Have you recently muttered anything of the following phrases, either aloud or in your head?:
Augh, I’m just the WORST!
I’m SO much better than ________! Why did they pick them?
If so, I want to start by acknowledging the enormous bravery of putting yourself forward in any way, and that frustration/ anger/ discouragement are a highly difficult but often unavoidable part of that process. Please seek help when you need it, and know how many others are struggling alongside you, whether or not you can see them.
If, however, these phrases have a certain tone under them... one of, well, self-importance, I have urgent news for you: you may have been overtaken by your inner ARTÍSTE.
Oh now, you don’t need to be a professional artist to have one of these. We all have them.
Mine wears a black turtleneck and large round glasses, and has an exceptionally long neck. He drinks straight-up vodka and smokes, and he likes to say things like “now the night is ruined!” or “no matter how hard I work, I’ll never be good enough”-- that sort of thing.
Unlike your inner ARTIST (and trust me, you have one of those, too, in any line of work) your inner ARTÍSTE is concerned almost entirely with themselves. I bet you can guess what that “e” stands for-- yup, big fat EGO.
I was lucky enough to be in a show in Charleston, SC the night of my 26th birthday. My parents and grandmother flew out for it from New Jersey. After the show, they took me out to a lovely dinner at a beautiful hotel on a lovely, warm night in one of my favorite pastel-covered cities.
Did I feel overwhelming gratitude to have their support? Hopefully somewhere, deep down. But mostly, I felt depressed and angry. The show hadn’t gone the way I wanted it to. I sat in front of my bubbling prosecco feeling deeply sorry for myself. Who could care about seeing their 80-year-old grandmother when they hadn’t landed all of their laugh lines?
Communication, be it a formal performance, speech, or interview, is extremely vulnerable. It can be highly fertile ground for all of our inner critics, those creatures who simultaneously sabotage us and make us feeling extremely IMPORTANT.
Luckily, the ARTÍSTE has a powerful foe: your ARTIST.
Your artist isn’t speaking to impress people-- they’re speaking because they have a message to share. They know that their vulnerabilities are what will connect them to others. They recognize that so much of communication (and life) is out of their control, and the best they can do is work with the resources they have at the moment. They realize that the person they are after the talk/ show/ meeting is just as important as the one in the spotlight.
Above all, they know that it's not about them, but about the amazing human ability to share information that moves our world forward. That space at the end of their name? It stands for "awe."
I wish you a day full of space for your generous, unpredictable, strong, and majestic Inner Artist to come forward!