In Part 1 of this series, I considered the importance of setting goals, writing them down, and articulating subgoals and the specific tasks you must do to accomplish them. But that’s just the beginning of many techniques you can use to enhance your success as a musician.
Many musicians keep themselves in a limited comfort zone beyond which they rarely go. If you want to be a successful performing musician, perhaps one of your long-term goals is to play Carnegie Hall or the Blue Note, or to record your own album. But when you really imagine yourself achieving your goal, what do you feel? Anxious or unsure of yourself? If so, that’s a good indication that the goal is outside of your comfort zone.
No big deal – playing Carnegie Hall is beyond most people’s comfort zone, including many performers who have already played there. So what can you do?
Affirm and Visualize Your Goal As Complete
Many people swear by affirmations for achieving goals. An affirmation is a positive statement about the outcome of your goal that you repeat on a regular basis to yourself. Affirmations should:
- be specific
- be written in the present tense
- be stated positively
- include sensory experiences – such as images, sounds, feelings – of what achieving the goal would actually be like
So you might affirm, “I have just finished playing my debut concert of the complete Chopin Études at Carnegie Hall and I hear the thunderous roar of applause and see the audience begin to rise in a standing ovation.”
Act As If You’ve Succeeded
Another powerful technique that success guru Jack Canfield promotes is acting as if you’ve already succeeded at achieving your goal. Canfield tells the story of wanting to become an international success consultant, but having little idea of how he was going to become one. But he decided to act as if he were already a successful international consultant. He got business cards printed with “international consultant” on them, and chose Australia as his first international consulting destination. One year later he was speaking there.
What could an eager pianist who wants to be a major performer in his or her city do along the same lines? Here’s a few ideas:
- Get business cards printed with “performing pianist.”
- Find every performance space with a piano that you can and play it, even if only for free.
- When people ask what you do, tell them you work as a performing pianist (you’ll have to decide how much to stretch the truth based on present reality).
- Dress often in performance dress.
Also consider how else you would think and act differently once you’ve achieved your goal – whatever it is – and start doing that now.
Affirm, visualize and act as if you’ve already succeeded. You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain.