It’s that time of year again. Hurrah! It’s auditioning season. Are you ready? Well are you! Or is this just going to be the same old, same old yet once again even though this past year was so much more successful in so many ways. If thinking about putting all your good work in front of strangers makes you feel like you have to go prove yourself and be judged and scrutinized not only by the folks you are auditioning for, but for your colleagues listening as well. Yikes, I am beginning to feel stressed and anxious myself just reading what I have written.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Know that when you’re feeling anxious and overwhelmed, you’re a different person than when you’re calm and secure. Science tells us that. Prove it to yourself.  Think for a moment of how you behave at your best in any situation. Next, think about what you’re like at your worst, and how radically different those two selves are. Remarkably, they’re both “you.” But in one, you have the potential for deeply absorbed focus, creativity and the ability to present what you have practiced vocally and artistically, as you tell your story with each aria. (In this instance, science tells us that our prefrontal cortex runs the show.) In the other, you’re attention is scattered, because you are forever arguing with your inner “Brat” to shut up and leave you alone, which is a total distraction and takes you off point. (Science tells us that when fear and anxiety intrude, our amygdale and the lower regions of our brain take over, and we can’t think straight.)

The most fundamental, powerful and enduring fuel for performance, it turns out, is a feeling of safety and trust — in ourselves and in the world around us. It turns out that the most powerful source of getting back to experiencing feeling in charge and whole again, is feeling valued and appreciated, which has to start with you. You have to value and appreciate your own worth, your growth, and inner power. Then others will be happy to support what you have accomplished. We’re never done; life is about embracing change and growth.

So start building short periods of time into every day to collect and reset yourself. Give yourself time to have conversations with your inner “Brat” to let him/her know how much you appreciate their concern for you. Let them know how it could be more appropriate and helpful so you can start working in tandem toward success. And thank them for showing up to do so.  This helps make you more resilient in the face of the challenges and threats real or imagined, when they inevitably arise. It also helps to practice realistic optimism – telling yourself the most hopeful and empowering story possible about your ability to do your job exactly with where you are right now, this moment in time. Nothing is perfect because we are human. But, it’s when you feel safe about both the best and the worst versions of yourself that you become most deeply comfortable in your own skin. That puts you in the drivers’ seat; you’re charge; that gives you permission to offer your best without being distracted. But it won’t happen if you don’t make it happen. Remember, that if you don’t make something of your own life, someone or something else will. Do you want that? Again I ask, Are you ready???? Avanti!

You know what I’ve been thinking about, now let me hear from you! Ciao, Carol


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