Where the mind goes, the energy flows…

May 22, 2020

The quote is not from me*, but I have made it my own because it is so true and perfectly expresses my philosophy.  Just like driving a car, you have the road ahead, focus your energy on steering in the direction of your destination and voilà – sooner or later you arrive.

 

And what does this have to do with your career in music or opera? A great deal! 

No doubt you have heard about the technique of visualization, of imagining right down to the last detail where you want to be, what you want to do. 

Well, fixing your mind on this image will help to steer you in that direction if you do it consistently, actively and consciously.  How best to master all of that will the be subject of another blog post.

However, “where the mind goes” presuposes that you know where you want to go in the first place.  What are your goals? In the short term? In the long term?

Realistically? Not realistically? 

Here’s a suggestion:  set aside a few hours (or a day or a weekend) and make it a point to take inventory of yourself.  It’s best to initially just do this exercise on your own, alone. That way you can really do a brain dump and be brutally honest. Here are a few tips to make it more fun and efficient experience: 

  • Make yourself “pretty” or “handsome”, as if you are going out on a date – you are! You are going on a date with the most important person in your life – yourself! 
  • Writing things down, maybe in a special notebook, helps, too. 
  • Think of yourself in the third person. If it helps, take an object – a stuffed toy, a talisman, a favorite sculpture (maybe one of those 3-D printed sculptures of yourself) – and treat it like it is you.
  • Talk out loud about your hopes, fears, goals. Talking out loud makes these issues more real, gives them “body”. Don’t be afraid of sounding stupid – there is no one around to hear you.  Or maybe your cat or dog will look at you lovingly and listen?
  • List what makes you you – yes, it may be politically incorrect to talk about physical attributes, but they are facts that at least need to be acknowledged. 
  • Your to do list should be actionable, split up into small, realistic steps that you will have pleasure in checking off. 
  • Even better, make short, middle and long term goals –six, twelve months, 2 or 5 years from now.
  • Think about your personal life:
    • Will you marry/be in a longterm relationship
    • Do you want to have a family
    • Do you have the emotional/financial support of your family
    • What do you feel happiest doing
  • Think about your professional life: 
    • Competitions you want to take part in 
    • Roles or repertoire you want to learn
    • Teachers/coaches you want to work with
    • What other skills do you want to master
    • Contacts you want to make
    • Which type of roles are you happiest performing
    • Can you imagine yourself doing something else other than opera
  • At the end of this session – be sure to reward yourself with something that gives you pleasure. A glass of champagne, maybe? A good book?
  • It is important to end on a positive note. You should get a surge of energy, ready to take on the world. 

This is just one of the many issues we tackle in the course – sign up and get more analysis about setting goals and much more actionable material to help you with your career strategy.

*The original quote is attributed to Ernest Holmes, an American author and teacher born in 1887.  Other ways of expressing this truism are “What you think, you become” (attributed to Buddha), “where focus goes, energy flows” (Anthony Robbins)