Saturday, December 5, 2009

What is Self-Confidence?

As I watch the snow coming down...

What is self-confidence for a singer/performer/artist?

And why does it seem so elusive?

Confidence is not delusion. Often, delusion is larger than confidence and is put carefully in place to not be able to see or become aware of the reality of self.

I am musing because as I write all these blog entries, I don't plan them - they are free form and take on a life of their own...I truly am musing in print! So, I am on this journey of discovery with you as you read and I type!

Is confidence a feeling or an action? That is a good question. Or is it something else? "I HAVE confidence" not I "DO" confidence or I "FEEL" confidence. I might FEEL confident because of something I DO or something I HAVE or something I KNOW (which is having I guess...)

So, is confidence a possession that is intangible based on knowing?

I know I can do something, therefore I can possess and hold a confidence in that knowledge, and thus, in that doing?

As you think about this, it certainly gives you something to DO, and in DOING, are you nervous or feeling self-conscious?!?!?! HA! Probably not. Maybe that is the point!

First and foremost, do I know I CAN? As singers, as artists, it is imperative to work from a place of knowledge and of truth in order to create a reality that can be shared. Do we do that? Do we claim that place that is based on knowledge and truth and understanding? Do we claim that place that lies under that knowledge which is often called DESIRE?

If the DESIRE is there to inform the knowing, and the knowing allows us to DO what we are working toward, and the DOING is successful, the possession of confidence of self in the doing is concrete.

What?!?!? Maybe I'm onto something here...

How much do you want to DO what you say you want to do? That is the desire. That is the passion. And what is it that you want to DO? And what are you willing to do for that desire??? Entitlement is not desire. Wanting and not doing is not desire nor passion. Recognizing the difference is key.

If the desire and passion is TRUE and then the ability to then discover how to manifest that passion through the development of craft is tangible and actionable, then the possession of confidence is tangible in the recognition of what the artist has offered, can offer, will offer, and does offer.

"Feeling" confident doesn't just happen! It has to be present because of many other realities. Pretending to be confident is pretending. Sometimes we cannot be confident, but we DO what we say we can do anyway. Isn't that still some level of confidence? Otherwise, how could we do it if we haven't, on some level, found enough confidence to DO something?

I think our culture of singing (there's a connection from yesterday) plays so many mind and spirit games, that it can actually convince us we have NO confidence, when in fact, they fact that we can stand in front of someone telling us we have nothing, we actually have more!!!

MUST you sing? If you MUST then you have desire. If you have desire then you MUST develop that into a tangible craft. If you MUST sing and you CAN sing and you PURSUE your singing, there is confidence interwoven into that DESIRE from the very primordial response to that desire. Your "lack of confidence" is actually not an internal flaw but rather, an external imposition to your artistry!!!

Is this possible? Why not!?!

Perhaps self-confidence is a birthright. Perhaps it is the external isolation of culture nuisance that begins to pick at the confidence that is innately there to allow us to experience. And in that external "picking", we somehow have mis-interpreted it as inner fear, questioning, and lack of confidence.

Why do you feel scared? Fearful? Mortified? Do YOU make yourself feel that way??? Or is it lack of preparation, someone else's response? Is it an internal or an external influence?

If you feel scared because you know you didn't prepare - then that isn't lack of confidence, that is lack of preparation!!! If you didn't prepare and still feel fine, then you ARE delusional!!!

But if you feel scared because you don't know if "they" will like you/respond positively to you, then your confidence is being messed with by an external force that has NOTHING to do with confidence!

Confidence comes from understanding how you do what you do. So do it! Nobody does what you do, and nobody knows what you know. Do what you know. Know it is because you have worked for it. Know your work shows because your desire to present the truth of that knowledge is at the root of who you are.

Nobody and nothing can touch that unless you give them permission. Why would you allow permission to be drawn away from your desire?

Confidence is the absolute knowledge in your understanding and commitment to your desire and your willingness to nurture it and build the understanding and commitment into a tangible craft.

Can you use that? I hope so.

Let's see where that takes us...


  1. The power of our mind/soul is greater than we think. As artist, we can not afford to doubt ourselves. When there is doubt, the execution is lousy and the output is not our best.

    I agree. My strenght's are another perfomer's weaknesses as well as my weaknesses are another performer's strenght.

    To be unique, we must discover what WE do that is out of this world. Perhaps, the colour of one's voice is generic. However, perhaps that person's diction is flawless hence, the voice stands out.

    I have worked time and time again with singers that might have had run of the mill voices. HOWEVER, their dedication to their art ALWAYS made me want to go to the theatre and work with them because they were SO prepared and knew the story inside out that I could always learn from them.

    I dare ask this question ..... As an artist, if you do not believe in yourself, who the hell is going to believe in you when you audition, sing in recital or in a role .... Just askin ....

  2. I'm Keith Dunn but there's all this clicking and remembering of passwords and I just wanna tell my tale so I'm posting as anonymous.
    Picture it! Indianapolis 1980. A 16 year old boy is opening in his first role in his first play ever. And it's the lead!
    The boy was ME 30 years ago.
    After that auspicious start I soaked-up theatrical knowledge like a sponge. I progressed and learned far beyond my years. Eventually too old to be precocious I was thought of by some in the world of Indianapolis community theatre as "difficult". Hey. Not my fault I know more than YOU at half your age.
    BUT for my own reasons I decided ten years later in 1990 to start playing more nicely and not question so often or suggest so much. I'd just be nice and have fun. Then I was cast in The Rocky Horror Show as Frank N a fairly prestigious theatre which has since gone, and is where I got it, Equity.
    I was treated so badly by the director of the show, who others told me was settling a score from "Come Back...Jimmy Dean" when she played Joanne to my Joe, that for the first time I experienced horrific stage fright!
    I allowed this director to jerk me around on every topic from character to wardrobe to YOU NAME IT while I just tried to be nice and keep up with her latest demands.
    When the smoke cleared...I didn't act or perform in any way for FIVE YEARS!!!
    I gave someone else the power over my art! WHY?! Because lesser people requested I go DOWN to their level and there was no one around to wake me up.
    Call it confidence or something else but in those days I could not be stopped in the pursuit of excellence in everything I did. Was I a jerk? MAYBE! Did I let people get away with CRAP, NO! Were the shows I was in good, did I get recognition and did others? YES!
    Will I EVER let this happen to me again? Hell no! But I still have to remind myself that I AM extraordinary and talented and I have to guard against those naysayers. THANK GOODNESS I'm not delusional....cause this would be a very embarrassing entry if tweren't true!
    So now twenty years after that show I am STILL rebuilding my abilities and finally unafraid to look into my toolbox knowing all the stuff in there can be made shiny again.
    Simply NOTHING will stop me now. I'M READY TO WORK!!!!!!