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I won something SO much bigger than a job…


A coffee cup, an iPad and a notebook at a coffee shop
My happy place: a coffee shop as I write this ☕️ at Temple Pastries

Today is an audition hangover day.

That’s what I call it when you don’t advance and have to stay in a city you don’t know.

Luckily, I’ve been to Seattle before and I’m lucky enough to have friends here. (And that helps A LOT, I’m not trying to gloss over how fortunate that is).

But I remember being in other big cities with an unchangeable flight (because it was the cheapest) and wanting to just go home immediately but being stuck in all the negative thoughts and feelings that usually come with an audition that doesn’t go my way.

So, if you’ve felt like that or are feeling like it was all for nothing, I get it.


But I wanted to share the success of this audition.

I played how I wanted to, and still didn’t advance. (Sharing this online is vulnerable because my brain is shouting: NO, STOP, THE’RE ALL GOING TO THINK YOU’RE DELUSIONAL AND CAN’T PLAY YOUR INSTRUMENT COMPETENTLY… and if you are thinking that, well... I can’t do anything about that.)


I felt satisfied with my process, I did my process, and the committee said no. They didn’t pick me.

And this is how I felt: Deeply neutral. (And then excited/elated about how neutral I felt)

It was so trippy. If this had happened pre-pandemic, I would have not felt neutral. This would have been my inner monologue:


I can’t believe I put myself through this again, I’ll never be as good as them.

This trip was supposed to be worth it.

I’m just not the kind of person that gets things…

Maybe I’m not good enough for the orchestral world.

Etc.


But yesterday? None of the negative stuff happened. I actually tried to say some of the above sentences to myself yesterday in an attempt to break down this self-loving wall I’ve built up, and my reaction was just to dismiss those thoughts as though they were nonsense. 🤯 It was WILD.


This has been something I’ve been cultivating for the past 3-4 years and it is the reason I became a coach.

Coaching (not practicing more) is the reason I was able to be happy with how I played, and not feel bad about myself for not advancing.


This is my 23rd audition. (And as I type this my body and brain are freaking out knowing that I’m going to post this. It still happens - That part of me is afraid that people will judge me for not having a job at an institution. It’s afraid that people will think that I’m not a good flutist because I’ve got “nothing” to show for it - this part is scared of judgment so it judges me ahead of time. But now, I'm on to its tricks...)


I’ve advanced at auditions that were just as big, and I thought I played worse at those than I did yesterday. And I trust myself about that. I did what I planned. I played how I practiced, I mentally prepared like CRAZY. And they way in which my mental preparation paid off REALLY shocked me. I wasn’t shaky, I was in control, and I had mental and physical touch points between and during each excerpt. I had a process and I did what I could control to the best of my ability.


After stating the above statement my brain would usually say: And it still wasn’t enough. And it would feel like a gut punch. But I've decided and practiced believing ahead of time, that what I did WAS enough. It just wasn't what they were looking for.


To be honest, knowing that I have the ability to put myself out there, and not fall apart afterwards is the real win here. It makes me trust myself SO much more. It’s the same way I know I’ll post this as a blog later, and not judge myself for being vulnerable.


I have done so much work on this in the past few years. I became a coach because I know that the important stuff is how you think and feel, it is LITERALLY everything. If you don’t feel good, you probably won’t play better than if you feel amazing. And if you tell yourself you're not good enough in order to motivate yourself, that does work in the short term. But when they don't pick you, they're proving your thought "right." And that feels SO much worse. It's 100x harder to bounce back from that.


This is why negative motivation has longer lasting effects than just getting yourself or others to practice. It makes failures nearly impossible to cope with. And if this is where you are right now, I totally get it. I've been there SO many times. But know that there is a way to do things differently.


I felt so good yesterday, because I practiced feeling good. I got to a place where I really let go of the outcome, and it paid off. No, I didn’t win the audition. I feel like I won something so much bigger than a job. And I had to not advance in this audition in order to see it.

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