Who is your Competition?

Who is your Competition?
Saturday musings...

I listen very carefully to how singers talk and what they speak of and about.  I did a very loose, non-scientific observation poll in the studio these last two weeks without directly asking my singers but by listening to them speak about their auditions - current and upcoming.

Here's the observation:  those singers who were concentrating on their work,  themselves,  their best traits are the ones who are not only more positive, but tend to book work more regularly.  Those singers who are talking about all their friends who book,  trying to describe themselves by comparison to other singer/actors,  wanting to be like someone else and focusing on others and THEIR response,  do not.

So who truly is your competition and who gets in your way.

A clue:  a mirror will help bring this into perspective.

YOU are your competition.  YOU and you alone.  Why?  Simply because you are responsible.  You can either decide to pursue and claim your best self,  or wallow in your worst self.

Competing with your previous self is key to successful auditions,  performances, rehearsal process, practicing!  Are you aware of your PRESENT?  Where are you? How are you? Why are you?

These questions require no comparison to anyone else.  They require no excuse, argument, whining or false pretense.

Success is being better than your previous self.  Artistic achievement, and even getting a job, isn't about being BETTER than someone else.  It is about growth, development and personal achievement.  Getting a job isn't about being "like" someone else; better than someone else;  but rather, being exactly what "they" are looking for.

How can we be exactly what they need, if we constantly make excuses for it?

Think about it - we have all had those "meh" auditions, thinking nothing will come of it and gotten a callback, or even booked the gig!  Why?   They saw something they wanted to see again.

The more we compare to others,  want to be like others, create a competition with others, then less we focus on our own work.  Our focus is split or in some cases, completely in the wrong place.  Then my question is,  why are you bothering?

You are not supposed to be anybody but you.  You can have inspiration but you do not have to be like them, imitate them,  or mimic them.  Then you are focused not on your best self, but rather, hiding self from the work needed to do to become the best self.  You are hiding the inevitable:  the mirror is lurking and what you see might shock you.

I am amazed at how much energy certain singers spend on consistently comparing themselves to others.  This is denial on too many levels.  You will always fall short in some way, because your path is simply not theirs.  Ironically, that singer will always be more successful in your eyes, because you are taking so much energy to watch and compare, that your path is being neglected, and overgrown by negativity.

The only competition you have it your previous self.  Your last audition,  your last practice session, your last coaching, your last lesson;  your last run through of that aria/song;  your last class;  your last performance;  YOURS.  And the competition of the last is with the NOW.  Where are you NOW?  Who are you NOW?  What are you working on NOW?  What is happening NOW?  Not for someone else, but for YOU???

How often were you pulled to answer by comparison as you read that?

Deflecting is a form of stress management.  Why are you afraid to be YOU?  What is so wrong with THAT?  What is so undesirable about YOUR path?

Mirror time - you are NOT someone else.  No matter how much you wish it,  think it would be "better", whatever.  The more you focus elsewhere the less YOU get the attention you need and deserve.

This is not a race.  There is no defined "winner" to anything.  Each path is unique and carved out by past meeting present and forging into future.  YOU do that.  Or you do not.  Ironically, even if you ignore YOUR path and focus on someone else's, it's still YOUR path being forged.  Just pathetically.

You are not Stephanie Mills or Lillias White, Linda Eder, Vivian Reed, or your roommate (unless you are!);  you are not Anna Moffo or Maria Callas,  Sylvia Sass or that lyric soprano you keep seeing at YAP auditions (unless you are!).

Why are you wasting energy on something you have no control over?  Why are you wasting time on things that are fantasy and frankly, ridiculous?

Feeling defeated when you see someone walk into an audition space is a CHOICE.  A choice to say "I am nothing, and cannot do what she/he does, so I might as well go home".  Really?  Well is that what you really want?  If it is,  why are you even there?  Maybe you should be finding your path elsewhere? Feeling like you have to "beat" someone at an audition is a CHOICE.  It is highly misinformed, because there is not "beat" in an audition.  Your focus is on everything else but YOUR task.  YOUR audition.  Your game, your competition in its true place, is completely off.  Your self-prophecy will be correct. You will not book the job/the program/the whatever.  Because your "friends" are better?  No.  Because your "friends" are focused on being themselves and doing their job.  Your focus is on being better than them, or feeling defeated because they are there.   How about focusing on YOU and what you can DO and DO IT?!

Time to quit comparing,  quit wallowing, quit excusing, and just DO THE WORK FOR YOU.

What others do is their business.  What YOU do or fail to do, is your business.  Make it your business.  Make it your focus.  If your focus and competition is so singly focused on being better than your previous self,  the others simply fail to cloud your thoughts.  The work of others will be seen for what it is;  your audition will stand on its own for what it is and what it represents.  Your path will become clearer, cleaner and uniquely yours and you will be content to be there.

The rest is simply distraction.  And you've created it.  If you create it, you can dissolve it, or simply choose to ignore it.  Again, your choice is your power.

Do you know your competition?  You have the upper hand in this truth!

Susan Eichhorn Young covers all things voice—strong and sophisticated singing and speaking. 

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