Sunday, September 9, 2012

Opinions, Criticisms and Trust

Sunday musings...

We've talk about the "team".  This includes your teacher, your coaches, your pianist et al.

The team of craft is crucial.  Sometimes that team overlaps into the team of business.  Sometimes it doesn't.  Sometimes we forget that part of the equation and we leave ourselves open and vulnerable to everybody's opinion.

You know the saying...opinions are like assholes - everybody's got them!

Too many voices, too many opinions, too many criticisms on what you are doing, or fail to do, with your career and your business can completely distort your truth and cause self-doubt, confusion and stress.

So who do you trust?  Who do you listen to?

Perhaps it is even more simple.  I think every performer has to learn the art of discernment.  This is crucial as you wade through opinion, criticism, and make decisions.

However, discernment has to come into other aspects as well.  In our age of social media,  it is too easy to "share" openly about auditions, booking a show, being on hold for a role, being accepted into a program.  In and of itself,  the sharing isn't the issue:  it's the responses that can be.

Everybody has an opinion.  Your peers may throw a negative angle at you and make you second guess your decision.  This can come from their own experience,  their perspective, or their bias, or a simple jealousy or attitude that is conscious or unconscious.

Your "career/business" team is a crucial part of your journey.  Just as your truest and closest friends are a handful,  so must your team be. 

Friends may mean well,  but if they are in the business,  they bring their own bias, jadedness, concerns to the equation.   Having a "friend" or "peer" tell you NOT to do a project because the director is a jerk, or the music director hates so-and-so, or the stage manager has a drug problem isn't necessarily helpful.  Maybe this is true, or WAS true, or maybe that person's experience with said director/MD/SM/company is in some way skewed.

Obtain information in order to create an informed decision, but make it that: informed.  What works for some, doesn't work for others.  How one feels about a person or situation isn't necessarily another's view. 

Collect your data - discreetly and without emotion. 

Discuss it with the people in the business you have learned to TRUST!  Who do you call mentor?  Who do you value in the business to bounce this data and your sense of your career off of that will give you a healthy reflection and still allow you space to make your own decisions?

These are the people, or is the person, in whom you can trust to get an unbiased response.  If they are unbiased they will be able to give you pros and cons based on where you are and what you need to explore. 

Ultimately,  the questions are: does this enhance my career in some way or not?  If yes, how?  Does this enhance my reputation as a performer or not?  Why or why not?  Does it offer me a forward progression in my career?  How or how not?

Who offers you that in your world?  Who has the knowledge and looks out for the best for YOU intentionally? Who sees you clearly?  Who responds to you with the purest of intentions?  These are the few people you can begin to trust to give you feedback that is real and instead of giving you answers,  will ask you more questions to allow YOU to come to your conclusions.

Do not be so willing to accept everything everybody wants to tell you.  It's okay to keep the truth to yourself for a little while until you make a decision that you can be respected for!

Listen, discern, question, weigh possibilities, discuss with those you learn to trust. 

Then, guess what? It is YOUR career.  YOUR life.  YOUR decision.  If someone doesn't like it, tough.  I can disagree with your choice, but respect that you MADE ONE.  If you come to the conclusion that something works for you, or doesn't - make that conclusion YOURSELF.

Go get it!

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