Growing Your Very Own Self Esteem

“Even though you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”
Will Rogers


Self-esteem – what is it and how does one get more of it? This is a topic that has generated a fair amount of controversy and an adequate quantity of seekers over the years. There is one thing that seems very clear about self esteem, you don’t get it from constantly telling yourself how great you are, or even from other people telling you how great you are. Growing this self esteem muscle is something that takes guts and can be found in the most interesting of places. It mostly comes from living up to your own values by continually doing the right thing even if it seems difficult and unpopular.
You can boost your self-esteem when you keep a difficult promise whether it is to yourself or someone else, meet a challenge, solve a problem, learn a skill, step out of your comfort zone, or even simply and finally cross something unpleasant off your to-do list. Doing something beneficial for yourself or others, feels really good and is one of the best ways to build that self esteem.
Let me as you a question. Has there ever been a time when you noticed someone littering on the subway, in a park or just on the street? And have you ever taken the time to pick up that piece of trash and dispose of it in the proper place? How did that make you feel? Yes, good about yourself. I remember once being on a crowded subway in NYC and there was a mostly empty pop can rolling around on the floor spilling the remainder of its contents where people were walking and under the seats. Everyone noticed it and seems disgusted by the thought that someone else had been so thoughtless, but no one seemed to do anything about it. I was thinking the same thing, when it dawned on me that all I had to do was go and pick it up myself and as I exited the subway, put it in the trash. I did just that and I can say it made me feel pretty darn good about myself. We all have good intentions, but actually doing something about what we are annoyed or upset about often doesn’t happen. It’s such a small gesture that works for everyone and you also might become the example for someone else, like that movie, “Pay It Forward”, or the TV ad that inspires others to pass on these good deeds.
Growing your self esteem, sometimes just takes something as small as really listening to those with whom you are carrying on a conversation. Learn to listen more than you talk. We have two ears and one mouth, so use them in that proportion. Everyone wants to be heard and understood. When you truly take the time to listen with both ears, you are also giving a gift to those with whom you are engaged. So, get out there, listen to people, draw people out and learn from them and it will make both of you feel good.
Here’s another good idea, take pride in your work. You might feel angry and frustrated by your “day job”, you know the one that pays the bills while you are honing your craft and building a career as a singer. This can be a self esteem drainer. So change your mind about how you want to perceive that “day job” and notice how that affects others attitudes as well. Or perhaps you really resent and strongly dislike the fact that the very mundane and boring parts of practicing vocal technique, learning your music and words properly and doing business for you are taking up way too much of your time and you find it boring. It’s important to remember that this is your life going by so you have to live it in a way that makes you happy, fulfilled and feel successful. It has to be fun or at least enjoyable. Make a promise to yourself that you will do what needs to be done for your career in a smart, proficient and thoughtful way and your self esteem will soar. And no matter how great everyone else feels your performance was, if you don’t believe it, in your mind it isn’t the truth and your self esteem plummets.
And don’t forget to expect and encounter failure and make mistakes along the way. They will remain just that if you don’t find the lesson within them and your self esteem will fall. Everyone experiences both failure and makes mistakes so find your answers and gain some self esteem and move on.
Self esteem is just that, you make yourself feel good about you by the deeds you do, and the attitudes you have about life and work. Do you allow yourself to become the victim with the ideas that life has given you nothing but lemons? You alone can change this by taking action. Make a change even if it’s not exactly what you intended and then adjust it as you go. You are the only one who can grow your self esteem. So step up to the plate and start the process. Avanti. Ciao,

Carol Kirkpatrick

For as long as she can remember, singing and performing have always been in Carol Kirkpatrick’s blood. From her beginnings in a small farming town in southeastern Arizona, through her early first-place triumph at the prestigious San Francisco Opera Auditions, and subsequent career on international stages, Ms. Kirkpatrick has thrilled audiences and critics alike. “A major voice, one worth the whole evening.” (The New York Times) Since retiring from the stage, she continues to be in demand as a voice teacher, clinician, and adjudicator of competitions including the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.  Combining her knowledge of performance, business, and interpersonal skills, she has written the second edition of her highly regarded book, Aria Ready: The Business of Singing, a step-by-step career guide for singers and teachers of singing.  Aria Ready has been used by universities, music conservatories and summer and apprentice programs throughout the world as a curriculum for teaching Ms. Kirkpatrick’s process of career development, making her “the” expert in this area.  She lives in Denver, Colorado.