Whether you're an aspiring musician or an established artist, self-doubt is a common obstacle faced by many creatives on their creative journey. From writing a new song to prepping for a release; it’s normal to experience feelings of uncertainty and inadequacy when faced with new challenges. At low levels, it can be a source of motivation as it could inspire you to work harder and improve your skills. On the other hand, these feelings can be detrimental to your growth and success. By understanding and addressing self-doubt head-on, you can thrive as a musician.
In this article, we will be sharing tips for defeating self-doubt and cultivating confidence in your abilities.
Recognize and Accept Self-Doubt.
The first step in overcoming any negative emotion is acknowledging its presence. Understand that self-doubt is a normal part of the creative process and affects even the most accomplished musicians. Recognize that doubting yourself does not mean you lack talent or potential. By accepting self-doubt as a natural feeling, you can separate it from your true capabilities and focus on growth.
Comparison is the thief of joy; stop comparing.
The music industry like many other industries, uses quantifiable metrics like views and streams to measure success so it’s easy to fall into comparison. You probably have heard this too many times but it doesn’t hurt to remind you that we are all on different journeys. The only person you should compare yourself with is the person you were yesterday. Being an artiste also requires authenticity. In reality, with different skills, ideas, and gifts, no musician is exactly like the next - focus on your own path and where you want to take it.
Guard Your Mind.
Self-doubt often stems from negative thoughts and beliefs about oneself. The importance of guarding your mind as a musician and even a believer cannot be overemphasized. Negative thinking is a mental habit that takes more from us than it should. You should know that you are right where you should be. Whenever you feel negative or unsure about yourself remember all the challenges you've turned into achievements. Write them down if you have to. This will help you realize how untrue these negative thoughts really are and who knows? You could even draw some musical inspiration from your wins.
Continually invest in yourself.
Nothing induces confidence like improvement. The more knowledgeable you become, the more confident you will feel about your abilities. Invest in your musical education by seeking out opportunities for growth. Take music lessons, attend workshops, or enroll in courses to enhance your skills. Additionally, expanding your musical repertoire and exploring different genres can broaden your horizons and strengthen your creative confidence.
Practice and Rehearse.
Dedicate regular time to practice and rehearse your music. As the saying goes, "Practice makes perfect." Mastery over your instrument or voice is crucial for building confidence. Develop a consistent practice routine, set specific goals, and track your progress. Regular practice not only improves your technical abilities but also instills a sense of accomplishment and self-assurance.
Embrace performance opportunities and Surround Yourself with Supportive Communities.
As nerve-wracking as sharing your music with an audience can be, each performance will increase your confidence and provide valuable feedback for improvement. Embrace those performance opportunities whether small or large, and accept constructive criticism with an open mind and use it to refine your skills.
Additionally, connecting with fellow musicians and like-minded individuals can be immensely helpful in combating self-doubt. Join local music groups, online forums, or participate in open mic nights. Surrounding yourself with individuals who share your passion can provide encouragement, constructive criticism, and inspiration. Collaborating with others can help you gain new perspectives and boost your confidence.
Celebrate Small Wins:
Break down your musical goals into smaller, achievable milestones. Celebrate each milestone you reach along the way. By acknowledging and celebrating your successes, regardless of their size, you reinforce a positive mindset and build confidence. Embrace the learning process and understand that growth takes time and effort.
Learn to trust and be kind to yourself and your abilities
'Fear of making a mistake' is another factor of self-doubt. Fear holds you back from trying, but how can you grow and improve without trying and failing? Look at it this way: mistakes and failures are inevitable in any artistic pursuit. Instead of viewing them as signs of incompetence, use them as learning experiences. Analyze what went wrong and extract lessons from each setback. By being kind to yourself no matter the outcome, you can mitigate self-doubt. Practice talking to yourself like a good friend would. Swap ‘I’m not making any progress’ for ‘It’s okay if you didn’t accomplish what you wanted to today. You'll try again tomorrow.’ Remember that even the greatest musicians have faced numerous challenges and setbacks on their journey. Embracing failure as an opportunity for growth will help you build resilience and evolve as a musician.
Trust the process
This means letting go and having faith that things will eventually work out in their own time. There's a process and cycle for everyone and everything on Earth. When you trust the process, you’re able to enjoy the journey until you eventually reach your destination - you’re enjoying every moment instead of trying to do more faster.
Understand that perfection is relative
As an artist, any content you decide to share is a risk. Music is subjective and thus not everyone will be accepting of every song you put out. If you can accept that, you may be braver to develop your craft. What makes your music interesting is the human element behind it - YOU; with all your ups and downs and the fact that you have decided to make music that magnifies Christ. The only way to make something that’s perfect is to stop worrying about it!
All in all, self-doubt is a thing of the mind.
Overcoming self-doubt as a musician requires patience, perseverance, and a commitment to personal growth. By recognizing self-doubt, challenging negative thoughts, celebrating successes, and embracing failure, you can develop a stronger belief in your musical abilities. Surrounding yourself with a supportive community, continually learning, and dedicating time to practice and perform will further fuel your confidence. Remember, self-doubt may arise, but it doesn't have to define you. Embrace your unique musical journey. No matter how much you doubt, hate, or love that song, it's not going to matter if you never gain the courage to put it out there.