Fall Jumpstart for Performing Success

Pencil BouquetI love Fall (probably because I have always loved school!).   This is a little funny because I live in South Texas and we don’t have Fall.   We have two seasons—Summer and Off-Summer.  So, for me, Fall is not signified by the temperature dropping, by a cooling breeze, or by the leaves starting to change to a golden or amber hue.  Fall is officially on its way when school supplies hit the shelves and when school starts up again.  When school starts, it’s back to business.  It’s a time of fresh starts and new beginnings.  And as Tom Hanks so eloquently wrote to Meg Ryan in You’ve Got Mail, if I could, “I would send you a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils” to celebrate the new season of possibility.

It is times like these—the beginning of school or the beginning of a new calendar year, that we often take stock of where we are and where we want to go.  Performers are no different.  If we want to continue to learn and grow as performers, we need to check in periodically, take stock, and make adjustments where needed.  It’s like the beginning of a long race:  Ready? Set? (NO!) Go Anyway!


Eric Maisel, author of The Creativity Book, encourages us to “unleash our desire.”  He explains that success and achievement belongs to those who want it and to those who chase after it the most.  So, how is your desire?  That is the first thing to check in with.  How much do you want to perform your best, fix that technical issue you’ve been struggling with, or improve that thing that everyone is telling you needs to change about your performing. Examine:  How committed am I?  Am I willing to do whatever it takes to go on to the next level?


Next, tell yourself what you plan to do with your one wild and precious life!

1.  Here’s what I REALLY want (to do, to change, to improve):

2.  Here’s what I’m going to do to get it (this part—the work—will be MUCH longer than number 1):  


Many of us will respond “NO!” to “Ready? Set?”   Especially after a break (like summer) or when not feeling totally confident about some aspect of your playing, singing, or performing.  It is sometimes difficult to feel really ready or prepared.   The key is to get busy—just get into the practice room whether you feel ready or not!  There is a secret that every successful performer knows:  there are times when you will not feel ready, but you do it anyway.  You realize that sometimes, that waiting-until-you-feel-ready feeling is a cop-out.  It’s a time-sucking, dream-killing excuse rooted in fear, designed to keep you stuck.  Remember, that you don’t have to get it right on the first repetition, you just have to get going.

GO ANYWAY! (this is wear the rubber meets the road!)

This is the next step in your jumpstart journey.  Finish the following sentence:

In light of where I want to go and what I’m willing to do to get there, TODAY I will:


What is it that you really want to do with your performing?  How hard are you willing to work to make it—whatever “it” is—happen?  Are you willing to just start even though you may not feel quite ready?  What step are you willing to take today?  So, take a big whiff of your bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils and make it a great day!

I would love to hear from you and your experience with committing to your practice and performance!

Would you like to learn how to develop your own unique pre-performance routine and your most effective performance mindset?  Then, check out The Relaxed Musician:  Mental Preparation for Confident Performances.   Download Day 1 of the workbook and audio to see how the program can work for you.  With purchase, you will receive 2 great bonuses—Your Pre-Performance Checklist and the e-book, Letting Go of the Need to be Perfect!

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  1. The article is excellent as always. Yes, I feel great these days, I am so happy to go to the university again after a long holiday, and exactly I am not prepared to perform, and I am postponing my practice! I tell myself that I will start tomorrow with a good schedule but this happen each day, because I am afraid of unknown fear. I will get ready and set goals and going anywhere that I love to be.
    Dear, Dr Allan, I am a positive person and you make me more positive and energetic.
    Thank you so much.

    • Dr. Diana Allan says:

      Hi Simin, thanks for your comment. You bring up an issue many people, and performers alike, face—getting stuck every now and then. Especially after a break, it is often difficult to get going again. That’s why it’s important to just dive in—ready or not! As the saying goes, “The journey of 1000 miles, begins with one step.” Take that step today! It is always good to hear from you. Have a great day!

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