Perfectionism Affecting Your Singing? How to Change Your Mindset and Embrace Your Imperfections
Being a perfectionist is one of the symptoms of self-consciousness.
When you are feeling self-conscious about your singing, you will be afraid of making mistakes. You have a fear of failure, so you try your best to not make any mistakes.
This is unrealistic and it is an unsustainable behavior. It is one of the things that makes it hard for you to get over your performance anxiety.
Here are five ways you can change your perfectionist mindset.
Replace all-or-nothing thinking
All-or-nothing thinking means you expect yourself to achieve it all or it is a complete failure. When you have all-or-nothing thinking, you expect total success and anything less will feel like a complete failure.
This is not realistic because it is not possible or sustainable for you to be 110% percent all the time. Not only will this cause you tension and anxiety, it will also rob you of the joy of achieving milestones alone the way.
All-or-nothing thinking operates on two extremes - being perfect or being a complete failure. A more realistic way of thinking is to aim for a middle ground.
Some days, your voice will sound great and you make many breakthroughs.
Other days, you will feel tired and just not inspired to do anything too demanding.
Adjusting your singing activities to suit your current level of ability and energy is a great way to stay consistent in your vocal training.
Have realistic expectations
This is related to replacing all-or-nothing thinking.
If you are a beginner singer, and you know your voice control is not great right now, give yourself the permission to grow as a singer little by little.
Singing is a fine motor skill that takes years to get good at.
Avoid setting expectations for yourself that you know are impossible to fulfill. You are setting yourself up for disappointment and frustration.
If you are practicing the right things, the right way, you can expect to see consistent results every week. Expect progress, not perfection.
You will start to feel more freedom, joy and pride as you get better at singing. You do not have to be perfect to feel that satisfaction. If you find it hard to enjoy your little successes, it means there are self-limiting beliefs that are stealing those joy away from you. (My singing academy shows you a proven method to change your self-limiting beliefs).
Take the long term view (mastery vs performance)
By focusing on making progress, instead of achieving perfection straight away, you are being mastery-focused, and not performance-focused.
By taking the long term view, you are focused on mastering the art of singing over a period of time; but not being the perfect singer right here, right now.
This will take a lot of weight off your shoulders. It will give you the freedom to express yourself through your voice (whether it sounds great or not).
If you do not let yourself feel this freedom, you are not likely to persevere with your vocal training. Singing will become a chore. You will give up soon enough and you will not achieve your full vocal potential.
Avoid basing your self-worth on how your voice sounds
Our voice is a part of our identity. It is deeply connected with our psyche and how we view ourselves as a person.
When someone criticizes our singing voice, we cannot help but feel offended. It feels like our self-esteem has taken a hit.
We cannot control what other people say or do. In order to get better at singing, we need to practice. Hearing feedback from others - whether we ask for it or not - is an unavoidable part of being a singer.
I want you to separate your voice from your identity or self-worth when you are training your voice.
Look at your voice as an instrument you are learning to play. When you sing out of tune, it means you sang the wrong pitches. It does not mean you are a bad person.
When people give you feedback, they are saying what they think about how you are using your voice as an instrument. They are not saying you are a bad person, although it may sound and feel that way.
You can be braver to make mistakes when you look at things from a different perspective.
Change your behavior/actions (by doing experiments)
We talked about changing the way you think about singing.
That is an important step, but it is not enough.
To make lasting changes, you need to also change your behavior and actions. Do things differently. Do things you would not normally do.
And see what happens. Do your worst fears comes true? Is it as bad as you had imagined? Or is it better than you think? Maybe somewhere in the middle?
Be a scientist and do experiments with your actions. Come up with alternative ways of doing things and see how you feel.
For example, if you are a perfectionist, it means you probably will not let yourself make any mistakes when singing. You know that is all-or-nothing thinking. So, you experiment with letting yourself make mistakes without criticizing yourself. You somehow feel happier. Your singing may not be perfect, but you still feel satisfied and also less tensed when you are singing.
A perfectionist mindset is usually something that has been there for quite some time. You have adopted this mindset due to your life experiences. It is your way of coping with your self-limiting beliefs.
It is unsustainable, and in many ways, unnecessary to you as a singer.
Start small when you are trying to change your perfectionist mindset. Remember: progress is more important than perfection. Do the steps above consistently and you will notice the difference over time.
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