You want to know what the secret ingredient to success is?
That's right. Plain and simple confidence.
It kills me when I see and hear super smart, super talented people beat up on themselves over tiny little mistakes. There's a very fine line between wanting to do things right and being paralyzed by perfectionism. I know this first-hand because I was a rabid perfectionist for most of my childhood and young adulthood.
And then I snapped! Seriously. I couldn't take my own pressure. I couldn't take my own criticism and hypermicroscopic perfectionist lens. I inspected my own confidence down to nothing. I didn't believe in myself or my talents or abilities.
So I ignored them.
That's right, peeps. Your fearless Ringleader was a major disaster with zero confidence in her talents for years and years.
Oh sure, I kept writing. I wrote travel articles, book reviews, a column on cultural differences, marketing brochures, translated press releases, all kinds of stuff. Except none of it was the kind of writing I really wanted to write. I wanted to write fiction, and bestselling fiction at that. I wanted to be the female F. Scott Fitzgerald. True story.
I kept dancing, too. Took classes in Boston, DC, Frankfurt, Hamburg. Earned my dance teaching certificate and taught for awhile, too. My secret dream was to follow in Twyla Tharp's footsteps, recreate Bob Fosse choreography only better, mix it with Pina Bausch's ballsy athletic nakedness and call the resulting yumminess MINE. Choreography was always a close second, very very close, to writing.
Instead, I did none of it. Instead, I took the safe route. I went to college at Georgetown University and majored in... wait for it... FRENCH. You heard me. French. I decided to take all the grown ups' advice, heed my supersmart high school GPA rank and do something "practical". I decided to go for an undefined sort of fuzzy sort of career in international relations. Sort of.
Except I didn't feel it. I had no desire for any of that. Sure, foreign languages came easily to me. Sure, I loved studying foreign cultures, religions and histories. But that was like hobby stuff. My guts were in theater, dance, scripts, novels. I lived and breathed Martha Graham, Bob Fosse, A Chorus Line, Broadway, Updike, Fitzgerald, Joyce.
But the Age of Aquarius hadn't quite dawned in my neighborhood just yet. No one trusted the idea of making a living in the arts where I came from. So I went the "practical" route, applied and got into a few good schools, chose Georgetown. Once there, I squeezed it for all the arts, culture, theater and dance I could! I switched to the College of Arts & Sciences (a year long struggle) and ended up winning an award for Excellence in Theater at graduation.
After graduation, with no practical business experience or plan, I was a ship without a sail. My attempts at breaking into the DC theater scene included teaching dance at a local studio, choreographing at a prestigious private middle school and being selected as a member of an emerging modern dance company. It was a great start but not enough to make ends meet on its own. When I slipped and fell down a flight of slippery wooden stairs and couldn't dance for a month, my short-lived career attempts in DC screeched to a halt and I retreated back home and straight into a desk job, the first of many many to follow.
After that, it took me another twenty plus years to find my way back to my passions. It took me that long to find my way back to confidence in my dreams, my talents and my abilities.
Now, I'm a writer AND choreographer. I don't care whether it's Broadway or Cape Cod, I'm doing it successfully and I LOVE it!!
Here's the thing: I could have been doing it all along if I'd just had the confidence 25 years ago. Don't get me wrong, I don't regret anything. My life is exactly as it should be and I have an amazing daughter and excitingly satisfying career to show for it. However, with confidence, imagine the possibilities! With confidence, I'm now able to soar so much higher! With confidence, I know I can keep on soaring, keep on helping lots and lots of people, keep on doing what I love. With confidence, it all comes together because I know it will.
Confidence is key.
Without confidence, your dreams are toast.
My advice: Get some solid, practical planning help and make your art your business. Take it seriously. Treat it preciously. Don't waste another minute doubting yourself. Make it happen. You owe it to yourself!
© 2014 Pamela C Wills, Int’l
Revolution Ringleader Pamela Wills teaches Artists around the globe how to stop dabbling in their art, call the shots and start making BANK from their talents to positively impact the cultural landscape. Get her FREE eBook gift to you at www.pamelacwills.com to get rolling today!