“I just give myself permission to suck…I find this hugely liberating”. A well know saying from the author John Green. But jeez, don’t we all wish it really was as simple as that? Or should I say, don’t you wish you could more easily get into that frame of mind? Many people care too much about what other people think. I include myself in this. It’s stupid really. Do you really believe that people will eternally talk about that time that you made a fool of yourself? And even if they did, what real affect does it have on your day-to-day life?
We are not as important as we think. I know this may come as a huge shock to some but believe me when I say that our ego’s do a bloody good job of making us believe we are more important than we actually are. Unless your name is “something” Kardashian, rest assured that any Faux pas will be confined to the annals of history pretty darn quickly. And don’t get me started on why people think the Kardashian’s are even slightly worth anybody’s attention. *Please say that in your head with a weird upward inflection at the end as if you don’t give a shit.
As a creative, allowing your ego to prevent you from taking chances is a serious issue. Staying in the safe zone may serve some well. But getting outside of your comfort zone - that’s where the real magic can happen. Approaching a script with a clear abandonment for what others would think if they heard it. A great example of this recently was during a voiceover competition I entered. On one of the live shows, one of the talents took extreme liberties with the script. They were funny, irreverent, and added many lines. And guess what. I remembered it. Now, it might not have been what the judges were looking for, but he definitely stood out. And I didn’t think he was a fool for taking chances.
You don’t want to be one of the hundreds of auditions that sound the same. I can’t even imagine how difficult it is for a client to listen through numerous auditions that all sound the same. It must be soul destroying. Their ears are just waiting for something that will make their interest pique. Something that makes them smile. Or at least, something that made them feel something. Something they hadn’t felt from the other auditions.
What should that choice be? I can’t answer that. It has to be something that makes sense to you. Something that would pique your interest if you were listening. It has to have your personality in it. Not anyone else’s. Remember, that is what makes you unique. Your life story, your sense of humour, your ups and downs. That is what interests people when it comes to any form of storytelling. When they believe the story. It could be the biggest fabrication known to man, but if they believe it, and it is told well, people are hooked.
So, give yourself permission to suck. Remember that contest I mentioned? When it was my turn to perform on the live show – I sucked. I am not being the stereotypical self-deprecating Brit on this occasion – although that is one of my favourite things to do. Just before I went on, I had a huge case of stage fright. My heart raced to nearly 200 bpm. I lost my ability to breathe properly and the read I had in mind went completely out the window. But I did it. I got out of my comfort zone. And I wasn’t embarrassed. Just disappointed. And I learned valuable lessons.
Nobody I know has ever died from embarrassment. It may feel like it could lead to the end of your world as you know it. Like you found yourself in the middle of a room filled with some of the most important people in the world and then realize that you are naked. (Shit, some extroverts I know may see that as a good thing). But it is never as bad as you think. Just find a way to get over yourself. I assure you that you will find it hugely liberating.