a solid pair of badass boots), will help you elevate your inner trust and boost real self-confidence.
When an artist has conviction it doesn’t matter what anyone says or does, they are a force. Easily mistaken for over-confidence or arrogance, real conviction comes from an inner knowing that no matter what happens, they are in it for the art of it, for the long haul. They’ve decided it is their life and they are on the frontlines determined to carve their path, no matter what.
That said, it’s never really that simple.
It’s more like this:
Action step: Try having more patience with your process. Identify where you are, and be with it. Musicians have 3 bigger phases they are always moving through. Phase 1 is the gathering phase. Phase 2 is the creation stage, the making of your record, building your artist persona and brand- and Stage 3 is the touring/promotional phase of getting out there with your music. Don’t think you’re not doing important work when you’re in Phase 1 or 2 just because it doesn’t show yet! Work on strengthening your inner conviction and be more present to your current phase. You’re end result with thank you tenfold!
Clarity is King. Seriously, if you can just get clear on what you want, where you are going and your musical sound and brand, you’re way ahead of the pack. The hardest task by far is to find your artist persona (the real one waiting for you to find), then sharpen your brand and head out there to slay yourself a career. Clarity of direction, brand, sound is often what stumps or delays artists the most. It’s the most difficult piece of the puzzle to find. Gaining clarity is an inside game and process.
So what does it look like? Sometimes it means saying “no” to say “yes” to you. Sometimes it means getting opinions from people you trust. Sometimes it means digging deeper to pave the way.
Action step: Do you need to say “no” or “yes” more? Are you saying yes to things that are not in alignment with you? Or are you saying no to things you need to push yourself more to do? Commit to pushing through to your next level of clarity, whether it means digging or standing out in the light of day!