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Tag: pushing yourself

Never Give Up on a Crowd

Sometimes an audience isn’t even close to giving you the energy you are craving (or needing) for your show. It doesn’t matter why–so many factors can play into it: small audience size, too far away from you, sports on the TV, networking events, et cetera, et cetera, ad nauseam [latin!]. It can be so crazy frustrating to play in these situations, but–here’s the thing–you can’t let it get to you. Keep pushing that rope. Keep banging your head against that wall. Keep herding those cats. You gotta do it, because there’s going to be a moment when something shifts, and the folks will be more receptive to what you’re doing. If you’re not there 100% to capitalize on that instant, it will pass you by. Don’t let it! It’s going to be tough–it’s going to be damned near impossible–but you can’t give up on that crowd. They’re going to be there for you. Where will you be?

-Josh

Comfort Zones

As a bit of an introvert, I am constantly coming face-to-face with the limits of my Comfort Zone. It can be a challenge to get past that brick wall, but I have found that the more I fight past it, the weaker it becomes. Whether it is introducing myself to fellow business leaders in town or cold-starting my piano show in front of a small crowd of strangers, putting on a smile and jumping in really works. Try it!

Keep pushing your limits, and you’ll find that they start melting away. The fact that our Comfort Zones exist is proof that we aren’t taking enough chances in life. Put yourself out there. You will fall flat on your face a couple times, but you’ll land on your feet a couple times, too. The more you stretch yourself, the easier it will become, and the better you’ll get at it! The Comfort Zone is on the list of our enemies. Fight it!

-Josh

Onstage Energy

Is this familiar? You are lying in bed or sitting on the couch or driving to work and you just don’t feel like “bringing it” today. You’d rather lay low and fire up the Netflix. Are you ready to have your mind blown? I’ve had that feeling too. Yes, seriously! I know!!!! We have so much in common!

It doesn’t matter if you’re heading into the office or walking onto the stage, sometimes you’re just not feeling it. There’s a mantra for that. “Fake it til you make it.” Get up there, smile, and lie through your goddamned teeth. Throw yourself at the moment. Then the next, and then the next. Hell, tell yourself that you’re having fun. Believe me – our brains are pretty dumb when it comes to this kind of thing.

Here’s an exercise for you to try the next time you are feeling just plain neutral – not down, not up. Straighten up either sitting or standing, take a healthy breath (from down low in your gut), and hold a smile for ten seconds. I know you feel stupid. Shut up. As the ten seconds progress, I want you to take that weak-ass smile (oh I can see you) and gradually extend it first to your eyes (good – it’s getting more believable) then finally to your ears (just do it – you’ll feel what I mean when you try). See! You feel better already! You don’t? Well it works for me sometimes. Just fake it til you make it!

Do you have any tricks to get yourself going when you’re not feeling it?

-Josh

[Side note (or is this a footnote?) – after writing this post and going through the exercise as I wrote the steps, I went back to the top to start reading it back. That’s when I added the silly “yeah, I know” bit with all the exclamation points. My energy had actually been lifted by doing the exercise while writing this! Crazy, right‽]

-I am not saying that this trick can take you from sad to happy, nor is it any kind of treatment for any depression. It is simply a way to give yourself a little bump – a little pump priming to get you over that first hill. Chances are you’ll get rolling from there, but there are always bigger hills, and sometimes it doesn’t hurt to talk to a professional therapist or counselor if you need to.

Slow and Steady Loses the Race

“Slow and steady wins the race.”

I’ve never liked the moral of the tortoise and the hare. It’s always bugged me. Sure, the turtle plugged away and eventually crossed the finish line. And he beat the hare! Hooray! Here’s the rub – a moral is a theme from a story that can be taken and applied to real life, and when in real life is this even remotely going to happen? When is all of your competition going to lay down and take a nice long break, basking in their lead over you?

The point of this story isn’t to behave like the tortoise – setting a comfortable pace, not pushing yourself too hard. Just as long as you don’t quit, you’ll win it all. Right? What kind of horse shit is that?! The moral is to not behave like that stupid hare! He didn’t stop and rest because he was too tired to go on. He did it because he was so content with the lead he inherited from his talent, that he got lazy and didn’t even begin to push himself.

Here’s the real moral of the tortoise and the hare – don’t rest on your laurels. There is always someone behind you who is plugging along everyday with the hope of overtaking you. The real takeaway is to continually challenge yourself and don’t get lazy, because the people ahead of you aren’t going to lay down for a nap. The tortoise isn’t the hero of this story – he’s the villain. And he wins. So learn from the hare’s mistake. If you want to win this race, keep pushing the limits and don’t give up.

Call to action – What can you do at this moment to get a little farther than you were a moment ago? Why shouldn’t you just get up and do it. Proofread that article now. Start working on that important email now. Make your bed now. Lay out what you’ll need for your morning routine now. Do it. Now.

Taking a well-deserved rest can be the correct answer, too. In an upcoming post, I’d like to explore some ideas for even making your downtime more productive.

What’s your opinion on the “Tortoise and the Hare?” Did I come close, or am I way off base? What did you do when presented with today’s call to action? I’d love to hear it – let me know in the comments.

-Josh