I volunteered tonight at my daughter’s symphony chair auditions. My task was to walk the children of the cello section from rehearsal to a small private room with a judge and back to rehearsal, one at a time. These kids’ ages ranged from 12 to 14 and there were eight of them.
They were nervous.
Six of them told me they didn’t practice enough. One of them told me he would fail.
I urged them to breathe deeply and think positively. But they weren’t having it!
Their pessimism surprised me. These kids attend rehearsal once a week, most coming from other cities 30 minutes away or more. They take private lessons.
It goes to show that two important factors necessary for confidence in performance: preparation and positivity.
Still, watching young kids work so hard to make beautiful music together warms the heart!
I love my friend’s reaction to her son when his audition was over.
He walked out of his audition, stretched his arms out and shouted, “I sucked!”
She said, “Well, let’s go out for ice cream then.”
And they did.
Yesterday, I was in my leadership class again. My instructor – a highly esteemed retired high school Principal – handed us four packets of interview questions. There must have been 700 questions in there. We started going over a few and discussing possible answers.
I don’t know about you, but just the thought of interviews makes my palms sweat.
I felt really, really nervous at the prospect of having 10-12 people around a table asking me 20 questions. And then he said,
“If you’re really nervous before you go in, you’re not prepared.”
Yes. I knew this to be true. Sure, butterflies are normal. This is your body’s way of preparing you to be on your toes. But the shaky, can’t-think-straight nervousness you feel before you have to perform?
You’re not ready.
So whatever you’re preparing for, work it. Work hard. Put in your hours, your sweat, blood and tears. Do the research, or the workout or the practice. Give it all you’ve got and then surrender.
*Maya Angelou tip: Think of all the people who have ever loved you and the people around who love you now. When you go in for the interview, get on that stage, or go in the boxing ring, call all your loved ones to accompany you.