With the Grammy Awards on the TV in the background I am reminded of a question that I often ponder; - If one of tonight’s Grammy Award winning singers went on stage for the next seven days in a row and was booed every time they went on a stage would they think they were still a great performer? Or would they start to lose their confidence? Do they need cheers and accolades to believe in their talents? Or can they block it out such that they consider the overt feedback misplaced. I, for one, have no idea what Taylor Swift would do in this circumstance, but , what I think I know is that we often rely on feedback from people we do not even know, who have very little understanding of what we do and who are relatively uncommitted to our mission – if we are not careful we allow them to validate us, our talents and our value.
Thus I offer, two thoughts for you to noodle on:
· The first from the view of the “audience”. As you sit there watching a performer, a presenter or a preacher think about what they want / need from you. Feedback, applause, support? Most likely all three – My experience is the louder the support the better the performance – you clap and the performer reaches high, you yell and they stretch, you stand and applaud and they will bring down the house. Yes, we do react well to supportive feedback. So, if you want to see a great show be prepared to bring something to the event yourself. It might just work in your favor.
· Now for the second view, from that of the “performer” – you want, need, expect validation, support and appreciation. It is why you are on stage – you are there to entertain and if the feedback you get is negative you assume it is because you did not do well. I offer that while the feedback could be sincere, it cannot be taken as gospel, and it cannot affect the internal view one has of their talents and their abilities. Yes, we all need to listen to critical and legitimate feedback. But just beware of the day or days when the feedback is not well intentioned, it is parochial and negative by design. We see this kind of behavior most overtly in politics but the truth is that it exists in all walks of life. Seemingly reasonable people doing “odd” things so that they can take control through intimidation and misrepresentation. Look out for it – do not fall into the trap.
Remember there are many people/ things / experiences that validate who you are, how you perform and the impact you have. Stay true to your collective personal experience and leave the naysayers to wallow in their negativity and their empty mission. Life is too good to not feel great about great performances.
And so with no audience, no applause, no fans, I took the stage and made it again to the end of Flower - every time seems like the first - hard - - Thanks to Sally for the inspiration to continue apace. 173 pushups on 4:17.