An AMAZING Tool to Help Reframe Negative Thought Patterns for Musicians
One thing that younger Katie never understood was that we can have a measure of control over our thought lives. When I was stuck in a negative thought pattern - something like, I am completely bombing this rehearsal and every note I play is out of tune - I believed simply had to “do my best” to correct whatever the perceived deficiency was. And so I would become increasingly stressed about my intonation, lose confidence and air support, start to “read” fellow musicians’ body language to determine how badly I was playing, and on and on.
Please tell me I’m not the only one!
That, my friends, is Little Me.
Little Me is your nervous, stressed out ego who is compares you to everyone else in the room. She is in a perpetual state of exhaustion and anxiety because she believes something terrible is about to happen. Little me is LOUD. She runs around thinking the worst in you and convinced that everyone else thinks that, too.
Little me believes that you are never enough. There is no grace, no allowance for humanity, no space for anything other than perfection with Little Me.
I think the most dangerous thing about Little Me is that she believes that the whole world judges you to the same standard that she does. Your teacher, your colleague, your conductor - they each believe that you will not ever be good enough.
Little Me becomes the enemy within and she convinces you that everyone outside of you feels the same way, too.
There is hope, my friend. There is Big Me.
Big Me believes that we posses an inner state of wholeness, connectedness and enoughness. Big Me believes that you can do ANYTHING. She makes your life bigger and richer and fuller and more beautiful.
She calls out your creativity, your dreams, your passions and says YES! The world needs this!
Big Me is your source of authentic power, your highest self, your biggest cheerleader.
So when Big Me tells you write the book, create the chamber series, email the band director for students, take the audition, talk to that human over there, study this area of interest…. You Can Trust Her. She is the fullest, strongest, truest piece of you. She is pure and she good.
Big Me is motivated by LOVE. She wants to make a difference. She wants to make the world better; she wants to bring beauty and truth forth. She wants connection and vulnerability.
She is expansive. She believes in others and she believes in you.
The thing about Big Me, though, is that she can be quiet. Especially at first when we’ve been living deep in Little Me. Big Me is Intuition. And it can feel terrifying to trust her.
While we have learned to cope through control and perfection, Big Me asks us to open our hearts big and wide and believe the best in ourselves. With each step you take forward in Big Me she gets stronger, louder, bolder.
Eventually you realize that Big Me IS YOU. And Little Me is just that - little. She’s there. She needs to be managed. But, she’s not allowed to run the show anymore.
It is important to learn how to create an inner world where Big Me can come out and play. If Little Me’s world is storms, cliffs and crags, predators and FEAR, Big Me’s world is warm, soft, beautiful and SAFE.
How do we do that?
We practice believing we are enough. Right now. Flawed, imperfect and ENOUGH. Worthy. Not because of what we do or what we accomplish. Worthy because we are here on this planet.
Changing our beliefs starts with changing our thoughts; thoughts create feelings; feelings affect behavior.
This is why we need Mantras, Gratitude, Affirmations and Micro-Celebrations. These technique aren’t peripheral. They are ESSENTIAL for us to show up as Big Me, to show up in the world as your fullest, truest self. To make music that Matters, that is Authentic, that Moves the hearts of your audience, you must do the work of changing your thought patterns.
Now that you see Little Me for who she is and Big Me for who she is, you have the ability to frame your thoughts.
When you feel anxiety creep up about a performance, you can say “I see you, Little Me. But Big Me and I know that I am going to Kick A$%.”
Or, when a colleague makes a snarky comment, you can say, “No, Little Me, that wasn’t about me. Big Me and I believe that So and So is having a bad day and inappropriately discharged their emotions onto me.”
Or, when Big Me lights your imagination up with a wonderful new project, you can say, “I’m not going to allow you to hold me back any more, Little Me. Big Me and I believe the world needs this, so we are moving forward.”
It is incredibly simple and incredibly powerful.
Next Steps and Additional Resources
Here at The Musician's Mindset we have some incredible resources for developing and implementing mindset practices that will transform how you perform on stage.
First, check out our Personalized Mindset Tools Quiz to discover the mindset strategies perfect for YOU!
Join the waiting list for my FREE mini-course, How to Stimulate Your Vagus Nerve and Calm the Heck Down.
Founder of The Musician's Mindset
Katie is dedicated to helping musicians overcome stage fright and believe in their own unique artistic voice. She believes live classical music is a powerful antidote for the division, pain, and loneliness pervasive in the culture and strives to support all artists to confidently share their work with the world. She lives in Cincinnati with her husband, three kiddos, a dog, a snake, and a goldfish.