How to Lose the Desperation and Find Your Power

Did anyone ever say, “I’ll give you a banana if you sing this for me. I’ll give you two bananas if you sing it on roller skates. I’ll give you three bananas if you twirl while you’re singing. “

I finally threw down the bananas, took off the tasseled hat and told the organ grinder to stuff it, but that didn’t happen overnight. It took years of evolving from a needy people-pleaser into a more balanced human.

The People in the Dark

I loved my craft. I loved rehearsal even more than I loved performance. When you create a character, you hold a magnifying glass to an aspect of yourself. The stage light, the makeup, the costumes, the set, all contribute to the life of your creation. Its magic!

If you become a major pop star or a TV or movie star, you may have a fan base that is quite mad over you. The reality is, they are in love with the character you’re portraying, or the glamour and power you represent, not with you. How many of the stars in show business lack integrity or treat other people badly? The aura of being in that glamorous stage light, makes them seem more than human. The fact is, we all smell bad if we don’t take a bath.

If you continue to grow, and become a high-level artist, one who is well respected for the mastery of your craft, people will also fall in love with you on stage. The caveat is, once again, they will fall in love with the character you’ve created or the image you project.

They haven’t fallen in love with the tired human who gets up with sweaters on their teeth or is depressed and unkind because they haven’t been hired in 6 months. If you’re a skilled artist, they will see nothing but the marvelous creature you’ve created; they will not see the real you. If you are a magician (and you are) you don’t want anyone to know how you perform the trick, do you?

Personal Development is Key

The most direct path to losing the please-love-me desperation, is to gain self-confidence. One of the ways to do that is through personal development. Conscious personal development is the greatest gift any person, and especially any artist, can give themselves. The more you learn about who you are and where your drive to perform comes from, the more you will uncover your own power.

It was said of William Butler Yeats, mad Ireland hurt him into poetry. I was ‘hurt’ into singing but the ironic thing is, I never knew it until I left the career I loved. I spent 25 plus years turning pain into beauty, but I didn’t realize that until much later.

Spend time finding out who you are, without the definition of the roles you play, or the work you do. The sooner you find the real you, the more in control of your life you become. The more awake you are to possibilities, the more you realize your well being is in your hands.

The Power of Self Love

The truth is, the people in the dark can’t love you, because they don’t know you. They may want a piece of you, but that is only to make themselves feel better. It’s not about you.

Because you learn to love yourself, does not mean you will be hired by everyone you audition for, or that your per performance pay will instantly rise. What will happen, is that your relentless hunger for approval will lessen. When that occurs, you will become calmer, more at peace and your auditions, and the likelihood of you doing your best, increases.

When the nerves and anxiety you feel because you want approval diminishes, your pleasure in being a master at what you do, rises exponentially. That gives you a greater capacity for enjoyment and infinitely more time to devote to your craft. It is essential that you nurture yourself, because you cannot give what you do not have.

When we realize we are responsible for our own happiness, the balance of power shifts and it is no longer in the hands of the people in the dark, or the auditioners.

The only person who’s in charge of your happiness and fulfillment — is you.

Adria Firestone

Adria Firestone, on the faculty in the Music, Dance & Theatre Department at New Jersey City University since 2003, teaches voice, movement for actors, speech for performance, acting, career development, and how to control stage fright. As a clinician, Adria has designed and presented programs for NJMEA and NATS, adjudicates Teen Arts, and gives regular workshops and master classes at schools, including Arts High School in Newark and the Girls Career Institute at Rutgers with the GFWC. She is a National Certified Trainer for  K-12 Time to Teach, an author, an instructional designer and a business and career coach. Adria was an award-winning opera singer and actor for over 25 years. Her credits include her world-renownedCarmen in Bizet’s opera to Family Guy. Adria won a Carbonell Award for Best Actress in a Musical (Aldonza in Man of La Mancha) and was Woman of the Year at the Spoleto Festival in Italy. For our troops in Desert Storm, from Shanghai to the Pacific Rim, and from Cairo to Canada, Adria has performed throughout the world