On the wall of my music room is the Holstee Manifesto. It starts like this:
This is Your Life.
Do what you love and do it often.
If you don't like something, change it.
I've been fortunate to do something I love for the last dozen years - making music for my living. But over the last several years there has been a slow internal shift. And this fall I made it official:
I’m changing careers.
I'm letting go of gigging and performing, and focusing solely on Inner Artist Coaching (with a little vocal coaching mixed in).
What is Inner Artist Coaching?
You know how being an artist, a performer, a creative type person can be hard? There are many external obstacles in the world – irregular work and finances; auditions + rejections + more auditions + more rejections; freelancing and trying to find time for passion projects. I mean, the list could go on and on, right?
And then there are the inner battles we all experience in one way or another – self doubt; performance anxiety; fear of success; fear of failure; procrastination – writers block, composers block, painters block. Basically getting in our own way!
As I’ve written about, I tried many tools to overcome my performance anxieties. The one that has worked the best, has transformed my life, and that I’m now in a year long training for, is Internal Family Systems therapy/coaching.
The long and short of this approach is believing that the discomfort, pain, fear that we experience is there for a reason. It is in getting to know these emotions more deeply that they can transform into more helpful emotions or qualities, or just step out of the way when the job needs to get done.
How does Inner Artist coaching apply to being a performer or artist?
A core belief of Internal Family Systems is that we already have many of the internal resources we need. Deep inside, we know how to perform, how to create, how to write, how to have resilience, how to handle criticism. Confidence, calm, and capability is hardwired into our system, just as fear as a survival technique is hardwired into us.
Fear is no small obstacle. It is present to keep us safe and alive. The strength of this fear can derail us from many of our life's goals and passions.
It is in getting to know the deep concerns of fear and discomfort that we actually uncover the confidence and calm and capabilities that we already have.
I’m doing it right now. Every time I sit down to write, I have conflicting feelings. I have the desire to get words and emotions onto my screen, out into the world, to be seen and read and heard and valued. At the same time, I get a tightness in my chest, a turn in my belly, distracted and racing mind – fear.
I sit with the duality of desires – one to do the work and the other to run away. And in fact, when I stop and listen to the tightness in my chest and the turn in my belly, I become more deeply connected to who I am, and write from the center of me, rather than the wordiness of my head. And the tightness transforms into something else, something useful, something connected, something energized.
So that’s what we do in Inner Artist coaching. Get to know the parts of you who come up around your art. Get to know their concerns. Welcome them. Treat them with kindness and build relationships with them. We apply this process to your art making. Make some music and see what parts come up. Write something and see about the concerns. Create something and see where energy and creativity go astray.
It is through this process that transformation happens. Art becomes easier. Performing becomes more fun. Practicing, writing, editing, composing becomes more enjoyable. Flow happens.